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Old 02-16-12, 10:54 AM   #1
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My brand new '61(?) chrome Frejus.....!!!!

Well, she's a bit rough and I need to replace the drivetrain with period correct components, but I figured that I'd go ahead and post some "before photos" now, as it could be awhile before I get her up to snuff. It just arrived a couple days ago, and I just kind of slapped it together (sans cranks) for a quick few photos. Haven't even wiped off the dust yet.

The serial number would indicate that she's somewhere in the '60-'62 range, according to the CR registry. The brakes, bars, stem, headset, and seat post appear to be original. The derailleurs, cranks (it came to me with Sugino Mightys), bb, saddle, and wheels are definitely replacements.

The bad: The cromovelato is peeling around the head tube and is about half gone. And, some knucklehead over-tightened the umbrella pump holder and left two tiny dings on the seat tube.

The good: With the exception of some spots near the bb/seat stay cluster, the chrome looks like it's in very nice shape. The hard to find bars/stem, and headset are intact.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to best build her up? I could either go with an older cottered Magistroni/Gran Sport drivetrain, or a first generation Record build. I think that the older option would be cooler (I have a soft spot for cottered cranks), but the later Record would probably perform better. Or, other suggestions?

















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Old 02-16-12, 10:56 AM   #2
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That's some fine looking Italian chrome you got there!
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Old 02-16-12, 11:03 AM   #3
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Wow man! Very nice score! Not sure which model this is but personally, I'd go early 60's Campy Record crank in 151. Nice bike Bob.
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Old 02-16-12, 11:06 AM   #4
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Very cool! A 151 crank might be easier to find than a Magistroni and then Gran Sport or Record. I don't think it'd be too hard to strip, mask and repaint the headtube if you wanted to.

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Old 02-16-12, 11:07 AM   #5
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Ahh, sorry. Forget to state that it's the Tour de France model. I took a bit of a gamble and picked it up on CL in Denver and had it shipped. A buddy from college facilitated the deal and Mike Kone did a quick inspection and then shipped it to me.

I'm pretty pumped about it...
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Old 02-16-12, 11:33 AM   #6
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Congratulations! I guess the GS FD did give you a bit of license to expand the collection.

Can't wait to see it...
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Old 02-16-12, 01:37 PM   #7
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Very nice ride. Love the embossing on the upper headset cup - too cool.
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Old 02-16-12, 01:47 PM   #8
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I note it's made of Columbus tubing. Anyone else here have a Columbus tubed Frejus? Just curious. Mine is Reynolds.
And, this might be naive of me, and I'm not at all sure if it's a good idea or not, but it looks as though that red paint might be easy to reproduce on the head tube.
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Old 02-16-12, 01:48 PM   #9
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Wow bibliobob! Some score!


(I second your choice of cottered over cotterless on this bike.)
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Old 02-16-12, 01:51 PM   #10
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If it's a Tour de France, I agree Auchencrow.
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Old 02-16-12, 02:06 PM   #11
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I'm following this build, what a stunner. Congratulations!
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Old 02-16-12, 02:35 PM   #12
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Nice bike indeed! A couple of things. If you want to get the dents out of the seat tube, you can get a long seat post the right size, clamp it in a vise, clean it and the inside of the seat tube, lubricate it, then push the frame over the post. Rotating it against the dents will probably push them out. Tapping the tube around the dents with a taped-up body hammer (with the seat post inside the frame) will help, and won't damage the chrome if you are careful.
Lose the Balilla brakes, unless you are making a parade bike or have hands like a gorilla. Universal brakes are correct for the bike as well, and are better made and give much better leverage. MAFACs, likewise, will work better and were a common upgrade when the bike was new. Hoods for the Balillas are pretty much not available.
Frejus-badged Magistroni cranks should work as well as Campy Records, though they are heavier. The originals chain rings were likely half-step (49-52, typically). Again, if the bike is a rider you probably will want something more useful. Campy cranks & chain rings are more easily found than Magistroni, but Frejus cranks come up regularly on eBay so that is an option.
You already have a Record FD, so the obvious choice for the rear is a chrome Record, which is a far better derailleur than the similar Gran Sport, and definitely cooler (and more correct) than the Nuovo Record.

