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1980s KNELLER Sport Custom Build w Campy Drivetrain

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1980s KNELLER Sport Custom Build w Campy Drivetrain

Old 07-22-22, 04:45 PM
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1980s KNELLER Sport Custom Build w Campy Drivetrain

1980s KNELLER Sport Custom Build (well-equipped)

Id love to know what I am sitting on (literally) these days. I will try to post my other vintage custom rig tomorrow (a Ron Cooper road/tour frame with full Campy). This post is for the quicker of the two bikes. Any feedback on value and stories of similar bikes will be appreciated. I have included a bunch of pictures below the description. I also have a catalog/brochure for the KNELLER Bikes.


Hand-built in the early 1980s, this is a KNELLER custom sport/race frame, designed and built by Mitch Kneller of Advanced Bicycle Engineering of Cambridge, MA. The workmanship on this frame is beautiful, with gorgeous tapered lugs and a bright red DuPont Imron enamel finish. I got this frame through my brother who was living near Cambridge at the time. He met Chris when they were first launching his new frame line. This one was apparently a show frame that was not originally intended for resale, so it does not have the usual decals. Apparently, part of the KNELLOR philosophy was to mix and match tubes of varying wall thicknesses to optimize the characteristics of each frame design. This frame may be all Reynolds tubing or possibly a mix of Reynolds and Columbus. It came to me with the Shimano Dura Ace brakes and headset; I outfitted the rest of the bike.

FRAME

Overall, the bike frame and components are really clean and in great shape. There are a few dings and rust spots on the frame. However, for the most part, the paint job has held up really well for a 40-year-old bicycle. The lug work is super clean, transitioning from lug to frame with nice tapered points. The lugs and on the rear stays at the brake cross has little triangular cutouts that are painted black to contrast. There is added reinforcement to stiffen the fork blades and chain stays. With a relatively short wheelbase and a fairly rigid rear triangle, this ends up being a very tight, stiff frame that is great for climbing.

I did go down hard a few times on this bike, but never was in a really bad crash with this bike. The frame seems to measure square and true. With a little adjustment, I was told it could probably accommodate a 6 or 7-speed freewheel with a narrow chain; I have not done that experiment yet.

I don't know what all the angles are on this frame and dont have a good way of measuring them. However, here are the approximate frame dimensions, based on my measurements:

Frame Size: 21.75 (55cm)

Wheelbase: 38.5 (98cm)

Standover Height: 31.5 (80cm)

Top Tube: 21 ((53cm)

Chainstays: 16.5 (42cm)

Bottom Bracket Height: 9.75 (25cm)

Accessory Features: Downtube has brazed-on bosses for Campagnolo shift lever and a set of reinforced screw fittings (for water bottles, etc.); derailleur cable guides & stops.

COMPONENTS

The drivetrain is all Campy Nuovo Record. Everything is pretty clean, with a minimum amount of pitting, rust or dings.

DRIVETRAIN

Shift Levers: Campagnolo Nuovo Record down tube shifters

Derailleurs: Campagnolo Nuovo Record front and rear derailleurs

Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Nuovo Record

Crankset: Campagnolo Nuovo Record with 170mm arms and 42/52-tooth chainrings

Pedals: Campagnolo Nuovo Record pedals

Toe Clips: Specialized spring steel

Straps: Alfredo Binda laminated leather toe straps with strap buttons

Freewheel: Suntour Pro-Compe 5-speed freewheel with 14, 16, 18, 21, 24 gearing

Hubs: Campagnolo Nuovo Record high-flange front & rear hubs

Rims: FIAMME Red Label 700c x 21mm aluminum rims

Wheel Build: 36-hole rims laced with butted stainless-steel spokes in a 4-cross pattern

Tires: Vittoria competition Rally 21-28 tubular sew-up tires

OTHER COMPONENTS

Headset: Shimano Dura Ace

Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace side pull brakes (front & rear) with a set of original Dura Ace pads

Brake Levers: Shimano Dura Ace drilled levers with new gum rubber hoods

Stems: SR Custom alloy 85mm quill stem (installed); 3TTT Record 105mm quill stem (not mounted)

Handlebars: 3TTT drop handlebars covered with black padded Cinelli cork tape

Seat Post: Simplex seat post

Saddles: Fort Contour men's saddle (installed); original Cinelli Unicantor saddle (not mounted)

