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ItalVega Gran Turismo - Frame-up build

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ItalVega Gran Turismo - Frame-up build

Old 07-13-20, 09:41 PM
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tgot
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ItalVega Gran Turismo - Frame-up build

I've previously documented my C&V initiation, working on a 1986 Centurion Dave Scott Ironman.

I recently realized three fundamental truths at the exact same time:

1) The changes to make that bike an all-day, long-distance rider (for me) would destroy the aggressive position and lean nature that I enjoyed about that bike.

2) I did want something more all-day comfortable, like I remember my 80's bike when I toured, that I could ride no-handed for miles in a cross wind. And that while perhaps not ready today, I felt the call of L'Eroica, and the beauty of bikes with chrome lugs and forks ends, and maybe a handlebar bag.

3) The Ironman was basically done. It could be upgraded, but nothing was wrong (*) or really needed doing for me go go out and have a great 2-3 hours ride. I wasn't going to have anything to wrench on, and research how to make work, and search for parts that were compatible, etc. etc. etc., unless.... N+1!

(*) I just broke a spoke and two LBS's failed to have a replacement, so I've got some work to do there again...

So it was that I started looking at older touring bikes on Craigslist, and doing a lot of BikeForums reading about older touring bikes. Here in the SFBay area, prices are high, and things go fast. My best bet seemed likely to be something well-regarded, but not that well known. My initial idea was to hit what someone described in a BF thread, that if you buy a bike that is in the "just rideable" category, not really fixed up, one could practically test-own C&V bikes for free. Our market seems to be too hot for that, at least for me, and full-up C&V bikes were either gone immediately, or coming out of a flip and both more expensive, and not fulfilling of the hobby & learning goal.

Then, voila, an ItalVega Gran Tourismo frameset, cosmetically challenged but that seemed fundamentally sound. See attachment for picture (more in follow-up posts, on phone). After some part-searching, and help from BF'ers and especially @beicster on how to handle no derailleur mount, I bought it. Probably over-paid, if it was a flip, but my hope is to build it and love it.
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Old 07-13-20, 09:46 PM
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More photos


I lived for a bit on Stanyon, right across the street from the Kezar bike shop. I confess that made me more inclined to buy the frame.



I've always loved the look of the chrome tips, fork and rear.
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Old 07-13-20, 09:59 PM
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Unknown Year

One mystery is the year that the frame was made.

In the Univega appreciation thread, I thought I learned that the riveted headbadge would put this as '72 or earlier. As such, I expected a 4-digit serial number.

Instead:


Oddly, the 6-digit serial numbers are described at having a star, six-digits, and a star, with the star representing Vega. This bike seems to have slipped through before the * were added. Maybe one of the first after the 4->6 digit change? Number 2371 after the change?
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Old 07-13-20, 10:08 PM
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Dropouts

The fork ends and rear dropouts are stamped. The Gran Tourismo was (if I read and remembered correctly) a cross-over model from mid- to high-end. It had the 3-tube Columbus butted tubing, but not the forged dropouts.


I wasn't sure originally how to deal with a lack of derailleur hanger.

Many thanks to beicster for setting me up with a hanger, officially the first part for my frame-up build!
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Old 07-13-20, 10:20 PM
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Potential problem area: Seat tube and binder

The good news is that there's no seatpost to be stuck!

The bad news is that the seat-tube top and binder-post area is a little crimped. I think probably tightened down onto a too-small seatpost.

I love the centerpull brake hanger things. I hope it cleans up OK, the rust seems mostly to be just surface.

The bolt is pretty bent. I may cut it off with a dremel cutting wheel to be able to remove.

I don't think opening the seattube back up will be too difficult. I'd like to ask for BF help if anyone knows the right diameter, so that I can get the correct size and know when I should quit spreading!
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Old 07-13-20, 10:56 PM
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Looks like a worthwhile project!

As for seatpost sizing, I'll leave that to those who know Ital vegas better. The two '84 Univegas I have are Miyata-built and use 26.8

I, too, love the chrome socks era. My old '75 Fuji S-10S has chrome socks front and rear, as well as a 'claw' rear derailleur. Never been a problem in over 50k miles, other than the pulleys wearing out (and SunTour replacements were impossible to find in the pre-internet days) so I ended up replacing the entire rear derailleur.

IIRC, the brake hanger/quick release is readily available (several on ebay) https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Qui...8AAOSwEh1e-jsE

Keep us informed/updated with your progress
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Old 07-13-20, 11:31 PM
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Very cool!

