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Old 09-30-11, 09:50 PM   #1
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What's "rare" isn't rare: Letting off some steam about finding the small stuff

Campagnolo lower saddle rails.

We've all seen them, and many of our bikes have them - in fact, maybe you once purchased a set to complete a bike. Well, that's where I am now. I need a pair of them to complete a build, at which point I've found that - according to places where you'd expect to find this stuff - they were all sent to Jupiter on a spaceship named Discovery One, and haven't been seen since.

Granted, finding a pair of Campy saddle rails isn't as easy as digging up a Schwinn Varsity, but we're not talking about finding the Holy Grail either. Sometimes that's easier to do. In fact, it is: An eBay search for "Campagnolo rails" brings up a set of what are supposed to be the "rarest" Campagnolo Record seatpost rails ever made - namely, the Brooks narrow set:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAMPAGNOLO-n...item2312728ac7

Then there is my orphaned Super Champion 700C clincher rim. I've been trying to find it a mate ("That rim, Tarzan; this rim, Jane."), to no avail. Sure there are a lot of Super Champions on eBay, but they're almost always the black sheep of the family: Tubulars or 27"s - and they're always NOS with hopeful opening bids or BIN's. Someone thinks there's money in the NOS rims, for you rarely see a used rim that isn't laced to a hub. Fact is, the Super Champion rim that I'm looking for is out there - it didn't Twitter all its brothers and sisters to meet at the scrap metal shop the moment I needed one - and so are many Mavic Module E and Module 3 rims that bring so much on eBay when they pop up; again, mostly NOS examples. Yet, go to any town with a reasonable number of bike shops, and you'll probably find some old junker languishing about with a mismatched set of "rare" old rims on it. I've seen more dilapidated Mavic MA-2's in this town than I care to realize.

Ditto for the old Rigida AL-series rims, of which I dug up a bunch - locally - last year, for cheap. (No, I don't have any left; built them all). They're not the greatest rim in the world either, but they're reasonably common. Just infiltrate any Critical Mass outing (Spy tip: Do not go dressed as a car) and you'll see what still floats about town - both the best and the worst rims from collectors, riders, and people who don't know in the slightest what they're riding.

Yet, if I want an "ultra rare" Rene Herse crankset, straddle pulley set, or "mega rare" set of Rene Herse downtube decals, I can buy them at this very moment on eBay. Heck, I can even buy Jan Heine's reproduction Herse crankset if I desired. I have yet to Google for "Rene Herse PBP Shampoo" yet. (Insert Rivendell joke here).

Were Schwinn Paramounts made in greater numbers than the Varsity? No, but I can find a better selection of Paramounts on eBay than I can find Varsities.

Once again - in a collector's market involving mass or semi-mass-produced items - the rarity of an item's relative production numbers and its availability to the collectors market are at odds with each other. The greater the mystique and resulting collector demand of a particular item, the more likely it'll be available for sale - primarily because the owner (read = seller) is aware of his or her ability to make a generous profit on the sale.

On the flip side, try to find these (and excuse the examples; not the best I could think of at the moment):
  • An identical replacement fork for a specific Schwinn Continental frame size and color. Chrome doesn't count.
  • A Peugeot UO-8/AO-8 bottom bracket - complete or just the cups.
  • A complete, mid-range, 1980's Suntour group. Sure, you can find Superbe Pro, but how about 'Ole (lower end) or Sprint (poor-man's Superbe Pro)?
  • Threaded Shimano Uniglide freehub cogs. Believe me, they're out there at LBS's.

Yet, if I want an obscure set of Campagnolo saddle rails, they're there for the picking. Early "Record" hubs? A frequently offered product. Fratelli-Brivio/Campagnolo 3-piece hubs? The shells are all over eBay. First-generation Super Record rear derailers? I could fill my entire display case with them if I had money to burn.

I'm not trying to preach any morals as much as I'm letting off steam, but it would be beneficial to say that when you're looking for that "not-so-uber-rare-yet-rare-enough-to-be-a-PITA" part, don't be afraid to go digging around in the back room of your LBS if you're lucky enough to find a shop with old, small parts kicking about.

After all, it's worked for me before - how do you think I found the first Super Champion rim?

-Kurt
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Old 09-30-11, 11:04 PM   #2
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The things that are hard to come by are often wear items. For example you can readily find upper adjustable headset parts and lock nuts but rarely fork crown races or lower fixed headset parts. This because most of the stress is on the lower parts and they get damaged much more frequently and people over the years have bought the few individual pieces available. The same goes for the lower rail supports or Campagnolo two-both seatposts. When a saddle is not fitted, these are loose and can readily (and do readily) fall off lost for eternity. The upper pieces are always bolted onto the seatpost so they cannot be lost.

As far as the hub shells, I remember when I found my first set some 7-8 years ago. They sold for something close to $400 a pair... Quite different from their value today.
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Old 09-30-11, 11:47 PM   #3
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Just a counter point on your cannot-find-middle-of-the-road-classic-parts rant (mid-level Suntour you referenced). I have a box full (I have a barn-full of used rims attached to used hubs as well). However, as you have pointed out in other threads, by the time you take out the 15-20% for fees/paypal, is it worth the time of posting a $10 ARX derailleur which may or may not sell, or the $100 adjustable 3T stem? Further, I can always put the ARX derailleur on a low-mid level flipper.

I agree it would be nice to have some sort of old parts exchange without the ebay sellers wanting to run a Christi's stule auction, but no one has figured out how to do it.

As far as small parts go, I have five 30-gallon plastic tubes with nothing larger than a brake shoe in them. They are so heavy I cannot even move them. My laziness is to blame, but I have not had the time to go through and sort them all (nor the room for it all). I know I have complete Campy posts, one of which is so short it is not worth anything but the rail clamps. It is a function of finding it.

I plan on cleaning out the barn this week, 700C or 27-inch, and how many holes? I plan on reducing the wheel monster by de-lacing all of the non-matched pairs as it always seems to work out that I need either the hub or the rim, but rarely both.
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Old 10-01-11, 03:48 AM   #4
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They key is convincing the shop to let you dig through the bins. I've been working a local shop for the better part of 9 months and he still wont let me rummage through the stash. Every time I go in there there's something 'new' in the showcase, last week he had a NOS set of Mafac/Spidel brakes in the plastic presentation case. Next week I'm sure he'll have something different.

Kurt, has the guy with the little shop in the Miami Shores area let you in the back room yet?
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Old 10-01-11, 05:09 AM   #5
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I've been on the lookout for those parts that Kurt Mentioned. Haven't found those items yet. I have found lots of really good stuff. One time I got Kurt a whole box of vintage bike parts for CHEAP, that was a great score. Still, every time I visit my Favorite shop I take a look at the back room trash area, just to see what they are throwing out. The other day I found another set of early Weinman 27" rims in really nice shape, but no super champions. Last week I was in Orlando's biggest bike shop, very nice place, lots of stock. I asked the guys in the back what they did with the older bike poarts they took in...."We Recycle Them !!" said one of the more Hipster looking mechanics. My heart sank, at the thought of some high end bike part just being tossed into the recycle bin. The hunt continues....

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Old 10-01-11, 05:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
I can find a better selection of Paramounts on eBay than I can find Varsities.


-Kurt
Maybe sellers on ebay are wising up. By the time you pay for shipping, selling a Varsity locally via C/L will yield as much or more cash, without all the sucky fees. But on a Paramount, around here, you could get 50% to 100% on ebay than selling on the local C/L.

+1 Wear items can be hard to find, particularly ones with obsolete sizing (ie., french and Swiss stuff).

+1 I asked the largest shop in my area (one that had been in business for 30 + years), if they had any old stuff laying around. They told me the boss got sick of tripping over the stuff, so they filled a couple of dumpster loads of it and cleared it out......

+1 I ask at every shop I visit. Some will still have a box of misc parts (or several boxes), and are more than happy to turn that stuff into cash, at very reasonable prices.

OK, now I am guilty. I curbed an old Huffy ten speed that I bought super cheap for the saddle, bars and North Road style bars. ONE DAY later, a neighbor with a POS tandem asked me if I could help them out. The tandem needed new brake calipers, a front and rear derailleur, where the parts on that Huffy would have worked out just right. So sometimes, even the crappy stuff can have value to someone.

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Old 10-01-11, 06:43 AM   #7
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.....

+1 I asked the largest shop in my area (one that had been in business for 30 + years), if they had any old stuff laying around. They told me the boss got sick of tripping over the stuff, so they filled a couple of dumpster loads of it and cleared it out..........
^That's exactly what they told me here - but at least in the case of this particular shop, I have a VERY hard time believing that space/storage was any issue: One look around told me that keeping that old stuff was at odds with their business model: They simply do not want to service old bikes, nor provide DIY customers with old parts - they only want to sell shiny new bikes, fitted out with the newest accessories.
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Old 10-01-11, 06:50 AM   #8
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The one thing that frosts me is brake lever hoods...yeah, I shouldn't expect to find hoods for 20, 30, 40, 50 year old levers...but man, they're SO necessary IMHO!

Even simple Dia-Compe non-aero standard hoods are hard to find...and the Cane Creek hoods, while workable, just don't feel the same as gum.

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Old 10-01-11, 06:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Not Quite Reverend Cudak888
I'm not trying to preach any morals as much as I'm letting off steam...
I was beginning to worry there for a moment. Is Seminary somehow in your future? Is it time for introductory Hebrew and Greek?
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Old 10-01-11, 07:18 AM   #10
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Kurt, I understand the rant. The more I want a certain widget, the rarer and more expensive it becomes, if I have a rare widget for sale, nobody wants it.

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Old 10-01-11, 07:19 AM   #11
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From this perspective, I think our interests in the old bikes are quite different. I actually enjoy seeing how the parts will find their way to my project. It almost seems like I an not trying to get anything done compared to the level of efficiency many of you have at sourcing.
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Old 10-01-11, 07:27 AM   #12
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I completely agree with everything written but it is nothing new. Its "easy" to collect the artifacts from pharaohs but try to find something a "regular Joe" used 5,000 years ago. The reason is quite simple. A well-made item has value. Something of value is not abused and lasts longer. If it lasts long enough, its depreciating value actually will start to appreciate. That transition point is a lot quicker for the well-made, high-value object. And at some point, the lower the original value, it may be hundreds of years before the depriciation ends and the appreciation begins. Its econ 101, there is no surprise.

I'd also like to point out bicycle collectors are not normal. 99.9% of people (and probably higher in the US) don't value bicycles in any way. To paraphrase Bill Murrey, So we're all dogfaces, we're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to collect bikes. We're mutants. There's something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us - we're bike collectors.
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Old 10-01-11, 08:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
The things that are hard to come by are often wear items. For example you can readily find upper adjustable headset parts and lock nuts but rarely fork crown races or lower fixed headset parts. This because most of the stress is on the lower parts and they get damaged much more frequently and people over the years have bought the few individual pieces available. The same goes for the lower rail supports or Campagnolo two-both seatposts. When a saddle is not fitted, these are loose and can readily (and do readily) fall off lost for eternity. The upper pieces are always bolted onto the seatpost so they cannot be lost.
There is a lot of truth to that, though I've been able to find lower headset races locally - that's the strange part about it. Remind me to sweep the floors next; I might just find those rails

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Kurt, has the guy with the little shop in the Miami Shores area let you in the back room yet?
Broken Spoke? Nope; after all, it is his personal collection too - just so happens to be at the shop. I respect that.

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Just a counter point on your cannot-find-middle-of-the-road-classic-parts rant (mid-level Suntour you referenced). I have a box full (I have a barn-full of used rims attached to used hubs as well). However, as you have pointed out in other threads, by the time you take out the 15-20% for fees/paypal, is it worth the time of posting a $10 ARX derailleur which may or may not sell, or the $100 adjustable 3T stem? Further, I can always put the ARX derailleur on a low-mid level flipper.
Even eBay aside, I don't see those parts listed here that frequently either. Funny thing though, earlier Suntour RD's with minimal value (Vx series and derivatives) seem to be popular items to list, even though they don't bring much money. It's the late 1980's Suntour stuff that has an elusiveness about it.

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I plan on cleaning out the barn this week, 700C or 27-inch, and how many holes? I plan on reducing the wheel monster by de-lacing all of the non-matched pairs as it always seems to work out that I need either the hub or the rim, but rarely both.
Thank you very much for offering to check. The full specs are:

Super Champion 700C, 36h, polished. Eyelets w/hooked bead. Mine have the red label w/the second "Gentleman" label in gold:



This rim cleaned up beautifully, I might add. The following isn't the best post-polish photo in the world, but here goes:



I normally don't fret over this stuff, but there's an event on the 23rd that I'd love to showcase the Schwinn Superior (which is wearing these parts) at. I figured I'd also do an online unveiling on the forum on the same day.

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Maybe sellers on ebay are wising up. By the time you pay for shipping, selling a Varsity locally via C/L will yield as much or more cash, without all the sucky fees. But on a Paramount, around here, you could get 50% to 100% on ebay than selling on the local C/L.
I'm aware of this too - I've had "Wanted" ads up on Craigslist and the local fixie forum as well. I must give this method credit - I did wind up with a Wolber-era Super Champion rim through it, though the rim is silver anodized, not polished. The cross-section is a bit different too.

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OK, now I am guilty. I curbed an old Huffy ten speed that I bought super cheap for the saddle, bars and North Road style bars. ONE DAY later, a neighbor with a POS tandem asked me if I could help them out. The tandem needed new brake calipers, a front and rear derailleur, where the parts on that Huffy would have worked out just right. So sometimes, even the crappy stuff can have value to someone.
You ought to see my Acro-Bins full of flipper parts. There are some oddball, cheaper bits sitting in there which suit lower-end bikes; I keep the parts around just in case a neighbor needs their Huffy serviced. I can do little for those hideous, stamped steel, sidepull brake calipers though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
The one thing that frosts me is brake lever hoods...yeah, I shouldn't expect to find hoods for 20, 30, 40, 50 year old levers...but man, they're SO necessary IMHO!
Agreed. Finding Dia-Compe replacement hoods generally equates to finding "Dia-Compe replacement levers."

Quote:
Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I was beginning to worry there for a moment. Is Seminary somehow in your future? Is it time for introductory Hebrew and Greek?
Try Cycleological College

Incidentally, Jimmy is in receipt of the frame (I'm nagging him to visit as soon as possible). I might part with the gold rims from the PY-10's duplicate wheelset for it; Jimmy doesn't have any 27"s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
From this perspective, I think our interests in the old bikes are quite different. I actually enjoy seeing how the parts will find their way to my project. It almost seems like I an not trying to get anything done compared to the level of efficiency many of you have at sourcing.
Frank, I generally follow your method if it wasn't for this ridiculous deadline I put on myself. Prior to the event, that's exactly how this Superior was put together - I assembled the components from everywhere; took me over a year before I ever found the frame. Even the rings on the TA crankset were changed out - I needed the arms, and different rings. The new ring set cost $50, and the triple that was on it sold for $68, offsetting the cost. I am rather proud of that little deal

Otherwise, the build on my other '82 Superior has taken well over a year - mainly because I'm hoping some dark brown Velo-Orange or Toshi stitch-on bar wrap falls into my lap. That and some Campagnolo washers for the toe clips - pretty much the only two items holding it up. My chrome Paramounts were semi-slow builds too - I waited a long time to find a nice set of old-logo Cinellis at a low price on the '70, and it would have taken ages for me to finish the '72 if the Rigida AL 1320's hadn't shown up locally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iab View Post
The reason is quite simple. A well-made item has value. Something of value is not abused and lasts longer. If it lasts long enough, its depreciating value actually will start to appreciate. That transition point is a lot quicker for the well-made, high-value object. And at some point, the lower the original value, it may be hundreds of years before the depriciation ends and the appreciation begins. Its econ 101, there is no surprise.
Even so, a well-made item is often trumped by a version of that well-made item that has a much greater value.

-Kurt
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Old 10-01-11, 10:55 AM   #14
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You need those chrome washers for toe clips?? I know I have some. I'll check and give you a call.
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Old 10-01-11, 01:41 PM   #15
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I know I have blue-label Gentlemens (I think the blues were 27-inchers). I will check in the red labels. If you havenet heard from me by Columbus Day, then it won't look good.

As to you comment about late '80s Suntour, part of the problem is that Suntour dropped below the OEM market by then. To confound that, the bike market crashed a bit around 1990 (particularly road bikes). Alot of ebay stuff comes from stripped bikes. No bikes, no bikes with Suntour parts, means harder to find even if they are of pedestrian stock.
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Old 10-01-11, 02:45 PM   #16
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I know I have blue-label Gentlemens (I think the blues were 27-inchers). I will check in the red labels. If you havenet heard from me by Columbus Day, then it won't look good.

As to you comment about late '80s Suntour, part of the problem is that Suntour dropped below the OEM market by then. To confound that, the bike market crashed a bit around 1990 (particularly road bikes). Alot of ebay stuff comes from stripped bikes. No bikes, no bikes with Suntour parts, means harder to find even if they are of pedestrian stock.
I'm game for the blue or red label, so long as they're 700C and polished - anything that's a physical match.

There were some OEM-spec'ed units with late-1980's Suntour, but as you point out - they're rarely stripped down. Recently found a Trek 1000 with all-black Suntour Blaze and matching Dia-Compe brakes - a very striking, budget group. Likely quite difficult to piece it together via eBay or C&V Sales.

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Old 10-03-11, 10:37 AM   #17
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I agree it would be nice to have some sort of old parts exchange without the ebay sellers wanting to run a Christi's stule auction, but no one has figured out how to do it.
isn't that what the bikeforums "Classic and Vintage Sales" section kind of is? And really, who would be looking for the lower end stuff besides the kind of people like us that hang out in C&V? I figure many other people are like the bikes shops you guys refer to: "only new and shiny please."
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Old 10-03-11, 11:11 AM   #18
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I've only found good deals from people who didn't know what they had, I am too cheap for this hobby
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Old 10-03-11, 11:35 AM   #19
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isn't that what the bikeforums "Classic and Vintage Sales" section kind of is?
I've just put it to use for that - I was able to purchase a parts lot including the saddle rails I needed just 15 minutes ago; hence, I've listed the parts I don't need in the Sales subforum. If it wasn't for the Sales section, I'd be left with quite a few extra parts that I don't need - and a bigger bill.

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Old 10-03-11, 11:49 AM   #20
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I finally got my Sprint group together! Levers, side pulls, f/r dr, crankset, and bottom bracket. I'd love to find hubs, but those go for way more $ than I want to put into a 20 dollar bike. Note I acquired a box of sprint parts, missing chain rings, and levers, and had to source the rest with trades, sales and facilitation, right her on CV.
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Old 10-03-11, 12:06 PM   #21
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Maybe you're having trouble finding saddle rail clamps because you're searching for "Campagnolo lower saddle rails".

It certainly confused me until I clicked on the Ebay link.
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Old 10-03-11, 12:48 PM   #22
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I finally got my Sprint group together! Levers, side pulls, f/r dr, crankset, and bottom bracket. I'd love to find hubs, but those go for way more $ than I want to put into a 20 dollar bike. Note I acquired a box of sprint parts, missing chain rings, and levers, and had to source the rest with trades, sales and facilitation, right her on CV.
Excellent. Sprint, or Sprint 9000?

I believe there are hubs to that set too, IIRC.

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Maybe you're having trouble finding saddle rail clamps because you're searching for "Campagnolo lower saddle rails".

It certainly confused me until I clicked on the Ebay link.
I searched "Campagnolo rails."

-Kurt
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Old 10-03-11, 01:08 PM   #23
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Excellent. Sprint, or Sprint 9000?

I believe there are hubs to that set too, IIRC.

-Kurt
Sprint, and I've seen the hubs once alone, and once in a full wheel set. I bid on the wheelset but once it got to 175 dollars I backed out. I don't hate the wheels on there, and the bike isn't a collectors piece.
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Old 10-03-11, 02:08 PM   #24
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I searched "Campagnolo rails."

-Kurt
They're "saddle rail clamps" Campagnolo saddle rails would be attached to a Campagnolo saddle.

Bikeville has some for $65. I found them by Googling "Campagnolo saddle rail clamps".

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