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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage

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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage

Old 02-23-17, 08:49 PM
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CriticalThought
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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage

I took a couple of quick pictures of some of the bike messenger bikes outside my office in downtown San Francisco this afternoon. Would love comments and identification. Their state is a far cry from what I'm used to seeing posted here, but somehow I love seeing these bikes ridden ... even if they are a little rough around the edges.

Any thoughts on what these are (or originally were) aside form the obvious Raleigh, Pinarello, Motta, and Cilo?

What models are we looking at? (There's a nice Steelman in the background behind the Cilo...)

Sorry about the poor quality pictures.








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Old 02-23-17, 09:06 PM
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The Raleigh Team Panasonic is really nice, likely Reynolds 531 or better.

Gianni Motta Personal
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Old 02-23-17, 09:21 PM
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They ride some nice stuff!

The Motta has the Trans-Tork stays. It's a Personal 2001. A step up from the Personal and not quite the 2001r (sock type dropouts/fork ends). Mid eighties, Italian flag paint.
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Old 02-23-17, 09:42 PM
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Those are some seriously ridden bikes. Mismatched rims, worn saddles... Much beausage here.
...And slam that stem, Raleigh rider!!
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Old 02-23-17, 09:46 PM
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You guys are great. Love getting this kind of info so quickly. These are only some of the beauties I see San Francisco messengers on. I'll try to take some pictures of others that catch my eye. I saw a messenger on a wonderful Zunow the other day.

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Old 02-23-17, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Oxley View Post
Those are some seriously ridden bikes. Mismatched rims, worn saddles... Much beausage here.
...And slam that stem, Raleigh rider!!
All my stems from my racing days carried slices across their throats. Then I discovered I could go longer instead of down and the net effect wasn't very different. My shoulders and torso stayed inthe same place, So did my elbow bend. Aero got a little better. Biggest loss was big gear climbing. (For me, the magic number is 2:1 - 2 cms length - 1 cm down or, for example, a 140 stem a 1/2 cm higher is the same as the lower 130.
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Old 02-23-17, 10:38 PM
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Does anyone know if there's some good reason for two of those bikes not to have bartape?
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Old 02-23-17, 11:36 PM
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When I was very young in 1968 I keenly looked at what the bike messengers were riding in SF in the Financial district and along Market Street... Schwinn paperboy bikes, having sheet metal plate signs in the main "triangle" with the service name and phone number, fitted with huge Wald type baskets up front, some with rear racks, some with the rider wearing a messenger bag, also having contact info. Some of the baskets had a canvas flap over the top.

I wanted to do that, my great aunts were aghast. But the one who drove did drive around and follow a few, she was impressed with their ability to weave through traffic. Had not noticed them before I pointed them out. They were Great great aunties.
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Old 02-24-17, 06:13 AM
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Do the owners of these bikes consider them "disposeable" and replaceable? S.F. has a lot of crooks wheedling around the financial district, knob hill, russian hill and north beach. South of Market? Forget it. Of course, leaving your bike locked like this allows the possibility of buying it back, later that afternoon, on S. Mission.
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Old 02-24-17, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by lasauge View Post
Does anyone know if there's some good reason for two of those bikes not to have bartape?
Three of them. No grips on the flat bars either. I noticed it too, and figured they wear gloves and consider the bar tape superfluous. Just a guess.
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Old 02-24-17, 09:42 AM
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One thing I love about San Francisco and other hilly cities is that local riders understand the value of gears. I did not see any SS/FG in your photoshoot.
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Old 02-24-17, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Oxley View Post
Three of them. No grips on the flat bars either. I noticed it too, and figured they wear gloves and consider the bar tape superfluous. Just a guess.
Just for show, totally superfluous.
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Old 02-24-17, 11:35 AM
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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage

Here's another I took this morning on the way in to the office (not as many around since I think they're making deliveries). It's a not too common Fondriest. One C&V aspect of some of these bikes (like this) is that a lot of them use toe straps. Makes sense since they're constantly rushing around both on and off the bikes.

I'll add some more C&V messenger bikes when I manage to catch them.

I'm really intrigued by the Motta.

