Monday, May 16, 2016

What Have I Done?

Italian Mystery Frame

I am not sure how to describe what has happened. It progressed so quickly you see. And it came rather out of the blue.

After nearly 3 years you might think that you more or less know someone. And I (thought that I) knew my husband to have a healthily moderate interest in bicycles. He would join me on rides. He would chat to me about bicycle construction and history. But there was a limit to his attention and commitment to the topic. He wasn’t “bicycle-mad,” as they call my type here. And that, I thought, was probably a good thing.

Then a few months back I drag home an old Raleigh Rapide, which I’d spotted in town and thought he might like for an everyday errand type bike.

To my relief, he does like it. He likes it a lot. In fact, the more he rides it, the more he likes it. Eventually, he starts to ride it not just as an errand bike, but, increasingly, as a roadbike. I can already see where this is heading.

“Please, please,” I plead, “don’t put clipless pedals on it and don't remove the mudguards. “That will bring us back to Square One of you not having a bike to ride in street clothes.”

“Aye, fair enough,” he says. “But I think I’d like to build myself up a wee vintage frame as a proper racer and see how it goes. Maybe something Italian?”

“Oh! Seriously? Well that sounds fantastic,” I say, not really thinking he means it.

Some days later, I walk past his open laptop and, from the corner of my eye, catch a glimpse of something quite disturbing. I try not to look. And normally I respect his privacy, really. But morbid curiosity gets the better of me, and I sneak up closer.

And then... oh god.

I mean, oh my god.

He has browser windows open to the bikeforums Classic & Vintage section. To eBay with various listings of Italian racing frames from the ‘80s, used tubular wheels, decade-old Campagnolo component groups. To an instructional video for how to spread rear dropouts from 126mm to 130mm. To an essay on bottom bracket standards and compatibilites.

Well, that escalated quickly.

“Erm, what’cha doing there, sweetheart?” I ask, in my best attempt at a casual tone of voice.

“Oh…” he replies distractedly, his brain still deep in the throes of problem-solving. “I’m just trying to understand this Columbus tubing chart. You reckon SLX is whole lot nicer to ride than SL?”

I have a look at the chart and am surprised to notice that neither type of tubing is as thin-walled as I would have thought it to be (they are both .9/.6/.9). I send him links to discussions of tubing wall thickness. By the following day, he is better informed on the topic than I am.

By the following week, he’s acquired encyclopedic knowledge of tubing hierarchies, component group histories, ways to ID mystery frames. He is aware of the difference between vintage and modern race fit, and of the exact frame dimensions he’d need for one versus the other. He’s been taking notes in a special little notebook he now keeps in a drawer. He’s been “sniping away” on ebay. He has dusted off the digital scale.

Italian Mystery Frame

I am trying very hard not to frame this as a gender thing. As in, women do this, men do that. Women like bikes in pretty colours, men like them taken apart, weighed, and measured, then entered into a spreadsheets. Meh.

Nevertheless…

Nevertheless, I have known exactly zero females and far too many males whose hobby it is to spend feverish evenings on eBay, on forum discussions, or in their “bike cave” - be it in cellar, attic, or shed - cleaning and polishing, cleaning and polishing, then leaned over a digital scale in schoolboy anticipation.

And as much as I enjoy admiring and photographing the fruits of their labours, I have always thought to myself: "What a relief I do not live with them."

And now? Is the joke on me? Watching him concentrating intently on the various facts and figures he comes across, I am filled with affection - mingled, somehow, with horror.

“Just how bad is this going to get, my darling?” I come close to asking, but hold myself back, as the fever shows no sign of subsiding, second week running.

Most of our time together, we discuss bicycles now. The intensity of his focus, the exacting nature of his curiosity, are stunning and a bit overwhelming. Is this what it would be like to live with a hyperactive pre-teen obsessed with trains, or baseball cards, or some such thing? I think this, then mentally smack myself for seeing my husband in that light. Why are we women such no fun when it comes to this stuff?

"But you said we'd watch the Danish movie and you're still looking at bikes!" I hear myself actually saying. Nag, nag. What exactly is happening here?

Further, why does eBay make me nervous and irritated rather than excited, the way it makes him? Am I just a slave to my evolutionary history? A gatherer, needing to feel secure in my acquisitions? I would rather definitely have a pair of handlebars for £30, than maybe have them for a tenner. No fun is what I am, by the sound of it.

