Friday, April 6, 2018

Soviet Gold..1988 Takhion TT

Now for something a little special....

As anyone who might have read this blog previously
will know already that I am a sucker for specialist 
time trial bikes, especially of the 700c/700c variety. 
So of course one day having one of the very rare 
Soviet era built Takhion road going TT frames has
always been high on my list, but finding one has always
seemed an impossible dream..until this one came along..
  Takhion Special Racing Bicycle - Model BsHA-001
Frame number 344 build date 1988
 The frame came from Lithuania, and it's brother has been 
restored in the USA by Takhion expert and enthusiast Psy
Check out her blog and bikes here
Psy's lovingly restored frame 343 88 brother to 344.
There are a couple of other good resources for Takhion
here and here, but if want to just stay here, this is 
a brief history of Takhion. 

Takhion (Tachyon) (Тахион) was a brand of race bicycle frames 
developed and produced in Kharkov, Ukraine by the 
specialist department of race frame and associated 
race component builders TSKTB (some have it CDTA)
or Central Design Office for Bicycle Construction.
The department was headed by two main personalities
Georgy Panin & Reginald Vorontsov.
Vorontsov in Rossin cap, Rossin was heavily
involved in elite Soviet cycle racing.
The TSKTB department was operating from some
time in the sixties, but really came to prominence when
it was given the task of developing bikes for the Eastern
 Block USSR riders to use in the up and coming 1980 
Moscow Olympic games.
The result was a line of bikes called the 
Moscow 80 (Москва 80) some painted in
the same colour scheme as the then current
TI Raleigh Pro team bikes.
 Apparently these bikes bristled with innovations in weight
savings, from slotted and drilled componentry to specially
built titanium parts.

TSKTB then went on to develop the Takhion line of
race bikes to be used by the elite riders of the USSR.
Takhion is a hypothetical particle that can travel 
faster than the speed of light, and comes from the Greek 
tachy which means rapid.


 Between 1981 and 1992 TSKTB made somewhere
between 400-500 frames in 17 different varieties, although
some of these where one off prototypes.
344 came with non original bars, but original
brake calipers and B/B set.

Caliper is quite an elegant item, the arms are very nicely
formed and svelte, combined with a titanium centre bolt
and all alloy hardware, maybe let down a little by the
slightly clunky quick release lever.

 Steering head with alloy retaining nut.
 Columbus drop out showing frame No and build date.

Some details of the propriety lugs.
Very pretty gear boss.



Can't wait to get this one up and running,
and then try it out on my 25km work commute,
can't think of a better way to get a smile on my face
in the beginning of the day.
Factory photo from a presentation at the 1991
Milan Cycle Show.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lance Armstrong 1995 Merckx Team Bike

As some of you might know, I have 
been selling quite a lot of my collection over the 
past year or so.
Well the reason for this radical down sizing is quite
simply that I have decided to develop my historic 
collection to a far higher level.
This has called for some hard choices I can tell you.
However I have made a pretty clear set of my own
guides as to what is worth displaying, or even if
not displaying now, then preserving in my dry 
storage for either displaying, or if needed restoring 
at a later date.
 So to cut a long story short, the first bike I have acquired
through the painful disposal of some of my collection is this 
Lance Armstrong 1995 Team Motorola/Caloi Eddie Merckx.
Columbus SLX New 
Frame No:
F 9016
  The bike as it arrived from the States yesterday, much
to my relief. The process of getting it here had turned out 
to be quite time consuming and costly.
The person I brought it off, brought it in 1998 from
a cyclist who purchased it from the annual Motorola 
post season sale in Wisconsin. 
He brought it less wheel set, and changed the bars
and stem to suit himself, well why wouldn't you?

 The frame is in remarkably good condition, I suspect
that  this frame didn't see a lot of action with Lance, as
Columbus MX Leader was also available to the riders 
that year, and I think a titanium frame(?).
Columbus SLX New frame decal.

I know that the team also had 753 frames that year decaled
as Columbus..apparently Merckx was quite fond of 
recommending 753 to pro teams. 


The paint finish on the bike it really quite outstanding, 
far better than I was expecting, even the Caloi decals
have a thin gold key line that you can't really make out in 
the photos, but make the red text 'pop' quite nicely.
 


 Now the next step will be to find and fit the original
components to the bike before I put it on display. 
 The all important top tube decal, obviously printed on a
1990's Gerber Edge Printer.
You can tell this by the slightly translucent finish of the
white on clear decal, screenprinted decals are opaque.  
I know this because I have a Gerber Edge 2 printer that
I have been trying to get going for the past couple of years
so I can make reproductions for certain bikes from this period
with these Gerber printed decals (Mitchell's for instance).
Unfortunately I haven't quite got there yet, but you will
know when I do, because I have at least 5 Mitchell's
stripped and waiting for their Gerber printed decals. 
  Gerbers were also used to make the metal foil 
decals as well.
Gerber printed Clear 'Mitchell' and foil
World Champion strips.
 So even though parting with several of my precious bikes
to purchase Lance's bike was at times quite painful, in
the end I am glad I did. This is a serious historical piece.
whatever your thoughts around Armstrong and his legacy,
there can be no doubt that he populaized cycle racing
to a level that beyond anyone's widest dreams. 
 
He was also a great rider. 
 
