MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

CARLTON PRO -  INTRO

FINDING THE PRO

TEST BUILDING THE PRO

RESTORING THE PRO

RIDING THE PRO

 

BICYCLES OF ENGLAND

 

RESTORING THE CARLTON PROFESSIONAL

At the end of the riding season, the Carlton was put away for a short while.  Mid winter would see the bicycle surface from The Old Shed and begin a metamorphosis from the "as found" to the "as wanted".  I planned a full going over and upgrade of the bicycle before the following riding season.  This time, performance would form part of the focus target.  I planned to build up a really nice wheel set for starters.  All of those things that I "made do" with would be replaced.  Well, most of them anyway.  The end result would be a full Campagnolo Nouvo Record equipped 1971 Carlton Professional.  Something few people will get a chance to ride, let alone own, these days.  And this one came from the "Dump"!

The frame set was laid bare, in preparation to replace both the head set and bottom bracket with rebuilt Campy units.  The target for component grouppo was full and period correct Campagnolo Nouvo Record.  With that in mind, the Stronglight cranks had to go.  The Nouvo Record were considerably less worn than their Stronglight cousins and proved to work perfectly once the bicycle was on the road.  I decided to fit a set of Campy quill pedals and go with the original feel for my rides on the Carlton.  But those pedals were soon to go once the bicycle was on the road.

The Super Record levers, used in build one, were replaced more appropriate ones.  The original hoods, I never purchased.  By the time I was ready to buy a set of original hoods, the price had climbed too high.  I opted for a NOS set of black Modolo hoods, that I happened to have stored in The Old Shed.  The Modolo hoods are a contoured affair and looked a wee bit out of place, in my opinion.  But they are very comfortable and durable, putting their Campagnolo competitors to shame, in my humble opinion.  That said, they are not original and there are no buts about that.

In my uninformed stupidity, I decided to change the "as found" Giro de Sicily bars to a set of GB units.  I mounted the new levers on a set of GB Randoneer handlebars, acquired through trade from a friend in Florida.  The GB bars would be very appropriate, or so I thought at the time.  Both period correct and beautifully ornate with the map of England pantograph, they would add considerably to the vintage appeal that was blossoming on this old road bicycle.  Supporting the choice in handlebars, a GB embossed steering stem was retained.  The stem had been original issue for the Carlton back at the beginning of the seventies.

Actually, I am now happy that I changed the handlebars out.  The beautiful and rare "as found" bars are still in The Old Shed waiting for just the right project.  Sadly, that cannot be said for the gorgeous original headset.  Again, in my uninformed stupidity I chose to trade the original head set away and install a Campagnolo replacement.  Now there is certainly nothing wrong with the Campy unit, but I do wish that I still had the headset that was original issue to the Professional.

Saddle choice was not going to be a problem.  Brooks was the seat of choice and it was my intention to mount a brand new Brooks "Professional" which was hanging on a local bike shop wall at the time of the build.  I managed to get a good deal on the leather saddle being the middle of winter and all.  Though the Brooks Pro is a gorgeous saddle, it never did look as if it belonged on the old English bicycle.  The saddle was just too new looking and did not blend in with the Carlton's patina of age.  That, of course, would change with plenty of use.

I never did install a proper seat post.  The only Campagnolo post I had to spare at the time was a Super Record unit.  Even though the seat post was in excellent condition, it was not correct and I was keeping my eye open for a reasonably priced post.  One never came along and the Carlton never did get a Nouvo Record saddle support.

About the only thing left to deal with was a wheel set.  Campagnolo high flange record hubs would be mandatory, as far as I was concerned.  I started looking for a set of hubs and Ebay was about the only place to look.  I have had a bit of experience shopping on Ebay.  It was my incredible good fortune, one day, to discover that four sets of Campagnolo high flange Record hubs had been listed in four different auctions.  To make things even better for me, all four sets would be ending with-in a four hour window.  This is a perfect buyer's situation.  I bought the first set to come available for $45.00 plus shipping and handling.  The other three sets sold for close to a hundred dollars a pair.  In today's market, a hundred dollars for a pristine set of Campy Record high flange hubs and skewers in pretty normal.  So is $125.00 or more and prices are continuing to go up, suggesting that right now is the best time to buy a vintage road bicycle.  It will cost more tomorrow!

On a bit of a side note, the hubs turned out to be absolutely perfect.  When I pulled them apart, the bearings and bearing surfaces were in excellent mechanical condition.  The alloy bodies were clear and nearly blemish free, requiring only a light machine polishing to make them shine like mirrors.  But the big surprise came when I removed the rear hub lock nuts.  They were stamped 71.  By fluke, the correct vintage wheels had showed up for this wonderful old English road bike.

With the hubs on their way, I needed to decide on a set of rims.  Sew-ups were out of the question at the time.  The metric 700c rim was not available in a clincher style back in the early seventies.  With that in mind, I opted for the 27 inch rim and chose a gorgeous set of Weinmanns with eyelets.  The Weinmann rims were very strong, however, one would have to question the period correctness of the rim set.  That said, the Weinmann rims were non-anodized and looked correct on the bicycle.  And thanks to no anodization, the natural alloy surface could be polished to a near mirror finish.

A set of straight gauge stainless steel spokes were purchased new from a local bike shop.  The rims, spokes, hubs and I watched a movie together, as the wheel set came together.  The built up wheels looked just great. I could hardly wait to give them a try.  I purchased and installed a set of good tires for the Carlton.  In days past, I would choose tires based on price alone and the best price was always at the department store.  But the department store tire is a poor choice for a high end installation.  They are heavy and rarely round.  The tires selected for the Carlton were Kevlar impregnated Bontrager units.  And they looked every bit as out of place as the NOS Brooks saddle.  But, as I would discover when riding season began, the tires performed very well.

The transmission needed a bit of period correctness upgrading also.  The original rear derailleur, a Campagnolo Record unit was worn out.  I first replaced it with a 1984 Nouvo Record but planned to find a period correct 1971 unit, if I could.  And, of course, finding one was not all that difficult to do.  I kept an eye on Ebay, and sure enough, a 71 model floated to the surface.  I was determined to buy the gear changer and enter a fairly high bid. As luck would have it, not too many people were in the market for a 1971 derailleur at the time and, once again, I got a pretty good deal.

I had fallen in love with the shifters.  The Campagnolo Barcons worked perfectly and I will run them every chance I get.  The one thing that I do not like about riding vintage road bicycles is having to remove my hands from the handlebars to effect shifts.  To do so is dangerous.  The Barcons eliminate the need to let go of the bars.  However, the way I set them up for the first rebuild would not do for the second.

The cheap control cables and casings were pitched.  I replaced the cables with modern low friction jobbies.  Nylon lined casings and Teflon coated cables significantly reduce cable drag and greatly enhanced the shifting qualities of the system.  The newer cables do not look out of place and work just great.

That just about completed the decisions for the Carlton Professional's second build.  When the warm weather arrived, the bike and I got it on.

NEXT - RIDING THE CARLTON PRO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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