Love the One You’re With

Whenever I ride my 1980’s Guerciotti I am amazed at its performance.  It is more responsive and faster than any of my other bikes, some of which are no slouches in the performance department.  The only reason I don’t ride this bike more often is that 650c tire sizes are limited to fairly narrow widths, and given its racing heritage, it can’t (and doesn’t want to) haul a bunch of stuff.

The frame is built with Columbus Aelle tubing.  The seat stays are small diameter, and the fork crown and seat cluster feature beautiful engravings accented with white paint against the royal blue main color.

I used Paul’s thumbies to bring the shifters up to the bar.  The Tektro long reach brakes worked perfectly for this wheel size conversion (from 700c to 650c).

The frame had no eyelets or braze-ons for racks and fenders.  So, I used zip ties to secure the fenders at the rear and p-clamps for the front fenders and front rack.

In keeping with its Italian heritage, I used a Campagnolo crankset, bottom bracket, and headset when building up the bike.  The crankset’s arms are 170mm, and if I were to replace the crankset I would choose one with shorter arms as to address the low bottom bracket height after the conversion to 650c.

After 5 years of use, all these modifications are still working perfectly – it is a delight to ride and handles beautifully.

 

1970’s Austro Daimler Inter 10

1970's Austro Daimler Inter 10

Here is a late 70’s Austro Daimler Inter 10.  It is built with Reynolds 531 butted tubing and has an unusually nice mix of quality components.  I have overhauled and restored it in my usual way, which involves removing all components for cleaning and mechanical overhaul, cleaning and waxing the frame, treating the frame internals for rust, then putting the bike back together with new: cables, housing (if needed), tubes and tires and of course a rebuild of hubs, bottom bracket, and headset.  With its high quality frame and excellent overall condition, this is a bike to keep as original as possible.

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Campagnolo Nuovo Record Long Cage Derailleur

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Campagnolo Front Derailleur

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Top end Red Label Normandy Lux Competition Hubs

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Stronglight crankset with 42/52 rings – showing no wear

Not all Austro Daimler Inter 10’s were made with Reynolds 531 tubing, but they were mostly set up with components for light touring and sport riding.  This Inter 10 also has higher end components normally found on the upper level models such as the Super Light and the Vent Noir.

The drive train is geared for touring, with a 14/34 freewheel mated to a 42/52 crankset.  With this wheel size, the yields a gear inch range of 33-100.  That’s a pretty good range conducive for all types of riding.

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Rare and beautiful GB Maes bars in fantastic shape.

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Atom 600 pedals

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Weinmann 605 Sidepulls with quirky Mathauser finned brake shoes

 

Maillard 14-34 5 speed freewheel

Maillard 14-34 5 speed freewheel

I encountered just about every marquis existing in the bike world in the 70’s on this bike:  Reynolds, Campagnolo, Weinmann, Normandy, Maillard, SR, Atom, Simplex (the seatpost bolt!), GB, Shimano (forged chrome drop-outs), Stronglight, and Huret.  To clean the component mix up, I replaced the Huret downtube shifters with Campagnolo shifters from the same era.  I also replaced the Weinmann levers, which were in bad shape, with these Campagnolo levers also from the same era:

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Campagnolo downtube shifters

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Campagnolo levers – this style first introduced in 1976

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Campagnolo shifter cable guides

I also had a nostalgia moment when I removed these “extras” from the bike – an odometer, tire savers, and flick-stand.  These were de rigueur back in the day.  The flick stand is actually a very useful device that I will probably use for one of my bikes.  The Huret odometer shows less than 1600 miles on the clock – that seems about right given the nice condition the bike was in.

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All of the Austro Daimler’s I have encountered have been surprisingly nice.  The company had a lengthy and complex relationship to bicycle manufacturing.  If you want to know things you never dreamed of wanting to know about the company, here is an amazing manifesto on the subject.

This frame is built with Reynolds tubing. The sticker is missing on the seat tube, but still present on the fork.  This bike’s top tube is 57 cm, even though the seat tube is 53 cm.  Apparently, Austro Daimler just used the same top tube length for most of its bikes, regardless of seat tube length.  Fortunately, when the bike was built up, a short reach and tall SR stem was chosen, so the ergonomics on this bike still fit like a typical 53 cm bike.  The bike has an unusual seat post – a “G.S.” San Marco, which is actually very attractive and has the diameter inscribed in a helpful location.

