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Old 12-10-07, 03:08 AM   #1
caterham
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the myth of "period correctness"

Does anyone else raise an eyebrow when they find a vintage bike with all the parts that are identifiable by date codes,timelines, etc. all perfectly corresponding with and in complete agreement with the frameset's age?

In the 70's to mid- 80's, with very few exceptions, most all top domestic and european custom bike manufacturers released new frames and components piecemeal with little or no attention to model years.

Cycling products generally evolved quietly, slowly and incrementally over time rather than changing abruptly as 'latest/greatest' ,'new and improved' with each new buying season.

New Sales Brochures were routinely distributed at the year end trade events, often featuring for the first time in print, parts that had been released and sold 'en mass for many months prior to being included in the catalogue.

Distributors wouldn't even have thought about rotating old-for-new stock inventories when the latest batches arrived from their sources since there wasn't any advantage or incentive in doing so, other than reducing the accumulation of warehouse dust on parts boxes.

If one ordered a new complete bike or a frameset with a full matching road group, it invariably would be comprised of component parts having production dates spanning several years time.
And nobody noticed , nor cared.

Nowadays, when I see one of these "perfect period correct" vintage bikes ,either on sale , display or on the road, I can't help but think that some obsessive-compulsive type spent far too much effort in restoration

- IMO, such a bike is actually over-restored since it is highly unlikely that the bicycle was ever assembled so "correctly" when it was brand-spanking new .
(end of rambling old -codger diatribe)

best,
k

Last edited by caterham; 12-10-07 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 12-10-07, 03:18 AM   #2
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I agree with your assessment. If manufacturers rotated stock and used up the old stuff first ie:FIFO, first in first out, there wouldn't be an ebay. I can't believe all the NOS I see there. Good call

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Old 12-10-07, 03:50 AM   #3
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maybe over restored but interesting nonetheless, with such a love for a bike it would seem to me it was worth more then a means to an end. It truly was their bike. Seems that would be commended.
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Old 12-10-07, 05:27 AM   #4
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maybe over restored but interesting nonetheless, with such a love for a bike it would seem to me it was worth more then a means to an end. It truly was their bike. Seems that would be commended.
Sure- a well done restoration is always appreciated. However, imo, this over-emphasis of manufacturing dates & codes makes many truely original,pristinely preserved and accurately maintained examples of vintage marques somehow less desireable and uprates pieced-together, after-the-fact restorations (albeit, often labors of love).
I think my issue is that with the internet, with its many enthusiast-compiled, and often incomplete and/or innaccurate "timelines" readily available, there's been a general acceptance for an unreasonable and erroneously precise "standard" of correctness placed upon vintage bicycles and restorations.

Last edited by caterham; 12-10-07 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 12-10-07, 06:02 AM   #5
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I think you're overstating the case just a little. I don't think the kind of date code obsession you decry is that "generally accepted" - most good restorers I know understand the issues you mention and don't get that wound up in matching the dates of parts precisely to that of the frame. There's a reason the term is "period correct" rather than "year correct." The folks who match date codes exactly are likely newer to the hobby (or contemplating an eBay killing). There are exceptions to the more loosely done type of build you mention, too: It's pretty well known that most early Carlsbad Masis, for example, came with Campagnolo parts date coded 1973. So in the instance of at least one prominent marque, it's not true to say that a bike "invariably would be comprised of component parts having production dates spanning several year's time."
But I do get your point. I find it much more interesting to see a bike that has been built up the way an owner might have customized it at the time it was new - precisely to distinguish it from what was in the catalog. I find the idea of having to replicate a catalog a bit weird and sterile - though maybe not to someone who drooled over the catalog when it was new with no hope of owning the bikes within its pages.
I do find careful restoration interesting and something of a minor artform, though, even when it is a bit obsessive compulsive. For instance, bothering to talk to folks who raced in the early 70's to determine whether high or low flange hubs would be more appropriate for their bike. I also take a certain amount of delight in noting the details of a bike that's been built with care - for example by making sure to use Campagnolo shifters with black rather than silver backing plates on a pre-1970's bike. I think it shows care and respect as much as compulsion. It crosses the line when it stops being fun.
And a bike that is truly original will always be the gold standard, regardless of whether the date codes match - and perhaps even because of that fact, since it documents the real story.

