MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

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

THE GRAN PREMIO CONTROLS

"As found", the Legnano was fitted with a pretty unusual and rare set of handlebars SR World Champions and mounted on a Legnano pantographed steering stem, the only item on the bike bearing the Legnano name.  Needless to say, the Asian handlebars would stick out like a sore thumb is left on the bicycle.  Besides, my guess was that the SR World Champion handlebars might well prove to be great trading stock.

Though the drop handlebars would have been original issue, it seemed a good idea to fit a different set of handlebars that would offer a more upright sitting position.  The more upright sitting position would prove better for around use and part of the Legnano's duties will include hauling groceries.

The Legnano was to be a city bike that would offer a more upright riding position.  With this in mind, and still focusing on component choice criteria, a set of alloy moustache style handlebars were selected for the control center.  Since the sitting position would be more upright, it would seem silly, and perhaps even unsafe, to reach all the way down to the down tube to shift gears.  With this in mind, part of the controls group would include Barcon shifters.  There were a few sets of Suntour Barcons tucked away and at least one set was less than perfect in the cosmetic category.  Perhaps, the perfect shifting solution for this intended to be inexpensive city bike.

Installing Barcon shifters would prove to be a problem.  In a normal installation, the Barcon shifter cable and casing runs under the handlebar tape.  The Legnano would have no handle bar tape since the bars selected for the bicycle did not lend themselves well to taping.  What to do?

Additionally, on initial trial fit, the Barcons refused to enter the bore of the handlebars.  As it turned out, the bore of the moustache bars was half a millimetre smaller than that of drop bars.  I studied the situation, wondering if the result would be worth the effort.  The task was easy enough to complete but the question was, would the modification actually allow the assembly to fit and work properly?  A set of Barcon shifters would have to be sacrificed to find out.  And that was not the end of the world.  The set to be help up to the sacrificial alter were of Suntour origin.  There was no way I was about to bastardize my last set of Campagnolo Barcon shifters.  Besides, the Suntour units work better than do the Campy ones.  Much better but this is a statement of opinion only.

It seemed likely that I could file down the Barcon barrel to fit inside the moustache handle bars, but that would mean removing a full half millimetre all the way around the barrel.  And there would still be the problem of cable routing, under, over, through or around the brake levers.  But the cost to convert a slightly marred set of Suntour Barcons would be zero.  Time required to complete the task would likely be a couple of hours.  And that time could be part of a multi-tasking evening of filing alloy, fitting into holes and watching a movie on the TV.

Brake levers were next on the list of items to choose an install.  There were Shimano, Dia-Compe, Weinmann and no name brand brake levers stored away in The Old Shed.  Anything from Asia seemed horribly inappropriate for use on a 1961 Legnano that was seeking to look as old, or even a bit older, than it actually was.  With this in mind, and not having much else to choose from, a set of Weinmann alloy levers were selected as initial candidates for the job.  The brake lever choice is still up in the air until I have time to seek a more appropriate set elsewhere.  And elsewhere might not be all that far away.

Since drop bars were not to be the flavour of the day for the Legnano, handlebar tape seemed to be out of the question.  A decent of handlebar grips would be needed to complete the build.  Fortunately, I stated tucking vintage handlebar grips away some time ago and I had a few sets to choose from.  For the initial mock up of the Legnano, I use what was most accessible.  The grips selected were set pulled from the same bicycle that donated the moustache handlebars.  Both the bars and the grips add considerably to the antiquated appearance of the bicycle, in my opinion.

As fitting the Barcon and brake levers continued, another problem surfaced.  How to run the transmission cables?  The casings/cables would somehow have to fit under the brake lever clamps.  This would mean that the levers and bodies would require minor modification.  The brake lever body would have to have a spot filed out to allow the casing to pass between the body and the handlebar.  But the modifications required did not end there...

The lever itself had to be filed so that it would clear the brake cable casing.  Not only would it have to be filed to allow for stationary clearance, but it modifications would also have to take into account the fact the the lever was not stationary.  The solution was a simple removal of some of the alloy on the pivot end of the brake lever.  And suddenly, all was well.  Or at least appeared to be so.

Sadly, with the decision to run Barcons, standard handlebar grips were a problem.  How would one run shifter cables and casings under a slide on handlebar grip?  To do so would mean one of two things...

A vintage handlebar grip would have to be modified to allow for the brake cable, or a modern set of cushion grips would likely install well.  The modern cushion grips are far more pliable that their Old School ancestors and will probably treat Carpal Tunnel plagues wrists with considerably more consideration.  All that said, as it turned out all I had to do was cut the end off of the vintage grips.  Warm them up in hot water and slide them into place, forcing them over the derailleur cables with little problem.  The result, a hand grip that looks as if it belongs and is quite comfortable.

And all was indeed well.  The brake levers work just fine with the cables routing.  The levers look just fine but will need some cleaning up prior to final installation.  So too will the Barcons be subjected to the cleaning up process.  Cleaning up, in this instance, means filing off the Suntour pantograph, filing off the gouges that mar the shifter's appearance and perhaps even removing all reference Suntour by sanding off the text on each of the shifter booties.  The end result should look and work just fine.

With the Suntour Barcons cleaned up and installed and cable routing figured out, the control center beginning to take shape.  The bars had already been tested on other similar bicycles and comfort was not going to be an issue.  That said, I had never installed a set of these moustache style handlebars with bar end shifters.  I was looking forward to test riding the result.  Hopefully, the set-up would prove to be "user friendly" for around town errand running.

NEXT - GRAN PREMIO PAINT & ART

 

 

 

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