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

 

DENTED FRAME OR FORK

It is not unusual to run across frame sets that have a dent or two in them.  And dents are more likely to manifest themselves on high end frame sets with thin wall tubing.  Generally, a dent will not negatively impact the quality of the ride.  However, any dent in the frame or forks will absolutely lower the value of the bicycle.  It is just that simple!  The top tube on this late sixties English Viking has been clamped in a vice, probably in an effort to remove a seized seat post.  The dent is ugly and presents itself in an horribly obvious place.  If it were not for this unsightly blemish, the Viking would be an excellent restoration prospect.  As it stands, there are two ways to remove the dent and both require, at the very least, repainting.

The tubing on most high end vintage bicycles is very thin and can be dented, or crushed, quite easily.  Look at every part of the frame’s surface.  And do the same with the forks.  Supplement your visual search by carefully feeling the tubing surface.  Sometimes a dent that is difficult to see can be felt.  Make verbal note of any dents that you find (this will help to drive the purchase price down, if the owner is aware of the deficiencies).

Dents in the frame set do not, necessarily, indicate careless use.  In fact, one of the most common of dents is the fault of poor design.  The front "side pull" brake calliper can be considered a hazard to any high end bicycle’s down tube.  If the forks are allowed to rotate too much, the cable adjuster of the front "side pull" brake calliper will come into contact with the down tube.  Once, twice and how many more times one can only guess, over the bicycle’s lifetime.  The result, sooner or later, is a dent.

Some, make that many, side pull brake callipers were fitted with little rubber "O"-rings intended to cushion any blow that the bicycle's down tube might experience thanks to the calliper design.  These little rubber guys do help but not enough.  In my time I have run across quite a few vintage road bicycles with little rubber things that fit ever so nicely into the dent they have caused.  My advice would be to install a pad directly onto the frame set at the probable point of impact.  The only one of these pads I have ever seen was mounted on a top of the line Canadian made Sekine SHX-270.

There is another very common dent that is frequently present but very difficult to see when inspecting a vintage road bicycle.  If the bicycle you are looking at is a high end model with thin walled chrome moly tubing and has a clamp-on side or center stand mounted, expect the chain stays to be crushed.  These aftermarket add-ons have no place on a high end frame set.  The thin wall tubing just can't accept the pressure caused by clamping the darn component into place.  If you see a clamp-on side or center stand mounted to a good quality bike, expect frame set damage!

As mentioned, a dented frame or fork significantly reduces the value of the set!  That said, I would purchase a dented set but only if the frame was very rare and/or of great interest to me.  The cost to repair a dent can and will be high if you cannot effect the repair yourself.  You must decide if the extra expense is cost effective for the bicycle in question.  A dented Cinelli frame would warrant the cost of repair.  An entry lever anything else would have to be considered very carefully.

All that said, there are other considerations that would make it OK to purchase a bicycle with a dented frame.  If the component grouppo is one of quality and in good condition, purchase away but be sure that you use the presence of the dent to lower the purchase price.  My eighties something Fiori Napoli had a nasty dent in the top tube.  The dent was difficult to see, thanks to the dark paint.  I purchased bicycle anyway and for two reasons.  I didn't notice the dent and the component grouppo, full Old School Shimano 105, made the purchase price a steal.

If, on the other hand, you see a dented fork set, be careful.  Dented fork blades are red flag concerns and potential deal breakers.  The possibility of  structural damage could be of a far more geometric nature – bent!

NEXT - BENT FRAME OR FORK

 

 

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