MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

ALLEZ PRO - INTRO

FINDING THE ALLEZ PRO

BUILDING THE ALLEZ PRO

RIDING THE ALLEZ PRO

 

BICYCLES OF USA

 

FINDING THE SPECIALIZED ALLEZ PRO

I was at work, one day, when my Crew Leader (that's what we call the Boss where I used to work) informed me that I had a telephone call.  It turned out that a friend, who was on vacation at the time, had run across a local fellow who had a couple of vintage, high end road bicycles for sale.

My chum, really, doesn't pay much attention to bicycle details.  When asked what kind they were, his response was shallow, suggesting that they looked to be pretty nice and, there were parts to go with the bikes.  Some critical information, but not all that revealing.

It was, however, a good lead and certainly worth following up.  Just before ending the call, my buddy added that the seller, used to be a professional bicycle racer, and had competed all over the world.  My interest grew, as I jotted down a number to call.  And call I did - right away!

Whenever I get a lead, on a vintage road bicycle, I pursue it as quickly as I can.  Failure to do so has, on more than one occasion, lead to disappointment.  Even postponing, for a few hours, is enough to create a lost opportunity.  That is an important piece of information when vintage bicycle hunting!

When I called the owner of the bicycles, I learned that he had a nineties something aluminum Fuji and a Specialized.  Both had belonged to his son, who used to race professionally.  The Fuji sounded promising, but the Specialized did not get the juices flowing.  I associate Specialized bicycles, with newer technologies, and I prefer older bikes.  As it turned out, the Specialized was the older of the two.  At any rate, a time was arranged for a viewing (immediately after I got off of work that day).  After thanking the fellow for his time, I went back to the work bench, for what I knew would now be a longer day, thanks to the flavour that a sprinkle of anticipation will add, to the taste of time's passing.  I could hardly wait to go and take a look.

As I recall, it was a beautiful Friday afternoon.  I liked the effect, of the sun glistening through the Manitoba Maple trees, that tunnelled the street as my Sekine and I, rode to the bicycle find.  A trellis, over the front gate, and a dilapidated cobble stone walk way, drew my attention, as I reminded myself not to get my hopes up.

Disappointment, often accompanies these initial "look-sees".  I leaned the Sekine up against a well kept hedge and climbed the front stairs.  My knock on the door, was quickly answered, by a fairly small man.  The first thing I thought, judging from his height, was that the bicycles would be far too small for me.  With that thought, some of the anticipation slipped away.  The thought passed quickly, remembering that it was this man's son who was the rider.  Hope returned.

The seller, and I, headed back to the fairly run down, but appropriately quaint garage.  He and I entered the naturally, but poorly, lit gloom.  Leaning against the far wall was the Fuji, aero tubing and all.  The bicycle was, indeed, nice and well equipped, with an assortment of Campagnolo components.  As I inspected the Fuji, I had all but forgotten the other bicycle.

Like so many people, who are inspecting a vintage road bicycle for potential purchase, I make mistakes.  And I was about to do just that, times two!

Engrossed, with checking the Fuji over, I almost didn't hear the seller dragging three, mid sized, cardboard boxes, to the middle of the floor.  The middle of the garage, was only place where the sunlight had managed to pierce the gloom, offering one single area of reasonable light.  A quick inspection of the boxes produced a number of other interesting items, even a bicycle tool, or two.  The parts boxes would be fun to sort through more thoroughly, later.

The other bicycle had, by this time, been pushed completely out of my mind.  I asked the fellow how much he wanted for the items, he had shown me.  His response was to follow him.  The rest of what he had to offer was in the basement.  By this time, I was definitely having fun!  But my focus was toast, out the window and none existent by this time.  Did I mention I was having fun!

The wooden stairs, leading to the dingy cellar, were steep and even managed to make a corner, near the bottom of the well.  We crossed the entire length of the basement, opened a hand made, crudely constructed wooden door and entered, what can only be called, a shrine.  A bicycle shrine, wrapped in what little light, the forty watt incandescent light bulb, could muster.

