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Archived: Vintage Lightweights

AGE / VALUE:   Bridgestone Kabuki Diamond-12 posted by: Elvis on 7/25/2002 at 3:17:02 PM
Hi all. Just closed a deal for a neat bike. I'll be picking it up in a few days. The make is Kabuki. The bike is a lightwieght blue steel frame with simple lugs. Components: Suntour BL [blue] downtube shifters and rear and front derailiers, QR on both axles, SR stem. Brakes and toe clips marked with a circle and square; brakes are sidepulls with a little buldge on one side. Seat clamp is allen head bolt set into back of top tube. Suntour cransk and chainrings. The bike's head bagde is flawless; it appears to be brass and bears a picture of a stylized lion [at least that's what it looks like to me] in black gold and red. The decal on the top tube says bridgestone in small letters and DIMOND-12 in somewhat larger black ones. The down tube decall has KABUKI in biggewr letters, black. multicolored band saying bridgstone at base and top of seat tube. salmon and white colored decal midway up seat tube saying chrome-moly steel, etc.
Any idea how old the bike is? I'm thinking late 70's, or maybe even early 1980's, but I'm not sure. I've never heard of Kabuki before. This looks like a nice bike to me and seems light for steel, but the name isn't familiar. Any idea where this might have sat in the company line?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bridgestone Kabuki Diamond-12 posted by Walter on 7/25/2002 at 4:04:50 PM
My guess is that the make is Bridgestone and the model is Kabuki. It's the same Bridgestone as the tire-maker and they sold bikes in the US until fairly recently. Most of the US bikes were designed by an American named Grant Peterson. He currently runs a custom company called Rivendell and they're on the web so perhaps an email to him. There's an online group called BOB (Bridgestone Owner's Bunch). I don't have an URL but a search engine should pop it up for you. As a 12 speed I'd think early to mid-80s. Bridgestone had a wide range of bikes and many are quite interesting. Good luck.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bridgestone Kabuki Diamond-12 posted by Elvis on 7/25/2002 at 4:38:34 PM
Funny thing. The tires [which are really old and will need to be replaced] actually say Bridgestone, too!

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bridgestone Kabuki Diamond-12 posted by Elvis on 7/25/2002 at 4:38:35 PM
Funny thing. The tires [which are really old and will need to be replaced] actually say Bridgestone, too!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bridgestone Kabuki Diamond-12 posted by Hallyx on 7/25/2002 at 8:14:32 PM
The Internet Bridgestone Owners Bunch (i-BOB) hangs out here:


Nice folks, very knowledgable, they seem to like the same "character" of bikes that we do here...except that, in general, they seem to have more money.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bridgestone Kabuki Diamond-12 posted by Keith on 7/25/2002 at 8:23:23 PM
I think Petersen worked for Bridgestone in the early 90s, on models like the RB-1, MB-1, and the Nitto moustache bar. If your bike is earlier than that, it's not his design. Somewhere on the Rivendell site Petersen himself says the Brigestones were nice bikes, but not awesomely great (not a quote) like the Rivendells. None of this means your bike isn't a good one.

AGE / VALUE:   Wooden rimed Iver Johnson posted by: Kevin on 7/25/2002 at 1:18:59 AM
My father recently asked me to find out the value of an old Iver Johnson Special Racer. My grandfather used to race it a long time ago. not sure how long ago. It had wooden rims which at some point in time were taken off but I still have. They appear to be straight one rim still has a decayed tire on it and I have aprox half of the spokes. Is there any value or information which may help me to determine the exact age of the bike? post your questions/answers or send to kevin@nixoid.com


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Wooden rimed Iver Johnson posted by kevin on 7/25/2002 at 2:10:12 AM
more info on the Iver Johnson: serial number is 485897

