MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

BICYCLE QUALITY - INTRO

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BICYCLE

FRAME & FORK QUALITY

WHEN BEST ISN'T BEST

FRAME & FORK  INTEGRITY

DENTED FRAME OR FORK

BENT FRAME OR FORK

MODIFIED FRAME OR FORKI

REPAIRED FRAME OR FORK

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

FRAME & FORK MATERIALS

FRAME SET DROP-OUTS

CLAMPS & BRAZE-ONS

FRAME CRAFTSMANSHIP

CHARACTER & PERSONALITY

 

BICYCLE CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY

That just about sums up the frame set’s quality indicators, one needs to be aware of, before purchasing a vintage road bicycle, or frame set.  Once you are satisfied with the frame set itself, begin to look elsewhere for additional quality indicators.

As mentioned earlier, a Cinelli will always ride like a Cinelli.  A vintage road bicycle’s character, perhaps better referred to as “feel”, is defined by the design of and quality built into the frame and fork set.  A quick handling race bike will always be quick handling, regardless of what components are installed.  A touring bike will always offer a more stable ride, than its race bred counterpart.  A vintage bicycle’s character is pretty much unchangeable unless, of course, the frame set is altered in a structural sense.

After owning and riding a lot of different high end vintage road bicycles, one thing that I cannot demonstrate becomes apparent.  Each bicycle, from entry level to top of the line, has its own personality.  A bicycle’s personality is a product of the bicycle's character (how it feels), coupled with how well it’s components work, or more importantly, how they work together (ease of use).  A bicycle’s personality is, sort of, a "user friendly" issue and is derived solely  from the components installed, with one exception.  The bicycle's fit to the rider helps to define personality.  A bicycle, to big or too small, will not be easy to use.

Personality is also defined by the rider.  I have owned, refurbished/restored/ridden a good many different vintage road bicycles over the past few years.  I like bicycles that have a vintage personality.  For me, the Old School feel of friction shifting is appreciated, even though it is not "user friendly".  For me, the bicycle derives a good part of its personality through the lack of user friendly features, such as indexed or Ergo shifting.  My Pinarello Trevisio was one of the easiest bicycles to ride that I have owned.  It was even one of my highly favoured bicycles, but it was never a favourite ride.  On the flip side thought I never really saw my entry level Legnano as a collection favourite, however; it treated me to one of the best rides I have ever had.  I should have kept the Legnano, but, then again, I did find a much nicer one, a couple of years later.

Perhaps that comparison between the Pinarello and Legnano is unfair, since the two bicycles are of such different character.  The Pinarello frame set is top of the line and quite sophisticated, while the Legnano is anything but.  However, I once set a top of the line bicycle, with both Old School and modern component grouppos.

My Miele LTD was fist built up with user friendly features, such as indexed shifting and light action brakes.  The bicycle was an immediate treat to ride.  In its second build, I fitted an Old School Campagnolo Super Record grouppo.  The Miele's ride still had the same feel to it, but using the bicycle felt different.

I could not click to the next gear.  I had to feel for it.  I had to pull hard, to feel the brakes hook up.  And in pulling hard, I felt to be a part of the brake system.  Using, through feel, helps me become more in tune with the bicycle, because I am part of its state of tune, as I ride it.  Those of you who appreciate and prefer an automobile's standard transmission, over an automatic one, will understand what I am trying to say.

With frame and fork inspections out of the way, the component grouppo comes under the microscope.  The manufacturer of the component grouppo is certainly important, when assigning value to a bicycle.  However, the wear on the components themselves, tells an important story about the frame set, as well as the bicycle, itself.

By developing an understand of what to look for, when evaluating components, you will come to understand a bit more about the frame and fork sets themselves.  Component use, abuse and state of repair is an open book, when it comes to determining the history of a bicycle.

 

 

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