Thursday, September 20, 2012

Back to the 80's- My "Maglia Rosa" Custom Road bike

Lately I have had 80's thoughts. "What are 80's thoughts?" One might ask. It's when you suddenly catch yourself listening to Duran Duran and liking  it. Or humming in your head Electric Blue by Icehouse. Or maybe you catch yourself on YouTube watching a rerun of a Lemond/Fignon duel in 89' where those guys blasted through wet cobblestone roads at 50mph without the benefit of helmets. It could also be looking up 80's color schemes on bicycles.

One could say all these things comprise 80's thoughts. Lately I have been inspired by the crazy neons, hot pinks, and Celeste greens that were on many of the top of the line bikes of back in the day. I was born in the middle of that decade, and have always thought what a cool decade that would have been to live in. It was the golden age for cycling, an era lugged frames were pushed to their technological maximum in the racing world. Then came carbon, clip-less pedals, and chamois Butt-r cream. As you know, the rest is history.

I took this era appropriate 1977 Takara 731 model as the source of my project. It had belonged to an older lady's brother and I was able to talk her down into letting me have it for $20. As with many of these projects, parts were seized by rust and there were times I feared I had reached a dead end. However, with a little torque and some WD-40, I was able to disassemble the bike, powdercoat the frame, acid bath the chrome parts, and voila! A 1980's themed custom road bike.

Some modifications that I did were actually ordering some new-old stock brakes and levers that were top of the line for back in their day.  These center pull brakes have quick release levers on them for accommodating knobbier and fattier 27" tires. Here's a couple of pictures of the new braking system for this bike.

Shimano 600 non aero brake levers were the best of their kind.

Dura Ace Center Pulls with quick release on top. I never knew quick release was ever an option on center pull brakes.

 I replaced the original wheels with some Weinmann alloys with quick release skewers. I overhauled the bottom bracket replacing the cup and cone with a sealed bearing bracket.  I swapped the original five speed freewheel with cleaner looking 6 speed, which fit without any modification to the frame.

The result was a slightly heavy but nimble frame made to flex and take the abuses of the road. This bike is a winner for any retro fan or modern day hipster. If you are man enough to ride pink, this bike is for you. After all, some of the manliest of men ride in the Giro D' Italia, and the leader wears the pink jersey. Hence the name of this custom is my "Maglia Rosa" bike, Italian for pink jersey. I have already featured my "maillot jaune" Schwinn bike, for those of you who are following my articles. Check out some of my other customs on my "transform your klunker" segment of my page. If you are interested in a custom restored bicycle, and live in Texas (sorry, I don't ship bicycles. That's what eBay is for) you can contact me for a quote on restoration or if  you would like to buy one of my customs on sale, you may also contact me. Subscribe and stay tuned for more on my latest bicycle restoration projects.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work on the bike! When I think 80s I think cotton canvas tape on the bars! :) I just found a really cool 1988 Alpine Mountain Bike kicked to the curb which has a nice original splatter blue paint cannot get anymore 80s than that! :)