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Claude Butler posted by: cjscheiner on 7/25/2002 at 12:43:12 AM
Dear Friends:
I am trying to get some information about a Claude Butler Electron Super Five I now own. It was bought in the UK in the early 1960s by a friend who had it custom made with an extra low sixth gear on the single derailer so he could better ride hills on long races. The bicycle also has a West Ham Speedway decal that seems to have been put on the frame at the time of manufacture. The bicycle rides beautifully
and is in overall fine condition. My friend told me that at the time it was bought it had the lightest frame in the world.
Can any one tell me any place I can get detailed information about this bicycle and also about what it is worth for insurance purposes?
C.J. Scheiner

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Claude Butler posted by John S on 7/27/2002 at 1:23:18 AM
There is a website called Classic Rendevous where you can get a bit of info. There is a reference to a club in the UK called Veteran-Cycle Club, that if you join, you gain access to "Mark Experts" who can readily identify your bike and perhaps give you a value.

I found an old Claud Butler, but have found very little info on it, but believe it to be 50's/60's. Most beautifully constructed frame I've seen. Local experts tell me if it were truly restored it may be worth $2000. I have yet to join the club because they require fee in British currancy via international money order - and expensive transaction.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Cilo (Swiss?) road bike posted by: Dewane on 7/23/2002 at 5:36:43 PM
Hi, what do you think about this bike:


'80s cilo road bike

No relation to seller, etc. I know nothing about vintage lightweights, usually stick to the English Roadster group.


   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Cilo (Swiss?) road bike posted by Dewane on 7/23/2002 at 5:53:18 PM
Oh yes, replace the single-quote (') with a tilde (that squiggly sideways S thing above the tab button).


   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Cilo (Swiss?) road bike posted by Oscar on 7/23/2002 at 8:04:27 PM
I'm not familiar with the marquee, but $300 is worth it for the entire set of components. The frame looks nice, too.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Cilo (Swiss?) road bike posted by john on 7/26/2002 at 4:50:19 PM
Cilo is Swiss. The one I just purchased has all Shimano 600 components. Believe frame is Columbus? My needs a new paint job. Feels light. Looks well put together. Haven't had it apart so I don't know whether the BB, headset and seatpost are odd diameters. Or whether the Swiss adopted English tread and dimensions. Good luck.

WANTED:   Small Parts ' Chainwheel posted by: Stacey on 7/22/2002 at 8:22:24 PM
Not knowing proper nomenclature, I'll try to describe as best I can that which I need. I'll call them chainwheel stand-off's or spacers. It's a three pieced affair that makes up one of these critters.

First, is a "tee nut" that goes in from the inside of the small ring. It has an 8mm long barrel that passes through an 8mm hole in the chainwheel, with a 10mm shoulder that keeps it from pulling through the hole. Then there is a 4mm thick spacer that goes on the protruding end of the barrel, and the balance of the barrel will fit in the backside of the large chainwheel. This is all held together by a 6x1.0 machine bolt from the outside of the large chainwheel.

I have three, and need two more for a total of five. Would be willing to buy a set of five (LBS catalog shows them packed that way, but distributor says "NLA") The three that I have came from a dual ringed "Maxi" cotterless crankset, if that's any help.

In the wind,

   RE:WANTED:   Small Parts ' Chainwheel posted by Oscar on 7/22/2002 at 10:59:22 PM
That's where Loose Screws comes in.


Fixing bolts and spacers apparently sold separately in sets of 5 (unless a good buddy has two loose ones).

MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by: Art on 7/22/2002 at 6:11:11 PM
I'm interested in hearing from any list members about track bike/fixed gear bikes that they use for street riding. I'm interested in what kind of bikes you have, how you have them set up, and any experiences you've had with them. The only fixed gear bikes I've ridden are early 20's and 30's track bikes and then only for short distances around the neighborhood. I'm thinking about getting/building up one and would like any input. There are usually a number on e-bay from modern new ones to very old antigue ones. Frames to complete bikes. I found a Holdsworth that went cheap with only one bid, but shipping was high and I avoided bidding on it because I wasn't sure about it.
Any suggestions? Art

   RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Gralyn on 7/22/2002 at 7:40:01 PM
I looked at that one also. With the price + shipping from England - I didn't much want to fool with it...besides I have a very low budget for bikes.
But I do like fixed gear bikes - and I am always looking for them on e-bay.
If you haven't already, read Sheldon Brown's articles and testimonies on fixed-gear riding. I like to ride for the exercise - and one thing I have found is that if I don't have a lot of time to ride - I can ride a fixed gear bike and get a much better work-out in a shorter period of time. Plus, it helps with your form, cadence, etc. (Really, read the Sheldon Brown stuff).
I am up to 4 bikes in my fixed-gear fleet now. An old Hercules (pre-1960), a Nishiki (early 80's maybe), a Schwinn (1979), and a Fuji (70's). I have been riding the Fuji most here lately...and it has been my favorite ride. It has 52 / 19 I believe...or maybe 52 / 18 earing. Since the original wheels weren't salvageable - I put a set of rigida chromix, 1 1/4 wheels with QR. The bike is amazingly light! This particular bike has no brakes. The schwinn has no brakes. The old Hercules has a front brake (it has 47 / 14 gearing, I believe), and the Nishiki has original front and rear brakes. I have never taken the fixed gear on any length of trip - usually, it's just short rides for exercize.
Oh, the Hercules and Fuji have toe clips. (that's a trick on fixed-gear!

   RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Brian L. on 7/22/2002 at 8:59:20 PM
Art, hey, I keep noodling on the same idea. I'm with Grayln on available budget. There was a way-cool Geminiani that just went for $59 + shipping, although I suspect the underlying bid was more like $100. What size to you ride? Are you looking to get ahold of a ready-ride machine, or do you want to build one up?

   RE:RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Art on 7/22/2002 at 9:45:05 PM
Brian, Here's what I've been thinking. Probably a true track bike w/o braze-ons or any cable guides. 23". Something interesting framewise with a wheelset and crankset. I really don't want to have to find correct parts etc, as Phx doesn't have a lot of resources as other cities might. I don't want to take a road bike and just convert it to a fixed gear. I think I would add a front brake if one wasn't already on it. Probably not a rear break. I've been playing with different handlebars...a rather straight bar I pulled of a Bertin, a pair of cheap dropbars that I cut the bottoms off of and would ride where the hoods mormally would be, regular drops....I just have to see how I fit on the bike and see which bars would work. My biggest question is about vintage of the frame. The Holdworth was cool, English, but really lacked style, was repainted etc...the crank was great on that bike. I've looked at a number of older frames from 30's Australian diamond frames (which have track dropouts and no cable guides to early American safeties....although these would be heavy and finding reliable wheels a task.)to modern frames like the Bianchi Pista and other Italian makes that show up on e-bay. Stay with steel and probably stay away from anything newer than the 70's. But I'm really open to thinking about it. There are long stretches of paved canal bikepaths here where I could ride a good distance and never have to stop(!) or deal with cars. What are your thoughts?

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Oscar on 7/22/2002 at 11:07:29 PM
Track bikes don't make terribly comfortable riders. They keep the wheelbase short, have steep angles, and there's no curve to the fork. These are qualities for wood or clay surfaces, but you would hate to ride it up Pothole Blvd. Plus, you'd never get the stem as high as you would want.

Any decent road frame with horizontal dropouts would be a great donor. Lots of early 70's French and Italian bikes had no braze-ons and and all the cable stops clamped on.

Mine's a Panasonic with 42/16. It used to be 52/16 which was too tough for me. About what you'd have on the track, though.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Ian on 7/23/2002 at 8:44:22 AM
Just one word of warning about using frames that were not designed for fixed wheel - do not combine them with long cranks! True fixed wheel frames usually had the bottom bracket set high off the ground. If you use a non-fixed frame and long cranks then the time will definitely come when you ground out on a tight but fast corner, I thought it would never happen and believe me it was painfull when it did. Wheel size would also have an influence I guess. Other than this anything fixed wheel is great fun to ride. Cheers, Ian.

