Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eddy Merckx

In preparation for the 2009 BW family assault on the Round Taupo event I built my beautiful wife Jacq this lovely early 90's Columbus SLX Eddy Merckx. I bought the frame off my friend Declan from the much missed Valley Cycles in Aro Street, and built it up using primarily Shimano Dura-Ace 7400 parts begged, borrowed and stolen.

At some point the frame was restored by the talented Ross Bee, whose sad loss is still keenly felt. Ross here pays tribute to the proud cycling heritage of the eponymous frame builder's home country.

The sexy Easton aluminium Dura-Ace seatpost.

The Dura-Ace 7400 derailleur still looks grouse. This one has been customised by original owner Henry with an SRP alloy and titanium bolt kit.

I still love the look of the old Elite Ciussi bottle cage, with their cool bottle retention "buttons".

The 7400 front derailleur...

...and headset. Note the interesting anti-cable rub device that is pressed in between the lower cup and the frame itself. The Merckx logo on the crown is the sort of neat superfluous detail that is sadly lost in modern frame construction.

The brake bridge also proudly bears the Stamp of God.

The front 7400 caliper. As you can see, I used one of my own stickers on the headtube, as Ross can't have had the correct scan to place a proper Merckx logo. This will do until I can eventually be bothered scanning one myself.

The 3ttt handlebars and stem - incredibly I had a matching pair!

Battered but still perfectly functional DA 7400 STI levers. These were the first "brifters" ever produced, and with one fell swoop they revolutionised gear shifting and arguably affected how racers could time attacks, irrevocably changing road racing to a degree at the same time.

The wheels are Antosh-built Ambrosio Formula 20 Crono tubulars kindly donated to the cause by my buddy Glenn, built onto non-period correct DA 7700 9 speed hubs. The front spokes are radial and the rear radial non-drive/three cross drive-side to build a stiff wheel that is still able counter the fierce torque that pedalling puts through a wheel. The tyres are the venerable Vittoria Corsa CX tubulars.

Et voila! I was unable to procure some 7400 cranks, so the chainset is also from the later Dura-Ace 7700 groupset. The *cough* MTB pedals and Velo saddle are Jacq spec, and best ignored for the purposes of this post.

Hope you are enjoying these detail blogs of my small but much-loved collection of bicycles. Pedal on, Oli.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Casati Monza

This lovely old late 1980's girl has been through many incarnations over the intervening years, from tri bike, to road racer to training hack. Way back in the mid-nineties ex-owner Big Mike Grey gave her tattered Italian dress a fresh coat of Ross Bee goodness, so the finish isn't original nor are any of the parts. In her latest iteration I've given her a life as my fat tyre roadie for inclement weather and/or gravé riding excursions. The components are a mélange of old and new bits I had scattered around the Batcave, which have all added up to create a really nice riding bike with a loving reference to an earlier era...

The patented "tuning fork" seat stay caps create a notable point of difference for the crowded frame market of the day.

The pantographed bottom bracket shell and Mavic sealed b/b. The colour detailing in the pantographs was done by me using Humbrol model enamels, probably on Cycle Services work time.

The Cinelli X/A stem is shimmed with the traditional Coke can to enable me to use the 3ttt handlebars - for some reason my collection doesn't contain any Cinelli road 'bars or 3ttt stems!

My modern Turbo saddle sits atop a Campagnolo Record seatpost.

Yes, Campagnolo. Mmmmmm.

Speaking of which, the Bianchi engraved chainring doesn't really go with the frame but it sure suits the Super Record cranks.

My battered old Campagnolo Record Look-made pedal bears the scars of several unscheduled dismounts and hard corners.

The Super Record rear derailleur has had a hard life too...

This poor abused specimen was the original rear derailleur off my beautiful custom TI Raleigh.

I knocked the wheels up a year or so ago - modern Campag Mirage hubs on Mavic Open Pro rims, laced up with Sapim Race spokes and good old brass nipples, set up with 9 sprockets.

Funny old downtube gear levers - shifting gears with these was an art of both timing and precision, and changing gears while standing was damn near impossible. However, after many years of riding with today's standard brake/shift levers I found it surprisingly easy to reacquaint myself with this antiquated method of gear selection.

The headset is a threaded Campagnolo Record one that I managed to cobble together from three different munted ones!

And here she is, my Casati Monza.

Thanks for reading, Oli

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raleigh Gran Tour

I built this bike up for a customer in 1982, and I use it as my non-lycra errands bike in advance of one day actually being able to find the time to go touring...

The chromed chainstay glistens under the workshop fluoros, despite a scattering of rust spots.

A sturdy Mavic MA2 touring rim on the rear has replaced the original Module 'E' at some point, but the front one survives still. Both are shod in sturdy Continental touring tyres to keep me rolling. When I got my hands on the bike the rear wheel needed a heinous flat spot smashed out and a rebuild, but the front is still rocking the original ugly as hell galvanised spokes I used back in '82.

Period San Marco Regal saddle - heavy but still very comfortable. The seatpost is a cool SunTour XC Pro one.

The battered Reynolds 531 decal and the tidy seat cluster.

SunTour GS-III drop-out and the Shimano 105 rear derailleur.

Shimano 105 chainset.

One of the things I love about this bike is the pinstripe detailing. Handbuilt in England, just like me.

Sakae SR Custom handlebars and stem. Note the handmade leather Titus grips still going strong after 30 years.

