Project 2017

News Flash!!! February 18, 2017

The cables and chain finally arrived, were installed, and the cable ends neatly trimmed and capped. I am pleased to present you the completed Project 2017:

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This winter presents an opportunity to undertake a special project.  For a long time, I have wanted to put together a titanium road bike build.  My brother Peter, who was a keen cyclist and an inspiration to me from our earliest days of cycling, has offered me his Basso road frame with components, as well as a box of additional parts.  Included in this are some very special 1980s Campagnolo Super Record parts (derailleurs, crankset) as well as other yet to be discovered parts, and a Brooks Special Professional leather saddle of the same vintage.  This has served as the inspiration for a very meaningful bicycle build, and it starts with a 2001 Litespeed Classic frame.  This is a one owner frame and is in near perfect condition, and the welds are just beautiful.

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The question then became how to undertake this build in a way that would complement the vintage components yet also take advantage of some of the advances in cycling technology and mechanics to maximize the pleasure of the ride. So let’s start with the wheels. Last winter, I tracked down a pair of Ambrosio Nemesis tubular rims with Dura Ace hubs for my cyclocross bike. These rims, given their history on the treacherous routes of the spring classics, have piqued my interest. They’ve been fabulous on my cross rig, so I tracked down a pair in the UK…
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To keep the Italian theme going, I decided to mate the rims to a set of Campagnolo Record hubs. The wheels will be built 32h front and rear, with a 2 cross pattern front, and 2 cross / 3 cross (non-drive / drive side) rear spoke pattern for maximum strength. For spokes, I will use DT Competition. The hubs are beautiful, and will be fitted with a Miche 12-25 10 speed cassette. I couldn’t resist putting the sprockets on the hub and then into the rear dropouts.

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I was looking for a stem that would match the brushed titanium finish of the frame, without taking out a second mortgage to buy a titanium stem. I found this one from Deda in polished grey, which I think fits nicely and will guide me in the right direction as I continue with this build.  It will also complement the darker grey of the Nemesis rims.  Finding the right handlebars will be an upcoming challenge.  Wheels should be built by Friday, so stay tuned.

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I was able to drop off the rims and hubs to have the wheels built with the Sapim equivalent of DT Competition – stainless spokes look very classic with the black hubs and Nemesis rims.

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The bike shop also had a couple of these very nice King Cage stainless cages, which I think complement the frame well.  King Cages is a small outfit in Colorado and the cages are all made by hand.

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I paid a visit to Peter and brought back his Basso frame and a box of goodies, including a 1960s Record crankset with 52/49 chainrings (one must wonder here…), a bunch of tubular tires, and tools. The Basso has a Super record derailleur and crankset, and 1980s Shimano 600 front derailleur and brakes. I thought the brakes go well with the frame.

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Unfortunately, due to the thickness of the derailleur cage and pulleys, the old Super Record derailleur did not work as it ended up in the spokes when in the lowest sprocket. I was able to track down a 10sp Record derailleur which goes nicely with the frame and does not end up in the spokes…

The bike will be sporting the classic tan sidewall tubulars – in this case Vittoria Corsa G+ in 25mm.

I received the front derailleur and bottom bracket that I had ordered from the ‘bay, both vintage Campy record, and installed them this evening. I picked up a braze on bracket for the derailleur and installed that first.

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Installing the bottom bracket was a bit challenging, so I don’t have any pictures of that, but it was a pre ’76 Campy record bottom bracket with caged bearings and a steel spindle. With a healthy serving of Phil Wood bearing grease, it is spinning nicely. After getting that installed, I pulled the Super Record crankset off the Basso and installed that. I’ll need to track down a pair of Speedplay pedals so that I can use the same shoes for either bike.

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I tracked down a vintage Litespeed seat post with zero setback – With a little help from a clamp from the wood shop, I was able to squeeze the rails on that old Brooks Special Professional into the seat clamp, and it has found its rightful place on the bike.

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I’ve ordered cables, a Record chain, and Deda handlebars, all of which should be arriving this week. I’ll pick up some handlebar tape this week and hope to have a finished build on Friday morning.

The handlebars have arrived, and I installed the brake/shifters and mounted the bars. I’m liking the look and feel of the setup.

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I then set the seat height to the same as my other bikes and tested the fit.  All I can say is veeeerrrryyyy niiiiiicccceeee!!!!! Pardon the basement clutter…

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