But still: I love bicycles. And I am almost afraid to believe - to trust - that he loves them too.  Can it really be true? Is this more than a passing fancy?

Now every day little parcels begin to arrive - from Italy, Hungary, Austria, England. A crankset here. A stem there. A very dirty (but dirt cheap! and Super Record!) front mech. Some rare, special kind of bolt he frets about being the correct length.

And did I mention there is a frame?

Italian Mystery Frame

We spot it simultaneously while browsing search results for Pinarello Montello (his dream frame is either that, or a Colnago Masters, mid-'80s vintage), of which it was pretending to be one - but in all likelihood wasn't. However, it looked to be handmade, Italian, and "good." Certainly good enough to experiment with for his first build ("First?!"). And it was stamped, at the seat stay caps and fork crown, with the letter "G" - for Gary. How could he not?

"Did you know I once had a Francesco Moser that looked exactly like this?" I ask, trying to contain the width of my grin. I show him links to Lovely Bicycle posts from 5 years back.

"That's... amazing," he says, taken back for a moment by the uncanniness of their similarity. "And did you like it?"

"I loved it. The only bike I have ever let go of that I miss and think about regularly."

By this he is encouraged. "Don't you worry darling. Once I get the hang of this, I'll build you up a vintage Italian bike of your own, better than that ole Moser with the buckled headtube."

"You noticed that?" I say, rather impressed.

"Of course."

Until now I have no desire for another vintage roadbike. But his easy-breezy promise makes me wildly, unreasonably giddy.

"Just make sure it's not red," I say. I hate red. He asks which colours are acceptable and indulges me in a rather lengthy discussion of why I like certain shades of blue, but not others. His eyes don't even glaze over. "He is a good man," I think.

Italian Mystery Frame

By the time his mystery "G" frame arrives, he already knows how to build it up from scratch (Headset press? Who needs it!), with components that are mostly all here. We spend some happy hours doing this as the sun slowly, ever so slowly goes about setting.

With the physical bike in front of us, my tactile, visual self is now quite contented. I am crawling around the frame with my camera and my measuring tape, smelling the grease.

"Low bottom bracket, just as I thought! And short chainstays. Plenty of front-center. I think you will love riding this thing."

He nods, busily weighing every component before affixing it to the frame, jotting the figures down in his notebook.

"I would love to know who actually built this thing."

"I will put up detailed photos of it," I say, "Perhaps someone will ID it." And this I will do. Once I recover from the novelty of this whole situation.

Diagnosis: Bicycle Madness. It may not be in the DSM. But it's real. And, apparently, quite contagious.



63 comments:

  1. Interesting way to press a headset cone onto the fork. I know I'd damage something doing it like that ;) Currently I use a section of old tubing which fits nicely over the fork tube and onto the cup, then pound from above. Anyway, nice looking bike. I like the lines (and the color) of this bike much more than the Raleigh.

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    1. Amazingly, he has not damaged it! "It's all about finesse."

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    2. So the dropouts are sitting on concrete? Yikes! There must be something for forgiving underneath.

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  2. One of many excellent tidbits I've pulled from Freakonomics Radio - some of us stave of boredom and encourage stick-to-it-ive-ness by substituting nuance for novelty. This sounds like a classic case (and I am the same way). http://freakonomics.com/podcast/grit/

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  3. "Bicycle Madness..." Indeed a perfect escape.

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  4. Haha, look what you did to the poor man! Nice bike, though.

    Coincidentally, an 80s vintage Colnago Master is definitely on my list of "dream bikes". Gorgeous things.


    Wolf.

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    1. Around here, the men who raced in the 80s-90s think of the Colnago Master as the ultimate bike of that era.

      Me, I'd rather have a Pinarello, a tiny Montello or Treviso frame. Then again, I have not ridden any of these to know how they compare in action.

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    2. Oh, I'd be happy to take a nice old Pinarello, too. Sadly, I've never had the opportunity to ride either one myself. Just stared longingly at pictures of those sleek Italian bikes in the magazines as a young man in the 80s.
      Anything more foreign than a Schwinn was just so exotic around here. Any racing was BMX, which was not an interest of mine.

      When a neighbor kid, a couple of years older than me, bought a Bianchi, it was the talk of all of us bike-lovers in the area for ages. He was tall, like myself, so there was certainly some envy on my part of that bike that I just knew would be better for me than him. He would polish it all the time out in the driveway, but I remember feeling no little sense of indignity that he never actually rode it. Just showed it off. I pestered him to sell it to me for years. (He didn't.) Funny epilogue: It wasn't until much later that I learned (and bought one of my own that I still enjoy) that the Bianchi Sport SX that he had was A)not Italian and B)a pretty average bike for the time.