Downtube 105 shifters, lovely medium-point Prugnat lugs and a brazed on stop to prevent the levers sliding down the tube. The rust that is visible was from before I got my hands on it - hopefully the multiple coats of Rawleigh's Bicycle Wax will prevent it deteriorating further...

Reynolds 531 forks turn on a classic Tange headset, and the 105 calipers do a passable job of stopping the bike.

The Raleigh Gran Tour in all its glory. Like the rest of the componentry, the brake levers are Shimano 105, but using some Modolo hoods to replace the rotting, bubbling originals. I've used some old Shimano 747 SPD pedals so I can a) avoid toe clips and b) use my spare mtb shoes that enable me to walk around without looking like a penguin. The full-length mudguards are courtesy of the estimable Brian Phillips, and the Fibre-Flare light from my friends at Cycletech.

Thanks for reading, Oli.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Still struggling to work and weeks away from riding my bike, I'm reduced to wandering lonely like a cloud and floating on high around my workshop looking for various objets d'art to take photos of to keep my love alive. As well as alleviating my boredom, I figure it's good to disseminate these images to hopefully alleviate the boredom of others too, as the piles of bikes and bike-related crap I possess are wasted if no one is actually looking at them.

So now I present to you several photos of some of the piles of crap that I so love to look at and play with - I hope you enjoy looking at them too.

First up we have some unusual, rare and stinky car air fresheners given away with an early issue of Cycle Sport magazine. These are courtesy of my old friend Ben of Cactus Clothing fame - that's Ben on the left with Paul in their hip Cycle Services skinsuits...

The two teams featured on the air fresheners are the Castorama squad of the late, great Laurent Fignon and grand échappé specialist Jacky Durand, and the other is the famed Banesto formation of five-time Tour winner, the majestic Miguel Indurain.

Also donated by Ben to the Roadworks Museum of Bicycle Esoterica is this Giro pamphlet from the 1994 Giro d'Italia won by Evgeni Berzin.

A quirky bit of old stock left over from Cycle Services days. This is The Boot (see what I did there?)...

A NZ Cycling badge has pride of place on my workstand.

The inspiration for the blog title is the Tashkoff Cabinet of Bric-à-brac, filled with a selection of random precious items/junk such as Onza cable straddle hangers, Chongming good luck charms, Ringle bottle cages, Rawleigh's Bicycle Wax, Tour Down Under beer coolers and a model bicycle that my Mum gave me on my 14th birthday, along with my new Bike Pure wristband and headset spacer.

The head tube badge of my Hillbrick which waits patiently for it's next iteration as a complete bicycle.

Sadly after nearly six years my Wholly Bagel team socks are finally dying, so here they are before I turn them into Belgian Overshoes.

My helmet has also seen better days, but is another place I continue to wear the Mighty Bagel logo with pride.

Il Cavatappi BIG. Genius inventor Tullio Campagnolo is well known for his invention of the ubiquitous quick release we all rely on to remove or fit our bicycle wheels, and his jewel-like refinement of racing bike componentry, but he's less well known for being the inventor of this popular style of wine bottle opener.

I've got an old, old Team Raleigh 531 that used to belong to my friend Greg that awaits eventual restoration. Here is the famed heron head badge.

And a spare one I've hung onto since my Raleigh owning days in the early 80s because, well, you just never know...

The seat tube and the evocative Reynolds 531 decal.

Greg had it built up with some of the finest components of the mid to late 70s, such as a Brooks Professional saddle, Universal side-pull brakes, Campagnolo derailleurs and this very cool drillium Stronglight chainset.

Any excuse to show off the Celeste - this is my Silca Impero Bianchi frame pump.

My prized Marco Pantani edition Flite saddle sits amid my Look pedals, my Arione, Bianchi bidons and frame pump.

A Campagnolo cap I bought on my trip to Geelong in 2007, alongside the tattered remains of a NZ Supporters t-shirt from the 1993 World Championships in France.

Some of the many badges I've accumulated over the years. Left to right, top to bottom: Campagnolo 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Ritchey, Mavic, Eddy Merckx, New Plymouth Amateur Cycling Club, Volvo-Cannondale Tinker Juarez, City of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada - I have no recollection of why I have this at the moment?!), Tour de France, Giro, 3ttt.

I thought I'd save the best till last; here are some shots of my Campagnolo kit. This is my pair of Super Record track pedals with titanium axles.

My aero bottle and cage, some sadly cracked Super Record cranks (complete with drillium Sugino 42t 'ring), a 1981 Nuovo Record rear mech, C-Record front hub, Syncro 8 left-hand gear lever and an Elite Sartchari aluminium bidon.

Front and centre is my prized Campagnolo 50th Anniversary front derailleur (thanks, Jase!), a Nuovo Record front mech and my lone Super Record brake lever - hopefully one day I'll be able to afford a mate, and possibly even some hoods!

Campagnolo Croce d'Aune Delta brake calipers.

This relatively rare 1977 Super Record rear derailleur came off the Team Raleigh above, and is one of the only parts of the whole bike to survive the ravages of time virtually unmarred. The gear levers need a polish but otherwise are as they were on my old Ferrari "DeRosa" of the early 90s...

(Weird Al, moi and Wheels, prior to racing around Taupo in November 1992)

And closing with a Stronglight chainset, Regina America cluster, Cinelli stem and saddle and my prized Tour de France bidon...Thanks for reading, Oli

John Randal gets the Vets silver medal at Singlespeed Nationals dressed as an Easter Bunny!!

Also, I've recently been pimped on the great Velominati website - please check it out.