Friday, February 19, 2021

Mitchell Madness part 2

Here are another two Mitchell's I built up along
side the Mitchell featured here.
These two bikes are for sale here, as I keep on telling
myself  'you can't keep them all', no seriously these
two were always meant to be for sale, believe me I
have more than enough Mitchell's for myself.
Though that being, said I am still always looking
for frames with known race history (any size)
or Mitchell's built with Columbus or
Reynolds in 56/57cm..let me know.

The first is a nice Mitchell Professional track bike
(frame No 396), which of course has undergone a
full ground up restoration.

This blue must have been pretty popular,
I am sure that at least half of the Mitchell's I
have ever seen are this blue, which is not a
bad thing, it looks rather striking.

Zeus Pista crank set with Zeus 48t ring
Zeus Pista bottom bracket set
Nice Kyokuto Pro Race pedals

I haven't been able to find any period photos of
Mitchell track bikes in action, if anyone out there
has one or two, please let me know.

Tight, but not to tight.
Zeus Gran sport head set.
You can clearly make out the clear
vinyl wrap of the 'professional' decal


3ttt Record Stem with Ambrosio -Champion- bars

View from the cockpit with Cinelli saddle.

Classic Mitchell/Ishiwata lug detail

Zeus Criterium seat post

Maillard track hubs laced to Fiamme 32/40 rims
World champ colours painted into the flange slots

Mitchell frame sets were sold through many cycle shops
around the country, Laurie Coats Speedwell Cycles
in Auckland being one.

A damn fine looking machine from any angle.

Next is a quite rare Mitchell Professional road bike
built with Columbus SL which is actually what I am
after for myself, ( I already have a couple of Ishiwata bikes)
but this one is just a touch to small for me...damn.

I built it up with a mix of first generation and second 7100
(or DA-100) it get confusing!) Dura Ace components,
I have done a couple of hundred km's on it, and have got to
say, this Dura Ace gear is very easy to get used too.

The very pretty, very light and smooth operating
Dura Ace 7100 rear derailleur, which had by all
    accounts taken the best from Campagnolo and
Suntour and rolled them into this..

The whole drive train works very nicely, is very
easy to set up and looks great too.

The classic 3ttt Bar/Stem combination.

You will have to excuse the brake hoods, I had a couple of
NOS Shimano sets coming in from Europe,
but they never made here, which seems to be a bit of a
thing with these current Covid disruptions.

Benotto bar favorite, except when I get
the motivation and it is the right bike to stich on some
leather wrap, which is unbeatable.

The new Mitchell 'Gerber' decals looking the part
as does a Columbus SL decal on a Mitchell frame.
Now I just need to find one in 56/57cm...
Frame number 745, these frame numbers are quite small
and always seen to be stamped at the centre/rear of the
bottom bracket shell.

Just one more view of that drive train, the more I
use it the more I like it.

As I mentioned these two are for sale, I don't usually like
to put bikes for sale on this blog, but I did want to display
a couple more Mitchell's from the project, so you will have
to forgive me for my crass commercialism.


Mitichell Maddness

I have finally finished the first part of my Mitchell restoration
project..what a mission!

As some of you may know I have been a Mitchell fan for
quite a while, these New Zealand built race bikes are
one  of the real local classics of the late seventies and
early  eighties. A classic that has a race history and
pedigree in New Zealand which is hard to match.

Stephen Carton riding his Columbus SL Mitchell
victory in the 1982 Dulux Tour.
He looks to be running a full Shimano AX Dura Ace Group set


Firstly if you are not into some serious bike restoration
then you might want to skip this bit.
Anyway let’s step back. The most important part of
the project was to recreate the decals as faithfully as I
to the originals; the decals on the bikes I have
collected over the
years had decals that were obviously
printed on a Gerber printer.

These very early sort of half digital and half analogue
machines used a cassette for very colour
you wanted printed, very time consuming!


Gerber colour cassette, showing a print that has been
transferred to the vinyl medium 

The great thing about these machines is that they could
print onto
chrome foil and also print fairly opaquely
onto clear vinyl.
The finished print also has a quite
distinctive look, which I very much
wanted to
replicate. I also wanted the "Mitchell" and
"Professional" to be on clear
vinyl which wraps
around the top down and top tubes respectively.

And lastly I really wanted that
really wrong green on the world champ


The very distinctive Gerber printed Worlds band with 'that'
on an original Mitchell, it's a bit hard to see here,
but the Mitchell text is printed onto clear and
wrapped around the tube.

Now as it turns out I got myself an old Gerber from a print shop
outside Wellington with a lot of cassettes to do just such a job.
I was told that this machine printed some Mitchell decals,
However Kevin Filer who owner of Mitchell Cycles 1973-82
and was the driving force behind the creation of the Mitchell
racing bike, told me that he had the original decals made in
New Plymouth. Kevin also told me that the
sequential numbering (starting from 100) went to the early
300's when he sold Mitchell in 1982.
The funny thing is I have about nine Mitchell's and all bar
one are numbered between 400-700, obviously I will have
to do some more research into this, and am hoping that
the actual frame builder
Mark McLean might be able to
shed some light on this when
I talk to him. 