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    3. I want another Guerciotti like the one I wrecked way back then. Colnago's and Cinelli's are great, but I always preferred the best of the "Etceterini", the Somecs,Rauler's, genuine Pogliaghi's, Liotto's, the Wilier's and the best Olmo's, Benotto's and Ciocc. If you're going to be slow and struggling to hang on, at the very least do it on something interesting.

      I don't know Montello but for a while I thought just wanting a Montelatici was making me faster...

      Spindizzy

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    4. Oh, and another thing, Pinarello's are gouache and only ridden by gigolo's.

      Sorry, but someone was going to have to tell you...

      Spin

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    5. "If you're going to be slow and struggling to hang on, at the very least do it on something interesting."

      Words to live by.

      I prefer guache to other mediums, so sounds like Pinarello is the one.

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  5. A sickness with no cure. Hope you have a good size garage/shed.

    Nice looking build by the way.

    Good luck,
    John

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  6. Thanks for the hilarious and interesting post, some of which rings too true!

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  7. He likes them low and lean!

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    1. 520 x 540 (+ 110 stem)
      Fits him great.

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  8. That picture of the fork on the scale left me yearning to know how much it weighs; your point, exactly.

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    1. He-he-HEH!
      {rubs hands together}

      660 gr.

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    2. Completely aboard with most of the old bike obsessions. So many times I've been late getting off on a ride (or extended my time with the bike after the ride) polishing, cleaning, adjusting, tinkering.

      Yet for some reason I've never once felt even a slight compulsion to weigh any part of my bikes. Some sort of natural immunity I suppose.

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    3. I must have the same immunity.

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  9. Looks like you won a pie-eating contest! The first prize is a lifetime supply of pie. (Hope you like pie.)

    Seriously, I am in stitches here.

    I hope that bike has a fabulous ride. Did he cold set the frame? And what sort of mechanicals is he fitting?
    Honest-to-god tubulars, too?

    I bet you will find something gloriously cool for your own vintage ride at some point soon. Ever checked out a Witcomb or Hurlow? They guy who sold you your current water bottles thinks pretty highly of those. They made some pretty lugs, to boot.



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    1. Any Witcombs (remember this?) and other English lightweights that come on the radar tend to be huge things. But anyhow, I'd prefer Italian. Even sizing aside, the geometry works better for me (low BB and more toe clearance), making for a better fit.

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    2. Ah right, *that* Witcomb. Gad, the brain. It hiccups sometimes.

      Now that you know what you need as well as what you want, something tutto delizie is likely to appear.
      (I can't help but picture a vision in Gios blue.)

      I really need to study up on the finer points of geometry. So far I have been pretty lucky with my own fitting. Are you aware of any decent overview out there?


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    3. I definitely know what I need: fewer bikes!

      Sadly, I am not aware of any geo overview that I actually like, and don't think is heavily slanted toward any particular point of view.

      Somewhat related to this topic though, a reader has sent me a link to this RKP post you might find interesting:
      http://redkiteprayer.com/2016/01/anachronistic


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    4. What does low BB mean? I am in the wrong century and genuinely no longer have any notion at all what is denoted.
      I have just never personally seen an Italian bike with a low BB. If an antiquarian can point me to one that would be a very interesting bike.

      The old (quite old) standard that I know is a high bottom bracket is 11", as measured from the ground to the center of BB. That is as high as a track bike would ever need to be to for pedals to clear the banking. Many track bikes are lower. 11" is also high enough for CX. Higher than 11" has become more common very recently, the only given reason ever encountered is because mountain bikes.

      If 11" is the high end it makes little sense to call 10-3/4" low. The old (very old) standard I know is 10" for a low BB. I have owned lower. Given that they are not common anymore I could see calling 10-1/4 low.

      Those are my standards and I am sticking to them. Current usage, so far as can be determined, is Red Queen rules. If there is any current standard at all, one that I have somehow missed, I would wish to be corrected. I see the term "low BB" used many places, not just here, and have no idea what is being asserted.

      Italian bikes that lack toe clearance are very common.

