View Single Post
Old 03-10-17, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
1974-ish Carabela – Pics and questions

First, I am relatively new to this forum, with just a few posts. I have recently started buying, restoring, and trying to flip old steel bikes. I’ve been to the C&V forum here very often and have learned a lot. This forum great and the community of members is awesome. Big thanks all around.

This bike popped up on the local CL. Title simply said “Vintage 10 speed”. Two low quality pics of the full bike. The ad basically stated: original owner, purchased in 1970s, worn but ready to ride, Carabela, $90. I had never heard of Carabela brand bikes before so I searched the forum. Found a few posts, but not much info.

Met the guy the next day. He was a really nice older gentleman. He couldn’t ride traditional geometries anymore due to a wrist injury so he was selling his old trusty roadie. The bike was not much to look at, but the chrome bits and components caught my eye. He said he bought the bike new in 1974 (give or take a year) from a bike shop in Bozeman, Montana. This gentleman clearly had lots of fond memories riding that bike. He was struggling with the process of letting it go. That kinda made me even more determined to take on the project and make it into a nice ride again. The bike fit me, though maybe a bit on the small side. I made an offer on the bike bundled with some extra components he had and we made a deal.

So now, I am the new owner of an early-to-mid-70s Carabela and I come to you with pics and questions.

More about the bike…

It is a hodge podge of sorts. Italian tubes (?), Mexican assembly, Japanese components (mostly), and American slapdashery.

First, before any pics are referenced, I have to address the obvious and unfortunate mistreatment you’ll surely notice. The paint- the American slapdashery. Looks like the original owner one day decided to address a chips and nicks in the finish by slapping on a bunch of paint. Didn’t bother to color match - or try to even get kinda close. Just slapped on something he had on hand and called it good. It looks pretty awful.

I might give a try at undoing the paint abuse, but I am leaning toward getting the frame powder coated (excluding the chromed bits).

Ok, now you can go look at pics

Any tips on getting a powder coating and keeping the chromed details?
I have not researched this much yet, but one site I visited said the media blasting process to remove the paint would remove any chrome.

What is it exactly…?

I learned here that Carabelas (and the original Windsors) were manufactured by Acer-Mex in Mexico. It seems there is much more info available on Windsors than Carabelas. There is not a decal distinguishing the model of this bike – not that I can see. It could have come off years ago or it maybe covered with paint. Or it may have never had a model decal - I don’t recall seeing any pics online of Carabelas with model decals.

I have searched the internet pretty intensely and have not found another bike with the same tubing decal and components as this one. It does seem like it is pretty close to a variation of a Carrera from Windsor. The Carreras had lugs like these, I believe. But the Universal brakes were on the higher-end Windsors, right?

There is some good info on Classic Rendezvous that mentions Carabela in discussion of the Windsor models - (I can't post urls at this point, but you can find it if you look).

Any idea what model this bike is or most closely matches from the Windsor line?
Did Carabela-labeled bikes have model distinctions?

Frame construction…

It has a Falk decal. The bottom of the decal was damaged, so I am not 100% certain what the bottom line says, but I am pretty sure we can guess what the missing letters were. There are two pics of the decal. I used Google to translate the Italian and got:

“Tubi Conificati” (Tapered tubes)
“Acciaio Temperato” (Tempered steel)
“Mar”?? “Depositata” (Would this be Marca Depositata? Seems to be on other Italian bikes. Google translation of Marca Depositata is Mark Registered)

The bike is definitely lighter than I expected. Lighter than my daily lunker - Surly Cross Check.

Anyone ever seen this decal?

Can I assume tapered tubes means butted? (The original owner did say he recalled the salesman telling him it was a double butted frame).

Would tempered steel mean hi-ten steel? Or something a little better maybe? … hopefully?


With the exception of the brakes, all Japanese.

Weinmann brake levers
Universal Model 61 center pull brakes (front and back)
Suntour Japan downtube shifters (model ?)
Suntour V-Luxe RD
Suntour Compe-V FD
Sugino Maxy Crankset
Sunshine 5345 rear hub
Shimano front hub (Likely a replacement)
Handlebar ???
SR stem
Suntour GS rear dropout

Does this grouping of components give us any clues about the specific model or at least grade of the bike within the Acer-Mex lineup?

Dating the bike…

Again, the original owner said he purchased the bike in 1974, give or take a year. There is a serial number stamped in the non-drive side seat tube lug – 1874.

Maybe the last two digits are the year the frame was produced? Or maybe just a coincidence?

Anyone know anything about these serial numbers for Acer-Mex bikes?

The only other dating evidence I’ve seen so far are codes on the Maxy crank arms and the code on the Shimano front hub. The crank arms are coded “47-3”. Based on what I read on Vintage Trek, that would indicate 1972.

The Shimano front hub has a year/month date code of F F, which (again based on info from Vintage Trek) either makes it an 1981 or 2007 part. Must be 1981. I am guessing this was a replacement hub. The entire front wheel was probably replaced. The front rim is Araya. The back rim has no sticker or stamping that I have found. I think they are different.

I am pretty sure the Sunshine 5345 rear hub is original to the bike. Is it likely the original front hub matched the rear?

Also, where else should I look to get more confirmation on the date?

Ok. Really long post, I know. Lots of questions. As always, any info will be much appreciated.

I have a few bikes in line ahead of this one for TLC, but I could probably strip it and get it off to the powder coating sometime soon if I get that part figured out. This will be my most extensive bike project so far. I'll post updates and will certainly be back with questions along the way.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Full Bike rs.jpg (97.7 KB, 138 views)
File Type: jpg
Chrome Lugs rs.jpg (99.2 KB, 137 views)
File Type: jpg
Falk decal 1 rs.jpg (96.8 KB, 138 views)
File Type: jpg
Falk decal 2 rs.jpg (95.8 KB, 137 views)
File Type: jpg
Frontal rs.jpg (98.2 KB, 137 views)
File Type: jpg
Maxy Crank Date Code rs.jpg (95.4 KB, 136 views)
File Type: jpg
Sugino Maxy Crank rs.jpg (99.0 KB, 135 views)
File Type: jpg
Suntour Compe-V FD rs.jpg (97.8 KB, 135 views)
File Type: jpg
Suntour V-Luxe RD rs.jpg (99.1 KB, 135 views)
File Type: jpg
Suntour DT shifters rs.jpg (97.8 KB, 136 views)
File Type: jpg
Universal CP Rear Brake rs.jpg (96.1 KB, 137 views)
AfterThunk is offline