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

RIDING THE LEGNANO GRAN PREMIO

   

With the bicycle assembled, all be it with mismatched parts, it was time to try the old Italian steed out.  Would it track well or pull one way or the other?

The test would prove to be a bit unfair on several planes.  The Legnano is Old School and will feel different than a bicycle fitted with more modern components.  The geometry is probably screwed up with the installation of a non original fork.  And I would be testing the bicycle without the benefit of my regular riding shoes and clip in pedals.  All that said, it was time to test the bike and see what it had to offer.

The day was quite warm and I got to the test ride in early afternoon, hoping to spend an hour or two on the bike.  I tucked my jeans into my socks, tightened the laces on my sneakers and set off down the driveway, testing first the back brake and then the front while still rolling very slowly.  The brakes would get a more intense test with-in a couple of minutes if all went well.

Upon reaching the front street, I turned the Legnano up hill (not really much of a grade to be honest) and brought the bicycle up to something fast enough to achieve easy balance.  While pedalling, I slowly released my grip on the handlebars, trying to feel if the bike would tend to pull one way or the other.  Nope.  The Legnano tracked just fine and hands off control was a non issue, if there is anything such as hands off control.

Needless to say, I was happy with this initial discovery.  I now had an old Legnano that was structurally sound, reasonably complete and rolling down the street under me.  A couple of more times up and down the street to check transmission function a few times.  A stop or two to make a saddle adjustment or two.  And then back to the work stand for a complete checking over.  The check over is to ensure that the wheels stayed true, the crank cotter pins stayed tight, and things like that which require immediate attention when first putting a bike on the road.  Everything checked out just fine.

The Legnano Gran Premio was ready for a real ride and so was I.

The bicycle rides well, rolling smoothly over paved roads.  The responsiveness of the bicycle is adequate but nothing to write home about.  Perhaps this is a product of the incorrect front fork.  Or the 27" wheels.  Or, just my imagination when trying to compare the feel of Old School to some of the more technologically advanced mounts in my collection.  But the ride was nice and had that vintage feel that I have come to appreciate when out and about on an bike that is somewhat older than those I usually ride.

However, the test rides were less than they could have been.  I absolutely hate the pedals and the feel they impart.  I have grown used to clipping in and I just can't get comfortable with anything else.  Sadly, I do not have an appropriate crank set to mount my pedals on and had to make do with the Old School offerings.  Blah!

The transmission is not all that it can be, to say the least.  The Gran Sport rear derailleur has toothless steel pulleys and they are noisy.  I will either install a full Campagnolo NR grouppo or a set of record derailleur pulleys.  In addition to the rear derailleur issue, there is noise coming from the crank set.  It seems to register each chain link as it is engaged.  Once again, this could become a non-issue if the Nouvo Record option is pursued.  That said, I do wish to keep the bike as Old School as it was meant to be.  It is likely that the Old School school of thought will win out.

The brakes, though they work very nicely, are another grouppo issue.  The Legnano will not accept side pull brakes while using the original brake cable guide that offers a quick release opportunity to the rear calliper.  Just another instance of support for the Old School build.

The 27" wheel set is on its way out.  The wheels are just too heavy and unresponsive for a bicycle of the Tipo Roma's potential.  A set of high flange Campy Tipo hubs would best compliment the Gran Sport transmission.  And the hubs will be laced to tubular rims, once again in better keeping with the intended nature of the bicycle.  This one change alone will manifest itself in vastly improved feel, resulting in a faster accelerating and more agile bicycle.

In summary, the Legnano fitted with tubular wheels, a drive and transmission system that functions as expected and some wider handlebars, just might prove to offer a pretty decent ride.  And, if I can find a proper crank set, the modern clip-in pedals might make the bike a keeper...

         

The question that surfaces now is does the bicycle remain or should it be passed on to someone else?  This riding season saw six great vintage road bicycles join the collection, the Gran Premio being one of them.  I cannot keep all six newly acquired bicycles.  Something has to go and it just might be the Legnano since it will require considerable effort and expense to get it looking the way that it should.  But I really like Legnano bicycles.  Perhaps if I had the original fork set and a proper cottered crank it would help make the decision easier to make.

NEXT - THE LEGNANO & THE COMPETITION

 

 

 

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