MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

THE GRAN PREMIO - INTRO

FINDING THE GRAN PREMIO

BUILDING THE GRAN PREMIO

RIDING THE GRAN PREMIO

GRAN PREMIO COMPETITIONS

GRAN PREMIO CRANK ?

GRAN PREMIO SHIFTING?

GRAN PREMIO CONTROLS

GRAN PREMIO - PAINT & ART

GRAN PREMIO BUILT 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

FINDING THE LEGNANO GRAN PREMIO

While visiting my mother who lives in Calgary, Alberta I opened up an email from a fellow who lives in Atikokan, a small town about 100 miles west of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  My Atikokan friend sent me a picture of an old bicycle, suggesting that it was a Legnano.  He went on to briefly mention that the bike had Campagnolo rear drops.  Was  I interested?

Needless to say, I was and responded to his email immediately, explaining that I was out of the area for about a month.  This proved to be no problem, since my friend said that he would deliver the bicycle upon my return and at his next visit to Thunder Bay.

So, for the next few weeks, all I could do was pour a few picture of a vintage road bicycle with chrome plated lug work, Campy drops and a steering stem with Legnano pantographed into it.  My imagination ran wild hoping that this would prove to be a lucky, top of the line find since I have always liked Legnano bicycles.

One of my most memorable rides on a vintage road bicycle was while sitting a ratty old entry level lime green Legnano that I found at the Dump.  In fact, though it might be difficult to say about any single ride, it was that day with the entry level Legnano that changed the way I viewed vintage road bicycles.

At any rate, the next few weeks allowed for careful inspection of the bicycle images.  The pictures were of decent quality and I could make out some detail.  Enough detail to get my hopes up.  And enough to cause concern!  The bicycle appeared to be in rough shape, to say the least, and it looked like most of the components had been swapped out at what was likely different times in the bicycle's past.  Nothing seemed to match anything.  The only thing to help get a feel for the possible components grouppo was the Campy shifters and front derailleur.  These looked to be original.

The front forks were a different issue all together.  Though well made, they are of unusual design.  The crown has a hole on each side and the drops are not Campy.  Some  Googling on line, helped me identify what the correct fork should look like and the "as found" fork isn't it.   However, since I had no other better fork to install, the "as found" one would do for test riding purposes, if I ever managed to get the bike that far.  And that is a pretty big "if" when one considers the fact that a very special seat post clamp bolt is required to secure the saddle post.  Without that special bolt, the bicycle could only be ridden standing up.

The previous owner installed a make-shift clamp bolt that did absolutely no good what so ever.  The seat lug does not clamp onto the seat post as is the case with most bicycles.  It was very fortunate that a fellow on the Bicycle Forum I participate in was good enough to sell me the exact bolt that I needed.  And there is a little add on to this story.  Parts of the original bolt and clamp assembly had found their way into the bottom bracket housing.

It was fortunate that the rear brake cable guide was present on the bicycle.  Again, like the seat post clamp bolt, the brake cable guide would be a very difficult item to find.  Though the one "as found" was covered in rust, it was salvageable and salvage it I would when time, opportunity and a few extra dollars in the bank were available.

All in all, it became increasingly obvious that who ever was to restore the Legnano would have his or her work cut out for them.  The pictures even presented the possibility that the bicycle might have suffered some severe trauma at some time.  Was the top tube bent ever so slightly, or did Brian's camera tend to distort/skew an imagine the way mine does?  So many questions and concerns...

Roughly a week after returning to Thunder Bay, the Legnano was dropped off at my house.  Brian and I chatted for a few moments as he perused the contents of The Old Shed.  I gave him an old Peugeot Course frame set that he expressed interest in and that was that.  The Peugeot was not given in trade, I might add.  Brian expected nothing for the Legnano and it was my pleasure to give him an old Peugeot that I had not planned to use anyway.  And that might prove to be another story.

The Legnano was, basically, in pieces "as found" and not all the pieces remained.  A patina of rust was immediately evident but might prove reasonably easy to clean up.  What pieces did remain, did not match.  And the chrome, coupled with paint failure did point to the possibility of a bent top tube.  But at least the bicycle was up close and personal.  The speculation and waiting was over.  I had a Legnano again and probably the knowledge and skill to restore it to its original condition, if I decided to do so.  But that decision would have to wait until I measured and rode the bicycle.  And to do the latter, I would have to build the bike from the bottom bracket out.

NEXT - BUILDING THE GRAN PREMIO

 

 

 

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