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    5. I have owned a 30s Gloria, a 50s Legnano, and just a lot of 70s Italian bikes. The bike presented in the RKP post is an aberration. It is not in any way normal for 1970 Italian. Eddy experimented with all sorts of odd bikes, it is possible he owned that, he might even have raced that. No one would have bought that. A 40mm rake fork in 1970 would stick out like a sore thumb. Pairing that fork with a 72 head angle would just mean the whole pack runs into each other in the first corner.

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    6. I too was surprised by using an Eddy Merckx as a prototypical example of an Italian bike, and my own observations of the Italian bikes from that era don't entirely match the author's. But I think in general the post makes some very interesting points about the history and evolution of "race geometry."

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    7. To Anon 9:10 - Bottom bracket height is a fascinating topic for me that I really wish more was written about. My own understanding (acquired mostly from various bike builders and collectors) is that the range is 250mm to 300mm (which would be <10" to around 12") at the extreme ends. However, today you'd be hard pressed to find anything lower than 265mm, as anything below that is considered "unsafe."

      On the other hand, there are bikes about with 300mm heights and oftentimes they are "mistakes," which I think is quite funny. Frames designed for 26" wheels re-designed for 700C without changing the BB drop!

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    8. My first 'good' bike, a 1967 Falcon M90 (still very handbuilt with that model #), measured 9-7/8 BB height when shod with Clement 50s. I think those were roughly 28mm. That bike also came with 165 cranks on a 23-1/2 frame. No safety issue ever occurred and I've no idea who is thinking what suggesting there could be.

      Until Greg and the Bernards put us all on clipless we all used toeclips. Toeclips are an automatic BB height indicator. Low BB means the clips scrape pavement when walking the bike and the clips scrape whilst clipping in. Impossible not to notice, just as it is impossible not to notice TCO. It could be that smaller frames, or smaller Italian frames have lowish brackets and this taller guy just never noticed. It is no longer possible to convince a framebuilder to construct with a low BB. When there was a choice some of us loved the way a bike rode closer to the ground and most hated the clips scraping on the ground. And we all definitely knew what height we had. The only actual,problem I know of is the clip sometimes mashes shut, gets stuck against the rear plate of the pedal. Then you reach down and open it up.

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  10. It'll be interesting to see it complete. Especially curious about his choice of drivetrain….And are you keeping your mouth shut on all decisions?

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    1. I am asked for input all the time, so definitely not keeping my mouth shut. But the input is just that; he considers it along with other factors and utlimately decides for himself. Also, the input is often not "Oh I think you should do X versus Y," but rather "Well, this is what I think the benefit of X is, vs this is what I think the benefit of Y is... But you should look into it yourself; here are some links."

      For the components he decided to go modern, rather than period correct. But most of it is older stuff and bought used, to keep the build cost down. The drivetrain at the moment is Campagnolo Daytona 10-speed, c.2003, with the exception of Record headset, BB, cassette and front derailleur.

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    2. That is a great gruppo. I bought a Serotta Concours of that vintage w/Daytona, including hubs, and it has been reliable for years. Recently I sold the Serotta and transferred all over to a Cinelli Supercorsa. I just rode it Sunday in fact. The frame is a beautiful blue color that reminds me of my first "10 speed" in the early 70s - a Follis. The bike rides great though much heavier than the Serotta. But it's much prettier especially with the all silver Daytona group - and, based on an earlier review of yours, it's riding on a pair of Clement LGGs w/tan sidewalls.

      And now I'm looking for another project :)

      Doug

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  11. Be happy he is building them and riding them, not just hoarding them... ;-)

    bm

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  12. A good bike is one that is ridden. This one looks sexy, seductive, but that's not the ultimate test of love, we're so often fooled by lust. I'm wondering what category this bike will ultimately take in the life of the owner. Please post photos and stories of the rides to come.

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  13. You've created a monster!!!!!!

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  14. Just for comparison; a new complete Olmo (columbus tubing) costs 1800 euros. He can probably renovate several old bikes before he gets to that sum.

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    1. Not having checked out the prices of these things in a good few years, I was taken aback by how much sellers are asking for "pedigree" vintage bikes these days, even for frames that are nowhere near top of the range, and for frames in quite poor condition. Also, every savvy ebay seller now seems to include "Eroica bike!!" as part of the description, which I think is pretty funny. I mean, good for them and all, and I'm glad the appreciation for vintage bikes is growing. But I suspect what we're seeing is a "bubble" rather than a permanent trend.