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Gralyn on 7/24/2002 at 1:52:22 PM
Long stretches of paved canal bike path??????? Wow, I envy you. One of my biggest hang-ups is wanting to ride...but having to contend with traffic. I would like to just hop on my bike and go....lots of times I take my bike somewhere...park the car, then get my bike and ride from these. I live on a busy highway....lots of traffic....big rigs....etc....traveling very fast....at least 60 mph on average.....It scares me to get on that road....but I would have to travel down that road a ways until I can come to a side-road with less traffic. I got hit once...and now I am really scared when riding....I don't like a lot of fast traffic!

   RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Keith on 7/24/2002 at 3:14:09 PM
Art, I've set up about a dozen fixed gear bikes since 1973-74, and currently own four, two of which are on loan to fixed curious roadies. I ride a Dawes fixed gear -- I commute on it about once a week (28 miles) and occassionally take it on club rides. I also have the Peugeot track bike that I raced in 1973-75. I agree with Oscar that track frames, which usually have steeper frame angles (74 degrees), short wheel bases and tight clearances are very harsh riders on the road. Shoot, they're designed for a smooth track! Ian is also correct, however, about crank clearance, although you can avoid problems by learning to take corners with some caution. If you can dig up some 165 cranks -- all the better. Athough they are all the rage with bike messengers, I find no advantage whatsoever in using a track-specific frame. In fact, the rear-facing dropouts are a bit less handy than decent long horizontal road dropouts when it comes to removing-installing a wheel. I find a 46 x 16 to be a good mid-range gear for most riding, although I'm now using a 46 x 17. Surly (house brand for QBP) makes a very nice, inexpensive fixed gear-single speed frame -- tigged chromoly, with brazons and room for fenders and wide tires -- good for all weather commuting (try that with a track frame!).

   RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Keith on 7/24/2002 at 3:24:02 PM
Okay, here are the specs on the Surly Steamroller -- http://www.surlybikes.com/frames/steamrollerSPEC.htm Only one set of water bottle brazeons. BUT, clearance for 700 x 38 with fenders! Very nice for commuting in the rain and through winter slop! Frame and fork available at aebike.com for about $270.

   RE:RE:MISC:   Fixed Gear posted by Art on 7/25/2002 at 2:02:15 AM
Thanks all for your comments and input. I've eliminated the track bike option and am keeping my eyes open for bikes or possibilities. I'll post something when I decide. Thanks again. Art

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   'Raleigh International' information posted by: Stan on 7/22/2002 at 2:01:35 PM
I am looking for some info on 'international's - I know the letter prefix indicates year produced on earlier bikes. Can the serial number be broken down in any way to indicate the month & day, also, figure out number of units producded? Any other interesting history!

MISC:   Translation of "Col" posted by: Tom Findley on 7/22/2002 at 12:33:28 PM
There are several Cols on the route of Le Tour, such as col de port. What is a col? I used an online French-English text translator, and came up with "Collar".

   RE:MISC:   Translation of posted by Steven on 7/22/2002 at 12:48:42 PM
It is a mountain pass. The highest point where the road passes.

   RE:MISC:   Translation of posted by Rob on 7/22/2002 at 4:45:29 PM
At the risk of sounding pedantic...the word 'col' is also used in English, but seems to be mainly used in mountaineering to refer to the low 'saddle-like' area between two peaks. In French, 'col' seems to be used in the way we would say 'mountain pass'.

If one really wanted to be pedantic, one could say 'col de Steven' (Steven's Pass on US Route 2 in WA - http://traffic.wsdot.wa.gov/stevens/) and perhaps even be understood... ;).

   RE:RE:MISC:   Translation of posted by smg on 7/22/2002 at 10:12:25 PM
I think the true 'col de Steven" is not the US-2 crossing of Stevens Pass, but the original Cascade Highway, which branches off from 2 on the west side of the pass near the railroad tunnel and rejoins the main highway at the top. It's about a lane and a half wide, more or less paved though starting to go back to dirt in places, steep and switchbacked. A narrow footbridge crossing means that a through trip can only be via bike. I climbed it a couple of weeks ago consideraly more slowly than the Tour de France might, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

AGE / VALUE:   Picked a Paletti posted by: John S. on 7/22/2002 at 5:43:34 AM
Picked up a Paletti Super Prestiege road bike at a flea market today. Know anything about them?

