MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

197? BIANCHI SPRINT - INTRO

FINDING BIANCHI SPRINT #1

FINDING BIANCHI SPRINT #2

BUILDING #1 SPRINT

BUILDING #2 SPRINT

RIDING THE BIANCHI SPRINTS 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

BUILDING THE FIRST BIANCHI SPRINT

The first found Bianchi presented few rebuild concerns.  The bicycle had obviously seen very little use.  The grease was fresh, inside and out, which is always a really good sign.  And sawdust had stuck to the external grease, offering a wonderful protective coating to those areas that would otherwise suffer from the ravages of time and the effects of oxidation.  Internally, the grease had done a great job of keeping rust at bay, while protecting the rolling surfaces against any kind of wear.  All bearings were perfect or so close to it that one could not tell the difference.

I started the rebuild, as I always do these days, by completely stripping the bicycle.  Everything is removed, cleaned inspected and set aside if good - replaced if not.  It was refreshing to realize that, with the exception of the rotted brake lever hoods, nothing really needed to be replaced or repaired.  The bicycle was near perfect in both the mechanical and cosmetic presentations.

The frame set inspection is really a careful looking over and feeling every square inch of the frame and fork set.  Once satisfied that there are no value or performance robbing dents/cracks, I String the Frame.  Stringing is really nothing more that a crude method for determining if the frame set is bent or not.  The first Sprint proved to be nice and straight. I did not even have to tweak the rear drops to ensure that they were parallel to each other.  There was no need to alter the drop spacing, since it was right on the 120mm mark  The front forks proved to be in equally good condition.  Again, the question came to mind about whether or not the bicycle had actually seen any use.

This is a good time to let you all know that it is rare I find an old road bike that is perfectly straight.  More often than not, I will have to adjust the rear drops to ensure that they are parallel.  I happen to have the proper tools to do this and I have been shown how to do it, by local bike shop professional mechanics.  In addition to that, it is not all that uncommon that the need to set drop spacing is required.  This is certainly a bit more involved, but no special tools are required.  Just the nerve to do it and the expertise to do it correctly.  Do not grab your newly acquired Cinelli Corsa and start "cold setting", which is the fancy name for bending.  I started frame straightening by practicing on junk frame sets that I had no intention of using or passing on to others.

The Campagnolo transmission, Nouvo Valentino I believe, was an entry level unit and in wonderful condition.  Like much of the bottom part of the bicycle the derailleurs were smother is sawdust impregnated grease.  They were easy to clean off and showed no signs of use or abuse.  I might add that this was the first and only Nouvo Valentino set that I have run across.

The Universal brakes though simple in design were also in great condition.  All they needed was a light cleaning followed by gentle polishing.  The brake pads themselves showed little wear and that is an amazing thing when one considers the fact that they had to work with a serrated braking surface on the Ambrosia alloy wheel rims.

The wheel set was in very good condition, showing absolutely no wear on the rim sides.  Normally these grooved faces will offer a collection of imbedded debris but the Sprint's were quite clean and unworn.  Both Ambrosia decals were all but perfect and there was no appreciable oxidation on the alloy surface.  Of all the Ambrosia rims to come my way, this was by far the best set!  The hubs were definitely entry level all steel units but once again in excellent condition.  Even the cadmium plated spokes and nipples showed no deterioration thanks to the passing of time.  The coating of oil and sawdust had done its unintended job remarkably well.

The Sprint's steering stem had the Old School look with newer innovations incorporated into it.  The stem had no sharp edges as was common in Old School days.  An Allen bolt secured the assembly, once again a departure for the older style hex head that could catch and cut a careless hand.  The stem supported a lightly etched set of ITM handlebars that suggested the bicycle was not as old as one would initially think.  All in all, the control center was presentable and appealing in the vintage sense.

Completing the original cockpit of the Sprint was a Frecciadoro saddle.  These hard plastic units with no protective covering what so ever were very common in the Bianchi's day.  Though one would expect them to be incredibly uncomfortable, they are not that bad on short rides.  I must admit that I have never actually given one of the apparent saddles from hell a true test.  I almost always and immediately remove such saddles, replacing them with anything else that I happen to have hanging in the Old Shed at the time.  And that was the case with the Sprint.  The plastic perch was replaced with a suspended leather unit that I had found at the Dump one day.  The leather saddle looked a great deal better though I don't know that it offered a great deal more comfort.

The first Sprint's pedals were very attractive all steel units that cleaned up really well.  They still spun freely on their axles in their "as found" condition, however; I did take the time to disassemble them for cleaning, inspection and lubrication.  The original clips and straps were removed and set aside where they were eventually forgotten about.  For all I know they might still be hiding somewhere in the Old Shed.  I should add that I always remove these unsafe to use accessories even though I have tired to get used to them from time to time.

And when accessories are the issue, a couple of the Bianchi's were really nice.  In addition to the Bianchi water bottle and clamp-on holder, there bicycle also boasted an original Celeste green hand pump.  Sadly, the pump did not work when I had the bicycle but my bet is that, with a bit of attention, it too could have been given new life.  All in all, this first Bianchi Sprint was a joy to have, work on and view.

With the mechanical condition of the frame set determined and prior to assembly, I cleaned the frame and forks up with a good quality cleaning wax.  Bottom bracket housing threads were wire brushed as clean as I could get them, which is pretty clean if enough time is spent doing it.  Once the bottom bracket housing had been cleaned, the inside was coated, threads and all, with a thin layer of water proof synthetic grease.  The head tube received the same grease coating treatment.

The first Sprint build was about as straight forward as it can get.  Nothing needed replacing other than the usual items such as control cables and handle bar tape.  The brake pads still had their resiliency and with a bit of sanding were put right back where they came from.  The only real issue with the first Bianchi was with the tires.  They were old but oh so original.  I did not have the heart to replace them at the time.

Assembling a bicycle is a very straight forward thing, on the surface, and just about anyone can do an acceptable job of it providing that they have a small compliment of but absolutely necessary specialty tools.  There are, of course, a host of little things to learn that improve the assembly results, most of which one learns over time by doing.  And the learning through doing can certainly be enhanced by study or training.  I have been fortunate enough to be afforded both opportunities - doing and studying/training.

NEXT - BUILDING BIANCHI SPRINT #2

 

 

 

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