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Eroica CA Bike - Down to the Details

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Eroica CA Bike - Down to the Details

Old 07-31-17, 06:59 PM
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Eroica CA Bike - Down to the Details

So I confirmed that the '82 Centurion Super Elite is indeed mine, and I'll have it by Saturday afternoon (the guy was a mensch for taking if offline until I could make the trip from Venice to San Diego). So, now that I have the bike, I need to accessorize, right? I have no intention of tarting her up, but, I'm thinking

...black Brooks B17 (ideally used so it doesn't seem too new looking for the bike), black or white bar tape, silver clips with black leather straps, and I'd love to get a frame mounted air pump...a Silca? Does it need to be the exact same length as the seat/top tube? Color? I'll be removing (though saving) the reflectors, and I think a tool bag is in order--leather or waxed cotton?

Other than eBay and the sales section here, are there other places I should be looking for goodies...am I forgetting anything...other thoughts on colors or tape brands? I know--lots of questions, AND I haven't even started looking for stuff to wear yet...

Hmmm..I'm trying to insert a pic but it's asking for a url...no way to just add a jpg?
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Old 07-31-17, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by johnbobey View Post

...black Brooks B17 (ideally used so it doesn't seem too new looking for the bike), black or white bar tape, silver clips with black leather straps, and I'd love to get a frame mounted air pump...a Silca? Does it need to be the exact same length as the seat/top tube? Color? I'll be removing (though saving) the reflectors, and I think a tool bag is in order--leather or waxed cotton?

...white bar tape is a good color for bikes that won't get ridden. Black plastic toe clips are much more practical, and can be had in either the road or MTB version. The MTB version supports the strap with a wider arch, and makes for easier entry and exit, especially if you're not already a regular user of clips and straps. The fit just fine on any pedal that a road clip will mount on, using the same two bolt system.

Frame pumps are great, but have progressed a lot since the plastic Silca pumps, with which you will never, ever pump a bicycle tyre to a decently high pressure to ride very far on it. Look for either a Zefal HPx in the appropriate length for your seat tube, or if you can find one used, a Blackburn. The length is not exact, but has to be sized to within an inch or so. Thus most of my bikes need an HPx4 (24") or the equivalent in another brand.

Tool bags are a waste of time, IME. If you need tools, use a seat wedge. If you need a lot of tools and other stuff for a longer ride, rack the bike and use a pannier. You can also put your jacket, camera, lunch, spare tubes, and even a folding tyre in there since parts of your ride are on gravel.

Everyone has their own favorite saddle. I have a bunch of different ones, and they either work for you or you get rid of them.

I buy all my bar tape at Ribble right now, because they have the best prices on stuff I like.
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Old 07-31-17, 08:21 PM
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4 threads for 1 bicycle purchase?
Is this a record?
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Old 07-31-17, 08:30 PM
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I've never owned a Brooks, I'm sure you'll get LOTS of advice from others hear. The break in time didn't appeal to me and I wanted a channel in the middle for comfort. I ride a Selle Anatomica and it was very flexible out of the box with no need for a lengthy break in process. Maybe that could be an option if you like the look/fit

White tape gets filthy fast or you have to wear gloves, clean gloves, all the time. A side of the road chain fix is all it takes to dirty the stuff, which will happen. I say put some cork on there, something affordable, but then cover it in Newbaums cloth tape for looks. The cork provides the cushion, the Newbaums provides the look and has many colors.

I don't know much about frame pumps, so I'll abstain from advice here.

The bag is purely your choice. As long as it looks good for to you, fits your Eroica vision and holds tools it's a winner.

Nice that you found such an accommodating seller!
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Old 07-31-17, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris View Post
4 threads for 1 bicycle purchase?
Is this a record?
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Ah, a breach of etiquette...apologies. I wasn't sure posting to the same thread would be as "visible," and my enthusiasm has gotten the better of me.

And I went from one bike, to almost three (long story). But maybe that's a new thread (or two)?
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Old 07-31-17, 09:48 PM
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Luckily, your bike is from an era where either traditional leather saddles, or newer vinyl / suede covered plastic saddles would be acceptable. Going full retro would certainly look sharp, but I wouldn't let it dictate your saddle choices.

Personally, I love the Brooks Professional (The models from the 60s - late 70s. Newer ones seem wider at the back, with a flatter, more flared cantle that doesn't get along well with my rear.) I find the B17 too wide. (The B17 narrow is nice, but the one I tried had pretty thin leather. I didn't think it would hold up, and wound up selling it before putting too many miles on it.) Saddle preference is so individual, that I wouldn't get too attached to the idea of a B17, unless it really works for you. Luckily, if you buy used, you can almost certainly resell without much loss.

