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  1. #1
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    Need gearing advice for 80's vintage Italian stallion

    I recently purchased an 80's Marnati and need some advice on gearing.

    The chaingrings are 53/43 and the six speed cassette is 13/14/15/16/18/20, which yields a range of about 57-110 gear inches.

    I've been riding fixed for the past year with a range of 68-72 gear inches, and the range on this Marnati feels kind of high to me. I like to spin rather than mash, and the current gears on the Marnati only give me 2 combinations lower than what I'm already riding. It would be nice to have something lower for going uphill.

    First of all, is this a typical gear range from that era or something more specialized for racing?

    If I want to change out, should I just look for an NOS 6 speed cassette on Ebay? I'm not sure what is compatible with this (Campaganolo Record low flange hubs and Super Record rear derailleur). Any advice on a good all-around cassette range would also be appreciated. I'd rather not change out the front, since Campy chainrings are pretty expensive.
    Last edited by palladio; 07-10-09 at 09:53 AM.

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    My own 1980s Italian stallion, a charcoal/brown Bianchi, came with 52-42/13-15-17-19-21-23, which I replaced with 50-42/14-16-18-20-23-26, giving me a seldom-used but nice-to-have granny of 43.6 gear-inches and a really nice 1.5-step ratio pattern. Look for any standard (not "ultra") 6-speed screw-on freewheel (as opposed to a cassette or freehub) or perhaps even a 7-speed with a 13-26 or 14-26 range, which your Campagnolo SR derailleur can handle well.

    Your current low gear is comparable to that of a stock early 1970s Peugeot PX-10 (52-45/14-15-17-19-21). Your gearing would have been used for criterium or time trial racing, with a 13-23 or a 13-24 freewheel for long road races with serious hill climbs and a 13-26 or even a 13-28, if the derailleur can handle it, for unloaded touring.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  3. #3
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    John E, thanks for the helpful advice. Will any brand freewheel work on the Campy hub or is there a difference between the Japanese and Italian brands? Also, any brand you'd particularly recommend? I looked on Ebay and am seeing mostly Suntour and Shimano, with a few Reginas.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palladio View Post
    John E, thanks for the helpful advice. Will any brand freewheel work on the Campy hub or is there a difference between the Japanese and Italian brands? Also, any brand you'd particularly recommend? I looked on Ebay and am seeing mostly Suntour and Shimano, with a few Reginas.
    Your Campy hub most likely has English threading (1.375 x 24 tpi, if I recall), so 99% of what you find should work. Bike components from the '60s through the early '80s had very high compatibility, at least before indexing, and if you ignore BB tapers.

    If you're mainly interested in correct gearing and good shifting, look for a Shimano freewheel or a Sachs (or Sachs-Maillard). Both have tooth designs that grab the chain very readily. Regina and SunTour by comparison do not. Much better shifting with a Shimano or a Sachs. Personally I prefer Sachs and the nearly-identical Sachs-Maillard.

    I agree with John about going to a smaller chainwheel, but if you might use a 13 or 14 tooth small cog, I wouldn't go smaller than a 50/13. I'm nowhere near strong enough to spin out any of these top gears, but I do like to pedal downhill, sometimes at a genteel cadence, or to lope along on teh flats with a tailwind in the 60-70 rpm range. 50/14 gets at the margin for me. Plus I always think a fun bike should contain growth opportunities.

    if you're interested in restoration correctness, probably Regina is the way to go and was the OEM choice, this being an Italian bike. Long lasting, free-spinning, nice sound, but not a great shifting design. For a highly functional period correct replacement, the Sachs.
    Last edited by Road Fan; 07-10-09 at 10:25 AM.

  5. #5
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    I just looked and the freewheel on the bike is silver colored and says Regina Extra America. I'm guessing this was original to the bike as it came on a set of period correct tubular wheels that the previous owner wasn't using (he was using another set with clinchers).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    That's good quality, but the America had the same Regina tooth as the early Corsa from the '50s. If you like the way it shifts, fine, but those typically shift worse as the cog size jumps increase, such as converting from a 13-22 up to a 13-26.

    I'm satisfied with those in corncob setups.

  7. #7
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    So would a seven speed freewheel fit/work as well? How large a rear cog can the Campy SR derailleur handle and still shift well? I'm not sure I need a granny gear, I just want a range that's a little lower than what I have now so I can spin more easily.

  8. #8
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    No one's asked for pics yet? Of a Marnati?
    Pics, please.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    If you can find a Shimano 600 6-sp or 7-sp freewheel, most of them will spin right on, shift smoother, and you'll be able to get out of that corncob range.

    Myself, I ride 'em. Suffer on hills, but ride 'em..

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

    I'm not a doctor, but I watch them on TV.

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  10. #10
    Mostly Mischief jan nikolajsen's Avatar
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    The max cog size of NR/SR derailleurs have been discussed quite frequently here. The majority of us get okay to good results with 26T, and a few claim decades of success with 28T. It can vary from frame to frame, depending on the distance between drop-out screw hole and center of axle.

    The problem (for me at least) is the apparent scarcity of 26T freewheels.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
    If you can find a Shimano 600 6-sp or 7-sp freewheel, most of them will spin right on, shift smoother, and you'll be able to get out of that corncob range.

    Myself, I ride 'em. Suffer on hills, but ride 'em..

    How about a Shimano Dura Ace 7400 7 speed? Would that work?

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