Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bici d'Epoca - SCAPIN part 2

Larry's vintage SCAPIN is ready-to-go. You can read Part 1 by clicking HERE.

Some of the parts that came with this "Frankenbike" (via ebay) were re-used, including the headset, hubs and brakes. The rest of the stuff was sold-off and replaced.

Above you can see the NOS ITM bar/stem complete with factory installed leather wrapping. Larry always drooled over these and found one at a screamin' deal price, probably because the stem was long at 12 cm while the bars were narrow at just 40 cm. Larry's ridden with 40 cm bars and likes them just fine so these were a no-brainer for this project. The brake hoods are reproductions of the original (and fragile) gum hoods.

Hubs are from MICHE who, as you can see did a good job copying the venerable Campagnolo Nuovo Record hubs from the period. Rumor has it the cones and other parts are interchangeable, but these were good enough to rebuild, polish up and lace into some brand new Mavic Elite clincher rims covered with RUFFY-TUFFY tires. These ride well and let us bounce off most of the rocks on the unpaved roads.  We're big on making these things reliable and serviceable so no tubulars or dodgy rims/spokes. We see plenty of failures at the bici d'epoca events we enjoy. The chrome on the fork has some scratches but was in good enough shape to save. Same for the rear triangle.

Above you can see Larry's favorite downtube shift levers though these are branded "SPIDEL" but they're the same as the Simplex (and later, Mavic) branded ones. We want the bike to stay in gear up that steep hill! Someone modified the steerer tube on this bike, welding in a new section in the middle to get the bars up higher. The job looks secure enough that we'll try it out. Our friend "Chairman Bill" from Bikeraceinfo supplied an old set of GALLI (remember those?) pedals complete with red straps that just looked right.

Drivetrains are where we're happy to deviate from OEM or period-correct. These bikes are meant to to be ridden rather than admired in museums and we don't much enjoy pushing them up steep hills, so a vintage Campagnolo triple crankset and BB get the nod. The front derailleur's a modern IRD "triple" braze-on model as it lined up better with the bike's brazed-on mount. It's all polished alloy or chromed so it looks the part, no?

Seat post is a SR-Laprade replica with Larry's favorite flutes. He can't resist painting these in with a tricolore scheme. The rest of the pantographed details on this bike were kindly painted in contrasting white by our friends at The Color Factory, who also did a great job masking and preserving the chrome - GRAZIE! Saddle is a SMP done up in a vintage color to sort of match the handlebar covering.

There's a svelte quality to vintage steel bikes that's just not there with today's oversized, sculpted carbon-fiber machines. It's kind of odd that so much is made these days about "aero" with bikes made from blocky sections that aren't really even tubes. Certainly the exposed brake cables create some aero drag, but I wonder what the real drag numbers would be compared to modern bicycles?

Larry REALLY likes the seatstay treatment on this bike. He was happy The Color Factory guys liked it enough to put the effort into masking it just-right before painting.

There's an IRD seven-speed, thread-on freewheel out back, complete with 28 teeth on the big cog! Coming or going, this bike just looks RIGHT! It'll be ridden at EROICA CA in April and then it'll be FOR-SALE. 
50 cm X 52 cm (c to c) are the measurements in case you're interested!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Eye candy - another in a continuing series

Some things are just classics, no?

These are photos of our friend's MONDONICO Ultra-FOCO. Steve Fellini was measured personally by Antonio Mondonico in Italy in 2003 during a CycleItalia tour*

Since that time this bike has made a trip or three across the Atlantic to be ridden in Italy during our tours, but since around 2010 it's been in the USA. It's been shipped out to us a time or two for overhauls or rebuilds, but Fellini decided it was time for a repaint and...

...a more classic look. He chose to go back to a triple crankset in addition to the classic Cinelli bar and quill stem. While we understand the appeal of the threadless setups, they have NOTHING on this when it comes to aesthetics. Larry jokes threadless looks more like plumbing than cycling!

Antonio Mondonico disliked most of the lugs designed for this tubeset so he chose to fillet-braze the headtube area as well as the seatstay cluster. His autograph on the toptube is a nice touch provided by the painter, CYCLESMITHS who also painted (actually, repainted, since the original, Italian paint job was damaged in shipping) this bike back in 2003.

CYCLESMITHS also added Fellini's name on the other side. The steel fork was chromed and threaded for the classic headset and quill stem.

The polished alloy parts just look right on this bike. Perhaps Fellini will find a pair of vintage 10-speed Ergopower levers with polished alloy blades some day to complete the look? The carbon looks a little out-of-place but Larry has a similar set on one of his bikes because they work just fine and 10-speed polished Ergopower levers from the higher-end Campagnolo groupsets are rather expensive these days... if you can find 'em.

A vintage Campagnolo polished titanium seatpost looks just right. This was installed with the original components back in 2003.

Same for the silver wheel rims. Of course a shiny set of vintage Shamals would look great too, but these old Mavic Opens ride so much better!!!

Fellini should have his bike back in a week or so.