Outstanding find and great candidate for a good refurb.

These share the no RD hanger trait with early Raleigh SC's that we all know are fantastic riders and carry more than their fair share of love for how they get on.

This one also looks like one so maybe it will be similar in that regard.
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Old 07-13-20, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
IIRC, the brake hanger/quick release is readily available (several on ebay) https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Qui...8AAOSwEh1e-jsE

Keep us informed/updated with your progress
Ooh, good to know! Having a barrel adjustment might be pretty nice.

I will keep things coming as I progress.
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Old 07-14-20, 08:51 AM
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This is a cool bike. A tretubi bike like this is really about as good as a full columbus bike but a bit heavier. I doubt anyone can tell the ride difference.

I am a big fan of this era bike with lots of chrome and lots of clearance for decently sized tires. I'm looking forward to seeing this built up.
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Old 07-14-20, 08:53 AM
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I love that color. I bet it will look even better with a good cleaning.

I have a 68 Raleigh Super Course with stamped dropouts. My bias was to assume that bikes with stamped dropouts are low end junk. This bike has taught me different. Plenty of bikes from this era were made with quality tubing and stamped dropouts. At the end of the day, it is still a great riding bike with a reasonable, if not light, weight. I will be watching this build.
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Old 07-14-20, 09:31 AM
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Leave it to Lawee to channel a Raleigh International, association by color, chrome....
Smart marketing guy.

That seat lug really appears crimped closed as observed. As the lug ears appear to be filled with braze a bit, open this one up and check the seat tube size below the heat effected zone.
Could be anywhere between 26.8 and 27.2
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Old 07-14-20, 11:53 AM
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That's a very cool bike. Italvegas only seem to pop up an rare occasions these days, unlike later Lawee bikes. Love the Raleigh-like color.

If that paint splatter is latex, alcohol can be helpful in removing it. Test in an inconspicuous area first, to make sure it doesn't affect the finish. It's possible that some polishing compound and an old credit card will be enough. Raleighs I think used stoved enamel finish, who knows what Italvega used.

Your observation is correct, that is the classic wrong size seatpost symptom. The seat lug will most likely be fine. Inspect for cracks anyway. I suggest you wedge it open with a wooden wedge, then run a ball hone or brake hone through it, and call it done. The old style seat lugs with a big honking bolt don't require as much precision as the later Campagnolo style micro bolts, which require a seat tube reamer to be set up optimally. You may need to visit and ancient bike shop to find a replacement old style seat lug bolt.
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Old 07-14-20, 03:38 PM
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I have what I think is the next model up, the tretubi Nuovo Record model (forged drops w/hanger), from 1974 (4 digit s/n)
EDIT: It's a 27.0 post, despite what the faulty memory thought.
My headbadge is different, more 3D than flat like yours.
I love the ride - have taken it on centuries.

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Old 07-14-20, 04:31 PM
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I spent a year getting rust off of an ItalVega Grand Rally that is essentially an early Nuovo Record and I am glad I did. The bike is wonderful and I ride it frequently. It has the tre tubi Columbus sticker like yours but has Campagnolo rear dropouts and fork tips with a sloping crown fork. Mine is a September 1972 bike with mostly Campagnolo equipment.Seat post is Zeus 27 and saddle is UnicaNitor 3ttt bar and stem. One hundred bucks and a year of cleaning/ derusting and worth every bit of it.After years out in a field in Morro Bay California the Silca chrome pump still works, just a bit of mineral oil! Yours is in much better shape as far as the paint goes and I am sure you are going to love the ride. See "Rusty Resurrection" joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress


1972 ItalVega Grand Rally

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Old 07-14-20, 09:09 PM
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I appreciate the ItalVega and tretubi love you guys are showing! I'm definitely calling it "tretubi" in conversation as often as possible.

A plastic scraper for the housepaint overspray had been my thought, I'll try alcohol as well. The overspray is mostly on fairly prominant spots, sadly.

I will try the wood wedge, that seems more controlled than my thought of putting the jaws of big channel-locks into the tube and opening the handles. Now that I'm thinking of wood, maybe I'll put a 1" dowel in there, and then drive screws in to expand it in a controlled way.

