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Old 11-04-15, 06:40 PM
Drillium Dude
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bothell, WA
Posts: 9,197

Bikes: 1973 Colnago Super, 1973 Colnago Super concept, 1979 Medici Pro Strada, 1979 Dennis Sparrow, 1980 Alpina, 1983 Colnago Mexico, 1985 Casati Perfection, 1985 Somec Super Corsa, 2002 Bill Davidson custom

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Memory Lane - Colnago content

While pulling out parts for sales listings the other day, I gave a couple minute's consideration to listing this:

After a few minutes casting back into the fog of memory, I realized something that - to me - was rather shocking: this Campy freewheel was part of my first-ever vintage parts haul. From the very start of my collecting (begun in London back in 1994) I've had this. It came as part of the package when I purchased my first-ever Campagnolo Super Record gruppo - a 50th Anniversary set, no less.

Lets back up a bit. I've always been dead-crazy about bikes. Here I am with my best Christmas present ever:

As years went by, I became fascinated by gears. I bought my first bike with my own hard-earned money in 1979 - a Schwinn Traveller III. It was stolen the following year. I ended up buying this Raleigh Super Course 12 as a replacement - my first truly serious bike:

Alas, around 1986 or so, it was also stolen. It was replaced with my first Italian, an Olmo Nuovo Super Sprint with mostly Zeus 2000 components. I'll never forget the first ride on that bike - I could barely make myself believe I'd ever be able to control it, so instantaneous was its response to my input! What an eye-opener that bike was. I kept it all the way through my first year in the Navy (1988) whereupon it was also stolen - while locked in the bike rack of my building on Naval Station Norfolk. I went downtown to Conte's and purchased a replacement a couple months later: a Colnago 89XL, a fairly workmanlike road bike with Columbus Cromor pipes. Nothing fancy, but I sure thought it was at the time.

Anyhow, fast forward a bit further. I had it repainted in 1992 but couldn't find decals. I took it to London with me. Shortly after arriving at the end of 1993 I purchased a Gios Compact frameset from Evan's Cycles and transferred all the parts over from the Colnago. Shortly thereafter I sold the Colnago 89XL frame. I rode around on the Gios, happy as a clam, until the fateful day I cracked the newest copy of Cycling Weekly and saw the aforementioned 50th Anniversary set for sale. I chatted up the seller (Andy) who posted it off a couple days later. During our talk, he gave me some history. The set was attached to his 1983 Colnago Mexico, purchased in mid 1983 at Deeside Cycles, Scotland. He removed the gruppo immediately and put it away in its box, then built up the bike with some basic Shimano (ended up with all 105) and rode it for about 7 years. He then parked it.

I expressed interest in the frameset if he were ever inclined to sell it and he agreed. When the gruppo arrived I noted with pleasure that he'd included a Campy alloy freewheel, too - the very one in the photo above - in the case, too. I stripped down the Gios in my flat and built it up, with the notable exception of the Super Record headset which came in the 50th gruppo. I had no HS tools, so I simply left the Campy Chorus HS, installed by Evans when I first bought the Gios, in the frame. I had Condor Cycles build me up a tubular wheelset (for those familiar with Condor, Monty Young built the wheelset) using the hubs. I sold off most of the Ofmega/Modolo parts that had been on the Gios (taken off the Colnago 89XL) in the next couple months.

Then Andy called to let me know the Colnago Mexico frame was mine if I wanted it. I did. I got it a week later. I then dropped it off in a little shop I sometimes frequented near St. Pancras Station. The intention was to bring in the Gios on the following Saturday, strip it, and put together my first-ever vintage bike with top-of-the-line components. I was pretty psyched.

The following are pics taken on that very day. Yes, on that day was born the bike I've had the longest, the one I've ridden the farthest, the one I love the most.

Andy (no relation to the seller) installs the headset. It's still in the bike today:

Ian installs the gear cables - note the Gios frame in the background:

Pumping up the tires:

Ian and Andy pose with the result of their afternoon's work:

So, what's the point of this long, rambling missive? I just thought it was kinda neat to realize that - almost by accident - some bits and bobs from my very-first-ever vintage parts purchase are still around and serving me today. Serving me? That's right; although the freewheel is currently doing duty in my display case, the 50th Anniversary headset is still doing duty on the Mexico 21 years later. While the bike has gone through many, many configuration changes before finding its definitive fully-pantographed specification, the headset has remained a constant presence on this frame. It and the freewheel are the parts I've had since Day One of my vintage bike obsession.

Btw, yes - I realize (now) that my old Raleigh was waaaaaaay too big for me. I've learned a LOT in the intervening years, but back in the day I was pretty much clueless.

Thanks for indulging me and I hope you, too, enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. In case some of y'all don't know, this is the bike in question today:


Last edited by Drillium Dude; 11-05-15 at 04:01 PM.
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