 


  


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

When Art Meets Industry...1960's Clem Eagle.

Here is an 1960's Australian made Clem Eagle
that I lost for a while, but through a series of
strange events, have found again.
As you can see this fully hand painted, sign written
and pin striped frame set is a real stunner.
It appears to be the frameset of the original owner 
of Clem eagle Cycles C.'Dick. Eagle.
The frame is made with Nervex Professional lugs, 
and judging by it's weight, I would assume Reynolds 531 DB.
I haven't been able to find out to much on this maker/shop.
here is a short shop history I found on Australian Cycling forums.
Clem Eagle bikes were produced by Arthur Richard (known as Dick) Eagles. Dick grew up with his family at 36 James Street, Lidcombe. There's a nice little snippet here recounting his fall from a bike in a race in 1935. The earliest reference I can find to Clem Eagle bikes is 1940, when Dick was 22, the same year he married. By 1943 he had a bike shop at 305 Chapel Road Bankstown and lived upstairs with his wife Isabel. He remarried in 1949 and was living with his family at 36 James Street from then until at least 1954.


By 1950 he was in partnership with O.S. Stewart at 301 Chapel Road, Bankstown (don't know whether this might be a renumbering of 305). By 1963 he had sole charge of the Bankstown shop and had expanded to 180 Liverpool Road, Enfield. I believe that both Bankstown and Liverpool shops had closed by 1970. Not much I'm afraid, but information is a little thin on the ground.



So here you have it, that strange quirk in Australian culture, that allowed some
of the finest, delicate and most beautiful pin striping and painting in the world
of vintage cycling to exist alongside one of the most macho sports, in one of the
more macho countries in the West...love it.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Liberati Professional Restoration finished

Eighteen months after starting this full 
restoration project...
The Liberati as found, more here.

...I am finally ready to take the Liberati
on it's maiden voyage.
 During this project I had to acknowledge to myself
that I really have become the rivet counter that I 
once used to scoff at..as you about to plainly see

First I had to have new cable guides brazed
onto the top tube.
Jeff Anderson of Jefferson Bikes kindly 
provided this service and also found me some period guides,
which I am really grateful for, as period authenticity
was the main driver on this project.
Jeff doing the business on the cable guides.
Then the frame set was sent to Kustom Chrome
in Gisborne for a LOT of work.  
While the frame was away, I slowly stripped and
rebuild the components.
I decided to also modify several of the original
components with period O.M.A.S. and Cobra 
special after market lightening parts. 
Above you can see the OMAS pin/clamps and bolts for
lightening the Campagnolo seat pin.
The original parts 152 grams
OMAS parts 84 grams 
Full OMAS seat pin kit installed ready for saddle.
 Cobra alloy bottom bracket bolts.
Original 28 grams
Cobra 10 grams.
I replaced the original Universal 68 brake calipers with
this set of Campagnolo calipers which have the full
OMAS lighting set, which consists of titanium centre 
bolt, alloy retaining bolts and washers.
I also fitted a set of very cool Scott Mathauser
Super brake finned brake shoes.
Apparently these brake shoes cost as much as
a whole set of middle range road bike calipers
would have set you back at the time. 
Original Campagnolo brake calipers 180 grams
OMAS/Scott Mathauser 164 grams.

Putting it all together

 The frame duly arrived from Kustom Chrome, and
as usual they had done a beautiful job.
I had contacted Liberati in Rome to see if they had
any original decals left, they did not, but they were very
interested in seeing the bike when I had finished.
 The original Liberati ship Rome 1950's.

 After painting the bike, I left it to sit for a month, 
as I find the two pack base coat clear coat system
benefits from a little hardening time.
Then it was time for the assembly....

...which resulted in this.

I had also tracked down a couple of original Cicli Liberai
jerseys over the last 18 months.
Some nice pantographing and quality work from 
Kustom Chrome, NOS set of Campagnolo shifters.
 The very pretty seat cluster that originally made me take
on this project.
Campagnolo brake with OMAS and Mathauser
 No over heating brakes here.
San Marco saddle with alloy rails, 314 grams.
 I thought the Steel Campagnolo head set set looked just right
 with the chrome lugs, so no light alloy head set used.
Regina America Superleggera hollw pin chain 

 Beutiful Galli chainset with Campagnolo 52/42
pantographed chain rings.
 Serious Italian 1970's bike bling.
You gotta love it.
 Super Record running on NOS Everest Nova
14-26 freewheel.
Campagnolo         derailleur doesn't really seem to appreciate the
26 tooth cog...but I do.


32 hole Nisi Countach Mercurio d'Oro 1977 rims with
some serious sticker action
laced to l/f Campagnolo hubs (of course). 
Nice bottom bracket treatment.
OMAS Titanium B/B set.
 3ttt bar tape, I have been sitting on this packet for quite
a while, waiting for the right bike.
Finished weight 9.4 kgs ready to ride...not bad.
  

So there you have it, a 1970's Italian Super bike rescued
from a dank and dark basement, in the first stages of
becoming an unsavable wreck, now once again ready to bring
pleasure (and pain) to some willing legs.



 Primo Liberati provided these jerseys to sponsored
amateurs. Primo's son Fabrizio still runs Cicli Liberati
in Rome.

 Primo Liberati

Cicli Liberati today.
A beautiful jersey to go with a beautiful bike.