Has a Columbus SLX tubing sticker, lots of engravings, pantographed stem, brake levers, pillar, cranks and chainrings. Pretty fancy looking. Some parts obviously switched out, but paint and decals all there in wild glory.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   1958 Raleigh Record Ace? posted by: Nicky on 7/21/2002 at 10:07:29 PM
I have two 1958 Raleigh Record Aces (I think, the decals say "R.R. Moderne"). They are completely original, except for tires on one bike (yes, one bike seems to have ORIGINAL TIRES!) and I'm interested in knowing information about restoring paint and decals as accurately as possible. Are these bikes valuable? (they're not for sale). They're pretty cool looking bikes and we're looking forward to making them shine again. We're in the Northwest, so sources in this area would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   1958 Raleigh Record Ace? posted by Keith on 7/22/2002 at 1:52:31 PM
Yes, they are valuable, although we're not talking super rare or something you can retire on. Please consult good sources on retoration (like this site). Essentially, carefully disassemble and clean everything and repack bearings with fresh grease. By "making them shine again" I hope you don't intend to repaint them. Do everything you can to preserve the original finish and decals. Nice find!

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   1958 Raleigh Record Ace? posted by Nicky on 7/22/2002 at 6:40:21 PM
Can one get "NOS" decals for said bikes? The decals are pretty shot on one of these bikes. I won't repaint, I promise.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   1958 Raleigh Record Ace? posted by P.C. Kohler on 7/22/2002 at 8:10:57 PM
Try Lloyds Cycles (UK); they stock more old cycle transfers (reproductions which are superb but not cheap) than anyone I know of. The only rub: their website has no pictures of the things so it's best to take a digital photo of what's on the bike and e-mail it to them to see if the have something close or the same. Generally, they have more for club and racing machines than my specialty, English three-speeds, so you may luck out.


AGE / VALUE:   NOS MODOLO BRAKE HOODS posted by: Kevin K on 7/21/2002 at 6:57:39 PM
Hi. I picked up a new set of Modolo brakes some time back. The hoods are natural gum. They have a white powder like substance on them. Does anyone know what this is and how I should remove it. I do not want to damage the gum material. Thanks,Kevin

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   NOS MODOLO BRAKE HOODS posted by Steven on 7/22/2002 at 2:32:21 AM
The white is wax that is used in rubber to ensure the suppleness. It leaches out of the compound over teh life of teh product. You will see the same on tires, wiper blades or any other rubber compound.

AGE / VALUE:   I finally did it! posted by: Gralyn on 7/20/2002 at 3:17:53 AM
I finally did it.....picked up a Schwinn Varsity. I passed one up about a year ago for a Ross...but at that time...and even now...I don't know why I think I can only pick up one bike at a time. But anyway....I'm glad I did...this one is in much better condition. It's a 1973 model...and I great shape for it's age. It weighs a ton, though. I thought I would be a great addition to my "collection"

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   I finally did it! posted by Drew on 7/20/2002 at 12:32:34 PM
Sounds good, you can't hurt these bikes! schwinn's electro-forged frame procress was an amazing way of framd construction (See Harris Cyclery Articles on Schwinn's......www.sheldonbrown.com/articles.html) The varsity is considered one of the most important cycles in the history of bicycles, I myself ride a '78 Suburban, w/indexed shifting, & front freewheel system, and did a 125 mile tour recently. It's ironic that these are in the Lightweight catagory, my 43 lbs. Suburban gets up some serious speed going down hill. Maybe a 'Heavy-Light Weight' catagory is needed, these are very different from the vintage European bikes.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   I finally did it! posted by Kevin K on 7/20/2002 at 12:59:07 PM
Hi all. Just a comment or two on the Schwinn Varsity. I too like the bikes. However they are alot cooler to look at than to actually ride. Why? Two main reasons: The forged fork that probally weighs as much as the main frame and the heavy steel wheels. UUHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!!! On a beater I switched out the fork for a tubular type and also installed a set of nice aluminum wheels. The bike lost several pounds and responded better. If your Varsity is mint to very nice you should by all means leave it alone. As for Schwinn bikes of likeness, I prefere the Continentals. I've also a 1974 Schwinn Sprint ( the bent seat tube model ) The bike is in very nice condition. Other Schwinn bikes that are well worth seeking to collect are the USA built Letours. Nice bikes. Easily found in mint condition for as little as $50 and nice rides. Enjoy, Kevin

