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Need I.D. and date help: 3ttt Stem

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Need I.D. and date help: 3ttt Stem

Old 05-27-20, 10:34 AM
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Need I.D. and date help: 3ttt Stem

Looks like a Record AR to me. Or maybe the earlier Record Strada?

The logo seems odd since there doesnít seem to be many similar examples out there. Itís the later, larger logo wherein the ď3Ē encompasses the ďttt.Ē But this particular logo seems to usually screen printed, or painted on rather than stamped or engraved. Perhaps a transitional period?

And finally, Iím noticing that not all, but most 3ttt stems which seem a close match, donít have the relief drilling at the slit for the expander cone.

Its got a short quill bolt, and the head sits deep in the hole. Whether or not itís original, I couldnít tell if the stem would have had a cap at one point or not. Seems it would have though, because of a fairly flat top surface.

Last bit of information I can offer, is that itís a lightweight stem at 240 grams.

Iím guessing mid/late 80ís Record AR. But if anyone knows, and can tell better, Iíd love to hear about it.





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Old 05-27-20, 02:06 PM
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Don't know the model, but late 70's to mid 80's date to. my eyes.
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Old 05-27-20, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by deux jambes View Post
Looks like a Record AR to me. Or maybe the earlier Record Strada?

The logo seems odd since there doesn’t seem to be many similar examples out there. It’s the later, larger logo wherein the “3” encompasses the “ttt.” But this particular logo seems to usually screen printed, or painted on rather than stamped or engraved. Perhaps a transitional period?

And finally, I’m noticing that not all, but most 3ttt stems which seem a close match, don’t have the relief drilling at the slit for the expander cone.

Its got a short quill bolt, and the head sits deep in the hole. Whether or not it’s original, I couldn’t tell if the stem would have had a cap at one point or not. Seems it would have though, because of a fairly flat top surface.

Last bit of information I can offer, is that it’s a lightweight stem at 240 grams.

I’m guessing mid/late 80’s Record AR. But if anyone knows, and can tell better, I’d love to hear about it.





1985 - ca.'88
The record 84 stem (which is another model) was even made with the older typ engraved logo, but they soon switched to this type of logo like yours. But from '88 to '89, however, the logo was no longer engraved.

Edit: I looked it up, in '88 the logo was already no engraved. I have no information on '87.

Last edited by Old Fireleg; 05-27-20 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 05-27-20, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Old Fireleg View Post
1985 - ca.'88
The record 84 stem (which is another model) was even made with the older typ engraved logo, but they soon switched to this type of logo like yours. But from '88 to '89, however, the logo was no longer engraved.

Edit: I looked it up, in '88 the logo was already no engraved. I have no information on '87.
Thank you. That pretty much supports my hunch in on the years, though narrows it down to a shorter mid decade time frame. Ď85 to Ď87 is close enough for me.

I know the Record 84 used a clamp bolt in the rear on its underside, and maybe Iím missing something but I still canít tell the difference between a 2nd version Record and a Record AR.

May I ask what source you used to look up the timeline regarding Ď88 being the year engraving stopped? I looked through the web earlier but didnít find anything.

Thanks again for your input.
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Old 05-27-20, 08:57 PM
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I used to have a 3ttt stem with that same logo. 1982 I think. +/- a year or so. It's just a regular Record strada stem. They pretty much stayed the same for years, aside from minor changes to the logo.
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Old 05-27-20, 10:57 PM
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Gonna jump in here with some dumb ideas, assume the recessed binder bolt had a plug in the top, ef that, I would put a spacer in there that brings the hex head to the top like the older ones, the bar clamp bolt looks right from the front but seems too long or would have a huge backing bolt, again, ef that, hardware store for some nice appropriate ones and on down the road you go.

Normally not a fan of the later logo that is partially rubbed off but don't think I've seen a stem with just the engraved 3ttt like this, very cool, deux jambes comes up with some great stems.
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Old 05-27-20, 11:20 PM
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Being that this one has the recess for the cap, but not the later style silkscreened logo, I'd guess 83 or 84, maybe 85. Can't remember when the caps started. These really were the same from ~ the mid 70s to the mid 80s. The engraved logo started around 1980 or so. The aero mod 78 version came out in 78, big surprise.

Silkscreened trademarks were basically unacceptable until the mid to later 80s. Engraving was expected in quality parts. Eventually the consumer was trained to accept cheap printing of company logos.
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Old 05-28-20, 12:29 AM
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Run away! Run away!



SEE WARNING BELOW but here's some history on those 3TTT Record stems.