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  15. I must admit it's so much easier watching folk from afar going mad over bicycles and feeling safe here at home. I've been there and done that…the virus spread throughout the house and even my kids suffered with mild versions. The moment I realized the extent of my affliction I cleaned house of all extra parts, extra bikes, and began focusing on getting shit done. It was like giving up drinking, I'm much more focused and happy. ;) Now I've one bike and one spare for guests when they visit.

    Just glancing at your blog I can see your husband went from no bikes to four road bikes in a short time. Oh dear!

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    1. Not quite. He had 2 bikes when I met him (a late '90s aluminum Claude Butler racing bike and another one I cannot now remember), but sold one and gave away the other somewhere down the line. So... ONLY TWO more bikes than he started with over 3 years. Now that's not too bad, is it? :)

      With bicycle collecting/tinkering, as with everything, my litmus test is: Does it enhance or diminish your quality of life? There is always that tipping point where the former gives way to the latter, and that's when it's time to rethink things.

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    2. Oh, sorry….I was thinking two Honey bikes plus a Raleigh and his new, sleek, Italian machine. Being obsessed, old vs. new, tinkering, I guess it's natural…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_488653075&feature=iv&index=1&list=PLUdAMlZtaV11kPMu0Sw6F5oaiICb-s6V_&src_vid=V4JAvQCp8ww&v=ZZbVsrYPOGE

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  16. "Some rare, special kind of bolt he frets about..."

    That is what bicycle mechanics do. Nothing is standard. Bikes have little excess, little redundancy. The bolt is found, or made, or the wheels fall off.

    To keep an expansive and constantly changing armada of Lovely Bicycles on the road many denizens of many bike caves have expended innumerable hours "fretting" over odd bolts. This is normally done silently. Now it is happening inside your home, where you can't not know about it. It is always this way.

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    1. Oh I know it. And appreciate it.

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  17. It could be worse, English bikes, or the inevitable bankruptcy
    of pursuing French stuff. Italian is the low cost malady.

    Scott G.

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  18. This is such a good story and reminds me of my venture into the completely unknown world of bicycle building just a couple of years ago. Fun stuff, and thank you for sharing the story.

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  19. Followed that link to RKP. Oh my goodness.

    After the motor pace accident at the end of the 1969 season Merckx commissioned very large numbers of custom frames with all sorts of geometries. He would try anything hoping to find a little pain relief. Many of those bikes were only used once and many of them were never used at all. This is a huge boon for collectors, any trying to discover typical Merckx geometry will not find it. He notoriously changed bikes in the middle of races, played with smaller wheels, constantly adjusted saddle, bar and stem while racing. He did that himself, at 50kph, the team mechanic did not do it from the car. After '69 he rode injured and he was all over the bike. There is no Merckx position or Merckx geometry to be found.

    Some of us have raced. Racing with 68mm of trail would be improbable. I can credit that Merckx could have done it once, the Italian cycle industry did not inflict that on us, they could not have sold us any bikes. The peloton never used that geometry. It would be like trying to race on DL-1s.

    American builders of the 70s did not use a standard geo. I would have thought that many reading the RKP article would know an American builder or three. They are emphatically individuals, not robots. The idea they all worked to a standard within 0.5 degrees and 5mm should make any reader more than a little skeptical.

    That kind of Internet article does no one any good. If you want to learn something the first authority is the bikes themselves. You may not have a Merckx survivor within arms reach but there are abundant 70s Bianchis, Colnagos, Bottechias, Fiorellis to measure up. Or look at period race photos. Or talk to someone who was alive and riding in the 1970s. We are quite available.

    As for the Pinarello interest in progress across the thread. The most classic Pin would be an '84 Treviso with original Arco paint job. To my knowledge every one of them was raced, getting original paint in decent condition would be a great find. Montellos were later, when production was higher.

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    1. As I replied somewhere above, I think the article makes some good general points about the evolution of regional bicycle geometry and its "cross-contamination," for lack of a better term. As well as about how some (many?) bicycle manufacturers "design" their bikes - i.e. by passively using pre-existing designs from factories they are subcontracting. My own discovery of this practice some years ago came as a shock, but that is a topic for another time.