   Varsities posted by John E on 7/20/2002 at 7:40:38 PM
I turned a 1974 Varsity into a respectable commuter by replacing the rims with Araya aluminums, the brake blocks with KoolStops, the TwinSticks with clamp-on SunTour downtube levers, and the 5-speed freewheel with a 6-speed. I also ditched the half-kilo kickstand and the suicide extension handles on the brake levers and installed toeclips on the pedals. Yes, a tubular fork and a cotterless crank conversion would also have been superb enhancements.

However, I still really enjoyed replacing the Varsity with a Peugeot UO-8 (modified with aluminum rims and cranks and a Campag. rear derailleur and SunTour front derailleur). However, the Peugeot did crack a chainstay after 4 years of commuting, and I am confident this would not have happened to the Schwinn!

   RE:Varsities posted by Dan on 7/21/2002 at 2:00:21 PM
I picked up a '72 Suburban for a $1 the other day after passing up one at a yard sale for $60, the '72 had mostly surface rust on the shiney stuff which cleaned up nicely. I now park it next to my '73 & '74 Varsity's. I'm hoping I'll find that Conti, Superior or Sprint round out the bunch.

   RE:RE:Varsities posted by Kevin K on 7/22/2002 at 12:33:37 AM
Hi Dan. Email me at kbcurvin@aol.com. I've decided to get rid of a nice second 74 Sprint I've got. Are you near Toledo, Ohio? Kevin K

   Missing the boat posted by Ray on 7/22/2002 at 7:03:45 PM
The Varsity is a good reliable bike but not a racing machine. These bikes evolved to stand up to the balloon crowd who would climb curbs, drop the bike when done riding and toss it in the yard at the end of the day. That is why it is built like a tank. No racer, even back then bought a Varsity with the intent of racing. They favored the Euro and later the Asian bikes that were designed for racing but more fragile. If Varsities were made as delicate as a UO8 or PX10 then there would be a lot less left as the gutter climbers would have destroyed them. The reason you still have good clean solid Varsities left around is because they could take it. Imaging dropping a UO8 on its derailleur side and then picking it up and riding away, I don't think so. Also you are missing the boat on the collectibility of the Varsity. The first year with the suicide front and TDF rear is very collectible as it was set up like a Euro bike of the day. Also my vote for the model of Schwinn bike that was more like a racer would be the Sports Tourer. This was not made for long but was one model below the Paramount in its day and blows away the Sprint, Conti, LeTour and Superior. There was also a short lived model called the Volari I believe. Both had Campy components, better tubing, alloy wheels and components and were overall superior to the other lightweight bikes in the Schwinn line. IMHO

   RE:RE:RE:Varsities posted by Dan on 7/27/2002 at 9:36:11 PM
Hey Kev, thank's for the offer but I'm down in Southern Illinois and tend to do most of my hunting close to home. I took note of your e-mail just in case I venture beyond the hollar's. Dan

AGE / VALUE:   Bianchi posted by: Schwinnderella on 7/19/2002 at 1:40:52 AM
WOW,Check out the Bianchi # 1844916853 on ebay. Also check out the website listed in the auction description.Good stuff!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bianchi posted by David on 7/19/2002 at 11:00:43 AM
Can anyone furnish a little info about the relationship between Eduardo Bianchi bikes and the famous Bianchi racing motorcycles of the 50s? I've only seen B&W pix of the MCs; were they painted the same heavenly ("Celeste") color?