Mitchell Frame number 745 centre rear B/B shell

Anyway, luckily among the colour cassettes I did have
the very green I was looking for.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to get my Gerber
running, so I tracked down a local sign writer who still
had his (though rather unused) Geber and
commissioned him
to print the decals on his machine
with my cassettes.
The results I think were pretty good;
I mean they should have
been, as I did supply very exact
artwork files that had taken quite
a while to get right,
except the 'professional' font which I will amend
I print my own on the next here we go.


Just picked up from the sign writers..pretty pleased.

I also got Ishiwata 022 frame decals made...not bad
but will need a bit more work next time.

Decals covered with ap tape and cut ready to apply

The other thing I did, which I know is not period correct,

but I am sure they would have made them if they thought
about it..
Mitchell toe straps.


Screen inked up and ready for action


Toe strap on the print board and freshly printed

Nice little set of colour ways to suit various paint jobs

My first Mitchell (Frame No 691) restoration was this
Road bike which I built up for myself as
a replacement for the
Mitchell I crashed badly
a while back.

It runs a complete Japanese group set including
Dura Ace
Black anodized drive train. The group I
used is probably a generation earlier than I should
have used, but hey it was black and the bike is
white...what ya gonna do?
A very unusual and seemingly quite rare Sakae SR
stem..if it's got factory drilled holes, I am there.
Top tube 'Professional' clear wrap looking good, text is
very slightly different, I will correct this at some point.
The drilled lugs picked out in a contrasting colour is a bit
of a Mitchell signature (in NZ),and not a bad starting point 
to identifing a Isiwata built Mitchell

Early SR Custom logo handle Bars, nice bend, and
look pretty cool as well.
Dura Ace crank set with classic Sugino B/B set
The Dura Ace front derailleur is a particularly
nicely finished component

Mitchell Cycles ad Southern Cyclist May 1982
"as used by NZ's Leading road cyclist"
wonder who that was.......

..Stephen Cox on his 'sponsored' Mitchell with full Suntour Superbe
groupset circa 1981. Photo from the cover of the 1982 Dulux
Seven Day Cycle Race programme.
The only pair of black SR pedals I had were a bit worse
for wear, so did a bit of a make over..., sanding, masking and then
etch priming/top/satin clear coats....
..and you finish up with a reasonable looking pedal set.
Mitchell toe straps don't look out of place either.
 International Cycle Sport Nov 1973

The 'Crane' Dura Ace rear derailleur, I find the action very
direct and positive, not a bad effort for Shimano's first
high end racing derailleur.

Nice cockpit, I know a lot of people don't seem to
like the Benotto celo bar wrap, personally I
really like using it, and it cleans so easy!

OK, bit of a side track here...this Dulux race photo doesn't
anything to do with Mitchell, but it does have an
interesting bike.
On the left the rider is riding a Danglo
labeled bike, which I am
pretty sure were frames branded
by the (then) NZ based Australian
rider David Gee..
would be interesting to find out a bit more about

this, by pure chance I actually have a full decal Danglo set. 
If anyone can shed some light on this...

The Shimano anodized black components seem to me, a
lot 'blacker' than most anodized gear, they have almost
a painted quality about them, or maybe that's just me?

Mitchell text on clear vinyl full tube wrap,
and silver foil printed World Champ band, they
came out pretty damn good if I may say so myself.

Andrew Whitford gets a push back into the fray by
Dulux race mechanic John Sutherland,  1982. 
Whitfords Mitchell looks to be running Campagnolo.
Seat tube decals look pretty bang on too, and even the
Ishiwata frame decal doesn't look to bad.
Dura Ace calipers with period Scott Mathauser finned
brake pads, which actually do work really well.
International Cycle Sport may 1975
After riding this for a few hundred km's, I can't fault 
the drive train at all, maybe just a wee bit clunky, but that is 
probably more of a reflection of the derailleur technology
of the period than anything else.
This is some of the type of racing Mitchell frames were
designed to handle, and by all accounts they fulfilled their
 role with ease.
I have heard that Stephen Cox regards his Mitchell as
one of the finest machines he raced on...
you can't ask for a better endorsement than that.
NOS Barum Kriterium tubulars ride great.
So there you have it, the end result of  a hell
of a lot of time/research and work and a lot of
frigging around for one reason or another, and
at the end I have (I hope) recreated a pretty
authentic example of one of New Zealand's
great racing bicycles.
I can say that it was well worth all the effort,
I have been riding this one and the Black one 
which I will do a post on next, a lot. They both
ride and handle as well as any high end 
bike I have ridden, with the difference being
that this bike has it's own unique place in
New Zealand's racing heritage which I often
like to think about when I am out on the 
road, riding..especially on the saddle of a NZ
made racing frame..Mitchell,Comet, Leader,
Bosomworth,Jones they are all just a little bit
more interesting and special to me, but then
they would be ......I am biased after all!