MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

1968 LEGNANO GP - INTRO

FINDING THE GRAN PREMIO

GRAN PREMIO - TEST BUILD

TEST RIDING THE GP

TEST RIDE REPAIRS REQ'D

FINAL BUILD - FOR NOW

PERIOD & MODEL CORRECT

RESTORED RIDE QUALITY

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

GRAN PREMIO TEST RIDE BUILD

Even though the Legnano was not in its final rebuilt form, it was, none the less, road worthy and safe to ride.  Well, almost safe!

The tires were in very rough condition, showing bare cotton threads as well as severed threads.   Time and environmental issues had caused the tires to die a tired death.  Though plenty of tread was left, the side wall were incredibly fragile.  The test ride would include no high speed shenanigans.

As in the case with all test rides, the first thing to test would be the brakes and their ability to stop the bicycle.  Nothing is more important than ensuring the brakes are up to snuff before taking a bicycle out for its first spin.

At low speeds, the Universal Extra 68 callipers worked like a charm.  The lever position was a bit high, but that would be a non-issue to alter.  Most test rides take place before the handlebar tape is installed.  And this was the case with the Gran Premio.

The 68s did need a bit of toeing in at the onset of the build, and more accurate alignment certainly would not hamper the calliper's ability to slow the bike down.  But all in all, the brakes looked great and worked as well as any vintage side pull could be expected to.

The bars and levers were reasonably comfortable, but the levers could use some repositioning, prior to installing hoods and wrapping the bars with ribbon.  The immediate school of thought suggested that the levers should be a bit lower, removing the opportunity for hood riding, but presenting a much better opportunity to grab the brakes, when riding in the bar drops.

With the brakes tested at low speeds, and found to be working just fine, it was time to torture test them.  The torture test would reveal at least two things.  Would the brakes actually stop well under demanding conditions, and...

Was anything loose that would cause a safety concern when the bicycle was being ridden?

The brakes worked just fine, but the handlebars were not nearly tight enough.  Under medium pressure braking, the handlebars wanted to rotate forward, which would present a serious handling problem should the situation not be rectified.  The bars were tightened in very short order and then torture tested again.  This time they stayed put!

As mentioned, the brake callipers did their job just fine and did so without a single peep.  No squeaking or squealing created any feeling of alarm.  About the only thing needed to complete a very nice vintage stopper package would be a set of Universal brake pads, assuming a reasonably intact set of four could be found.  The mounted Scott Mathauser pads, though certainly adequate, did not offer the grip the older original pads would supply.

The transmission did not receive much of a test on the test ride.  The state of repair present in the tires did not inspire confidence.  With that in mind, the chain jumpers were tested but not under ideal conditions.  The Legnano could not be brought up to adequate speed to allow for a full transmission test.

None the less, the little bit of shifting attempted came off without a hitch.  The Nouvo Record transmission was easy to feel into gear and managed perfect shifts, each time a shift was attempted.  This is not an unusual expectation for these old Campy chain jumpers.

Testing the saddle was a short lived experience.  A couple of adjustments in saddle position occurred during the test, including a tipping up of the nose, a degree or two, coupled with sliding it slightly to the aft.  Once those two adjustments were completed, the saddle felt much better, but the butt still tended to slide forward just a wee bit.  A longer ride would address the issue once better tires had been found and installed.

The seat post, an alloy indexed GP unit proved its worth, holding its position like it was welded in place.  This proved to be a bit of a surprise since the very unusual Legnano seat post clamp bolt did not inspire confidence, based on visual evaluation.  The bolt did not have to be super tightened, as is sometimes the case with the standard clamp situation found on most bicycles.

The Campy pedals proved to be a horrible distraction!  Though just fine, in their own right, they cannot compare with the user friendliness of a decent set of SPDs.  Once a rider gets used to the newer pedal technology, the Old School foot platforms loose all of their functional appeal.  Though the look like the belong, the do nothing to enhance the ride quality of the bicycle.  The pedals will be changed out when the new tires are found and installed.

With everything tested and found to be, mostly, acceptable, the Legnano was all but ready for the road.  The bike rode straight and true, suggesting that the structural integrity of the frame set was uncompromised, always a concern with a new bicycle.  Once tires and pedals have been changed out, the Gran Premio would see the rest of the riding season as the main vintage ride, replacing a recently completed and ridden 1978 Motoécane Grand Jubileé that had been found a couple of months, prior to building the Gran Premio.

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