Last edited by Picchio Special; 12-10-07 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 12-10-07, 06:47 AM   #6
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I can't help but think that some obsessive-compulsive type spent far too much effort in restoration

(end of rambling old -codger diatribe)

best,
k
Perhaps the "some obsessive-compulsive type" is the one[s] bothered enough to post about it.
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Old 12-10-07, 06:56 AM   #7
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Perhaps the "some obsessive-compulsive type" is the one[s] bothered enough to post about it.
alf
hahaha- zing...got me,there, alf
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Old 12-10-07, 07:24 AM   #8
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Yes, I agree. During the 1970s or earlier, with the exception of the relative handful of the very high end bikes which came equipped with full Campagnolo Record components, there was also much less a sense of or concern about complete "matched" component groups on a bike than today. In fact, one of the hallmarks of the "better" bike shops was their ability to fit the best components together not as cosmetically matching pieces but as a harmonious selection to best suit the rider, the style of the bike, and the demands to which it would be put. So there was less a sense of buying directly from a catalog selection. Sure, there would be different models shown, and you would make general selections based on this. But as a customer, I would feel a bit slighted if I had walked into say Tom Avenias shop in NYC and was simply given a stock model without it being personalized a bit to my individual needs. I guess it would be like buying a new car today without being able to select any "options" outside of how a base model was offered.

But, as for seeing "period correctness" on older bikes. This does not bother me. It's really just re-creating the most familiar identity on that old bike. But, I think this is done more for being judged by other collectors or to present a bike for other interested individuals to analyze or appreciate rather than being of any actual benefit to an owner. I'm guilty of having done this myself on a couple of my own framesets which were found in excellent original condition. But, I do also find this simply very boring - just like assembling jigsaw puzzles or paint by numbers kits. I will say that it is interesting to perfectly set up a bike even using new old stock Campy components from the early 70s simply to ride it and then recall: "Boy, this stuff really did shift pretty badly, worse than I remembered, and even presented at it's best." - But then that's the end to the novelty, for me.

I would definitely just put all Nuovo Record components which I had at hand onto a bike which I were selling if I knew this model had been originally offered that way. And, it would not bother me to buy a bike similarly correctly equipped... although in most cases I always prefer to buy a frameset alone.

I can admire the (definitely obsessive) attention to detail which some owners pour into this fetish. Here is an interesting tale by framebuilder Richard Sachs about his own personal quest turned obsession to build up a restored vintage bike absolutely correct and looking showroom new in every way. I think it both impressive and excessive... especially since you would then never want to ever ride such a museum piece.

I just like to be able to RIDE my bikes (and preferably most smoothly set up), and when I can retain and convey the general overall look from a period, I think this alone is adequate for my purposes. So, I tend to "mess with" the components of the bikes which I ride the most. And perhaps this is also even the best way to share the experience of that old steel bike with a younger rider who might be otherwise put off by some of the correct yet more annoying quirks from the era.

However, it's another story entirely if you want to "Show" your bike. I would never win any trophies, but that's okay...trophies are just not my bag, Baby.
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Old 12-10-07, 07:56 AM   #9
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There's a few different ways of lokking at it...

1 N.O.S. I truely believe there's alot of N.O.S. stuff out there. Usualy what happens is a new line of components or new design of the component is released and thats what the customer wants which in turns makes the old version obsolete. When Shimano intriduced S.I.S. on Dura-Ace in 1985 everything became obsolete overnight. Everything. Campy was so far behind they changed components almost every year in a desperate attempt to catch up. Campy made themselves obsolete almost every year!!! I have a graph somewhere showing manufacturer marker share...its astounding.