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Old 02-24-17, 12:03 PM
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That Cilo is nothing to shrug at, either. Fork is an obvious replacement, but I had a very similar model that was SLX.

I also do not get the no-bartape deal. Odd.
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Old 02-24-17, 12:58 PM
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These are the real "pro" bikes. Nice photos, love the theme!
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Old 02-24-17, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lasauge View Post
Does anyone know if there's some good reason for two of those bikes not to have bartape?
I'm guessing they ride with gloves and their hands on the hoods virtually all the time. Probably not able to get into the drops much, and need to have the brake levers at the ready. Plus they're constantly propping their bikes against fences and whatnot, so the bar tape would quickly get torn, worn, and dirty. I notice the top bike has a lot of electrical tape, but no padded tape.

And I suppose they don't take more care in locking the bikes because they're away from them very briefly. Or maybe there's some kind of code among the theft groups to leave the messengers mostly alone, unless the messenger is really sloppy.
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Old 02-24-17, 02:25 PM
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This is a great thread. I find this stuff much more interesting than the restoration threads.
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Old 02-24-17, 02:55 PM
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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage - Kelly & Merckx

Really glad you guys are enjoying these as much as I am. I know a guy with an original AC Cobra. He bought it new and still drives the hell out of it (scared & impressed me at the same time once while ripping around the Berkeley hills with him)... but his car looks like these bikes. Used and loved in that order. To quote @J.Oxley "Much beausage".

I think I like them so much because I tend to be more on the keeping-things-pristine end of the spectrum, and despite hard use, I usually touch things up, restore them, and so on. Such is my personality. But I LOVE seeing these bikes ridden in this state. It's fantastic. And as far as locking them up loosely goes, their owners (at least where I've been taking pictures) are no more than a few feet away.

I caught a couple more this afternoon. Would love any background on this particular model of Eddy Merckx and the beautiful green Kelly with the straight forks.



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Old 02-24-17, 03:42 PM
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Are the brake releases on this guy's brifters open?

Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
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Old 02-24-17, 05:37 PM
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Shifting the Motta

Did you guys notice the curious combination of down-tube shifter and thumb shifter on the Motta? I wonder what that's all about. Any thoughts as to what Messenger-specific need their might be that would lead one to choose a thumb shifter over a down-tube mounted one?

I did notice a lot of the messenger bikes have been converted to brifters.

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Old 02-24-17, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
Did you guys notice the curious combination of down-tube shifter and thumb shifter on the Motta? I wonder what that's all about. Any thoughts as to what Messenger-specific need their might be that would lead one to choose a thumb shifter over a down-tube mounted one?

I did notice a lot of the messenger bikes have been converted to brifters.

Doubt there's any real reason. Downtube shifter probably broke and he happened to have a thumb shifter laying around.
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Old 02-24-17, 07:05 PM
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more convenient, on the bar shifting for the rear, which has more shifting generally?
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Old 02-24-17, 07:29 PM
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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage - Faggin

This is the last one I took today before heading home. It's a pretty cool looking Faggin. Another bike I don't know the history of very well. Looks like the front fork has been replaced (my uneducated, un-researched guess) with an Easton one.

I wonder if having messengers riding cool classic steel is something distinct to San Francisco?

It doesn't seem like it would be but then again I haven't had the opportunity to take a long close look at what messengers are riding elsewhere.


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Old 02-24-17, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
more convenient, on the bar shifting for the rear, which has more shifting generally?
+1
I think we're looking at pure functional efficiency.

@CriticalThought -- Definitely a replacement fork on the Faggin above.
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Old 02-28-17, 12:33 PM
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Bike Messengers Who Love Classic & Vintage - Atala Special

San Francisco seems to have no end of bike messengers who love classics with lots of character.

I spotted this well used Atala on the way in this morning. Looks like a new Brooks Cambium, straight bars, and that absolutely massive (and task appropriate) porteur-style front rack. Love it.

Any Atala cognoscenti out there able to shed any light on this one? Mid 80s Atala Special? Think the rear caliper and crank might be original?

There seems to be a theme with these C&V messenger bikes... classic steel frames but with replacement forks.






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