Popular vintage options: (Plastic or covered plastic): Cinelli Unicanitor, Selle Italia Turbo, Selle San Marco Rolls, and Concor

(Suspended Leather): Brooks B17 (medium width.), Professional (narrower, and much stiffer. Takes longer to break in, but will last longer.), Ideale (brand) Model 39 (similar to B17), Model 90 (similar to Brooks Professional), Fujita (brand) "Belt" (Looks like B17, but much thicker, stiffer leather.), Professional (Brooks pro knockoff.)
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Old 07-31-17, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
Frame pumps are great, but have progressed a lot since the plastic Silca pumps, with which you will never, ever pump a bicycle tyre to a decently high pressure to ride very far on it.
I dunno about that. I kept my tires pumped almost exclusively with a Silca frame pump for many years. 100+ PSI is no problem. It does require a bit of technique. The metal campy head is also more or less required. Zefal HPX (and HP) were always easier to use, but they weighed a lot more, which is mostly why racer types didn't use them.

Modern pumps are smaller, but not better. Zefal HPx are exactly the same as they've made for decades.
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Old 07-31-17, 10:43 PM
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Strictly FWIW - in 1982, leather saddles were more or less completely out of fashion. At least 99% of high end bikes would have had a leather covered plastic saddle instead. Avocet was a big thing. They were mainly rebadged Selle Italia and Selle Royal (I think). There were a few old timers and freaks still using Brooks Team Pros and the like, but they really didn't make a comeback till the late 90s.

But despite that, a B17 is always a good choice. It's close enough historically, and what really matters is how it fits and whether it is comfortable for you.
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Old 07-31-17, 11:31 PM
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For the frame in question, I like the brown/brown look it came with. That doesn't mean you can't replace the brown plastic ass-hatchet saddle with a brown Brooks, of course.

I've got a couple modern honey brown Brooks B17s, they get soft pretty darn fast, which is ok if you like soft. available online usually for around $100. For a firmer saddle, go with a team Pro or pony up for nicely preserved vintage saddle.
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Old 08-01-17, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
Black plastic toe clips are much more practical, and can be had in either the road or MTB version. The MTB version supports the strap with a wider arch, and makes for easier entry and exit, especially if you're not already a regular user of clips and straps. The fit just fine on any pedal that a road clip will mount on, using the same two bolt system.

Frame pumps are great, but have progressed a lot since the plastic Silca pumps, with which you will never, ever pump a bicycle tyre to a decently high pressure to ride very far on it. Look for either a Zefal HPx in the appropriate length for your seat tube, or if you can find one used, a Blackburn. The length is not exact, but has to be sized to within an inch or so. Thus most of my bikes need an HPx4 (24") or the equivalent in another brand.
Black plastic toe clips on an Eroica bike? Sacrilege! There is nothing wrong with chrome steel toe clips and they are period correct unlike those nasty plastic things. Next thing you know you'll be suggesting nylon straps (also worthless IMHO).

I have both Silca and Zefal pumps on my bikes and I beg to differ. If you can't get a tire up to 100+ psi with a Silca then you are doing it wrong or the pump is broken or you don't have a Campy pump head. That said, I think that the Zefal HPx is a slightly better pump than a Silca, but it doesn't come in colors so it is only allowed on one of my bikes.

As far as saddles are concerned, every butt is different. I used Brooks Pros for years and hated those ass hatchets. Too narrow for my butt, made my important parts go numb and impossible to break in. I strayed into the land of slightly more comfortable modern-style saddles for a while and then took a gamble on a B-17 Imperial. Aaaaahhhh! Immediately comfortable right out of the box. Thinner, more flexy leather than the Pro so may not last as long, but who cares? It's the only saddle I've ever had where I virtually never notice any pain or discomfort. YMMV.
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Old 08-01-17, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
Luckily, your bike is from an era where either traditional leather saddles, or newer vinyl / suede covered plastic saddles would be acceptable. Going full retro would certainly look sharp, but I wouldn't let it dictate your saddle choices.

Personally, I love the Brooks Professional (The models from the 60s - late 70s. Newer ones seem wider at the back, with a flatter, more flared cantle that doesn't get along well with my rear.) I find the B17 too wide. (The B17 narrow is nice, but the one I tried had pretty thin leather. I didn't think it would hold up, and wound up selling it before putting too many miles on it.) Saddle preference is so individual, that I wouldn't get too attached to the idea of a B17, unless it really works for you. Luckily, if you buy used, you can almost certainly resell without much loss.