I would love to rummage through the basement of the shop I worked at. Tons of N.O.S. Schwinn, Raleigh and Peugeot parts....

2. Date codes/Rotating stock. If you not going to try get the most period correct what are you going to do. Lets say you know that particular frame was built in January in of 1982. According to some of the N.O.S./rotating stock theoris that bike could be built period correct if the frame wasnt rotated out of stock for 3 years and built with New Dura-Ace!!!! I dont think rotating stock plays as big a role as one thinks. Sure stuff was left at the back of the shelf or bottom of the bin but not that much stuff.

Let say Paramount is building a frameset and its 1973. How long would you say it takes Campy hubs to get here from Italy or Mavic rims from France. Lets say everthing was ordered from their respective manufacturers on the same day.

Rims: Dealer recieves order on Friday January 2nd, calls distributor on January 5th. Distrubutor calls Mavic on the 7th with order. Mavic fills the order on the 9th. It gets shipped out on the 12th and takes how long to get here on a boat. Once its here its gets held up by the union guys on the dock. Gets shipped the distributor etc.....your talking months to get something if its not in stock.

If I recall correctly most dealers and distributors only ordered once a week and thay also needed a minimum order. Taking the timeline into consideration a 6 month window is too tight for date codes. The odds of randomly grabbing matched dates off a shelf.....nope.

Yes, its very unlikely a bike would be built all date coded to within a year but in the Corvette restoration buisness (I'm working on '70 'vert right now) every part must be date coded to within 6 months. 6 months. Do you think GM's suppliers were any better at rotating stock. I dought some union guy was just jumping to the fromt of the line to grab a pait heavy steel heads from the back of the rack.

3. Money. The hobbyists who complains the most have the least of it and the hobbyist who builds the perfect resto have the most of it!!! As an example the the carburetor on my Corvette is not the original date coded carb. I can buy one fully restored for $300 or I can buy one thats not correct for $75. What should I do? Well I went the $75 route because the block in mine has been replaced and you cannot get date coded blocks. Whats the point of one part being date coded it the other isnt?
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Old 12-10-07, 08:56 AM   #10
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3. Money. The hobbyists who complains the most have the least of it and the hobbyist who builds the perfect resto have the most of it!!! As an example the the carburetor on my Corvette is not the original date coded carb. I can buy one fully restored for $300 or I can buy one thats not correct for $75. What should I do? Well I went the $75 route because the block in mine has been replaced and you cannot get date coded blocks. Whats the point of one part being date coded it the other isnt?
My Fathers '68 Corvette L/79 327/350 hp,(Numbers match) 32XX frame off the line in the model year, now has a $700+ Date coded re-anodized carb, because Dad changed the stock one for a Holly in '73. And $1K work of the factory emmissions runners. I love history, and I'm going to keep some of my bikes as close as I can in components, but I hope bikes never get to be like old Vette's
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Old 12-10-07, 09:07 AM   #11
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Does anyone else raise an eyebrow when they find a vintage bike with all the parts that are identifiable by date codes,timelines, etc. all perfectly corresponding with and in complete agreement with the frameset's age? <snip> Nowadays, when I see one of these "perfect period correct" vintage bikes , either on sale , display or on the road, I can't help but think that some obsessive-compulsive type spent far too much effort in restoration
no, and that's because, as PS posted -
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I think you're overstating the case just a little. I don't think the kind of date code obsession you decry is that "generally accepted" - most good restorers I know understand the issues you mention and don't get that wound up in matching the dates of parts precisely to that of the frame. There's a reason the term is "period correct" rather than "year correct."
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Old 12-10-07, 09:13 AM   #12
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[quote=miamijim;5779543]

