MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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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

 

REPAIRING THE SPECIAL'S FRAME

Vintage bicycle, particularly road bicycles, are pretty fragile pieces of equipment, this old Bottecchia being no exception to the rule.  With that in mind, and already knowing that something was not right, the check the frame for true began.

First thing first, look the bike over, from each side, the front and above, if possible.  Doing so will give you a feel for where problems might exist.  In the case of the Bottecchia, the fork looked to be bent backward ever so slightly, and the front wheel did not split the fork blades evenly.  Two red flags, to be sure.

There are several Old School tools available for repairing frame and fork sets, the problem is finding them in today's modern world.  Not only are they hard to find, but costly as well.  With that in mind, much of the frame straightening work required can often be implemented with some pretty standard, around the home kinda stuff.

The first thing and easiest thing to check is the space between the rear drops.  Normally, this space will measure either 120mm or 125mm.  That does not mean the measurements have to be exactly bang on, the a measurement of 127mm suggests the need for further investigation.  In the Bottecchia's case, the space measured 115mm, suggesting that the stays had been squeezed together at one time in the bicycle's history.

With the drop space measured, check to see if the stays/drops are centered to the center line of the bicycle frame.  This is easily done, by the home mechanic, using a piece of string and a tape measure.  The "string method" is fairly accurate but for more precise and easier gauging, use the Park Chain Frame Alignment Tool, a simple to use and remarkably accurate way to determine and/or when the stays are centered.

As was expected, gauging the frame indicated that the stays had been shifter a wee bit off center.  Using the Part Frame Gauge to check results, the frame and a five foot piece of 2 x 4 lumber got together.  A few minutes later, the drop space was 120mm and the drops were centered to the center line of the bicycle.

All that was needed now was a bit of adjustment to the rear drops to ensure that they were parallel to one another,  a situation easily checked with a good set of drop-out tools, Campagnolo in this instance, and just as easily repaired, using those same tools.

With the stays centered and the rear drops parallel to one another, it was time to consider the fork set.  And here-in lies the difficulty with the Bottecchia frame set.  The bottom cup for the head set did not fit into the head tube well.  The cup, literally, fell into the cavity, revealing some side to side clearance, but considerably fore/aft slop.  Additionally, though not apparent immediately, the lower cone race was also sloppy on its fit.  This is a major issue!

The special Bottecchia Special build in on hold, anxiously awaiting the coming riding season.  A repair is planned, however; the repair will have to be implemented and then thoroughly tested to ensure that said repair did the trick.  With that in mind, and winter fast approaching, the Bottecchia was put away, a project planned for another day

As it sits now, the bicycle has been assembled as a Poor Boy single speed, and is will be ridden in this guise early next Spring.

If the test ride, proves the worth of the repair, I will report all.  Until then, though it grieves me, as much as it might grieve you, the Bottecchia build is...

NEXT - THE BOTTECCHIA RESTORED

 

 

 

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