They first appeared in the 1974 3TTT catalog but we didn't see any until 1975.

1974 Catalog

1978 Catalog


There were some minor changes such as the shape of the expander wedge and at some point in the early 80's some of the Record stems came with this pantographed logo on the front. They were not that common???



3TTT changed tgheir logo design in the mid 80's (1984?) to the one on the stem in question.

Here's the "AR" stem from the 1986 3TTT catalog. The logo on the front doesn't show up well. The second page shows a plastic plug in the top that covers the expander bolt.


Catalog pages from velopages.com

WARNING! NOW TO THE RUN AWAY PART!

The stem in question appears to have been clamped down from 26mm to fit a 25mm or smaller diameter bar???



This is what a "virgin" unclamped stem looked like. Notice the size of the opening.



Back in the early 70's Cinelli and 3TTT stems and bars were hard to get, especially in 22.0mm French diameter.

When we were young and dumb and inexperienced a lot of shop rats like us took and clamped Cinelli and 3TTT stems down to fit 25mm French and 25.4mm Japanese bars. There weren't many folks with experience who could tell us any different - it was all trial and error.

We had a number of those stems break when we tried to clamp them down on undersized bars. It took a few expensive mistakes before we realized that it was not a good idea!

Here's a Cinelli stem that I used with a 25mm Milremo/Phillipe bar from 1975 until I tried to change to a wider bar in 2009. I used those bars and stem on 3 different bikes over the years. I was lucky the stem lasted that long.




I decided that I wanted to switch to wider bars. As soon as I tried to expand the clamp a little, there was a high pitched sound as the front of the stem sailed across my work bench!

I also have a 3TTT stem that someone had over tightened to fit smaller bars that has a serious crack in the clamping area.

Unlike most steel, aluminum can not be bent very much before it fails.

If that were my stem, I would be recycle it or at make it a desktop memento. Unsafe at any speed.

"HEY WATCH THIS" doesn't count for Darwin Award Points anymore.

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Old 05-28-20, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by deux jambes View Post
Thank you. That pretty much supports my hunch in on the years, though narrows it down to a shorter mid decade time frame. ‘85 to ‘87 is close enough for me.

I know the Record 84 used a clamp bolt in the rear on its underside, and maybe I’m missing something but I still can’t tell the difference between a 2nd version Record and a Record AR.

May I ask what source you used to look up the timeline regarding ‘88 being the year engraving stopped? I looked through the web earlier but didn’t find anything.

Thanks again for your input.
The main problem with Italian catalogs from the ’70s to’ 80s is that they were printed almost without exception, without a year number. I often rely on Italian photographer Stefano Sirotti, who has been photographing major bike races since the ’70s. In this case, I found a picture in the '88 gallery of G. Saronni, who was already using a stem with larger logo ergo it's a printed logo there. https://www.sirotti.it/Ricerca-avanzata
The Record 84 stem has been on the market since 1984 (Record84 is already on Colnago's 30th anniversary poster / Can anyone show a previous concrete example?) , as the name suggests. (Its immediate predecessor was the Record 2000, a relatively rarest piece that features Olympic circles and an expandable head. It was a modified Record 78. It was only produced with the older logo.) Before 2000, the Record 78 was the last development, the his name is even more telling, in 1978. (The Colnago of the Pope was also equipped with one in '79.)This ceased with the appearance of the 84. This 78 is not made with the new engraved logo. It wasn’t until around 1990 that it reappeared as Synthesis, with slightly more rounded shapes and a printed logo. Yours is a Record that is the equivalent of Cinelli 1A. It was produced in continuous production with all kinds of logos.
What I have described here and what I have written earlier can logically calculate the time interval '85 -'87.

Last edited by Old Fireleg; 05-28-20 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 05-28-20, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post





There were some minor changes such as the shape of the expander wedge and at some point in the early 80's some of the Record stems came with this pantographed logo on the front. They were not that common???





3TTT changed tgheir logo design in the mid 80's (1984?) to the one on the stem in question.

Right, now that you mention it, I think my stem circa 81 or 82 had the above simpler logo. It's been a while. I remember the slightly later logo came not long after. Around 1984 sounds about right for the switch to me as well.


3TTT stems of this period were mostly seen, at least by me, as OEM stems on upper mid range Italian racing bikes.



WARNING! NOW TO THE RUN AWAY PART!


The stem in question appears to have been clamped down from 26mm to fit a 25mm or smaller diameter bar???

...


I also have a 3TTT stem that someone had over tightened to fit smaller bars that has a serious crack in the clamping area.


Unlike most steel, aluminum can not be bent very much before it fails.