*While Antonio Mondonico has retired, we're working on a way to offer Piedmont Cycling Resort (and guided tour guests if you come early or stay later) a chance to visit the workshops of other Italian frame-builders. Maybe you'd like a made-to-measure carbon frame from Favaloro or a classic steel GIOS? Contact us if the idea interests you, we're happy to help!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Favaloro - artisan carbon part 4

Here it is! Our first full-carbon rental bike. 100% Made-in-Italy

 Photos of our just completed FAVALORO, courtesy of our friends at Albabici. 

This bike debuted at a recent "Press Camp" where various cycling industry magazine types were in attendance to hobknob with those who make, import or distribute cycling products in a relaxed setting in Southern California.

Our bikes will feature Campagnolo's newest groupset, POTENZA with 11 speeds. We chose a compact 34/50 crankset and a cogset with a 32 large cog so you can get up any hill or mountain.

Our friends at Albabici chose some special components to highlight this bike, including the white handlebars/seatpost along with the green anodized stem. The rest of our fleet will most likely have black components to match the Campagnolo groupset.

Same for the wheelset. URSUS will supply their Athon wheelset instead of the high-profile wheels shown here, installed just for the Press Camp.

Other sizes have been ordered and these bikes should be available for your use during our 2017 season. The rental rate will be $399 per tour and they'll be available in popular sizes. Contact us for more details or go HERE to order your own - we'll pick it up for you in Italy and have it ready-to-ride when you get there!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

FAVALORO - artisan carbon part 3

Our new bike has arrived! Well, it's at Albabici's warehouse and should be going together soon as they plan to use it an upcoming "Press Camp" promotion.

 Above: Head tube details

We asked for a slightly (1.5 cm) taller head tube than our aluminum/carbon bikes in this same (small) size, otherwise the geometry is the same, tried-and-true design perfected by "Chairman Bill" McGann and Antonio Mondonico many years ago. All of our bikes are named (rather than simply numbered) after an Italian winner of the Giro d'Italia. This one remembers Gaetano Belloni who not only won Il Giro in 1920, but also won Milano Sanremo the same year (and in 1917) plus the Giro di Lombardia in 1915, 1918 and 1928. Yes, wins 13 years apart at the Race of the Falling Leaves!

 Above: Our frame arrives at Albabici

With our current bikes' classic Italian roadracing geometry we've had difficulty getting the handlebars up high enough for some of you. The extra height on the headtube + our usual 3 cm of spacers under the stem combined with an adjustable stem should let you get in the same position you enjoy on your bike at home.

 Above: Note external cable guides, threaded (no creaks!) BB 
shell and non-integrated seatpost. All user (and mechanic!) friendly
 stuff designed to make your ride trouble free.

Larry asked for a pretty conventional design with external cabling, threaded BB shell, alloy steerer tube and a standard-type seatpost with alloy collar. All of this makes for a user (and mechanic!) friendly package that's easy to keep in tip-top shape and to adjust to fit you perfectly.

Above: Gotta have our logo, right?

We expect this bike to ride and handle very much like the current bikes in our rental fleet since the design/geometry is identical. We'll see it in-person in March, just before it's packed up and shipped off to the Handbuilt Bicycle Show. Once it's built up with Campagnolo's Potenza 11 groupset we hope to have some more photos to share.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FAVALORO - artisan carbon continued

Above: Our new bike in tricolore livery

We just received these photos from Michele Favaloro in Italy via our friends at Albabici. We can only say BELLISSIMA, but of course we would say that, no? You can see her in the nude by clicking HERE

Above: Michele Favaloro's signature

After all, we did ask for a tricolore paint scheme similar to our current rental fleet. It's hard to see in the photo but they tell us the FAVALORO names on the frame were created by masking the clear-coated carbon (kind of a stencil in reverse) before painting, allowing the carbon fiber to show through. Pretty clever!

Above: Yes, a threaded (no creaks!) BB shell

We're thrilled so far and also thrilled to know that this bike will be debuted at an upcoming bike industry "Press Camp" as well as being featured at the 2017 North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show in Salt Lake City, UT.

The bike should be on its way soon to Albabici where the Campagnolo Potenza 11 groupset we ordered for it will be waiting. The components will be black, again to look similar to the groupsets on our current rental fleet. 

Larry will be attending the NAHBS 2017 to help present FAVALORO to the USA market and where this bike will be entered in the Best Campagnolo-equipped Bike category.

This project looks like it'll come close enough to our budget that (once we see it in-person and get a chance to ride it) we'll order more sizes with the idea of having them available for YOU to ride this season. Contact us for more details on prices, sizes, etc.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to have FAVALORO handcraft a bike for you, click HERE for more details.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Arrivederci Southern California!

All that's left of our Southern California vacation is the kilometers in our legs (around 600) and a slight amount of suntan + this blurry photo (but the bike's pretty clean, right?) of Larry on the part of Palos Verdes peninsula not owned by Donald Trump.
2017 reservations are coming in, so don't hesitate if you have plans to enjoy la dolce vita  in bicicletta with us. We should have some photos of our new full-carbon bike to share soon.

Best wishes for a great 2017!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Heather & Larry pause on Mountain Drive in Santa Barabara, CA

Best Wishes for a great 2017!!!