>>>1 N.O.S. I truely believe there's alot of N.O.S. stuff out there. Usualy what happens is a new line of components or new design of the component is released and thats what the customer wants which in turns makes the old version obsolete. When Shimano intriduced S.I.S. on Dura-Ace in 1985 everything became obsolete overnight. Everything. Campy was so far behind they changed components almost every year in a desperate attempt to catch up. Campy made themselves obsolete almost every year!!! <<<


dunno if you were reponding to my opening post or not but my premise mentions the 70's to mid-80's period as being the most affected. Once Shimano seriously entered the picture and CPSC regulations fully kicked in , requiring even small manufacturers to date code production for liability & recall issues, the game was over and 'gruppo of the month' became the new industry standard.


>>>2. Date codes/Rotating stock. If you not going to try get the most period correct what are you going to do.<<<

imo, that's an entirely legit and obvious way to build up an incomplete or non- stock vintage bike or frameset for restoration.My point is that there should be a window of acceptability beyond a narrow dating timeframe unless there's documentation or other information to the contrary, particulary in regards to those original bikes that don't meet the narrow "standard".

>>> I dont think rotating stock plays as big a role as one thinks. Sure stuff was left at the back of the shelf or bottom of the bin but not that much stuff.<<<

I take it you never worked with Euroasia or Mel Pinto Imports. If you weren't an insider of either the importer or manufacturer, you often wouldn't know what was new or old stock. You just got what was sent to you.

>>>Let say Paramount is building a frameset and its 1973. How long would you say it takes Campy hubs to get here from Italy or Mavic rims from France. Lets say everthing was ordered from their respective manufacturers on the same day. <<<

Let's say that instead of Schwinn, we're talking about a small boutique outfit that needs a few dozen hubsets or rims... you're at the mercy of not only Campy in Italy/Mavic,France but whatever your authorised Campy/Mavic sources are in your home country and how reliably they happen to pay their bills.

>>>Rims: Dealer recieves order on Friday January 2nd, calls distributor on January 5th. Distrubutor calls Mavic on the 7th with order. Mavic fills the order on the 9th. It gets shipped out on the 12th and takes how long to get here on a boat. Once its here its gets held up by the union guys on the dock. Gets shipped the distributor etc.....your talking months to get something if its not in stock.<<<

I take it you never ordered directly from a small french or italian manufacturer .How about an example of ,let's just say a uniquely different business culture that I recall personally - dealer sells upfront, a red frameset of the top of the line model from small euro manufacturer-he calls importer to place the order only to find that the importer doesn't have correct size red frameset in inventory but will order it asap . importer calls manufacturer that nite and is told that it can be shipped airfreight in 3 weeks time.5 weeks, 3 faxes and 4 long distance telephone calls later and no red frameset. Another telephone call and a week later the shipment finally arrives. Importer unpacks the shipment which includes several other needed models/sizes and finds a black frameset of the correct size. Frantic call to the manufacturer who argues with the importer that their black paint is a much higher quality finish than red and he should be elated that he was shipped the superior product.... btw- a strangely familiar sounding red frameset appears without warning amidst another large shipment ,some 2-1/2 to 3 full months after the original client decides enuf is enuf and cancels his order. S/O Red frameset sits in importers warehouse for a year or longer as that model has been discontinued before finally being 'adopted' by importer's daughter for her new interest in triathalons.