Popular vintage options: (Plastic or covered plastic): Cinelli Unicanitor, Selle Italia Turbo, Selle San Marco Rolls, and Concor

(Suspended Leather): Brooks B17 (medium width.), Professional (narrower, and much stiffer. Takes longer to break in, but will last longer.), Ideale (brand) Model 39 (similar to B17), Model 90 (similar to Brooks Professional), Fujita (brand) "Belt" (Looks like B17, but much thicker, stiffer leather.), Professional (Brooks pro knockoff.)
I made my way to a few shops this past weekend, and took some test "sits." I was hoping to find a store with a "loaner" program, but no luck. The gospel of the B17 was preached to me with great fervor, and I think it's broader shape will suit my south end well. I will explore these other options, and am prepared for any necesary trial and error. Mostly, I want the bike to look as good as I know it'll perform!
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Old 08-01-17, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I dunno about that. I kept my tires pumped almost exclusively with a Silca frame pump for many years. 100+ PSI is no problem. It does require a bit of technique. The metal campy head is also more or less required. Zefal HPX (and HP) were always easier to use, but they weighed a lot more, which is mostly why racer types didn't use them.

Modern pumps are smaller, but not better. Zefal HPx are exactly the same as they've made for decades.
Zefal sounds like a great option, thanks!
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Old 08-01-17, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
For the frame in question, I like the brown/brown look it came with. That doesn't mean you can't replace the brown plastic ass-hatchet saddle with a brown Brooks, of course.

I've got a couple modern honey brown Brooks B17s, they get soft pretty darn fast, which is ok if you like soft. available online usually for around $100. For a firmer saddle, go with a team Pro or pony up for nicely preserved vintage saddle.
I'm looking for something vintage so the vintage bike has a bit of continuity. But I'm taking everyone's advice, and comfort shall trump all!
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Old 08-01-17, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Black plastic toe clips on an Eroica bike? Sacrilege! There is nothing wrong with chrome steel toe clips and they are period correct unlike those nasty plastic things. Next thing you know you'll be suggesting nylon straps (also worthless IMHO).

I have both Silca and Zefal pumps on my bikes and I beg to differ. If you can't get a tire up to 100+ psi with a Silca then you are doing it wrong or the pump is broken or you don't have a Campy pump head. That said, I think that the Zefal HPx is a slightly better pump than a Silca, but it doesn't come in colors so it is only allowed on one of my bikes.

As far as saddles are concerned, every butt is different. I used Brooks Pros for years and hated those ass hatchets. Too narrow for my butt, made my important parts go numb and impossible to break in. I strayed into the land of slightly more comfortable modern-style saddles for a while and then took a gamble on a B-17 Imperial. Aaaaahhhh! Immediately comfortable right out of the box. Thinner, more flexy leather than the Pro so may not last as long, but who cares? It's the only saddle I've ever had where I virtually never notice any pain or discomfort. YMMV.
I'm going with a deep version of the classic chromed steel clips, with black leather straps...it's a look I love, and I'm getting used to the feel.
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Old 08-01-17, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Black plastic toe clips on an Eroica bike? Sacrilege! There is nothing wrong with chrome steel toe clips and they are period correct unlike those nasty plastic things. Next thing you know you'll be suggesting nylon straps (also worthless IMHO).
...there used to be some good, stiff nylon straps made and sold that were as good as leather, but they seem to have disappeared. As you are by now aware, I'm not particularly opposed to something resembling a Unitarian Universalist approach to this Vintage Bike religion.

Originally Posted by davester View Post
I have both Silca and Zefal pumps on my bikes and I beg to differ. If you can't get a tire up to 100+ psi with a Silca then you are doing it wrong or the pump is broken or you don't have a Campy pump head. That said, I think that the Zefal HPx is a slightly better pump than a Silca, but it doesn't come in colors so it is only allowed on one of my bikes.
...you can differ if you want to differ. I'm gonna keep using the Zefals. Most of the Silca pumps I've kept were custom matched by painting anyway, so if you can't deal with black (I think Henry Ford had something to say about color choice), get out your rattlecan.
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Old 08-01-17, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I dunno about that. I kept my tires pumped almost exclusively with a Silca frame pump for many years. 100+ PSI is no problem. It does require a bit of technique. The metal campy head is also more or less required. Zefal HPX (and HP) were always easier to use, but they weighed a lot more, which is mostly why racer types didn't use them.
...thus my advice. To this person. Gee whiz, it's like all you guys are spring loaded to the vintage position this morning.
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Old 08-01-17, 10:20 AM
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...on the history of toe clips. Plastic has been around a lot longer than some of you seem to remember. Just sayin'.
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Old 08-01-17, 11:32 AM
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If this is the bike in question -



- then I would say it looks pretty sharp as is, and I would steer you towards a honey brown Brooks B17 and call it a day.

I would steer you away from white bar tape, though - white cloth was for racers. If you were Bernard Thevenet your mechanic changed it every night for the next day. If you were not so fortunate, your directeur sportif would look to see where the tape was dirty and might chastise you for spending too much time sitting up with your hands on the tops. It tends to look nasty quickly.