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The build quality of the frame is extraordinarily nice, with Shimano forged drop outs, lined lugs, a chrome fork crown, and top quality finish work on the seat lug.  There are no braze-ons of any kind, but the clamp-on Campagnolo and Weinmann guides are very attractive.

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This is another great example of a quality touring/sport-touring bike from the late 70’s.  Although a production build, the bike has survived quite well and has many miles left to go.

Update October, 2016:  Sold!  Congratulations to Bob in Pennsylvania.

Extreme Bike Makeover: 1980’s Guerciotti

rando conversion

I’ve been riding this 1980’s Guerciotti for several years now.  When I first purchased it, as a frame and fork, I converted it to 650c, and turned it in to a city commuter, as shown in the photo below:

When my Nitto city bars were recalled, and the promised replacement bar never arrived, I decided to convert it back to a regular road bike, emphasizing its slightly garish 1980’s color scheme:

1980's Guerciotti

I really enjoy riding this bike – it is fast and a great hill climber.  My theory about its superior performance is that its small diameter seat stays and the short wheelbase make it fly up hills.  I won’t say whether the bike “planes” as I am not convinced of this theory, although I do find it interesting.  Whatever the case, I can ride this bike over hill and dale and not tire out the way I do on my other bikes.  Converting it to 650c made the handling a little more responsive, with more stability a lower speeds due to the lower trail.  It also lowered the bottom bracket which theoretically stabilizes it on descents.  One problem, though was that the bike was built for racing and so it lacks fender and rack mounts.  I was using clip-on fenders, but those really aren’t adequate for riding through Portland’s winter rains.  So, I decided to try installing full coverage fenders, and to take advantage of its relatively low trail by mounting a front rack so that I could use a rando bag.

fender mounts fender zip tie

In order to mount fenders to a frame with no eyelets, p-clamps normally work pretty well.  The fork was fairly slender at the base but I shimmed the clamps and got them to hold.  The rear mounts were more difficult.  The seat stays on this bike are very small diameter, and even with a shim, the p-clamp could not grip the stay.  Instead, I used 3 zip ties and mounted them to the hole in the Gipiemme dropouts,  with one of the ties serving as a block to the open loop of the stays.

Planet Bike fenders

I like these Planet Bike Cascadia fenders.  They have dual stays front and rear which makes for 4 mounting points at the rear and 3 in the front.  Plus, they have nice long mud-flaps which really help keep your feet, drive train, and other riders drafting behind you dry.  Because this bike uses recessed brake nuts, I needed to find a way to mount the fenders to the brake bridge and fork crown.  On the front, I simply mounted the fender in front of the fork crown, but for the rear I needed Sheldon Brown’s “fender nuts“.  I didn’t want to wait around for a shipment, so I made my own by tapping 6 x 1 mm threads into the 5 mm nut head.  I didn’t tap too far down, and used a short bolt, so that I wouldn’t compromise the allen head at the base of the inside of the nut.

made by Wilken inspired by Sheldonfender spacer

Then I needed a pretty big spacer at the chain stays to make the fender line right (the fenders were designed for 700c wheels) and also to allow enough room for the front derailleur to move freely.  This set-up is a bit “spring loaded” with pressure from the rear fender going toward the seat tube.  If it starts to rattle, I’ll try something else.  The chain stay bridge was not drilled so I fashioned a hook to insert from underneath the frame.

Mounting the Nitto front rack was a breeze.  It is fully adjustable and should fit just about any kind of front end.  Good job, Nitto.

cloth bar tapebar end lights

For the rest of the build, I re-taped the bars with more conservative black tape, using the traditional method of starting at the stem and working toward the bar-ends.  In this way, there’s no ugly electrician’s tape, but you need solid bar end plugs to make it work well.  I have these nifty bar end lights, and although they don’t put out a ton of light, they definitely help others see me while riding at night.  Of course I use a head and tail light as well.

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I swapped out the white Tektro long reach brakes (Model R556) for some silver ones, but kept the rest of the build the same, including the Campagnolo Record head-set, bottom bracket, and Centaur crankset.  I am using Shimano shifters and derailleurs in friction mode and this bike shifts quicker and more silently than any other bike I own.

700c to 650c conversion

I am pleased with the bike’s new look and new utility.  Being able to use a front bag (Velo-Orange model shown above) will be really nice.  And commuting through the winter on this bike will be much more enjoyable with the full coverage fenders.