>>>3. Money. The hobbyists who complains the most have the least of it and the hobbyist who builds the perfect resto have the most of it!!! <<<

Not sure how that figures in here but yes, cubic money makes things happen. For example, I just recently lost out on a used, not NOS, water bottle that the seller warned of the need for a thorough cleaning and which finally went for $92, less shipping.I could only justify $65 or so before letting it go as being too rich for my blood. Oh well, I'll wait till another comes along. Do i have a point in mentioning this? no... but I feel better in griping a bit

Last edited by caterham; 12-10-07 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 12-10-07, 09:52 AM   #13
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According to some of the N.O.S./rotating stock theoris that bike could be built period correct if the frame wasnt rotated out of stock for 3 years and built with New Dura-Ace!!!! I dont think rotating stock plays as big a role as one thinks. Sure stuff was left at the back of the shelf or bottom of the bin but not that much stuff.
You can't tell me that Peugeot did not have tens of thousands of Simplex Prestige derailleurs and Mafac brakes in their bins, sufficient for months of production in advance. Maybe not Masi or Paramount, but the big mass production companies did not order every week, they probably made bulk orders once or twice annually, and the stuff was eventually just used, not returned or remaindered out to wholesale distributors for a loss. Regardless of what the Marketing Department guys may have put in the newly released catalogues, there were always going to be hundreds or more likely many thousands of bikes which did not get the most newly specified components - especially on some of the lower tier bikes.

With regard to Paramount: ... Richard Schwinn said that the only reason they did NOT get stuck with a ton of Campy Gran Turismo nightmare derailleurs for the Touring Paramounts was because everyone had been anxiously waiting and praying for years that a replacement would suddenly be released by Campagnolo. ... However, on the other hand, they were indeed "stuck" with MANY years worth of Nervex bottom brackets - which everyone hated working with - simply because someone made a huge purchase of them back in the 1950s, and it took until the late 1960s for them all to be used up!
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Old 12-10-07, 10:02 AM   #14
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Just a brief comment on something I noted on my 73 and my wife's 74 Paramount P-15's.....

On both bikes, the triple crank set is the pre-1973 version with no date code. I can only guess that Schwinn ordered a whole bunch of these much earlier and did not use them very fast. The non drive cranks on both are marked for 1973, so no one was too concerned about the date codes.

I would prefer for my bikes to be as "correct" as possible, but I use later clincher rims that have hook beads as well as SunTour barcons. I am willing to make some modifications for functionality, with the bike overall as correct as I am able to make it at the time. They are usually all a work in progress-that's half the fun!
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Old 12-10-07, 10:08 AM   #15
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I have never worried a bit about date codes, but I do think it is pretty interesting to find a bicycle with almost all original components, such as my 1960 Capo. However, those of us who actually ride our vintage bikes inevitably make a few compromises in the interest of safety and reliability -- after 50 years of use, most aluminum rims or handlebar stems become suspect, and there is no way I am going to ride with 50-year old brake cables or pads.

I just saw Rabid's post, and I concur.
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Old 12-10-07, 10:14 AM   #16
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Sort of on-topic, but the opposite side of the coin, I guess-> http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=22271
Been drooling over this reproduction since it came out, but cannot fathom spending that kind of dough when they went and put brand new Deore XT and hollowtech II bits all over it, when they could've used new Sugino stuff that wouldn't make it look like lipstick on a pig.

LOL, I solved my own problem since I found a used Stumpjumer (exact same '83) for $200 on consignment at the LBS.
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Old 12-10-07, 10:33 AM   #17
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Gee, I'm glad I don't care all that much about date codes. I build em as I remember them, as long as it looks right its good enough for me. However, I guess if someone restores an old Cinelli or Masi or such, and is searching for parts anyway, no reason not to buy ones with the correct date codes if that's important to them. As I have tons of stuff I've collected over the years, I just pull out the closest I have and use it without much thought. I agree, in reality things probably weren't that precise.

I wish it hadn't gotten so hard to find simple silver clincher rims, I just used my last set!
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Old 12-10-07, 10:53 AM   #18
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There's a reason the term is "period correct" rather than "year correct."
Exactly, and this term is misunderstood a lot. When you find a typical 70's owner built up race frame like a Bob Jackson, etc. built with a Campy drivetrain, a Sugino Mighty crankset, and Dura Ace brakeset. This bike is completely "period correct". But some guys today would not be able to leave it alone because it's not all Campy. But the mix of "period" parts are probably a better reflection of most regular guy race bikes from the time. "Do you want to race your bike this weekend or spend all your gas and lodging money on Campy brakes".

