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  1. #1
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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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."

    ---



    http://bygonebicyclist.com
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  2. #2
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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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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  3. #3
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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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





    http://bygonebicyclist.com
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  4. #4
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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    http://bygonebicyclist.com
    Penny-farthing adventures, touring & collecting

  5. #5
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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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!
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  6. #6
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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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.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  7. #7
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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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!
    http://bygonebicyclist.com
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  8. #8
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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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 .
    http://bygonebicyclist.com
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  9. #9
    Senior Member AZORCH's Avatar
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    Love, love, LOVE what you've done with this! Congrats, it really looks great.
    The Early Morning Cyclist: marksbikes.wordpress.com
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  10. #10
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Very Beautiful.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo SOLd, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis SOLD, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti SOLD, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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  11. #11
    likes to ride an old bike
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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!

  12. #12
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    Man I'm freakin speechless. That frame is beautiful and unique to boot.


    ~ "I like the way the brake cables come out of the top of the levers and loop around to the brake calipers!...I like those downtube shifters too!...No no no, don't take 'em off, don't take 'em off,...leave 'em on, leave 'em on! - Thats right baby!!

    ~BF - Steel Club Member #00051

  13. #13
    WNG
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    Spin Forest! Spin! WNG's Avatar
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    Congrats on your bike's journey to completion. Stunning results. Thanks for sharing it's coming of being. Cool!
    “You meet the nicest people on two wheels!"
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  14. #14
    vjp
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    Looks great!

    You should use a cable ferrule where the housing goes into the brake cable adjuster...

  15. #15
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    Amazing bike, great story!
    My name is Steve and I don't have a bent fork anymore :)

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  16. #16
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    Beautiful bike. But what was wrong with the decals?
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

  17. #17
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    Fun project.

    Thank you for sharing.

    ...and I really like the way most Rossin frames ride when built properly.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Roger M's Avatar
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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.

  19. #19
    my name is Jim BlueDevil63's Avatar
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    Fantastic!

  20. #20
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snydermann View Post
    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.
    http://bygonebicyclist.com
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  21. #21
    Senior Member gaucho777's Avatar
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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?
    -Randy

    '72 Cilo Pacer • '73 Speedwell Ti • '74 Nishiki Competition • '74 Peugeot UE-8 • '86 Look Bernard Hinault 753 • '86 Look KG86 • '89 Parkpre Team Road • '90ish Parkpre Team MTB

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  22. #22
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    What an INCREDIBLE before and after, Blaise ! You de man!
    - Auchen

  23. #23
    Ride heavy metal. Maddox's Avatar
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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.
    Quote Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
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  24. #24
    I like beans eippo1's Avatar
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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.
    You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

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  25. #25
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    She's a beaut Clark!

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