If you just have to get away from that really lovely brown and tan color scheme - which is really fetching, and the pinstripes make my heart go pitter-patter - you might consider looking for a Centurion Anatomic as made by Vetta. I have one that came stock on my 1985 Centurion Signet - the very bottom of the range Centurion, the first year they built a bike in Taiwan after crowing the year before about how all their bikes were built in Japan - and it is a shockingly comfortable saddle, so much so that I put around 191 km on it while riding this year's Clunker Challenge. It has a nice contour, a subtle center slot, and it looks reasonably vintage - which, being 32 years old, it is.

I don't think I've seen these mentioned, but another saddle to consider is the Selle Italia Grand Prix Professional. I had one of these on last year's Clunker Challenge bike, and it made me re-evaluate my slavish loyalty to Brooks or Ideale leather saddles. I haven't yet taken it out on a really long ride, though - but it felt a lot like the B17s I've been riding for 17 years or so. Mine has faded to a lovely brown color, and I have seen others that look the same, and they would be a harmonious blend with the color scheme.

If a B17 feels comfortable enough when you first ride it, good. I am not so convinced that breaking them in makes that much difference, ultimately, unless you have asymmetric sit bones, which is where they shine, or so my chiropractor cycling buddy with a broken and healed hip tells me. They are very nice if you ride with your handlebars within an inch or so of your saddle height, maybe not so much if you prefer more of a drop to your bars.

I think you made a wise choice on chromed steel toe clips - I recently tried to use some plastic ones that came with a bike I purchased and found I couldn't reliable get my toes into them. I also think the Zefal HPx is an excellent choice for actually pumping up a tire, despite the weight penalty - which is ultimately pretty insignificant.

If all you want is a bag for tools and a tube, a seat wedge would work, as would rolling everything up in some sort of wrap and strapping it up between the rear of the saddle rails with an old toe strap. How much other gear do you plan on taking? A jacket? Leg or arm warmers? I'm down to two waxed-cotton kinda bags, a capacious Carradice Nelson longflap and an older Rivendell banana bag as made by Duluth Pack. The latter is good for tube, multi-tool, a tightly rolled jacket, and not much else. The Carradice is awesome for winter rides, because as I peel of layers I have a place to put them - and in really inclement weather I can probably roll myself up in there and sleep through it till spring. Probably overkill for Eroica, though, unless you want your riding buddies who laugh at your big silly bag later on saying, "Hey, would you please carry this for me?"
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Old 08-01-17, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
...I recently tried to use some plastic ones that came with a bike I purchased and found I couldn't reliable get my toes into them.
...change the straps to something like the cheap leather Performance ones (ten bucks). I think maybe they call them "Courier". The current crop of woven nylon toe straps is sad, obviously manufactured by someone who has never tried to ride with them.
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Old 08-01-17, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Black plastic toe clips on an Eroica bike? Sacrilege! There is nothing wrong with chrome steel toe clips and they are period correct unlike those nasty plastic things. Next thing you know you'll be suggesting nylon straps (also worthless IMHO).

snip . . . .
I'm looking forward to building up my mid 70s Peugeot PR 10 with black christophe plastic toe clips and christophe nylon straps. I also have (plastic) REG toe strap buttons to finish the build up with,
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Old 08-01-17, 01:02 PM
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Personally, I love the look of dirty and worn white bar tape -- it shows the bike has seen some miles. I think we've gotten too used to pristine "just built it up today" bike pictures around here.
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Old 08-01-17, 01:03 PM
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If it were me, I would probably go with a honey leather saddle and matching leather, faux leather, or cloth bar tape. But I'm a little biased.

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Old 08-01-17, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'm looking forward to building up my mid 70s Peugeot PR 10 with black christophe plastic toe clips and christophe nylon straps. I also have (plastic) REG toe strap buttons to finish the build up with,
...I went looking online for toe strap buttons the other day and was shocked at the prices they're charging for them. Velo Orange is selling something made from aluminum for 15 bucks a pair. But they call them "cuff links for your bike", so I guess that's worth something.

I think I might be stuck with folding the ends, piercing and pop riveting for the foreseeable future.
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Old 08-01-17, 02:06 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...I went looking online for toe strap buttons the other day and was shocked at the prices they're charging for them. Velo Orange is selling something made from aluminum for 15 bucks a pair. But they call them "cuff links for your bike", so I guess that's worth something.

I think I might be stuck with folding the ends, piercing and pop riveting for the foreseeable future.
Yeah toe buttons seem to be disappearing, what's up with that? I was glad to find a set of REG toe buttons; they're beat up but what the heck, they have the right "patina" for the build.
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Old 08-01-17, 02:32 PM
  #25  
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Skip them, altogether. All they do is cause the strap end to flop around more than it would have otherwise.
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