Does it bug me when somebody takes that bike today and pimps it out in better period parts? No, because if he could have afforded them at the time he would have bought 'em. What bugs me is seeing an otherwise original 70's bike wearing Cinelli splash cork tape.
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Old 12-10-07, 01:13 PM   #19
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Back in the 70s, many would upgrade their frames and transfer the components from their earlier bike.
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Old 12-10-07, 01:36 PM   #20
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As an example the the carburetor on my Corvette is not the original date coded carb. I can buy one fully restored for $300 or I can buy one thats not correct for $75. What should I do? Well I went the $75 route because the block in mine has been replaced and you cannot get date coded blocks. Whats the point of one part being date coded it the other isnt?
Corvette tangent, the family '66 Sting Ray got its 300 hp, engine rebuilt a while ago, brother bought all the parts prior, many did not fit?!, turns out it was a late build, and EVERYTHING but the pistons were from a 350hp engine, different heads, different oil pump etc. So there is a limit to period correct.

Also here are interesting examples, if you bought a Masi built in Carlsbad as late as 1976, it had 1973 date coded parts, they bought a big lot of parts initially and never went through them all. It was somewhere in 1976 that Schwinn finally used up the 151 bolt circle pista cranks, the 144 being availible for some time, but Schwinn and many distributors were selling off the old stock first.
In 1975 I bought 151 BCD pista cranks as they were easier and cheaper to find chainrings for at that time.

So it goes.
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Old 12-10-07, 02:34 PM   #21
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My 1949 Panhead has later manifold fittings, a later carb, a mousetrap clutch booster, footshift and 12 volts, all wrong but doesn't matter a bit unless I want to enter some snooty concours, which I don't. Still a fun, cool bike; I don't care what the purists think. That's my son, I'm leaving it to him!
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Old 12-10-07, 03:23 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
There's a few different ways of lokking at it...

1 N.O.S. I truely believe there's alot of N.O.S. stuff out there. Usualy what happens is a new line of components or new design of the component is released and thats what the customer wants which in turns makes the old version obsolete. When Shimano intriduced S.I.S. on Dura-Ace in 1985 everything became obsolete overnight. Everything. Campy was so far behind they changed components almost every year in a desperate attempt to catch up. Campy made themselves obsolete almost every year!!! I have a graph somewhere showing manufacturer marker share...its astounding.

I would love to rummage through the basement of the shop I worked at. Tons of N.O.S. Schwinn, Raleigh and Peugeot parts....

2. Date codes/Rotating stock. If you not going to try get the most period correct what are you going to do. Lets say you know that particular frame was built in January in of 1982. According to some of the N.O.S./rotating stock theoris that bike could be built period correct if the frame wasnt rotated out of stock for 3 years and built with New Dura-Ace!!!! I dont think rotating stock plays as big a role as one thinks. Sure stuff was left at the back of the shelf or bottom of the bin but not that much stuff.

Let say Paramount is building a frameset and its 1973. How long would you say it takes Campy hubs to get here from Italy or Mavic rims from France. Lets say everthing was ordered from their respective manufacturers on the same day.

Rims: Dealer recieves order on Friday January 2nd, calls distributor on January 5th. Distrubutor calls Mavic on the 7th with order. Mavic fills the order on the 9th. It gets shipped out on the 12th and takes how long to get here on a boat. Once its here its gets held up by the union guys on the dock. Gets shipped the distributor etc.....your talking months to get something if its not in stock.

If I recall correctly most dealers and distributors only ordered once a week and thay also needed a minimum order. Taking the timeline into consideration a 6 month window is too tight for date codes. The odds of randomly grabbing matched dates off a shelf.....nope.

