Apollo Imperial: the (once-upon-a-time) Dura-Ace-equipped Apollo
Having posted recently about the Proctor frame/fork and Marinoni complete bike that fell into my hands some 5000km apart just yesterday (some serious luck, as well as some serious Canadian content), I though I should throw up a couple of pics of my one other incomplete project bike, the frame recently stashed under my bed, an Apollo Imperial: the top-of-the-line cycle offered by Deelite (Fred Deeley) cycles in Vancouver ca. 1981.
While it only had the 7200 bottom bracket and a BMX-looking Kuwahara headset when I acquired it, I understand that this bike would have been originally equipped with a Dura-Ace group.
While Kuwahara-made in Japan, this is another Canadian-interest bike, having been specifically imported, branded, and attractively decaled for the Western Canadian market, sold at one time through Cap's Cycles here in Vancouver.
Considering that - having sold a too-small frame and another complete bike that had served me well but fallen into disuse - I only had 1 whole bike just a couple of weeks ago, and that it's possible I might add another in a few days, I think I may now officially have too many bikes for someone who doesn't have a garage/shed/attic/second home.
Tange Champion #2 frame with a Tange 1C fork (or so it's stamped on the steerer), I posted one quick shot of this frame/fork on "It's Kuwahara/Apollo Appreciation Day" thread the other day, but just had some further dealings with the Imperial today: now with wheels, headset and mismatched dual-pivot brakes.
As nice of a frame as this is, my intention is to build it up with stuff I have lying around as an around-town bike. Sort of the 'beater' in the stable, though that moniker hardly seems appropriate...
Pics now, more details later:
That's a beautiful frame. I love the rear brake bridge.
Those shots of the bike hanging the bathroom don't quite do this one justice, so I took advantage of a sunny (!) Vancouver morning to take a few outdoor shots that might give a little more of the right impression:
Shimano rear dropouts are basically vertical. Fork ends are also Shimano.
Love the old Kuwahara headset. Crown race is pretty pitted, but I think I'll apply plenty of grease and see what I can coax out of it.
As I said above, I concede that 'beater' might not be the most appropriate term...
Not 100% sure how I'm going to build this up, but as I said - should be a simple around-town bike when outfitted. Hence it's got the Ambrosio/Trek mismatched wheelset I pulled of a Miele Lupa that went out the door recently as frame/fork (to a shorter rider who could enjoy it). It may well get (most of?) the 105 drive train, or perhaps an RX100 RD and the 105 FD, plus the 105 shifters. Thinking a beat-up old black 3TTT stem I have in the box should do, and having just sold the matching 3TTT bars to a fellow at the local LBS who was desperately ISO for his Bianchi, I think I might just buy some 46cm wide Deda ergo bars that are deeply discounted at another LBS/warehouse operation in town. Road-rashed Suntour Superbe brake levers w/o hoods will go on, I think, and that mismatched brake setup will have to stay. There's a story there, too, but it's too nice to sit here typing all morning, so I'm out for a ride and will fill a bit of that in later...
Perhaps "favourite" would be better than beater; something you use because it's so nice! Is the geometry really as tight as it looks in the last photo, or are my eyes just going bad?
Looks like about ~101-102cm axle-to-axle. 62cm ctc, 58.5 top tube, IIRC. I'm not too knowledgeable about the finer points of frame geometry, but it seems pretty tight. MUCH tighter than the hi-ten Apollo repaint that was my around-town for almost two years, and which I recently sold.
The frame geometry is close coupled, mine more so than yours as you have fender eyelets and I can see there is space for fenders - not so with my year.
Mine is a 1981 model, which I bought new at a LBS at the end of 1984.
That '81 model year came with No. 1 tubing, sewups, and full Dura-Ace EX except for crankset & pedals which were Dura-Ace AX.
The original sticker was somewhere north of $1,500 but the shop had it marked down (after sitting on the showroom floor for 3 years) for $800 if IRC.
Framesize was measured in inches even for road bikes back then, and it was called a 25" (same as yours).
The big size made it hard to sell in addition to the fact that just about anyone walking in the door at that time was after a MTB.
Some shops were prudently taking parts off their unsold road bikes to go on the repair dept. shelves, and offering nice new CroMo framesets for $25.
For this Imperial, one of the shop employees was eager to have the wheelset with aero spokes if any prospective purchaser needed clinchers.
That suited me, so after negotiating a few more changes to bring the price down to $500 even, a deal was struck.
(I wanted a longer stem and wider bars, aero brakes, Wolber/Champion rims and Specialized sealed hubs. Wheels have since been replaced with 7-spd. Shimano 600's.)
Not too much else has need to be changed over the years - a Vetta saddle, a 600 rear brake, and I presently have the Deore DynaDrive platform pedals on.
You will note that mine came with paint covering the chromed fork ends, and no model designation on the top tube. That understated look really differentiated it from other Apollos (and Nishikis, Sekines, etc.).
Used to be my Sunday ride, but it has outlasted all my other bikes and is all I need now at age 70.
The combination of the No. 1 tubing, big size, and short wheelbase don't make a long-distance ride too rewarding, but it can get out of its own way around town pretty well.
Seems that it's provided some good years of service.
I will keep an eye out next time I'm in Victoria, and might have to shout if I spot that one rolling about town!
Just resurrecting this thread to show the (likely quite temporary) incarnation in which this Apollo Imperial has found itself now that I'm back in Vancouver and have fished it and the boxes of bits out of storage. An 'around town' bike, slapped together with what I had on hand: donor parts and pieces with no other destiny - the only thing I bought specifically for the build was the bullhorn bar, though the Paul Components one-finger brake levers were a recent CL impulse buy.
Not a grocery-getter by any means, but quick transportation I don't mind locking up downtown:
1x6 setup with a 48t ring in front, shifting 12-24 freewheel in back. Nice old Conti tanwalls included with the wheels from the donor bike (also the donor for some components on the Atala I recently completed for my girlfriend) seem in great shape, used only on rollers I was told. Mismatched brakes are a product of the fork being drilled, but the back not. The back one the LBS guys gave me free (a takeoff 57mm Tektro with no pads on it) after I hooked one of them up with a much-desired 3TTT bar! I couldn't justify spending to match after the favour...
Somewhat 'fixified' look is in part due to the fact that I felt like trying out those Paul levers in this configuration (actually quite ergonomic, and who doesn't like a nice sweeping arc over the bars) + the cheapo bar I picked up doesn't have the inner diameter for regular plugs (those that came with the tape, or Velox, or whatever)...so I improvised with a plastic wine cork, which happened to be bright orange. Just had to use the saddle in clashing colours (to be honest, though, it's just the most beat-up one I have handy). Hopefully I can be forgiven my transgressions (including the splash)...
Taken this one out both yesterday (sunny) and today (not). Looks at home in the grey typical of Vancouver:
Cockpit is a little different with the Paul levers doing TT duty non-aero, but it works...
Front wheel is a little crooked after that last stem adjustment, though!
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