and so it begins…

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

2004 Raleigh Competition, Deda Quattro, Deda Speciale

The first components to go on this new build are the Deda bars and stem.

This is a real departure for me and somewhat of an experiment. I have only ever used quill stems and the oft mentioned Cinelli 65 bars. The Deda Speciale are a squarer shape along the top, not offering the beautiful, gentle curve of the almost Pista-like 65s, and they also have a shallower drop (135mm opposed to (approx) 150mm) than the 65s.

The stem – Quattro, 130mm – is astoundingly light and flexible. I’ve currently got it set up to be flat, but if I need to raise the bar height, I can just flip the stem and get an entirely different angle. I’m not going to know how this turns out until there are other components to work with. But it’s a whole new adventure!

Can you even get silver steerer spacers?

The Schwinn

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

1999 Schwinn Peloton, Reynolds 853

This is my 2009 build project, after my lust for riding was reinvigorated by my son’s new found ability to ride, and stoked by my friends Mike, Kenny, Charlie and Eric.

It began with moving all of the Shimano Ultegra (600-EX) components from the Condor, and turned into a bargain hunting project. It is now almost entirely Dura Ace (the brakes are still 7402, my favorite brakes ever) except for the Ultegra crankset and the Mavic Krysium Elite wheels. Cinelli 130mm X/E stem and (of course) 65s for bars.

I still judge this as a work in progress. The initial headset was a total nightmare – every time I rode the bike, it worked itself loose. Eventually, it was replaced by the very knowledgeable, friendly, honorable and trustworthy Mr C’s, and the removed headset turned out to be badly pitted. Only time will tell if this new one (another Origin) will stand up. There’s no bar tape on it at the moment either – still working on my position. And the jury is still out on whether the white-striped tires work. This is another big frame – 69cm seat tube, and a nearly 60cm top tube. I love that, i feel so comfortable with it being so long, with being stretched out. And did I mention that the frame is incredibly light, and the fork – aluminum – is ridiculously weight free. Reynolds knew what they were doing when they created 853 tubing.

Besides the headset woes, the only gripe I have with this frame is how easily the paint chips on it. I swear – stare at it for too long and another paint chip will flake off.

I have to wait and see what happens with the headset now, but until that is resolved, this continues to be my top bike.

The Condor

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

1992 Condor, Reynolds 531c

This is my long haul bike – It’s been with me for the last 16 years and has relocated from Holloway, North London, to NYC, the Brooklyn. It’s survived so much – this even was left behind when some b*stard stole my Trek XO-1. And I always believed it was the ultimate “magpie” bike…the bright shiny machine that would be the first to attract thieves.

Currently it’s equipped with Shimano 105, Cinelli 65s, a 3TTT 140mm stem and Novotech/Jalco/Vittoria 28 spoked wheels, kindly given to me by Kenny’s UPS workmate Flores. The seat is an Avocet O2, which is quickly becoming my favorite new saddle. Thanks to Pete at Brooklyn Bicycles for a quick and easy fix of the erratic right shifter, the gearing works like a dream.

I first noticed this frame in Condor’s Grays Inn road store in 1992. It’s pretty obvious why it was noticeable. It also had a twin, the negative splash (black with green flecks) which I also bought and turned into the winter bike with mudguards and everything. When I moved to America in 1994, I left this bike with my room mate and buddy from the Town & Country Club crew, Davis Wilkie. Davis, if you ever see this, let me know if you still have it or pictures of it?

Anyway, I bought his one first, equipped it with the SHimano/Mavic wheels I’d built while working at Day’s Cycles in Winchmore Hill, and then picked up an almost full set of Shimano 600-EX (the first line of Shimano Ultegra). Except for the brakes. I had to have the Dura Ace BR-7402 brakes for their aesthetic beauty. I still have those brakes calipers today (they’re on the Schwinn) and I will never, ever part with them. Nothing will ever come close to them as far as performance and looks go.

More information to come on this bike.

in motion

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

Philip Ames, June 1979

Finally got around to scanning the only picture I ever had of me actually racing. I always loved this picture. It rewarded my vanity!

