Saturday, April 4, 2015

1983 PUCH ULTIMA or IN PRAISE OF THE MIXED GRUPPO

Well after nearly three years of on and off
negations I finally came to an agreement with the
owner of this very nice "83 Puch Ultima, and so
much to my pleasure I am now the proud owner of
one of Austria's finest.
The Puch as it arrived, in great original condition, 
just in need of a new wheel set, a tidy, and a good service, 
which I got straight into.
After a day of cleaning and servicing the Puch ready for
it's debut ride.
All I have changed is the stem (120mm), brake hoods
unfortunately the original Modolo anatomical hood were
perished.Some new toes straps, and a set of 28 hole 
Zeus/Mavic tub wheels.
On a short 50km test ride, wonderful.....

Everything on this bike seemed to just work so well together, 
which got me to thinking about the traditional mixed group set.
which have really become quite a rare sight.
Even restorers of classic road bikes (myself included!)
tend to build up their latest obsession with a single classic
gruppo in mind.
However in New Zealand at least, many road men would,
after buying their selected frameset, carefully select components
from various manufactures. Obviously taking into account
performance, price and their wallet. 
One of the reasons I was so interested in this bike, was it's
great mix of components.Cinelli stem and bars, Campagnolo
headset..classic combo.
I changed the original Cinelli for this longer one.
Modolo Equipe' brake set.
Campagnolo Pat. 83 Super Record
rear derailleur.
Suntour Winner freewheel.
Notice the chrome drop outs...nice.
 Campagnolo chainset/pedal set.
Omega bottom bracket.
Shimano Dura Ace front derailleur, black anodized to 
match the super record rear derailleur.
Simplex friction shifter, some say the best shifting
friction shifter made, I wouldn't argue.
Very pretty chrome fork crown and sharp white lug lining.
Neat cluster, Campagnolo SR seat pin.
Bernard Hinault/Turbo saddle, comfy. 

So all in all an extremely well thought out overall package,
that really does ride as good as it looks, and you defiantly 
can't say that about every bike.
Whomever originally put this together must have really known 
their stuff...a keeper for sure.

BTW if Puch and/or Austro Daimler are your thing there is
a really good history of the company and their bikes
here.



Monday, March 16, 2015

Persuit Japanese road bike

Here is a mystery 1970's (maybe early 80's) Japanese (?)
road bike I have just picked up.
I just couldn't help myself, I mean I definitely don't
need another bike, and certainly not a mid range 70's one...
But there was something about this one that I really liked,
maybe it was the unusual chromed head tube...
...and the super clean brazing on the lugs, that don't
look dissimilar to the ones on my 80's Colnago Mexico.

Or maybe it was that it is made of Tange 2, which is
kind of cool, in it's own sort of way...if you know what
I mean, or maybe you have to be a sad bike geek like me
to get that one?
Than again maybe it was because it had a reasonably 
sweet mixed group set, Suntour Cyclone derailleurs, 
Sugino crank set, with drilled chainrings (always nice), 
SKS black cage pedals, Dia Compe brakes,
with early drilled levers (always nice as well)...


The frame decals hung together pretty good too.
I even like the way it is Persuit, not Pursuit....

The only thing I will change is the wheelset, add some guards
and have myself a respectable winter/wet day ride.

Oh yeh.. it was real cheap too, which I also quite liked!
 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

1970's(?) MASI TRACK BIKE

I am pretty excited about having just picking up this 
 early/mid seventies(?) Masi track bike.
I have been spending a bit of time on Bob Hovey's
excellent Masi site so am pretty sure I have got
the date approximately in the ball park.
All the information below was gleaned from
Bob's site, so check it out if Masi's are
your bag.

Bike is about to undergo full restoration.

Super tight clearance, maybe a pursuit frame?
I love that window cut out on the fork crown.
 The fluted seat stays where apparently made by relieving
the angle cut end with a curved file, and then brazing in
a piece of tube.
Long seat tube tang one of Faliero Masi's trade marks.

As is the filled seat lug ears.
Head badge obviously needs repaint, I am quite 
looking forward to this, the last one I did on the 
Cinelli came out pretty nice I thought.
I can already feel the ghosts of cycling lore
swirling around this frame, so am looking forward to 
making them happy by lovingly restoring this wonderful
frame set back to it's original glory.