      As far as the problematics of using Eddy Merckx's bikes as examples of Italian geo, I agree with you. I also agree that the best way to get a sense of trends in geometry from a particular region and era is to look at bikes from that region and era. In the Italian bikes I have come across over the years (most of which have been smallish), I have noticed some similarities, only some of which match what is described in the RKP article. For what it's worth, my own observations of "Italian geo" include:
      . low BB (80mm drop seems typical)
      . long and low frame dimensions (i.e. ST a bit shorter than TT)
      . short chainstays (<410)
      . roomy front-center, proportionally to frame size
      . variability in ST and HT angles
      . variabilty in fork rake

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    2. My two current fast bikes to ride are a 1958 Rivetts and a 1950 Bates. Both have front end geometry within a hair of what gets described as 70s American custom builder. They do have longer chainstays. I used to own a1938 Gloria La Garibaldina Extra that was 'modern' geometry in every respect. The 1935 Emil Wastyn loaned to me for the summer of '67 is not available to be measured up, I remember it as being no different than what the racers were using. Even then I would have known if it didn't handle well. It definitely did handle well.

      What works is well known and has been well known a very long time. Bikes get built differently for a host of petty reasons, a few of which you identify correctly. The list is very long.

      One thing you might be aware of as you peruse the history of cycling and cycling. A woman 5'7" would not have been sized for a 52cm frame in the 60s 70s or 80s. With less certainty I don't think that sizing would occur in the 40s or 50s either. In the 20s and 30s smaller frames were used, this commenter doesn't really know why. The current sizing model comes from MTB. Even in the early 90s you would likely be put on a 54cm frame, in the 60s a 55cm would be probable. Using vintage frames with a lot of post showing looks wrong, in extreme cases it puts stresses on the frame that should not be allowed to happen. The other half of this household is 5'4", her 'new' bike is 1967 English at 21" or 53.3cm. When we got it I worried it would be too large, it was a strong bike in every other respect and the price was right. Not only is it a period-correct fit, it turns out to be the best fitting bike she's ever had. In a long career of riding.

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  20. Great article. Do we call you Dr Frankenstein?

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  21. You do know there are no rules to this bike thing, right? Nothing says one cannot wear street clothes on their road bike in order to run an errand or two. I'm laughing because my son tells me that pedals are the easiest thing in the world to change out on his road bike and he uses it for whatever he pleases -- but he did find a nice set which offers both options ;) -- Which is to say it's always fun to watch others make choices with regard to whatever project they want to do. Best.

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    1. When it rains, or the roads are messy, said One does not like to get his clothes dirty - which, on a fenderless bike, they will do. Therefore, when it rained, or the roads were messy (which is much of the time around these parts!), he "had no bike" to go to the shops on. A condition I wanted to fix.

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  22. Fortunately, I rarely see an Italian frame in my size (62cm) on ebay so I'm not usually tempted. However, after seeing a Mercian in my wife's size on ebay, I couldn't help myself.

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    1. Just saw a very nice Casati on eBay in that size :)

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    2. Oooh. Be still, my heart.

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  23. Lovely that you have a shared interest and now a budding bike builder - your bike fleet can only continue to grow :)

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  24. He's a clever fella to build a bike like that - and that is a very handsome bike. :)

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  25. I think he's acting out….With two Honey bikes and your vintage contribution he's clearly seeking his own territory. Godspeed.

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    1. Oh, there is probably an element of that! Although really I think he just got fed up watching me play a game by myself that he thought he too might enjoy.

      It's nice, this whole thing. I had not obsessed over Italian bikes for a while, and now I find myself researching them again, seeing them from a new, somewhat more educated, perspective. Feels good to be steered by someone else's taste and interest. It's all a collaborative cycle of influence anyway.

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  26. Bicycle Madness hmmm .. might explain why my balcony is filling up with a bike boom era 10 speeds. The project queue needs some serious attention. Nice post and lovely Italian frame-set/build. I once found and purchased a 70's Atala that I really wanted to work but alas it was too big. ... good luck to the newly infected and chapeau on a not needing a specific tool to set the fork crown race- I would have nicked that up for sure.

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  27. By "And it came rather out of the blue" did you purposefully intend for the statement to point to the blue-ish Rapide? Well played.

    And bicycle madness ... yes, I must have it as well. Ever since that old Raleigh Sports gave me the bug. There is no sign of it slowing down, nor is there a cure at the moment, but that's all the better. Now, aside from the bikes that are useful to me, I have a few "redundancies" so to say, and months ago I tried to get rid of them but later came to terms with the fact that having a hobby means having too much of something.

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  28. Apropos of my upthread comment, I was thinking of something like this bike from Ray Dobbin's site.
    Gios Super Record

    Would look great next to Himself's red rocket.

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