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bianchi posted by Steven on 7/19/2002 at 5:06:41 PM
Edoardo Bianchi started off as a bicycle company in the late 1800's. In the early part of the 20th century, they began producing motorcycles as well. They then also added cars too. The car division was sold to Fiat and the bicycle and motorcycle to Piaggio (of vespa motorscooter fame). Piaggio then sold the bicycle division. It now belongs to a large multinational corporation that is the biggest bicycle company in the world. The motorcycles did for years also use the same celeste colouring, but I am not sure if this was still the case in the 50's. By the way, My 1930's Bianchi roadster, which is in perfect original condition is Black, not celeste.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bianchi posted by Oscar on 7/19/2002 at 11:10:42 PM
My Atala, which is probably 1974 or so, has very similar lugs to the Bianchi. For that matter, there seems little difference between a 1949 high end bike and a 1974 medium end bike.

Now a 2002 bike of most makes wouldn't be around in good condition in 53 years.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Exxon Graftek help posted by: Paul on 7/18/2002 at 8:15:57 PM
Hmm...okay so we all know that there are a lot of people out there who look at you like you are from another planet
when you tell them that you want to rebuild an old bike.

Now when it is not only old but made of carbon fiber and very little info on it is available the situation get's worse.

But be that as it is I have decide to try and rebuild an Exxon Graftek bike from the mid 70's.

I am posting because i know that I will be surrounded by people who understand the passion and won't mock.

But I really do need help !!!!
So far i have the frame less bottom bracket and headset.
I did buy a 25.mm seatpost on recommendation from a guy who
had recently sold a frameset and said it was the correct size.

Also I contacted the guys who reprint the catalog to see if it was worth getting one for sizing info.They told me that it just said that the headset and bottom bracket were English.

So I just took the bike to a shop to have the b/b size checked and it is Italian threaded !! (36x24) 70mm.
Also my seatpost tube measures somewhere between 23.7 and 23.9mm !!!! Not 25.mm and the post wont fit.

So the question to anybody who may choose to help is:

Does anybody know the sizes on this bike and where I can find it.Also could this have been an export model and has anyone ever heard of a Cmpagnolo seat post of that size??!!!

I know the the bike is now 27 years old but apparently despite their initial cost they still sold quite a few.
And being only 27 years ago they must surely be someone still alive that used to have one or atleast know of them !!

I have tried all of the usual - classic rendezvous,Sheldon Brown,etc and yes a few sites have a brief description or a photo or two,but so far after searching for over a month I still haven't found anything actually useful.

Exxon's Graftex division doesn't exist anymore as a company and the Exxon website has no info.

So if you remember this little gem or just want to tell me that it'll fall apart as soon as I complete it(as many people like to)due to the carbon fiber construction,then please reply !!



   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Exxon Graftek help posted by Chuck Schmidt on 7/19/2002 at 3:06:11 AM
The brochure states that the frame comes threaded either for English or Italian headset and either English or Italian bottom bracket. Meaning the frame is either threaded for one or the other, not both. I have no idea why they were offered threaded this way. --Chuck Schmidt, www.velo-retro.com

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Exxon Graftek help posted by Gralyn on 7/19/2002 at 12:09:51 PM
Measure twice - cut once.....but in this case, measure twice - buy once. Maybe don't go by what anyone tells you in the future...measure the sized and make sure any components will fit your size requirements.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Exxon Graftek help posted by Oscar on 7/19/2002 at 3:33:37 PM
I was amazed when I went on Sheldon Brown's seatpost size page. I had no idea that so many seat tube diameters were out there. Now I'm further surprised that most of my seatposts are the same size out of all the possibilities.