If that were my stem, I would be recycle it or at make it a desktop memento. Unsafe at any speed.


"HEY WATCH THIS" doesn't count for Darwin Award Points anymore.
Good catch. I agree that the OP's stem looks like it was over squeezed.

Yeah, it's true these often got abused, more than Cinelli for some reason. Maybe people usually bought Cinelli bars and stems together. People weren't initially that clear on things like precise bar clamp diameters. Any signs of it being pinched or expanded from being on the wrong size bar would also prevent me from using it.


If not abused, they are perfectly good stems. I've had a couple and had no issues at all. A nice thing about 3TTT stems is that they are and always were 26.0 mm clamp diameter, which is still a relatively standard size for handlebars. IOW you can use many modern bars with them.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Gonna jump in here with some dumb ideas, assume the recessed binder bolt had a plug in the top, ef that, I would put a spacer in there that brings the hex head to the top like the older ones, the bar clamp bolt looks right from the front but seems too long or would have a huge backing bolt, again, ef that, hardware store for some nice appropriate ones and on down the road you go.

Normally not a fan of the later logo that is partially rubbed off but don't think I've seen a stem with just the engraved 3ttt like this, very cool, deux jambes comes up with some great stems.
The spacer is a good idea. I think most of us would agree that the more fluid, or complete, any specific profile is on our bikes, the better. That said, I did buy an appropriate cap. Itís being shipped from Poland, so it should be here any year now!

And I agree that the clamp bolt, whether original or not, is too long. Lacks the needed fluidity of profile. A quick trip to TrueValue is on the weekend itinerary.

I prefer an etched logo to a printed one as well. In fact, I really like this stem a lot. Iíve got high hopes that itíll make for a good fit with the frame itís slated for. Either way, it was a gift from a fellow BF member and Iím quite grateful for it.

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Old 05-28-20, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
...A nice thing about 3TTT stems is that they are and always were 26.0 mm clamp diameter, which is still a relatively standard size for handlebars. IOW you can use many modern bars with them.
At some point perhaps in the late 1980's or early 1990's, TTT's published bar and road stem diameter became a "proprietary" 25.8mm.

I have seen many of the stem boxes with this printed on them. I believe though that this was intended either as 1) a sale-increasing marketing move, or 2) that the increasingly-light bars/stems of different brands were felt to be needing to have been tested together with like-branded mating parts in order to be deemed as safe in an increasingly-litigous sales territory.
I did see quite a few cases of slipping bars where a stem clamp had dented the newer/lighter bars, and this proprietary size may have been intended to prevent un-tested stems made by other companies from being used with their newer, thinner heat-treated bars that might warrant litigation if/when the bars failed near the clamp. The monetary bonus was that any injury claims where the "wrong" brand of stem happened to have been installed would allow TTT to fall back legally on their stated "do not use with..." instruction found in their packaging materials. Good move by the legal department at TTT and perhaps also relevent in terms of "system QC".

In practice though, 25.8 and 26.0 bars/stems were widely considered interchangeable, and I have at times struggled to measure any difference between actual bars having either of these ostensibly different sizing "standards".

Last edited by dddd; 05-28-20 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:39 PM
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verktyg fantastic ephemera, and an interestingly informative post as usual. Thank you. And thank you for the sharp eye and safety warning.

Yes, the clamp was closed somewhat tight, by my doing. Not to fit a skinnier bar, but rather to work the bolt threads a bit. There was some corrosion that made it tough to turn. I removed it, cleaned it up, gave it some lube, and reinstalled it. I gave it a few extra turns to massage the threads a bit. No significant force used in the process.

Hereís a shot of the stem now. This is after removing the bolt once more, and then reinstalling it. According to my calipers, it still wants a 26mm bar.


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Old 05-28-20, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
At some point perhaps in the late 1980's or early 1990's, TTT's published bar and road stem diameter became a "proprietary" 25.8mm.
That is interesting. I don't really remember the proprietary 25.8mm, but this was towards the end of my wrenching days. Either I forgot, or didn't notice, or it came after my last LBS job. It had been hammered into my head for years that 3TTT was 26.0 and Cinelli was 26.4mm.

I suspect your theory that this was done for legal reasons is correct. The late late 80s to early 90s was a period of a lot of experimentation in bars and stems, and much of it was frankly pretty wackadoodle. There were those terrible early anatomic bars, split stems, lots of stupid stuff. I can see how they wouldn't want the liability of people mixing their bars and stems with those made by other manufacturers.

I find it very hard to believe that 3ttt really changed the actual size. Obviously this could be verified by measuring.
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