Saturday, July 30, 2011

Great Riding Bike!!!

Well, last week, I took the Colnago to my usual group ride out in Collierville. The usual suspects were there and they were ready to roll out hard. This group has been steadily getting up to about 20 to 21 mph and that pace is pretty hard for me....

The new bike definitely attracted attention. People were pretty impressed with its condition, and also with the fact I was going to ride it on the group ride.

We took off and I had no issues keeping up. My buddy Paul had warned me (from on board his Cervelo) that the downtube shifters would be an issue. They weren't. Frankly, I never once had an issue with shifting. I got 'the feel' of it quickly and had no issues whatsoever.

In the end, the thing that caused me the most trouble was the single bottle cage and its location. Its much lower than my other ride, so while reaching for my bottle, I managed to drop a bottle a mile from the finish and that kept me from finishing with the group.

Who says vintage bikes can't keep up with modern equipment!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Colnago Saronni completed!

I finished up the ride this weekend. I finally received the NOS 3ttt handlebars and promptly installed them. Of course mating the 3ttt stem to the bars of the same vintage meant that it all went together really well. I elected for modern Deda bar wrap instead of going with something like Benotto cellotape, but I'm glad I did as its pretty comfortable.

Setting up the brakes did not take much work as they were pretty much ready to go, and setting up the levers went well as well.

I'm a lifelong weight weenie, so I had to put it on the scale. Complete weight, ready to ride is 20.5lbs exactly. Not at all bad for a piece of vintage iron! And this is significantly lighter than any of the downtube shifter bikes I rode back in the day.

As soon as the bike was finished, a friend stopped by and we went out for a ride. The ride was initially cut short as I had not tightened the rear quick release enough and the wheel shifted on a short climb while under power. 1/2 mile later, the drive side BB cup started backing out, so we headed back to the shop to re-tighten that and locktite the cup in place. I knew better and should have done that during the initial build...

After correcting those minor problems we took off again on a quick 30 mile ride. The ride is everything I expected. Stiffer than the bikes that I rode when I was younger, but still much more comfort than the alu and carbon bikes I've ridden for the past 10 years. It climbs well and the gearing is fine for our local roads. I purposely made the cockpit 1cm shorter than my modern bike and that is plenty comfortable.

This is my first Campag equipped bike and I really do love it. Everything is so solid and smooth. I've not ridden a downtube shifter equipped bike since the mid-90's, but I adapted very quickly and had no problems with the shifts.

The only two negatives involve the brakes.... I expected the brakes would have very little power, and I definitely got what I expected. I'm going to order some modern blocks to fit the holders and keep enjoying it. The other issue is the hoods and non-aero levers. I'll get used to them, but the cable housings definitely throw me off....

No doubt, she's a keeper!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Colnago Saronni Super

Closer to done now.

This weekend, I finished all the component polishing and detailing. For every part, I've completely disassembled the part, cleaned it completely, polished it with mag polish and then rebuilt with appropriate grease.

The result is very nice. I strung up the bike and got the shifters working nicely. Everything shifts beautifully, and I really can't wait to ride it. All I lack now is a set of handlebars. I managed to snag a set of NOS 3TTT bars for the bike to go with the 3TTT stem I have already on the bike. With some white tape, I think it will look pretty good.

One other interesting detail is that this really is a replica bike. Colnago built this as a replica of Giuseppe Saronni's winning bike. He was a two time Giro winner, as well as winner of the World Championships.

A friend on sent me this link with pictures of Saronni's actual bike.....


I've been in cycling a long time. 20 yrs of serious riding this year. I started on a lugged steel mtb with no suspension fork and suntour topmount index shifters.... My first time around, I got to be a pretty good mtb racer, and a reasonably good time trialist on the road.

I loved the sport and then walked away. Married life, new job, etc all got in the way. Many of us have gone through that.

When I got back on the bike seriously again 4 years ago, I went back to the group ride at my old shop. When I left the ride, I was leading the A group. When I came back, I could barely ride half the distance the A group rode, and at half the speed.......

This year, I've finally begun finishing with the A group again. Not every time, but many times. And last night, I hit a milestone of sorts in finishing the ride at 20.8mph average. I know that won't even get me through a cat5 race, but it was a great feeling. I hung with the fast guys on our group ride and felt great afterward. In spite of being dropped on a climb or two, I managed to ride myself back on to the group each time.

Last night was a great ride!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bottom Brackets and the Wonders of the Internet......

So, the only part missing from my group on my Super Record group was the bottom bracket. I've been watching Ebay to see what pops up, but the prices for a Super Record BB are pretty high.

I remembered that I grew up working with the local Campag dealer when I was a shop mechanic. He had closed his shop by then, but during the 80's and the Lemond era, he was the go to guy in my town for anything Italian. I called him to see if he had a BB, and after looking in his parts bin, he found one. He provided 3/16 bearings in the original Campag grease for the set as well. Perfect!

Well, not quite perfect. I installed the BB and there was absolutely no way it was going to be adjusted correctly. When the BB was tightened appropriately, it looked like it would fit a 64mm BB shell instead of the 70 that any Italian threaded bike would.

Enter What do I find there, but the different BB's Campag sold over time, plus the bearing size used by each. Turns out many of them used 1/4" bearings instead of 3/16. That made for quite an easy fix. Now I just have to go find some 1/4 bearings.....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Vintage Colnago Work.... and Quality

This Saronni Colnago is my first true Italian bike. I owned a Bianchi as my first road bike, but that little beauty was actually built in Taiwan....... My new/old Colnago was definitely built by someone name like Giacomo or Giuseppe and it looks like it was. The brazing is perfect. The lugs are thin at the edges, but the edges are square and sharp.

The same thoughts apply to the Campagnolo Super Record Grouppo. I've owned Suntour, Shimano and Sram. All good products, but truly nothing compares to the quality of these Campagnolo parts. Everything is easy do disassemble, but strong and solid while assembled. The quality of the castings is absolutely flawless. There is also something about the design that portrays more art than engineering. The curves are not only functional, but beautiful at the same time.

To say I'm impressed with this bike so far is a pretty gross understatement.

As for progress on the bike, I have gotten some touchup paint which is a pretty close match to the red. I used it to touch up every nick in the frame. More to keep rust at bay than to make it look perfect. I also did the same with the frame transfers. I also pulled out some House Of Kolor paint and began painting in the cutouts in the fork crown. With those details cleaned up, it looks really nice.

I'll do the same tomorrow with cutouts in the frame lugs.

As for componentry, I pulled apart the front brake completely. After disassembly, I polished every part of chrome and alu and reassembled with fresh grease (very light film). The rebuilt caliper is definitely a thing of beauty!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vintage Colnago Super

Months ago, I noticed a lonely red bike in a friends bike shop. I quickly recognized it as a mid-eighties Colnago but my friend was not selling. Unfortunately, his shop was not long lived, and he later moved on to work in another shop.

Sunday we met for a mtb ride at the local trail and I saw the frame in the back of his station wagon. I made a ridiculous(low) offer and amazingly he accepted.

Later that evening, I got a txt from him that he had a '74 Super Record group he was willing to sell. Another offer and he accepted again. The group is only missing the bottom bracket, freewheel and the top nut for the headset.

Searching the net and this forum for the past few days appears to say that the bike is an early/mid eighties Colnago Super. Pantographed chainstays, spool chainstay bridge, clover in the bottom bracket. Chainstays are chromed, but the headtube lugs are not.

Paint and decals are in good enough shape that I'm not going to paint it for now.

I have a few appropriate cockpit parts like a SanMarco saddle, campag post and proper 3ttt stem.