Friday, November 21, 2014

SHORTER TT ROAD TEST

Just got back from taking the Shorter on it's 
second maiden voyage, I guess that's why I have my
happy face on.
Of course I had to change the straight cut TT block that
I had on in the original photos, although I did try it out,
and yes they did cause a high degree of discomfort into
even a moderate headwind, this wasn't helped by the 
Cinelli Unicanitor saddle, which is no Brooks professional.
Check out our bookshop blog.


Prognosis; Well all I can say is that the men who built
this frame set knew exactly what they where doing, it feels like
it is only meant to go fast, and preferably in a straight line.
It feels quite fragile, unusually light, and very purposeful.
One thing I did notice, is that the drilled brake levers, although,
not actually serving any real purpose in terms of weight saving,
did add a good amount of morale to the ride, just looking
down at them instantly reminds you why you are aboard this
slightly uncomfortable and twitchy machine...  
pedal hard until your legs feel like lead, 
and your lungs are about to burst.
 A view from the cockpit.

So all and all not a Sunday cruiser, that's for sure.
 One to take out after spending the evening reading 
old English cycling magazines,  preferably some 70's ones,
and getting all enthused about the classic Brit TT scene.
Or is that just me....
 On my favorite 40km circuit, with more
reasonable freewheel for a man of my modest abilities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

8.6 KG SHORTER TT BIKE

I have just finished building up a very sweet 1970's
Alf Engers Shorter TT replica.
 This is of course the Shorter that
built Alf (King) Engers 25 mile TT bike's throughout 
  most of his time trial career.
King Alf was the first RTTC member to go under the 50 minute 
mark for the 25 mile (40 km) TT  when he did a 49m 24s 
ride in 1978, averaging over 49 kph.

Alf was one of the early English riders to start drilling 
and milling components to reduce weight,
insist on super super short wheelbase frames,
 and super big chainrings,
all of which Alan Shorter was happy to supply.
Alf's drilled and milled Shorter.
Alf had a really interesting and some times explosive career, 
he was always at war with the officials of the RTTC.
 Definitely well worth following up and reading about
if you don't already know about his Cycling career. 
There is a good contemporary interview with Alf here

The 8.6 Kg Alf Engers Shorter replica.

Ever since I picked up an old set of drilled and chopped 
universal brake calipers I have wanted to put together a 
replica of Alf's pink Shorter TT bike, so was really pleased
to find this one here in New Zealand.
Apart from the headset,and bars, everything else
on the frame was binned or relegated to the parts bin.
But the frame...well the frame was everything I had been
looking for in a 1970's style English TT frame.
Super short wheel base
Shot in seat stays
Drilled lugs and drop outs (short Campagnolo)
 And this very cool lightened  B/B shell.

I stripped the paint off the frame, and repaired a few
minor dents.

Had my local auto paint shop mix me up
a special brew of Shorter (Mercier) pink pearl in base coat
and the next thing you know...
...you have one of the coolest bikes to ever roll on two wheels.

 To be honest I haven't even ridden this one yet,
which is strange for me, as that is usually the first thing
I do when I have finished a build, but this time I am just enjoying
having it sitting in the workshop at the moment.

The original drilled and chopped universal calipers that started
my sad obsession with English TT bikes.

 Huret Jubilee-SR Royal and Campagnolo SR pedals
To me this drilled bike gear is like twin four barrel Holleys
on a 426 Hemi, pure Hot Rod.
Well maybe not quite the same, but you know the vibe
is pretty similar.
Weinmann levers and 400/500 calipers where
default choice of many TT riders, I don't  think
they stop you all that well, but are featherweight...
Campagnolo H/F hubs, Super Champion arc en ciel rims.
28 tied soldered front, 32 rear.

Check out those cool white Panasonic tubs, I got them from
The tracksupermarket in Japan, and they only took 3 days to
get here!...thanks guys.

 Sure is pretty.
I was surprised when I weighed the finished bike,
  ready to ride, it was only 8.6 kg's Alan Shorter
would have been proud.
My homage to Alan Shorter and Alf Engers.