AGE / VALUE:   LeMans Centurion posted by: Gralyn on 7/18/2002 at 12:51:38 PM
I picked up a LeMans Centurion yesterday. Considering the condition of the bike (very good), and the weight (very light) and the components, and especially the wheels (araya 1"), and the price (very cheap) - I went ahead and got it. hOwever, the frame is much too large for me (at least a 25" frame). Considering what I had in it - I thought I could find a light-weight frame - 23" - and use all the components from this bike. I saw one of these on e-bay - a starting bid of about $99....but nobody had placed any bids on it. Does anyone know about these LeMans bikes? I have no idea how old it is. It is really nothing like most of the 20 year old bikes I usually pick up - it seems more modern....maybe early 90's or so...maybe mid 90's - not sure. It has a 6-speed cassette, it has the style brake levers with hoods and with the cables routed under the bar tape. Quick Release. Down-tube shifters which click to each gear (I guess a "semi-indexing"). The only thing that doesn't work is the front deur. For some reason it is stuck and won't move. Another thing....the color scheme - it has white bar tape, white hoods, white saddle, and a kind of pinkish and white frame color....like a ladies color. But I thought - if that was a ladies bike....because of the colors - it looks that way....it was some tall TALL lady that rode it - with the tall frame - plus the seat was really up there when I got it....I'm thinking about at least a 6'6" woman!
Oh, the stickers on the bike says it was designed in USA and made in Japan. Tange 2 double butted tubing...something like that.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   LeMans Centurion posted by Oscar on 7/18/2002 at 5:09:05 PM
The eighties were a time of experimentation with gender identities. Pink male bikes were as ok in those heady times as Boy George...or George Michael...or Michael Jackson. Aero brake levers were also getting common on upper end bikes.

Front der's don't stay stuck long after their WD40 treatment. It'll loosten.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   LeMans Centurion posted by Gralyn on 7/18/2002 at 7:11:55 PM
It may be 80's - actually. One thing...I was thinking that if it was up in the 90's it would probably have more than 6-speed hub. Also, the rear hub....I think it's a Shimano....specifically the free-hub. It's a really wierd one. I had one just like it on an old ....and I believe I am recalling this correctly...an old Eaton from Canada...sold out of Eaton's dept. store, something like that. The bike had Rigida chromix rims. The rear free-hub was small compared with most. Down inside the hub...where you would screw it off - it only had 2 small notches (very small), 180 degrees apart. Once that is removed - the hub itself is very small thread diamter...too small to screw any cog onto it. I had taken the wheel to a bike shop to see if they could take the free-hub off. They didn't have any tool that would fit it. The guy told me (older, experienced guy...in the business a long time) that he though this was one of the earlier free-hubs that they only made for a short time. At that time...I was estimating that the Eaton bike was very early 80's or late 70s. It's weird that this free-hub is on this "newer" bike. There actually may be a pic or drawing of his hub on Sheldon Brown's site.

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   LeMans Centurion posted by Gralyn on 7/19/2002 at 12:13:28 PM
I saw a LeMans Centurion frame for sale on e-bay....in my size. It's yellow....not as "colorful" as the one I have....but I was thinking I could maybe bid on that frame...then take all my components and put them on that frame....then maybe sell my 25" frame. Sounds like a viable uption!

   RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   LeMans Centurion posted by Wings on 7/21/2002 at 7:04:24 AM
Stuck Front Derailer -- Check to see if the cable is frozen in the housing -- that is usually the problem. If it is replace with a new cable and new housing. A derailer itself may move slowly if it needs a little lubrication at the pivot points. Unscrew the cable to the derailer (at the derailer) and see if you can move the derailer by hand. You can also check to see if the cable will move when you pull it also.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   LeMans Centurion posted by Elvis on 7/25/2002 at 5:10:14 PM
Aero brake levers [one of my rides has the old Shimano 105 example] got introduced in the 1980's. I believe the first bike to have them was a Lotus but I might be mistaken. The brake levers may or may not be part of the original component group, so I wouldn't use that as the only age-test. My Puch is from the 70s and some dude added the newer brake levers afterwards while keeping the other components stock.