Yes, its very unlikely a bike would be built all date coded to within a year but in the Corvette restoration buisness (I'm working on '70 'vert right now) every part must be date coded to within 6 months. 6 months. Do you think GM's suppliers were any better at rotating stock. I dought some union guy was just jumping to the fromt of the line to grab a pait heavy steel heads from the back of the rack.

3. Money. The hobbyists who complains the most have the least of it and the hobbyist who builds the perfect resto have the most of it!!! As an example the the carburetor on my Corvette is not the original date coded carb. I can buy one fully restored for $300 or I can buy one thats not correct for $75. What should I do? Well I went the $75 route because the block in mine has been replaced and you cannot get date coded blocks. Whats the point of one part being date coded it the other isnt?
Miamijim, I like your collection of philosophies, but I would add one, that I tended to follow and still do.

4. If I had bought this back in the day, what would I have replaced wear items with? For example, if I had bought my Masi in the day and had to replace a rim, I would not have made the LBS order a Martano, just because the original was a Martano. I'd have discussed which rims are best today, what can they get, do I need new spokes, is there anything to this new anodization, is rim A more or less durable than a Martano, et cetera. I'd have ended up with a good rim of that day, but probably not the original one. A practical owner of a riding bike, even as fine as a Masi or Colnago, might well have thought this way back in the day. I, at least, did.

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Old 12-10-07, 03:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Corvette tangent, the family '66 Sting Ray got its 300 hp, engine rebuilt a while ago, brother bought all the parts prior, many did not fit?!, turns out it was a late build, and EVERYTHING but the pistons were from a 350hp engine, different heads, different oil pump etc. So there is a limit to period correct.

Also here are interesting examples, if you bought a Masi built in Carlsbad as late as 1976, it had 1973 date coded parts, they bought a big lot of parts initially and never went through them all. It was somewhere in 1976 that Schwinn finally used up the 151 bolt circle pista cranks, the 144 being availible for some time, but Schwinn and many distributors were selling off the old stock first.
In 1975 I bought 151 BCD pista cranks as they were easier and cheaper to find chainrings for at that time.

So it goes.
Rossignoli tangent!

In 1968 or perhaps late '67 I bought a Rossignoli from Turin Cycle Co-op in Chicago. I had really wanted a PX-10, but for the same price this was the best they had. It was an unstamped frame from Cicli Rossignoli, long road geometry of the mid or early '60s, had a Magistroni crank and BB, Record (not Nuovo!) gearset, Brooks Pro saddle, 15-25 cluster, TTT stem/bars/seat pillar, an odd set of Campy Record/Nisi wheels with D'Alessandro Mondial tires, and odd steel Sheffield pedals. I loved it. The shop guys suggested that it may have been assembled at the distributor in Chicago, from early '60s or earlier racing parts. Not light, but very smooth. NOS, but still new. Where does this odd machine fit into any of this?

I wish I had or at least understood that frame, given what I know now!

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Old 12-10-07, 04:31 PM   #24
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I couldn't afford a 'good' bike back in the 70's. It was already the early 80's before I could spend hungreds of dollars on a bike. By the time I started getting serious about riding fast, Shimano was making giant inroads into Campagnolo territory. The first 'custom' bike I had (and still have) was equipped with a mix of Dura Ace and Record, and as improvements came about, those bits were upgraded.

My 1984 Cinelli SC is a perfect example. It has Record seatpost & headset, DA AX BB and crank, with Dyna Drive pedals and Binda straps, DA 7400 dérailleurs coupled to 6 speed SIS levers. A jury rigged set of Dura Ace AX 36 hole cassette hubs, changed from 7 speed to 6 speed to work with the SIS laced to GP4's, with a set of 7400 32 hole hubs laced to GEL 280s for race day. Of course, there are Cinelli bars and stem. Dura Ace AX speed adjusters for slowing down power.

This setup would be/is considered sacrilegious to a collector, but it worked together real well when I actually tried to race, and still works well today. It is period correct.

