Simply put, there was nothing to build.  The Gardin was in all but perfect mechanical condition and all I had to do was give it a tune up.  I did, of course, look the entire bicycle over very carefully, searching for anything irregular.  There were no surprises.  Dent and bend free, the Gardin was in excellent structural condition!

Other than clean it up for picture taking, I did nothing to change the appearance of this beautiful old Canadian bicycle.  Sadly, the snow had not gone back to wherever it ALL comes from and the pictures I took are less than I was hoping for.

The frame set on the TNT is quite nice and pretty much typical of other Gardin bicycles that I have been lucky enough to own or view.  The Gardin name appears in pantograph form on the fork crowns .  The seat stay tops are also pantographed, bearing a single "G" and simple geometric designs.  The smoothly installed lugs are also a wee bit ornate with their heart shaped windows.  All in all, the TNT's frame set is a decent offering and certainly the kind of set that most people would be happy to build up and ride.

Quality craftsmanship is quite evident.  There are few assembly flaws.  File marks do not exist. There are no brass or silver solder bubbles.  Lugs are smooth, bearing no casting mark evidence.  The decals are on straight and evenly positioned.  The paint, covering this nicely appointed frame set, is still in great shape, with no evidence of cracking, peeling or fading.

The bicycle's frame set is made of Reynolds 531 tubing, ending in Gipiemme forged drops, the rears with axle aligners. The pantographed areas have been accented with white paint.  The effect, though subtle, is quite pleasing.  It is a shame that many manufacturers have dropped the practice of pantographing.  I look at and think little of all of the Laser Etched stuff out there today.  I know darn well that much of that etching will be worn off, in short order.

Complimenting the beautiful frame set, is a complete and matched Campagnolo grouppo.  All of the components were in excellent condition, however; there was a wee bit of oxidation on some of the chrome plated brake calliper parts.  Fortunately, I happened to have some spare brake components and these were installed in place of the rusted ones.  In all fairness to the brake set, the Campy hoods were still worthy of use.  Though some of the rubber had hardened a bit, there was not evidence of cracking or melting, two common maladies for vintage hoods.  With minimal work, the hoods could be reused.

The brake levers were almost mint, showing only slight scuffs here and there.  They were left "as found" since the original handlebar tape was still intact and more than acceptable to use.  I should add that, even though the tape was in great shape, it had been improperly installed.  The person who assembled the bicycle had started the taping from the center of the handlebar and moved out.  In addition, the direction of wrap was wrong, allowing the tape to loosen off under stress.

The handlebars themselves were Modolo Starling units that were made in Italy.  I never did know exactly what make the steering stem was since it was void of any identifying marks.  My first guess would be ATM, and the guess would be based on the way other Gardin bicycles I had found were equipped.  The control center proved to be comfortable enough for the short test ride.  However, had I kept the bicycle I would have moved the levers down just a bit, allowing for a more comfortable fit for me.  Needless to say, had I done that, I would also have installed some new cushioned handlebar tape.

The transmission was a friction shift assembly and was still perfectly tuned.  A few light squirts of lubricant on pivot joints and both derailleurs were ready to go.  For me the jury is still out on friction as opposed to indexed transmissions.  Though I do like the idea of not having to fiddle with shifting, the opportunity to trim the friction system is a welcome one.  Short of a busted derailleur cable, a friction transmission will just keep working.  Allow an indexed one to go slightly out of adjustment and your carefree ride will go right out the window if you don't have the tools to tune the shifting up.

Additionally once I get used to a particular transmission and its shift characteristics, the need to trim almost disappears.  But I do have to get used to the feel of each friction transmission that I encounter.  Very few have the same feel.

The Campagnolo low flange alloy wheel hubs were laced, with stainless steel spokes, to Record Hd 100 rims.  The Record Hd 100 was a fairly common rim of choice for manufacturers in the "TNT's" day.  I even have a near mint set of these rims, taken from an equally near mint Gardin 400, on one of my collection favourites, my Marinoni Quebec.  The tires on the Gardin were old, heavily treaded and as one might expect in need of replacing.  I did use them for the test ride, but I do advise caution when it comes to using twenty year old bicycle tires.  Though the tires might look good, the materials they are made of could well be rotten and the tire could blow up, or out, at any moment.  Spend the forty bucks for a new set of entry lever skins or improve the bicycle's performance dramatically with a really good set.  Try to find tires that are round, which is a bit of a trick, believe it or not.

As mentioned, everything was working perfectly.  All I had to do, during the tuning phase of my test ride preparation, was to lubricate the chain and derailleurs.  I also installed a set of my pedals for the test ride, pressurized the tires and lubed up the drive chain.  That, coupled with a bit of fit tuning so that I could ride the bicycle with a reasonable degree of comfort, was all that was needed.  I should add that the bicycle, at 52cm, was too small for me to set up a proper fit.

Most of my Campagnolo experience is with older components.  I am not familiar with much of the newer stuff.  My guess is that the TNT's grouppo is all Campy Victory but that is only a guess.  I do hope someday to sort all of the Campy stuff out in my mind.  For now my expertise, if I can call it that, is restricted to older vintages.