ACCESSORIES
  • Silca frame-fit pump with Campagnolo Presta valve
  • Scott aero bars with padded forearm rests
  • Cateye Astrale cyclometer (speed, cadence, distance); includes instructions
  • Lightweight aluminum water bottle holder [Note: The screw hole spacing on this one is not standard, so I have this attached it with a lightweight hose clamp; my other standard Blackburn water bottle holders fit fine using the built-in screw mounts]










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Old 07-23-22, 07:54 AM
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I don't know the frame builder...looks nice. A but utilitarian. I like the seatstays. What you really have is a small name and a Frankenstein, neither of which tend to draw in the big bucks. Value will be very variable, but it's probably not a gold mine either. The buyer is likely to end up with a lot of bang for the buck. This looks like a part out to me, for all the reasons I stated. As a complete bike, I think $600 would be about as much as I'd hope for, but you could also see someone who sees the real value here.
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Old 07-23-22, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I don't know the frame builder...looks nice. A but utilitarian. I like the seatstays. What you really have is a small name and a Frankenstein, neither of which tend to draw in the big bucks. Value will be very variable, but it's probably not a gold mine either. The buyer is likely to end up with a lot of bang for the buck. This looks like a part out to me, for all the reasons I stated. As a complete bike, I think $600 would be about as much as I'd hope for, but you could also see someone who sees the real value here.
Mitch Kneller was a real craftsman who made a line of custom frames for Advanced Bicycle Engineering in Cambridge, MA. This frame shows his attention to detail. He was also an innovator in aspects of frame design, including his frame geometry and his use of varying thickness and brands of tubing. Kneller never became widely known because his career was sadly cut short when he died in a road accident.

My understanding is that one of the people who apprenticed under Kneller was Chris Chance, a better-known name in cycling as the founder of Fat Chance and Fat City Cycles.

I am posting images of the Kneller catalog below.









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Old 07-23-22, 09:59 AM
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Here is the rest of the KNELLER Bicycle catalog...




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Old 07-26-22, 01:27 PM
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IME, custom builders just dont get the respect they should. Ive bought several in the last year. One sat on Las Vegas FB marketplace for over a month at what I thought was a silly low price. It was a southern CA builder, one would have thought a visitor to Vegas would have pounced on it. Nope.
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Old 12-30-22, 10:59 PM
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Thank you

I just wanted to reach out to let you all know that this thread has meant the world to me as Mitchs daughter.

Im not sure where you heard he died in a road accident, but he lived a full life and passed away 9yrs ago from health complications.

He was an amazing father and seeing his art still alive and being enjoyed is a gift I cant thank you all enough for.

Unfortunately, I dont have a Kneller bicycle of my own, although I wish I did, but these pictures and these words are something I can pass down to my son who never got to meet his Papa who passed before he was born.

The man who created these bicycles was an amazing artist and truly loved what he did. I wish he was still alive to see that his bicycles were still being enjoyed to this day, 40+yrs laterbut know that the knowledge brings great joy and pride to me and my son.

Thank you all and please, if you find a Kneller bicycle in your travels, please find a way to let me know as Id love to acquire one to have in my family.
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Old 12-31-22, 01:51 PM
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Wonderful News about Mitch Knellor

So glad to hear that I was misinformed about Mitch's death and happy to hear that he lived a good full life. His artistry and care were definitely evident in the frame I owned. It now has a good new home in central Massachusetts. In the past 20 years of occasionally looking, I think I have only seen one his bikes up for sale twice; I think one was on eBay and the other on Craigslist or some other Boston-based classified. I am now down in Asheville and I don't expect to come across any here.

I'm glad you at least got the pictures of this bike to save. I loved coming across the Knellor bike catalog that someone had digitized. Best of luck in your search for a frame. You may want to contact some of the better bike shops around Boston to let them know you are looking; you never know...

Originally Posted by rkneller
I just wanted to reach out to let you all know that this thread has meant the world to me as Mitchs daughter.

Im not sure where you heard he died in a road accident, but he lived a full life and passed away 9yrs ago from health complications.

He was an amazing father and seeing his art still alive and being enjoyed is a gift I cant thank you all enough for.

Unfortunately, I dont have a Kneller bicycle of my own, although I wish I did, but these pictures and these words are something I can pass down to my son who never got to meet his Papa who passed before he was born.

The man who created these bicycles was an amazing artist and truly loved what he did. I wish he was still alive to see that his bicycles were still being enjoyed to this day, 40+yrs laterbut know that the knowledge brings great joy and pride to me and my son.

Thank you all and please, if you find a Kneller bicycle in your travels, please find a way to let me know as Id love to acquire one to have in my family.
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