I have recently bought a few 'collectable' bikes, and I'm always confused by the mix of parts on them. A couple of them I know were never changed from the day they were delivered, because I bought them from the original owners and they confirmed as much. Invariably they have born out caterham's theory/complaint/rant about 'period correctness'. Bikes that I know have not had a part changed on them have Campagnolo components that vary by 3-4 years on them. Newer shift levers with old seat posts, and crank arms that are 3 years older than the frame build date. It seems that Campagnolo, especially, could have a wide range of parts available at any one time and depending on the distributer and the dealer. You could have a 'new build' with a wide range of dates. I doubt if Tullio even knew what the latest model was! None of this seemed to matter back then, it's just something for collectors to obsess over today.

I know caterham rides every one of his bikes, I know Road Fan does too. That's the most important thing.

Forty years from now let someone else try to figure out how Road Fan's Mondonico came to have a 21st century drivetrain. I know it's because it makes it easier for him to ride it up the hills along the Huron River, and if it keeps him riding, that's a good thing.

Sorry for the long, rambling, post. It must be the Mother's fumes I've been inhaling all day.

John
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Old 12-10-07, 04:34 PM   #25
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OK, let me take the concept of "period correct" from a slightly different angle.

I am (actually 'was' is probably a better definition, as I haven't mustered out in the last three years) a re-enactor (those guys doing American Civil War, English Civil War, American Revolution, etc.). The concept of "period correct" is absolute God to us - which means we do not use something documentable to 1750 at the oldest if the impression we're doing that weekend is 1680. It just wouldn't have existed at that time.

I've taken that concept for any bikes that I've rebuilt: I don't necessarily go for specific year, or week of production. That's an impossibility, as the bicycle industry is nowhere near as anal as the motor vehicle - to start, they don't have to worry about serial numbers having legal status for licensing. I just try to get close.

Assuming I've got a year for the frame (or at least a 2-3 year window), if I'm going for showroom accuracy (something I'm planning on putting into a vintage show) as opposed to my concept builds (the daily riders that start off with a certain idea - say, my TT Bike for the Homeless) I will try to rebuild the bike to what would have been used in that year/window . . . . . and as I'm usually not that interested in rebuilding something exactly to the catalog, I'll allow myself two to three years newer than the frame year. My 'rule' is to treat the bike as if I'd bought it new, then allow for the usual upgrades/changes I would have done while riding it.

From my memories of the shop during the Bike Boom, only Schwinn and Raleigh seemed to have the ability to spec out a bike at the beginning of the model year, list it in the catalog, and still be producing the exact same bike at the end of that model year - and even Raleigh surprised us by suddenly fitting Altenburger sidepulls to the Record in place of the Weinmann centerpulls we had been used to getting. Schwinn, of course, had the fudge of 'Schwinn Approved' which meant that they weren't about to paint themselves into a corner by specifying Weinmann brakes instead of DiaCompe.

As to the French bikes - you took what they shipped, and were bloody grateful you were getting something since the Schwinn and Raleigh orders were already sold out before they arrived at the shop. And specs there constantly changed - about the only things you could count on with those was Simplex Prestige and lousy paint jobs.

I can understand rebuilding a bike to the catalog - if shows and competition are important to you. After all, the judges have to have something to base their decisions on. While I've never judged a bicycle concours, I've done a lot of vintage British motorcycle shows. While I hate to be so nitpicky as to start looking for proper fuel tank taps, you've got to do something when there's five virtually perfect pre-unit Triumphs in the class, and only three trophies to hand out. Trust me, I've figured out my fudges in these instances (mileage, which ones were actually ridden, not trailered, to the show) to handle the invariably pissed off competitor(s).

Trophy hunting doesn't seem to be a big deal to most of us here, but it is to some people. And I won't put them down for their obsession - after all, what it takes to have fun is different for each person.
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