MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

FRANCESCO MOSER - INTRO

FINDING THE MOSER

BUILDING THE MOSER

MOSER BUILDING MISTAKES

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

  

FINDING THE FRANCESCO MOSER

While riding the long route home from work one day, I passed by an antique shop that had an assortment of items displayed on the front sidewalk.  There was an old "Ten Speed" in the street offerings and I stopped to have a look.

The "Ten Speed" was nothing at all special, but the old woman who owned (my assumption) the antiques shop offered her assistance.  We got to talking and I mentioned that I stopped because the old bicycle she had on display had caught my interest.  She brightened and began the pitch.  As politely as I could, I let her know that the "Ten Speed" on display was not of interest to me.  Of course, I went on to ask if she had any other old bicycles for sale.  I always go to the next step when talking about old bikes.

She said she did and that they were way in the back of the basement.  She went on to add that I was welcome to go and have a look, if I wished.  I wished and away I went, after first retrieving my penlight from the truck - just in case.

And just in case was the case.  The low ceiling basement was poorly lit with one sorry light bulb.  In the gloom, it was apparent that the long narrow basement was stuffed pretty full of antiques, some probably of value, some not.  But no bicycles in sight.  I pushed on towards the rear of the basement, taking great care not to trip over anything on the floor.  And taking equal care not to knock anything over, onto the floor. And ducking under those things hanging over the floor.  The place was a true jumble of old items and would most certainly be an antique hunters idea of Ali Baba's cave.  I might add that I have been lucky enough to enter a couple of those myself in my bike hunting travels, one of which had roughly two hundred vintage road bicycles hidden from the world.

It was a good thing that I brought my own light.  The gloom thickened.  Moving around became treacherous, since the floor was so cluttered with just about anything one could imagine.  And there, caught by briefly in penlight's beam was a bicycle - no two bicycles.  As I careful approached I could see that neither was a road bicycle but they were old.  The closest to me was a balloon tire ladies something or other (Columbia I believe) and in reasonably nice condition.  Leaning against it was a painted over CCM roadster of undetermined vintage or model.  I know little of roadsters, except that I have ridden a couple that I do like, my own CCM Elan being a perfect example.

As I picked my way back through the obstacle course of antique upon antique, I wonder how one would get a bicycle out of the tangled mess.  I was soon to find out.

Upon returning to the main part of the Antiques Shop, I thanked the lady for allowing me to have a look at the bicycles.  She asked if I wanted to buy them and I declined, asking just out of curiosity how much the man's bicycle was.  It turned out that she did not consider the man's bike to be an antique.  It was just an old bicycle that they used in the old days for running errands.  How did twenty dollars sound?  Before I could answer she offered a bit more information that did the trick.

She said that the bicycle was a special issue.  It was a Boy Scouts of Canada commemorative model that her relative of some kind had won or been given many years ago.  And her claim later proved to be true as was evidenced by the CCM's head badge.  Though the picture is unclear, the head badge did indeed commemorate the Boy Scouts 25th anniversary in Canada, I believe.  Well, that was good enough for me.  I handed over the twenty dollars and hauled myself back down into the dungeon.

It really was a struggle carrying the CCM Boy Scout out of that basement and I hurt for a couple of days after.  However, I knocked nothing over and did no damage to the bicycle.  Thanking the lady, I carried the CCM the rest of the way out of the store, only to see my Sekine SHT waiting patiently, cabled to a light pole.  In my excitement I had forgotten that I was riding that day.  I couldn't possibly carry the CCM on my road bike.

I made arrangements to leave the CCM at the shop, for an hour or so, and pick it up when I had my truck.  An hour and a half later the CCM Boy Scout was in the Old Shed.  And, as it turned out, the bicycle was indeed a commemorative Boy Scout issue, from roughly 1935. It had been prepared in honour of a Boy Scout Anniversary of some kind.  The information, pertaining to this claim, is clearly embossed on the painted over head badge.  As for the dating of the bicycle, the rear hub had a wee bit to do with that...

According to Tom who had a chance to inspect the Boy Scout, the rear hub was of 1935 vintage or older.  The serial number for the Hercules hub was hand etched onto the hub.  After 1935 the serial numbers were stamped.  Apparently the hub alone was worth ten times what I paid for the entire bicycle.

All this information about the CCM was just great, for someone who cares and I really didn't.  I picked the bicycle up because it was Canadian and I collect Canadian bikes.  I really had no plan for the Boy Scout, when I bought it.

However, the Boy Scout turned out to be something a bit special.  Once Tom had pointed out the virtues of the CCM, he put me in touch with a CCM bicycle collector who lives in Western Canada.  Since I really had little interest in keeping the Boy Scout, I contacted the CCM collector and informed him of what I had.  He was immediately interested in the find and the two of us began to work our way towards a deal of some kind. The deal?  An even trade!  The Boy Scout for a NOS mid eighties Francesco Moser frame and fork set.  And the set was in my size, even though I didn't know it at the time.

The Moser frame set was gorgeous.  A very few light paint scratches and a slightly torn decal, which I would replace when one was found.  The frame set was very nice with interesting art and pantograph work, both of which added a wee bit of character.  I did, however, have one major concern.  Was the bicycle going to be too small for me.  The Moser was a smaller frame set than I was accustomed to riding

Even the beautiful sloping fork crown had experienced the pantograph treatment, this time honouring Moser's Hour Record time earned in 1984.  And the pantographing shows up in several places, adding even more appeal to an already appealing frame set.

To say that I was impressed with this frame set would be an understatement.  I was thoroughly impressed and set out to build, what I knew would be, a beautiful bicycle.  What I didn't know is that I would never ride it.

I acquired the Moser early in my vintage road bicycle collecting career.  To be perfectly honest, I really did not know what I was doing when I built the Moser up.  Oh, I understood the mechanical end of things well enough, but this was one of the first, from scratch bicycles I had built.  Though I made no mechanical errors that I am aware of, I did spend too much money.  For what I spent at the time, I could have bought myself a pretty nice Cinelli and covered shipping costs, to boot.  But, I did learn from the experience and will not make the throw money at it mistake again - I hope!

Part of my philosophy when it comes to building old road bicycles is to do so on a budget.  Anyone can own a vintage road bicycle if they are willing to spend lots of cash.  But I don't like having a bunch of money tied up in a bicycle.  By the time I approached the end of the Moser build, I had spent too much money.  Though it was a wonderful piece, I no longer felt good about building the bicycle.  That is in no way supposed to reflect on the quality of the bicycle nor the work that went into building it.  The Moser, once built up, was beautiful!

NEXT - BUILDING THE FRANCESCO MOSER

 

 

 

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