Thursday, November 8, 2012

Winter bike project, part 4: Colnago Master mountainbike

Since I purchased the Colnago CX bike I used it on several occasions, mainly on mountainbike courses. Riding it has been a real blast, on and off road. The 6 speed drivetrain functions much smoother than I imagined it would and the bike itself is fast as hell.

One thing is bit frustrating about the bike, namely the fact that it is a one of kind vintage bike in great condition. Why this is a problem? Because every time I crash (a couple of times so far) I keep asking myself why I am using such a lovely bike for this kind of riding. Although I didn't pay very much for the bike, it is worth a lot more than what I paid for it. That is why I decided to go sell off the Colnago and try to find something a bit more suitable.

In the meantime I got my hands on a very nice red anodized ALAN aluminium CX bike, a retro lugged one of course. I have done a hand full of rides on it so far and the flexing front fork really keeps bugging me. That is why I kept looking out for another option and that resulted in a very nice Colnago Master mountainbike that was delivered on my doorstep this week.

It is a second generation wit straight forks, a full Shimano Deore DX groupset and some ITM bits.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Winter bike project, part 3: Roger de Vlaeminck's CX bike

Last weekend I got busy with the paint stripper. First up was the fork. I left the stuff on overnight, but nothing had happened when I checked the next day. Two days later still nothing. Thank god for that, because after I applied the paint stripper, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy the coolest CX bike I have ever laid eyes on: Roger de Vlaeminck's custom built Colnago cyclo cross bike.

As far as I know Colnago only built steel CX bike for professional cyclists. This frame seems to be based on the Colnago Super. The bike features a beautifully drilled and pantographed Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts group, a custom drilled 3TTT stem, Mafac brakes, Mavic Monthlery rims and a Selle Royal saddle. Aside from the saddle, the whole bike in great condition. Given its age (the rear derailleur is stamped 'patent 76') I would say that is pretty unique.

I plan to keep the bike as original as possible. Unfortunately the seatpost is too short for me, so I will be keeping my eyes open for a longer one. The saddle and pedals will also be replaced. Currently the bike is equipped with Challenge Grifo XS tubulars. I am going to give the tubulars a try, but I will probably lace in some clincher rims.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Winter bike project, part 2: new frame

After buying the Columbus MAX bike a while back, it kept bugging me that the frame was only partially built with Columbus MAX tubing. Since a new paint job is going to set me back around $200, I decided I wasn't going to settle for a frame that isn't exactly what I am want. That is why I set out to find a better frame for my winter bike project.

A couple of weeks after purchasing the Columbus MAX bike I stumbled across a pretty rare Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra bike on eBay built with Columbus MAX tubing. I placed the winning bid and picked it up somewhere near Liège, Belgium. The silly thing was that, although I had always thought that a true Columbus MAX frame would be my dream frame, seeing it in real life made me realize it was not what I wanted. The oversized and ovalized top tube and seat stays just seemed a bit out of place; way to bulky. Now I know why Merckx started using a different top tube and seat stays on his MX-leader frames.

So again I needed a new frame.  For a couple of weeks I thought a (lo-pro) time trial bike would be cool, just to give the discipline a new try during the winter months. This resulted in the purchase of a Litespeed Blade bike, which didn't look as cool in real life as I had hoped either, and in the purchase of 2 pairs of Spinergy REV-X wheels (700c and 650c), for use on a steel lo-pro frame I came across on eBay. In the end I didn't place a bid on the lo-pro frame (just didn't seem practical/comfortable), so I sold off the 650c Spinergy wheels and I also parted out the Litespeed.

On cycling discipline that has always intrigued me is cyclocross. After Googling for steel CX frames, I decided I was going to build myself a steel CX bike. Finding one was a different story though. Frames like the Surly Cross Check can be had pretty cheap, but are generally quite heavy and not very special. There just don't seem to be too many vintage CX bikes around, aside from a couple built with low end Columbus Cromor.

Luckily my patience has been rewarded, because last week I was finally able to buy a true vintage high end CX bike for a great price: a Belgian Diamant. The bike was built for a professional rider,  but he retired almost immediately after receiving the bike. Hence, the bike looked almost like new. Frame tubing is Ishiwata EX 4130 triple butted steel.

The new plan is to remove the paint from the frame with paint stripper and to do a bare metal finish, possibly with gun blue. The bike was built up with Shimano 600 7-speed parts, combined with an XT rear derailleur and LX brakes. I will be keeping most of these parts on the bike, aside from the cranks and the wheels. The cranks will be replaced by a compact FSA crankset (for the time being) and for the wheels I plan on going with the 700c Spinergy REV-X's.