The tiny room was a neatly organized presentation of bicycle paraphernalia.  A couple of dozen bike jerseys hung, side by side, framed by the doorway, of a door less closet.  Two pairs of cycle shoes, one set well used and one set unused, rested beneath the hanging shirts.  Several wheel sets, all tubular, were stacked neatly beside one another on some kind of a home-made rack.  Two sets had Campagnolo Record low flange hubs, one set of Mavic hubs featured on another, and two sets built with Shimano Dura Ace units.  I can remember thinking that whoever did own this stuff was a serious rider.  Included with the wheel sets were three NOS tubular tires.

A pastel purple, slightly bent frame set, with no front forks, hung from a wood peg, attached to the wall.  Several small cardboard boxes, piled past flush with Velo stuff, threatened to spill their contents onto the hand finished, concrete floor.  But, none had spilled.  The room was the epitome of neatness.  The whole situation for me, smacked of Ali Baba's cave, as the forty watt bulb struggled to steal the gloom of the room.  I was having fun!

This was a pretty nice find, in my opinion, and I was more than interested in acquiring, everything, he had showed me.  The seller and I talked over price.  I was stunned, at what he was asking for everything.  We talked some more and the price did shift, in my favour, but hardly enough for me to think I was getting a really good deal.  With the price set, and cash exchanged, he and I started hauling the boxes, wheels and one jersey, out of the basement.  The rest of the jerseys were kept, for sentimental reasons, but the one that I got was a Gardin shirt and one that would fit me just fine the day cows start flying.  Actually, the hope of fit one day was about as foolish as one can get.  The jersey was snug, on my wife, who is half my size - most of the time.

The seller and I, hauled everything out of the basement, and piled the stuff high, in the garage.  I would have to come back, to pick everything up, with my half ton a little later.  As I was making arrangements to return with cash and carry, the old guy presented the Specialized Pro.  In my having lots of fun excitement, I had completely forgotten about the other bicycle.  By the way, this is a perfect story to demonstrate how not to go about buying a bicycle.  It is really easy to get really excited and make some really dumb mistakes.  I know all about this.

The Pro was not a complete bicycle.  Rather, it was a cobbled together, assortment of mismatched parts that did not even include a drive chain or transmission.  But the frame set looked to be in good condition.  Remember, the bike and I were still inside of the gloomy garage!  Even though the bicycle was intended to be part of the deal, I felt as if a really nice extra had been thrown in.

The frame set itself was made of chrome moly, double butted tubing and so stated, without fanfare, on the seat tube.  And my guess is that the tubing is quality stuff and pretty thin.  When flicked with a finger nail, the tubes ring like a bell.  To me, this suggests a quality tube set.  And, the cleanly installed forged drops, add to that evaluation.  Long pointed lugs are perfectly fitted and brazed to the tubes, suggesting that both, craftsmanship and material choice, defined the quality of the frame and fork set.  Increasing the interest, even more, are the nicely done fast back seat stays.  They too are beautifully mounted and even ornate, in their appearance.  Little features that make the difference between good enough and good.  All in all, the more I looked the frame and fork set over, the greater my interest grew.

Sadly, and once I got the Specialized into the sunlight, a flaw presented itself.  The front brake calliper had dented the down tube of the frame set.  This is a common problem with high end vintage bicycles.  The tubing in quite thin and easily dented.  I have run across many a nice old road bicycle, with this exact same kind of damage, in the exact same spot.  That single dent moved this beautiful old frame from the "special find" category to the "what will I do with it" one.  Frame damage, of any kind, will significantly lower the value of any old road bike!  It was that dent alone that made it easy for me to select my next "Junk Bike".

In all honesty, it took me a long time to get at the Allez Pro.  The bicycle hung in The Old Shed for some time before capturing my imagination.  My imagination is often captured as thoughts of riding season approach.  As mentioned, each year I build myself up a "Junk Bike" and the Specialized won the honour for that year.  And, each year someone buys the ride out from under me.  I speak figuratively, of course, but I have had people follow me home, and hand me cash, before leaving.  The Specialized was to become my "Junker" for the upcoming season.

NEXT - BUILDING THE SPECIALIZED ALLEZ PRO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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