Congratulations!
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Old 02-16-12, 02:48 PM   #13
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Anyone else here have a Columbus tubed Frejus?
Yup. My 1962 TdF. Note red Columbus sticker above the derailleur.

By the way, what is the serial number, BB? Mine's 95053.
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Old 02-16-12, 03:14 PM   #14
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Thanks everybody. I wish that she were a hair bigger (she measures 57 x 56, though she's marked 58 on the bb), but I'll make do.

Good question about the date. The serial number on mine is 100024.

http://http://www.classicrendezvous....al_numbers.htm

Judging from the chart, i guess that the only safe statement that I can make is that it is prior to 1963 (based on the 3 bikes that have receipts from 1963 and that have 101xxx numbers). Or, I guess mine could also be a '63? Hmmmm.

A bike can always be sold later than its date of creation, but theoretically not earlier than its earliest established date? I guess that I should call mine a '62-'63? I know that production likely ramped up significantly during the first '60s bike boom, between '60-'62, so there isn't a linear relationship between date and number. But, '62-'63 works for me....

Thanks for the feedback from everyone. The headtube has a bit of a crimson cromovelato clear lacquer finish, while the fork and seat cluster details are flat red. So, I won't repaint the headtube unless I find a painter that can definitely provide a matching clear/lacquer finish.

As far as components, I'll probably sleep on it and perhaps go with what falls in my lap first. The Balillas look fantastic, but I'll have to see how they work.

If anyone has a good idea of how it would've been spec'd, let me know. I'm assuming 700c tubulars? But, it currently has 27", and there's still plenty of clearance.

Cheers,
Bob
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Old 02-16-12, 03:20 PM   #15
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Congratulations. Enjoy it. I'm sure you will. Show us your progress, please.
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Old 02-16-12, 03:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
and there's still plenty of clearance.
Yes there is. Enough for fenders & 27" wheels, and so much at the back that you need long brake arms to reach the rim. Originally it came with tubulars as far as I know, but if you want to use 700c clinchers there are some rims that look so much like tubular rims that with skinny gumwall clinchers you can barely tell. Mavic Module "E" rims are like that.

Specifications varied a bit, probably due to supply issues. I have a feeling the folks at Frejus were less concerned with consistency than getting the bikes out the door. They would assemble them with what they could get and if one component company was behind on production they'd order from another. Consequently, you can find contemporaneous photos of bikes that are supposedly the same with different brakes, bars, etc. I've seen TdFs from the early 1960s fitted with Universal center-pulls, Balilla center-pulls and Balilla side-pulls, and I wouldn't question the originality of any of them. Some had Campy Sport hubs, while others had Records or FBs.
How you plan to use it should determine how you build it. Gran Sport derailleurs, e.g. were more common I think, but the Record works much better and looks just as nice. If I were doing it up for show, I'd fit Gran Sport front & rear with a Magistroni crank. I'd leave the Balillas & build up tubulars on any Italian rims I could find that would polish up nicely. For riding I'd do it a little differently...
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Old 02-16-12, 07:08 PM   #17
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Nice. i do like a chrome bike. My only complaint about cottered cranks is that my ankles tend to get bloodied.

Is that a steel Ambrosio stem? Those are hard to come by.
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Old 02-16-12, 07:37 PM   #18
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Very nice Bob.

Hope you had a great trip.
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Old 02-16-12, 07:58 PM   #19
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I'm very impressed with this bike... I really do love chrome frames. So what's the ride quality like? (It's nice to have a good looking bike that feels great to ride, right?)
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Old 02-17-12, 10:48 AM   #20
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Indeed, it is a steel Ambrosio stem.

Wish I could tell you about the ride, but haven't had a chance yet. I had it shipped to me and it came fully disassembled. The bb feels very stiff, or else I might have put the cranks on taken her for a quick spin. As it is, I'll at least do a full dis-assembly and re-grease before getting her on the road. Period correct components can wait, but grease and new cables can't.....

It's going to be a great riding season....
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