Here are a couple of pictures of the bike and the frame. Frame weight (with paint) is 2080 grams. The fork weighs in at 840 grams.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 12: Finally finished!

Since the Marmotte GranFondo I have hardly been on the bike, which gave me some time to gradually change some parts on the bike.

Before the Marmotte I already changed the saddle. The Fizik Arione was giving my saddle sores, so I took a chance and got myself a Gilles Berthoud instead. The GB has been great from day one and I can recommend it to anyone. I can even ride it without my cycling shorts. After the Marmotte I switched the stem for a Genetic AQ to achieve a relaxed position. I also switched the U.S.E. seatpost shim for a cheap aluminium one, because with the U.S.E. shim the seatpost kept slipping. The most important cosmetic change has been the Whisky fork. The Easton fork had always been bugging me and with the Whisky I think I've finally found a fork that looks good with the frame. Other minor changes are the polished Salsa seatpost clamp, a Ritchey Classic handelbar and I also removed the decals from the H Plus Son rims.

So.., well,.....eeeh, I guess the bike is finished. Finally!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Winter bike project, part 1: the frame

 I have always had a crappy steel bike (Columbus SLX) to ride through the winter months. It costs me around EUR 200 to put together, so I decided a while back that if I could build another winter bike on the same budget, I would allow myself to build a new winter bike.

On Monday I came across a cheap second hand vintage steel bike with Columbus MAX tubing. Except for the forks and the top tube that is. I have been intrigued by Columbus MAX tubing and the hype surrounding it for some time now. I have sold quite a few Merckx MX-leader frames, so I know what it looks like. Up until now I never took the time nor did I have the money though to get myself a MAX frame. Seeing as this bike was exactly the price of my current winter bike, I went for it.

I picked up the bike yesterday near Brussels and took it for a quick spin today. The difference with my Duell SLX frame is really noticeable. The frame is much stiffer, especially near the bottom bracket. The top tube is a little bit on the short side for me, but you can't be picky if you can get a bike at this price.

I plan to sell off the parts that are currently on the bike (Shimano 600) and build it up with an even cheaper Shimano 105 7-spd groupset with down tube shifters. With the money I will save, I plan to get the frame resprayed in a single color. The chrome is pretty rusty, so I hope that won't be an issue. I am thinking of going for light blue or green. The guy who is going to do the paint job is on a vacation for the next couple of weeks, so I have some time to think about it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 11: Marmotte GranFondo

Since my last update I have done some serious mileage on the Renovo. The best miles were during the Marmotte GranFondo last weekend. For those of you who don't know the Marmotte: it involves riding over the Col du Glandon, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and the Alpe d'Huez, which is saying something.

Climbs during the Marmotte were pretty tough, mostly because I did not want to change the original DA crankset for a compact or triple. That is why I ended up climbing every mountain on a 39 up front and a 27 in the back. Descending on the other hand was great. The bike just seems to want to accelelarate all the time, which led to some tricky situations in a couple of hair pins. Fortunately I was on aluminium rims, which provided perfect braking performance.

Here is a nice picture of me on the bike climbing the Col du Galiber.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Woody's Custom Wood Bicycle Fenders

Even if you are not in to wooden bikes (or frames for that matter), you are bound to like these fenders from Woody's Fenders. They are made from 100% wood, of course in Oregon.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 10: new wheels

The damaged Cerchi Ghisallo rims were sent back to Italy a while back and are currently being repaired.

I decided to replace the wooden rims for a more durable solution: H Plus Son Archetype polished rims. I had the rims laced in a snowflake pattern.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 9: shiny stem

This week I could finally pick up the new stem for my bike. I really needed a new one, since the old one was a bit to long for my back. However, because I wanted something special it took a while to get it the way I wanted.

The new stem is a Spin Monolithic titanium stem. I my opinion the stem itself looks great and is just about the cheapest titanium stem available. I was not a fan of the bulky faceplate though and of course it had to be polished to match the look of the other components on the bike.

The company I asked to do the polishing for me, was also able to drill a hole in the faceplate the size of the Spin logo. In my opinion the end result looks great.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 8: Dutch cycling magazine 'Fiets'

The bike was featured in the May issue of the Dutch cycling magazine 'Fiets'.

The photographer was kind enough to send me some pictures of the photo shoot and of the magazine it was featured in.