The first couple of test rides, for any bicycle, includes going up and down the street, in front of my house.  Speed is not a concern, during the early stages of testing a bicycle's ride feel and, more importantly, ride stability.  Ride stability?

Does the bike track well?  In other words, does it pull to one side, or the other.  If there is any structural damage to the frame set's geometry, it will usually manifest itself during this part, of the test ride.  The Tommasini tracked like it was on rails, pulling neither one way, or the other.  In other words, all evidence collected suggested that the frame set was true and aligned.

The brakes worked, pretty much, as expected.  After all, several of the collection bicycles are fitted with Campy Record brakes and all work well.  That is not to say that Campagnolo makes the best side pull brake set, on the market, but they do make a good set of stoppers, that rivals just about anything else, offered at the time.  About the only issue I have, with Campy brakes, are the gum hoods offered by Campagnolo.  The hoods simply, do not stand the test of time well, with failure, generally beginning, to show itself with-in a season or two.  But, that was off little consequence, since I did not have a Campy hood set to install, at the time of the test build.  I did, however, have an after market set that seem to deteriorate, at pretty much the same rate as their, high priced, Campagnolo cousins.

Once satisfied that the bicycle's frame set was true and that the bicycle could stop on command, it was time to extend the test ride, and begin to appraise the bicycle's ride quality.  This second part of initial test riding is conducted, with-in city limits and usually no more than a mile or two, from home.  Why?  Because if I break down, I do not want to have to walk far, in my bike shoes, even though I love walking like a duck.

Part two, of the test ride started, with me on the Tommasini, and my son riding my early eighties Proctor-Townsend.  The P-T is a great, and easy to ride bike, offering good ride quality, along with wonderful "user friendliness", thanks to the eight speed Shimano 105 Brifter transmission.  My son, who is just getting into riding vintage road bicycles, commented on how nice the P-T was.

Leaving the neighbourhood, the boy and I headed for one, of the many bike trails, that dissect Thunder Bay.  Riding would be relatively slow.  The purpose of this stage of the test ride was, simply, to ensure that everything was operating, as expected.  Additionally, I always keep a couple of wrenches, in my pocket, so that I can hop off of the bicycle, make some saddle adjustments, seeking to optimize saddle height, tilt and fore/aft position.  This fussing around can extend, over several rides, until I think that I have found the perfect location for the saddle.  I should add, that some time will also be spent, adjusting handlebar tilt, in an effort to optimize fit and comfort.

The second generation Super Record transmission also preformed predictably.  The smooth friction shift system, took no time at all to get used to.  The need to trim was all but non-existent, since I was already used to the feel, and operation, of both the Super and Nouvo Record transmissions.  About the only thing one could do to improve the operation, or perhaps "user friendliness" feel, would be to install a set of Barcon shifters like those fitted to my 1971 Masi Gran Criterium.  But that will never be since I intend to leave the Tommasini as close to original as I possibly can.

The Super Record hubbed wheel set was more than adequate, however; the mismatched tires were no longer round, in their profile.  Though the front was just fine, the rear had worn a bit flat, in the center, a testament, to the time the bike spent in a trainer.  By this time, I had already decided that I would be keeping the bicycle.  A purchase of new tires would likely prove to be prudent.  That said, later in the day, my son and I jumped into the Ranger and headed off to one of my favourite bike shops, where I picked up a nice set of Schwalbe tires.  I was more than happy to see that the shop had one blue set left, on the shelf, and they were mine for $16.00 each.  The guys, at this particular shop, are really good to me, often times selling me items, at their cost.

With the tires purchased, and the day growing late, the boy and I headed for home.  I intended to install the tires immediately and figured, that since I was going to that trouble, I might as well install some new handlebar tape, as well.  As luck would have it, there was still one set of blue bar tape, tucked away, and that was selected for the Tommasini.  It looked like the evening was shaping up to be one of change for the my Italian friend.

And, that is exactly how the evening progressed.  The new tires, and handlebar tape, did a great deal to improve the appearance of the Tommasini.  So much, in fact, that the scruffy Turbo saddle looked, miserably, out of place.  Now, the "as found" saddle might have fitted in, had I used yellow handlebar tape, but the yellow perch definitely looked out of place, with the blue tape.  Since the bike was already in the stand, and night was fast descending, I decided to see what The Old Shed had to offer in the saddle department.

After trying one or two, for appearance sake only, I settled for a gorgeous dark brown Rolls.  The saddle had been a gift, from the owner of a local bike shop, and was in very close to mint condition.  The saddle's barely perceptible patina of age matched the Tommasini's perfectly.  I had used the saddle for a short while on a previously owned Canadian made Gardin, which was reputed to be one of Team Issue quality.  Though a very nice bicycle, I would never be able to qualify such a claim, but the bicycle was, none the less, very nice.  The team issue Gardin was sold off, but the Rolls remained in my possession.  And the saddle proved to be a perfect choice for the lovely old Tommasini Prestige.

The Tommasini was ready to roll, and roll it has, since then.  The bicycle and I have been out many times together, but under rather unusual circumstances...

Several high end bicycles came my way in the Summer of 2009, the Tommasini being one of them.  Though the others were all impressive in their own right, a gorgeous 1983 Gardin and, an extremely collectible, 1971 Masi Gran Criterium, attracted most of my attention.  The last month, or so, of the riding season would see one bike go out, after the other.  I was trying to figure out which one offered the best ride feel and quality.  The jury is still out.  All three bicycles are incredible and fall immediately into the best riders class.


If I had to choose a favourite bicycle from my collection, I suppose that the Tommasini Prestige would be granted the honour.  No other bicycle in my collection exceeds the ride quality offered by the Prestige, although, and as mentioned, a couple do equal it.  The Tommasini's art and paint are in excellent original condition, a big plus to me and just about anyone interested, in the collectible value of a vintage road bicycle.  The bicycle fits me like a glove.  And finally, my son found the bike for me.  Added up, the result is fairly obvious - the Tommasini Prestige is a keeper.