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

BUILDING THE LEGNANO GRAN PREMIO

The Legnano would need a complete rebuild, before it could see the road again.  With that in mind, everything that could not, or would not, be used again, was stripped from the bicycle.  First to go was the rusty chain, followed quickly by the Suntour Honour rear derailleur.  Next, the rear luggage rack found a place elsewhere and, finally, the cranks were pulled and darn near pitched.  Darn near, but not quite just yet.

What was left of the bicycle was dirty.  There was a raging patina of rust, demanding attention.  The headset and bottom bracket bearings were crunchy, the paint was peeling and the art was all but non-existent.  But the Legnano was an interesting piece and certainly worth an hour or two of assembly, followed by a test ride of short or long duration, depending on the findings then.

In short, the task was to rebuild the bicycle to as close to original condition as possible without investing any money.  Not necessarily a daunting task when one has an abundance of spare parts to draw from.  Or so I thought...

The bicycle was quickly stripped of everything and then subjected to my rigorous stationary frame alignment testing procedures.  Though hardly sophisticated, the hoops I put a frame set through do help me get a reasonably good feel for a frame set's geometric integrity.  In other words, more often than not I can tell if a frame set is straight before riding the bicycle.  That said, it is the ride that is the final test of trueness.  I should add that this is a considerable understatement and proper explanation goes beyond the scope of this discussion.

The frame set measured true at the stays.  There was no apparent side to side lack of symmetry in the frame but the appearance of the head tube was still a bother.  Was the tube bent just behind the top head tube lug?  After all, other evidence pointed to the possibility of frame set damage.  Why was there a different-fork set installed?  Why was the top tube paint falling off near the head tube?  Things like that were genuine cause for concern.  And  I did my best to determine if the set's integrity was compromised or not.  Everything checked out as OK in the work stand.  A test ride would help tell the tale.  Back to the build...

Both the head set and bottom bracket bearing assemblies were in good condition but just about as dirty as they could get.  The bottom bracket grease could no longer be called grease.  Rather, it was a hard congealed mess.  So too was the ancient lubricant in the head set.  The wheel bearings, forget it.  I had no intention of using the wobbling hopping rusted hoops that came with the bicycle anyway so I did not even check out their mechanical state of repair.  Surly The Old Shed would have at least one decent set of wheels to offer.

The wheels selected were built for a 1975 CCM Tour du Canada.  For restoration of that bike, I had since decided to go back to the tubular units that were original issue.  This left a set of Campy Record high flange hubs, laced with stainless steel spokes to an excellent set of Weinmann concave eyeleted rims just hanging in storage waiting for a project.  A bit much for a test build, but why not.  The wheels fit, are pretty close to what would have been issued with the bicycle and were ready to install.  Just add air.

With the choice of wheels completed, the need to find an appropriate fork set reared its ugly head.  The forks that arrived with the Legnano are most likely not original.  Since they were pretty rusted, I decided to have a go at changing them out.  That endeavour would prove to be one of a couple of "gee - I thought I had one of those" adventures.  Needless to say, an appropriate fork set did not manifest itself.  Nope, nor did a decent cottered crank set.  That old component proved to be ultimately elusive also.

That is not to say that I do not have a crank set.  It simply means that I could not find one in The Old Shed.  A thorough search of that place is quite a task.  I really should organize it one of these days.

I did ransack the contents of The Old Shed for a more appropriate fork set but nothing presented itself.  Well, almost nothing.  I could have robbed the forks off of this lovely old Italian Torpado, but decided against it.  I was not about to cannibalize one lovely old Italian bicycle, just to try out another.  Patience is a virtue and that old yellow Torpado sold on Ebay for over $1200.00 US.  A fork will come my way, one day, but in the meantime, the "as found" fork set would have to do.

But the build of the Gran Premio presented a huge hurdle, when considering how to mount a saddle.  The Legnano has an unusual seat post clamp bolt and only that bolt will work with the Legnano frame set.  No bolt - no saddle.  No saddle - no way!  So, the Legnano Gran Premio would have to wait for the special bolt to show up.  And show up one did, and in fairly short order, I might add thanks to the friendly and helpful nature of the people who frequent an online bike forum that I like to attend.

With the seat post bolt dilemma solved, attention turned to the saddle and seat post selection.  The first saddle choice proved to be unacceptable.  Care must be taken when installing a used suspension leather saddle.  The saddle might break in to your shape and, then again, it just might not.  The first saddle of choice fell into the so darn uncomfortable category that it was swapped out almost immediately once test riding began.

There was a NOS Brooks B17 sitting in storage and that quickly found itself sitting atop a GP alloy 26.4mm seat post.  The seat post was only one I had on hand at the time that was at all appropriate and would fit the Legnano seat tube.

I wanted to run a set of Universal Extra brake callipers but soon realized that the callipers selected would have to work with with the unusual rear brake cable guide and quick release.  Again, Legnano had their own ideas about this feature and is another of the rare situations that make this old bicycle a bit more of a challenge to restore.  The choice, of course, would be Universal Model 61 center pull units, of which I had several sets tucked away for just such a build.  I would, however, have to buy a set of NOS Universal hoods and that would likely be an expensive purchase.

The mismatched and misaligned cranks were the next concern.  "As found" they just wouldn't do.  The left crank was worn out and no new cotter pin was about to fix the situation.  Another crank set was needed and that brought about another trip to The Old Shed.

To make a long story short, The Old Shed let me down or I gave up.  I just could not find an appropriate set of cottered cranks.  The set that I finally installed on the Legnano is matched, neither in design or style.   But the crank arms are the same length and they are aligned.  And, to make matters worse, the selected crank set is set up for French thread pedals.  The search for a correct steel cottered crank set continues.

The build was just about complete and soon it would be time to try the bicycle out.  The purpose of this whole endeavour to begin with.

NEXT - RIDING THE LEGNANO GRAN PREMIO

 

 

 

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