Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bici d'Epoca - on the cheap!

 Here are photo's of Larry's just completed bici d'epoca. This old Bianchi was a "find" when Larry stumbled into the local bike shop awhile back to find one of the guys stripping parts off a recent trade-in.
Out came the trusty measuring tape and right away it was, "Oooh, I could ride this, what do you want for it? Just the frame, fork and long-reach brakes." $100 covered the lot and off it went for a cheapo paint job in the classic celeste color. Meanwhile some cheapo vinyl stickers were whipped up locally and it was put together with some old 8-speed Campagnolo Ergopower bits as a bike to keep out in Santa Barbara, where Heather's folks live. But when the bici d'epoca bug bit a few years ago, a new use for this old bike was considered. Now it's ready for events like l'Eroica in Tuscany or any of the other old bike rallies becoming more and more popular in Italy.
 A mix of old and sort of new for sure - we kept the semi-modern 8-speed Campagnolo triple drivetrain (we want to RIDE up those steep hills rather than walk!) all in polished aluminum so the look is right, combined with Suntour retro-friction downtube shift levers (I want the thing to STAY in that low gear for climbing!) and Shimano brakes with exposed cables as per the requirements.
A set of Heather's old Campagnolo track pedals* completed the bici d'epoca requirements. Larry couldn't resist painting in the pantographed bits on the frame and other components as well as taking advantage of all the frame clearance for fat tires, mounting a set of Rivendell's "Ruffy-Tuffy's" to handle the gravel and rocks on these old roads. An replica aluminum bottle from Elite, held in chromed steel TA cages, completes the look. While the saddle is NOT even close to period-correct, it is comfortable, much more than any Cinelli Unicanitor could be! This is not a museum-piece, it's a bike to be ridden after all.

Next project is to complete Heather's ride - the Tomi we bought a few years ago in Viterbo. Larry found a NOS set of Campagnolo Super Record brake levers for that one along with some Simplex retrofriction shift levers, so it'll be in the spirit-of-the-rules even if the frame is not pre-1987. I don't think the organizers will mind much once they see it!

*Grazie mille to our friends at Vittoria for the way-cool 1976 retro shoes to go with these!


  1. Nice.
    I'm starting to see more down tube shifter bikes, that were drug from the basement or garage, and put back on the road.
    While some days, my Serotta Nova Special X is the only steel frame I see on the road.

  2. Do you mean some riders DON'T use downtube shifters?