MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

SPECIAL SPECIAL - INTRO

THE SPECIAL SPECIAL FIND

THE SPECIAL'S EVALUATION

TEST BUILD THE BOTTECCHIA

BOTTECCHIA FRAME REPAIR

BOTTECCHIA RESTORED 

RESTORED AND REVISED

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

EVALUATING THE special SPECIAL

Needless to say, the Bottecchia's Italian quick release paint, had mostly released.  The art, though still solidly attached, was scuffed, worn and faded, in many places.  With this in mind, the entire bicycle will need to be redone.  A full paint job, would be in order, followed by an application of appropriate art will  This is assuming that the bicycle passed the Test Build/Test Ride.  But first, the bicycle will have to be built up for that test ride.

Building a bicycle, for test riding purposes, before doing tons of cosmetic stuff, is a really good idea.  Do not follow my example of repainting and rebuilding a bicycle only to find out that you have lowered the value of a bicycle that has a bent frame and is too big for me.  Yup!  The first vintage road bicycle that I restored, for lack of a better word, was too big and bent.  To that, add the fact that, by painting the bicycle, I actually lowered its value.  I had a lot to learn.

And, from that premier experience with Big Green, I did learn.  Today, I do not invest a lot of time, in a restoration, without first doing my best to understand, if the bicycle fits me, if it is undamaged and is it worth the effort.  The Special Bottecchia Special is, in my mind, worth the effort.  Needless to say, more effort had to be invested in evaluating the bicycle, before any, cast in stone, decisions were made.

"As found", or in this case - delivered, the Bottecchia was filthy and scruffy!  The paint was, literally, falling off.  Wheeling the bicycle across the lawn, I could not help but chuckle to myself, as I watched a leaf, of faded red paint, fall into the grass.  You just have to hand it to the Italians, for their invention of quick release hubs, brakes, and even saddle post clamps.  But their quick release paint is hardly a good idea.

To the scruffy, perhaps disease ridden would be a better description, appearance, add a well hardened patina of road debris, mixed with dried grease and oil.  Top that off with tires, that had failed at the molecular level, appearing to have partially melted.  These were the things that first came to mind as I looked the bicycle over.

So, too, did the presence of a patina of surface oxidation - rust.  Rust is the nemesis of the vintage bicycle frame set and, it is usually the chrome plated bits that suffer the most.  Though there was surface rust present on the bicycle, a quick inspection did not reveal any rust that had penetrated to the pitted stage.  With luck, the chrome bits would clean up and look just great.  Solid chrome is a good thing.  Rusted chrome is an expensive situation to remedy.

My concern rose as I looked upon the clamp mounted side stand.  These devices are not a good idea for vintage road bicycle use.  The clamping action can, and in some situations will, damage the frame set.  It is not unusual to discover partially crushed chain stays, thanks to the installation of one of these horrible accessories.  To that add that they are probably responsible for a good many bicycle scuff, tears, chips and dents.  The stands are not stable!  My opinion, of course.

And the one I was looking at was CLAMPED!  The clamping assembly, itself, had been so torqued, that it had begun to cave in.  I shuddered at the thought, of how the chain stays would look, with the clamp removed?

To be honest, I was not too concerned.  The Bottecchia Special is not an exotic framed bicycle.  The tubing is not thin wall.  Chances are the stays would be OK and they were.  With the side stand removed and discarded, a quick inspection of the stays revealed no mentionable damage.  Just a bit of paint crushed and scratched away.

As mentioned, the front and rear rims did not match.  The high flange Campagnolo hubs, however, did.  This suggests that one rim had been replaced.  The question, of course, was which one?  Part of understanding the answer to that question would mean the bicycle's frame set would have to be inspected closely and carefully.  A bent or twisted fork set would suggest a front rim replacement.  An unspoiled frame would suggest the rear rim failed, which is more common and not always part of a frame damaging situation.

But before any of that could begin, the bicycle needed to be cleaned.  Though I would not recommend anyone doing so, I trucked the Bottecchia down to the Car Wash, soaked the bicycle in Engine and tire cleaner (leave the cleaner on for a very short period of time - say, less than one minute - repeat, as required) and then high pressure washed the whole thing, sort of clean.  A bit more of this application of aggressive cleaning, and the bicycle would be pretty near spotless.  And...

Every bearing cavity would be contaminated with water and debris.  The wheel hubs, the head set bearings, the bottom bracket and the freewheel will all have to be opened up, cleaned out and inspected, lubricated and adjusted, prior to using them.  Of course, I planned a complete mechanical rebuild, before test riding, so water contamination of these components is a non issue.  I will clean and rebuild each assembly.

At any rate, after running the Bottecchia through the car wash treatment, things looked much better.  With most of the caked on crud gone, I had a better opportunity to view the bicycle.  Though I would still have to ensure frame set integrity was not compromised, the rebuild itself, looked to be a straight forward affair. Boy was I wrong!!!

NEXT - TEST BUILDING THE special SPECIAL

 

 

 

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