MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MASERATI MT7 - INTRO

FINDING THE MASERATI

BUILDING THE MASERATI

RIDING THE MASERATI

THE RESTORED MASERATI

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

 

  

RIDING THE MASERATI MT-7

Getting the Maserati ready for the test ride was not a major undertaking, even though there was some minor frame straightening to do.  Generally, for a test ride, only the absolute bare minimum amount of work would be done.  The Maserati test build went a bit beyond a normal test build in the fact that original components were on hand and very easy to change out.

There was a second reason for building the bike up with original components.  If the bike did ride well, then it would become the regular ride for part of the summer season.  In other words, the bicycle would be used daily, or close to it, for at least three consecutive months.  At the end of that time, the decision to fully or partially restore, would be addressed.

With that in mind, an early seventies Campagnolo Nouvo Record rear derailleur found itself hooked up in short order.  The brakes were, once hooked up which meant little more than flipping the yoke cables into the yokes, ready to go.  The saddle seemed well tilted, perhaps needing a bit more forward tilt, but it would do for the short ride intended.

One transmission cable, that for the rear derailleur, had to be installed, leaving only the problem of the rear tire.  Tubular, naturally, and shot to say the least.  Worn, rotted and not holding air.  Pretty hard to justify picking that apart and sewing it up, with hopes that it will actually hold air or tolerate any irregularity on the road.

There was one old tubular tire hanging in The Old Shed and it looked to be pretty close to shot itself.  It did, however, hold air or at least did when put away.  The tire found its way onto a the rear wheel and left to dry over night.  The glue on the front wheel was tested for adhesion in several spots and found to be adequate for light use.

The used and environmentally challenged rear tire had been glued into place the day before and the bike was ready to go.  Everything was freshly checked and/or installed.  A bit of tire pressure, pedal adjustment and a test ride.

Pedal adjustment?  Though they look miserably out of place, clip-in pedals are my personal choice on all of my bikes.  When not in use, some bikes are set up with original, period correct pedals and straps, but if the bike is on the road, it is fitted with clip-less pedals.  Just a personal preference born out of practicality.

The test ride of the Maserati was to be very short.  The one and only purpose for the test ride was to ensure that the bicycle rode straight and true, with no pulling one way or the other.  If the bike passed that test, then it would immediately come apart for a complete mechanical refurbishment.

But none of that was to happen right away.  Put simply, the Maserati crashed with-in its first hundred feet of being test ridden...

Once in the driveway and astride the Maserati, I clipped in the drive side pedal and then unclipped.  The release mechanism seemed to be set just about right, for my liking.  The left pedal was similarly tested.  Everything seemed in order and the drive side clipped in again as I set off.

Just as I was about to clip into the non-drive side, the bicycle got a funny light feel to it, seeming to wander away from the intended path.  Then it leaned, dangerously, to the drive side and that was that.  Down it went with me still clipped in.  Once again, I remembered the lesson of the Olmo and my rule for test rides - check everything just before the mount!

I hadn't and I crashed!

Preparing to tighten up the steering stem and handlebars, I reached into the tool box for the 7mm Allen Wrench only to discover I had given my last one to Bicycles for Humanity.  With that in mind, I made a mental note to see if I could find a replacement in The Old Shed and tighten the steering stem and handlebars up later.  Mental note?

I didn't and with a good not so solid twenty or thirty feet under way, the front wheel slowly swung to the left, the bike leaned to the right and gravity did the rest.  Splat, still clipped in and fitted with a mind not capable of keeping up, completely, with what was going on.

Laying on my side, the mind did come up to speed, and I realized what had happened.  The steering stem was finger loose.  Neither the bicycle, nor the idiot riding it, were injured, and a 7mm Allen Wrench was quickly found.  The stem was tightened up and the handlebars checked.

The bike was gone over, front to back, one last time to ensure that gravity was not placed in charge of the next attempt to test ride the bicycle.  And, with but a moment to brush the gravel and sand off of pants and T-shirt, the test ride duo was off again.

The Maserati proved to be rock stable.  Up the street and then down, with a bit of a torture test to the Universal brakes at the bottom of the grade.  Then back up, shifting a time to two to ensure the transmission was working as intended.  It was.

And that was that.  With the initial mechanic checks out of the way, it was time to feel the ride.  Feeling the ride is allowing the bicycle to take over - sort of.  By gradually releasing one's grip on the handlebars, the tendency for the bicycle to pull, one way or the other, will manifest itself.  At the first hint of pull, take firm hold of the bicycle and consider the possible problems.  Investigate and ride again if appropriate to do so.

If the bicycle does not attempt to head off in its own direction, continue to allow it to hold control.  Though it is unwise to completely remove one's hands from the handlebars, some foolish people will do so in an effort to confirm what they have just learned.  Not a good idea but the foolish often times feel better after doing so.

Again, the Maserati performed like a champion although it was in no way put through any of its paces.  The old tires suggest that keeping the speeds very slow might be the most prudent path to follow.  But now that the bicycle's frame integrity had been proven, spending a few bucks on a set of new sew-ups and completely rebuilding the bicycle might be a good idea.  In fact, that was the idea!

NEXT - RESTORING THE MASERATI

 

 

 

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