Here I am on my gold 62cm Alan aluminium build, racing in a 25 mile event in Kent in June of 1977 or ’78 (at least I think it was June). Not long after this season drew to a close, rock’n'roll took the place of serious cycling and, well, there you have it. As the years passed, it never ceased to amaze me how many people working in the music business were marginally fanatical about cycling.

This was the closest I ever came to breaking the hour – if I remember correctly, I finished in 1:00:31.

About the bike. Besides it being an absolute giant at 62cm x 62cm, and it being gold and aluminium (I heard these frames were held together with airplane glue), it was all Campagnolo equipped. How the hell could I even afford Campagnolo at this time in my life??? The bars are 42cm Cinelli 65s (Criterium), the bars I have loved and used all my life (I still have them on the Condor and the Schwinn). The stem is a Cinelli 1A (I’ve since moved on to X/A stems), the hubs are Campag large flange (who the hell started calling them “high flange”???), probably on Arc En Ciel rims and definitely Wolber tubulars. They were built at Emporer Sports in Carshalton/Cheam, the front being a radial 24, the rear being a 24 radial (non gear side) and tangenital tied and soldered on the gear side, for extra strength. Amazing wheels – never put even the slightest warp in them.

Campag brakes, levers, rear derailleur. Note the single ring – who had use for 10 gears? – which, knowing me, might well have been a 48T. Remove the handlebar tape above the gear levers for extra weight saving (yeah, I know…ass), and there you have it. Patrick “Poulidor” shoes, the height of (affordable) fashion!

This bike was pretty short lived I think – this was the only season I raced it and, as mentioned, was put out to pasture when owning a Fender Precision (or Jazz) bass became more important. I also blew out my knee after a 50 mile event near Southampton at the end of that season, trying to win the club championship that year. I’d completed a 100 the week before (5:04:00, or something like that), and my best 10 time that year was 21:30.

All in all, the best and most enjoyable season I ever had

The Raleigh

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

2004 Raleigh CompetitionHere is my latest project, although whether it will become a build or not remains to be seen.

I picked up this frame on eBay. the seller (thanks Richie) lives on the lower east side, and my son and I set out on a freezing Sunday morning to pick it up. Initial inspection showed some marks, most of which just turned out to be rubber cement of some kind. These all came off on the subway ride home.

There’s one scratch on the upper rear stay (a nice carbon composite wishbone), one on the “Competition” decal (top tube, right side) and one on the left side of the fork. This was my greatest concern as this is my first foray into anything carbon. Two local bike shops took a look and said they believed it was purely surface abrasion – no fibers visible. That was a big relief. The frame is in amazing condition. It’ll just take time to see what kind of a ride it is.

The bike seems to have originated from The Old Bike Shop in Hermosa Beach, Ca. (I have Hermosa Beach stories, but that’s for a different forum). The tale Richie told was that he picked it up from a guy on Long Island who had received it (the complete bike) as a present from his girlfriend. But as a mountain biker, he didn’t get along with it and put it up for sale. Richie bought it for parts – the frame (62cm) was too large for him, and that’s how it ended up in my hands.

A tangent. I owned a 62cm “Alan” aluminium frame in the 70s. This bike was enormous, with a 62cm top tube to go with the 62cm seat tube. It was gold, garish and a great machine to ride – as long as I stayed in a straight line. Perfect for out-and-back time trials, way too spongy on hill climbs. My neighbor had a 54 or 56cm version of that same frame and it responded much better, much tighter. It’s going to be interesting to see how this new frame acts. One thing that’s interesting is that, even though it’s a bigger frame, the standover height is actually lower than the Condor or the Schwinn.

I guess I’ll be building it up. I just don’t know when, or with what!

Categories: Builds, Raleigh Tags: ,


December 9th, 2009 Comments off

One of my frustrations is the lack of polished or anodized silver parts available. Call me a traditionalist, but there’s always been something far more fetching and clean about the lines of silver. I don’t bemoan the amount of black decorating bikes these days – damn, some of them look F I N E. But for me, it’s silver.

But like steel, even this is making a comeback. My latest considerations are the Deda Speciale bar, the Quattro stem and the Metal Stick seat pin – all available in polished silver. I’m considering trying to get a hold of these for my latest build project (more on that later). Decisions and details to follow…

Categories: Parts Tags: