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Old 11-18-11, 03:54 PM   #1
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Chronicle, Rossin & Chrome - The *Long* Road of Restoration



Late Spring 2010, I was buying lots of bikes. I ended 2010 with about 55 projects / for sales. In June I was scanning random ads and came across a classified for a few pieces of furniture and a "Rosana" Italian bike, no price/pictures given. It wasn't listed anywhere in regards to bicycles, and had been up for some weeks - I gave him a call. He still had the bike, but couldn't remember the brand of it and his eyesight had gone bad, and he could no longer read the brand name - his best guess was "Rosana". He explained how he had raced it in the late 80s and how it was an expensive bike at the time. Being only a few miles, I drove over. At this point I had no real idea what the bike could be, besides "Italian" - no big brands close to Rosana.

Arriving, he pulled a black garbage bag from under the stairs. The clank of steel tubing and aluminum bits really had me confused at this point. The plastic coffin opened and birthed from the darkness was a frame with some questionable paint. Inspection showed me it was a Rossin Ghibli, with fluted tubes, but the paint was confusing. Upon inquiry, the gentleman explained he was learning to airbrush when he got the bike, and decided to "customize" it...that is, remove the 6 color fade Rossin was so famous for and replace it with a thick layer of metallic charcoal. This new facade was chipping away, and left corners and edges to the elements.





Completely disassembled, he then reached for a box laying under the stairway grave which had housed the frame and fork. "Here's the parts off the bike, you can have whatever you want. I took off some of the crappy Campy parts and put on Dura-ace (7401)." Mortified a little bit, I dove into the box to find he replaced the drivetrain, but the rest of the parts remained C-record (including the crankset and BB) - who wants a Gen 1 C-record RD anyway?





The whole time feeling out what he might ask for the bike and parts, I still had no idea. He kept mentioning how expensive it was back in the day, and was so proud of his upgrades made to it (note: while arguably functionally better, the C-record bits certainly retaining far more value than 7401 pieces - roughly 2-4 fold). No looking back. How much? He'll certainly high-ball me. Won't he? He will. 500? 1000? With inflation his numbers would certainly put it at 3000. He was then throwing in some extra parts and tools. What have I got myself into?

He: "How's 200?"
Me: "200 is fine."

Pulling out the aged and weathered leather...count, count, count. 5. 10. 20. 30. 50. 70. 120.

"I'll have to go to the bank."

Seeing me count it out, "We'll how much do you have on you?"
"Only 120."

Without hesitation: "120 is fine - you don't need to make a special trip to the bank."

---



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Old 11-18-11, 03:55 PM   #2
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She sat on the back-burner for a while. Some bit of that was deciding whether to chrome the whole thing, which was the first idea. No, I'll just make it like it was originally - just chrome the ends. But it's going to the plater, and I love chrome, why not chrome the whole thing? No, original. I'll just do the ends and paint it Nassau blue (my favorite color - a Corvette color of my childhood). That's what I want, right? That matches my car. It'll be perfect.



Off to the plater after much preparation. A month goes by. She's about to go through plating. "So you wanted just the ends plated, right?" "... I think I want the whole thing chrome. That's easy, right? I'm already doing it. Let's do the whole thing." Another month, still no chrome done. I go back and forth two more times between full and not. I end at fully chrome, obviously. Chrome and decals, then clearcoat - it'll look great.





The decals looked horrendous. I couldn't even stand looking at the frame. It's my fault though. Not the paint. Not the process. Just me. I did a bad job researching and applying them. I made this great thing look awful. Ugh. Why didn't I think about this more? Flush $50 down the drain? Sure, it won't be the last time, nor the first. I remove them. Now what?


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Old 11-18-11, 03:56 PM   #3
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Custom badge, yes. That's the way. Subtle, unique, classy. Leatherworking, I knew I had to do my own grip. It took forever, sucked to stitch, but looks great - no regrets.





Then C-record prices went up. Derailleurs and shifters were pretty reasonable over early summer. Then they doubled or more. So frame in hand, I can't ride it. Finally got lucky on a BIN and found some cool SR shifters that are one of a kind. They're not C-record. It bothered me for all of 15 seconds. They're much cooler, and I want(ed) friction only.




It's been a very long time coming with this bike, but I can proudly say I've finished it now. Took it for a 10 mile spin this morning. I've not ridden anything with more than three gears in over two years. I forgot how strong a gear 53/13/~330mm stays is! Rides like a joy. Silent as can be.

Details:
Bespoke headbadge
Bespoke leather bar wrap
C-record minus pedals & shift levers (original cobalto gems are safely in a desk drawer)
Ofmega/Campy SR pedals
Custom bent / pantographed Campy SR shift levers
Cinelli 1R
Cinelli Giro d'Italia bars
Selle TI Flite





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Old 11-18-11, 03:56 PM   #4
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Old 11-18-11, 04:06 PM   #5
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I think it looks fantastic. The headbadge is awesome! I wouldn't bother looking for better stickers, it looks great as it is. Really well done, man!
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Old 11-18-11, 04:12 PM   #6
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Stunning! Great job! I love the chrome. I would have used red bar leather but black adds to the bike's elegance. Lovely.
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Old 11-18-11, 04:12 PM   #7
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No decals will graze this frame, though I'm half tempted to have the person who made my headbadge make downtube "decals". I think it could look awesome!
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Old 11-18-11, 04:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Stunning! Great job! I love the chrome. I would have used red bar leather but black adds to the bike's elegance. Lovely.
It's actually dark navy blue, which kind of goes with the color scheme. Additionally, I have an entire cow worth of this dark navy, and I have no red .
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Old 11-18-11, 04:17 PM   #9
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Love, love, LOVE what you've done with this! Congrats, it really looks great.
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Old 11-18-11, 04:21 PM   #10
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Very Beautiful.
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Old 11-18-11, 04:30 PM   #11
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Wow, it was a long road but this thing is looking great. I love the custom headbadge; it's a nice touch on a bike that was a great candidate to be customized anyway.

Seeing all that chrome, I'd be uncontrollably tempted to paint candy-coat over it -- but maybe that's just me.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-18-11, 04:34 PM   #12
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Man I'm freakin speechless. That frame is beautiful and unique to boot.


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Old 11-18-11, 05:01 PM   #13
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Congrats on your bike's journey to completion. Stunning results. Thanks for sharing it's coming of being. Cool!
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Old 11-18-11, 05:19 PM   #14
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Looks great!

You should use a cable ferrule where the housing goes into the brake cable adjuster...
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Old 11-18-11, 05:44 PM   #15
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Amazing bike, great story!
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Old 11-18-11, 05:47 PM   #16
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Beautiful bike. But what was wrong with the decals?
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Old 11-18-11, 05:47 PM   #17
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Fun project.

Thank you for sharing.

...and I really like the way most Rossin frames ride when built properly.
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Old 11-18-11, 06:00 PM   #18
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Nice work. Pretty extreme opposites, before and after. I also like the headbadge. It's a nice upgrade from the stickers that originally came on those bikes,

Nice looking El Camino as well, 64? My Dad had a 64 Malibu convertible about 35 years ago. Cool car but only an inline 6.
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Old 11-18-11, 06:32 PM   #19
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Fantastic!
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Old 11-18-11, 07:06 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone. It rides like a beast of joy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger M View Post
Nice work. Pretty extreme opposites, before and after. I also like the headbadge. It's a nice upgrade from the stickers that originally came on those bikes,

Nice looking El Camino as well, 64? My Dad had a 64 Malibu convertible about 35 years ago. Cool car but only an inline 6.
It's kind of the opposite of the original Ghibli paint too, which was very loud and in your face (despite the fact that I love those paint jobs). I think all bikes should have real headbadges. Stickers look so cheap :/.

She's a 64, indeed; a good year. I came home from the hospital in a 64 Malibu! Mine has some Camaro mods and the "big" 283 and comes in around 300 horse.


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Beautiful bike. But what was wrong with the decals?
The decals had sharp edges. In hindsight, clear over the chrome, then decal prep, then decal, then more clear would/might have helped. The decals looked good in theory, but just had too much of a sharp edge, so I gave up on them.
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Old 11-18-11, 07:07 PM   #21
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Beautiful work! Really diggin' the custom head badge. Classiest Rossin ever?

Btw, what did you use to strip the black paint?
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Old 11-18-11, 08:14 PM   #22
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What an INCREDIBLE before and after, Blaise ! You de man!
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Old 11-18-11, 08:32 PM   #23
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Looks awesome, Blaise! Congrats on the finished product - it's really stunning. And great job with the write-up, too. A great bike always comes with a good story.
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Old 11-18-11, 10:36 PM   #24
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love the writeup as much as the restoration. Nice, nice job. That looks beautiful. You should send the original guy a picture of the bike so he can see its second life.
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Old 11-18-11, 11:00 PM   #25
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She's a beaut Clark!
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