Does the seatpost clamp need a special bolt? There existing one didn't thread into the lug, I don't think, just had a washer and nut on the end.
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Old 07-14-20, 09:17 PM
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Bottom bracket shell check

Just to make sure I didn't get an oddball crossover, I checked the bottom bracket shell:

Seems like 69 or 68mm instead of 70, which had me concerned. Probably just faced-down that much after assembly.

12 threads in 1/2 inch, check: 24TPI. And right-hand threaded on both sides, that impression was from putting the paper through the shell.

I'm confident now that an Italian BB will work, and modern Shimano's are reasonably priced. I think that's my plan. I'll wait to order until the drivetrain is more settled out, since those aren't going anywhere. That will give me the best chance of getting the correct spindle-length on the first try.
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Old 07-14-20, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tgot View Post
Does the seatpost clamp need a special bolt? There existing one didn't thread into the lug, I don't think, just had a washer and nut on the end.
Not especially special. Just the older and thicker type. Pretty sure you can still buy them. They continued to be used on MTB's after most road bikes had gone to the lighter smaller seat lug bolts. It probably has a tooth in the non threaded end to grab the lug. You could use a plain nut and bolt and washer(s), but it's less convenient since you need to hold both sides to tighten or loosen.

Older type. https://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Seat-.../dp/B000AO5KMO
Is it an 8mm dia bolt? Here's another option, maybe too modern. https://www.jensonusa.com/Problem-So...at-Binder-Bolt

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Old 07-14-20, 09:36 PM
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Good to know! Small bits may prove harder than big bits, as I get to assembling. I'll look for a tooth on the bolt and slot in the lug, and if so definitely get a real binder bolt. Thanks!
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Old 07-14-20, 09:58 PM
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Maybe I missed a comment but, my uneducated guess about serial # = produced in 1971? [XXXX71]

Without the der hanger, and given its' green colour and chrome sox = kinda reminds me of a Raleigh SuperCourse. Different crown and your headtube angle looks steeper.

Enjoy the build and th ride.
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Old 07-14-20, 10:00 PM
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Wheel check - tire clearance and brake reach

I test fitted a pair of wheels in the frame, to get an idea of clearance and the brake reach needed. I'm going to go with 700c for compatibility with my other bikes, and for easy selection, even though I suspect the bike would have had 27" wheels originally.

This is a wide 25mm, on a 24mm outside-width rim. Pretty sure a 38mm could go there, if desired.

I wouldn't run that narrow a rim, but it looks like 38mm would be fine. 42mm potentially, but I'm less likely to want that, I think.

Needs a 56mm reach, as near as I can measure, at the front.

Back here is further, 62mm or so.

With the 700c wheels, I was pretty sure I'd need long-reach centerpulls. Dia Compe's seem to be the readily available choice, priced not too badly although not always set up for through-post and nut. My measurements suggested I'd need a 610 up front and 750 in the rear, though. Fortunately there was an EBayer offering just that combo, with posts and nuts, so those are on the way!
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Old 07-15-20, 05:32 AM
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Mine came with tubular Fiame rims and HF Nuovo Tipo hubs. I set them aside and put the Rigida 27" with HF Record. I am running Pasela 1" wide tires and could easily go to 1 1/8". It came with universal center pull brakes which I changed to Campy NR. Everything works fine.
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Old 07-21-20, 07:58 PM
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Seat tube and seatpost struggles

This weekend, I attacked the crimped seat-tube issue. It's still in progress...I think.

Issue #1 was straightforward, the bent bolt. A dremel cutting wheel and staying patient so as not to bounce against the frame took care of that.

I had to cut the bolt to get it out. It does have the little tab to keep it from rotating. Thanks to prior poster for pointing out that feature!

Area doesn't look cracked anywhere, but definitely crimped closed at top, and has a bulge in the seattube just below the lug that has the collar.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:08 PM
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Next step was to expand the collar area. I thought that using a 1" dowel piece was my best bet to expand symmetrically. It kind-of worked:

Maximum expansion, all the screws I could fit.

Just a little wrap to get bigger diameter.

At the end of that it was definitely a little more open, but just a razor-blade width between the tabs. I think the issue was that I couldn't open past the desired diameter to set it at the fully open.


From there I was frustrated and took fewer pictures....

I used a wood-chisel into the now-split dowel, just in the top of the collar, to pry that further open. The pointy ears at rear-top of collar were both still pointed towards each other, and forward into the seatpost space. So I very gently knocked a cold-chisel in between them; keeping the frame floating in my hand so as not to roughly impact it. That seemed to address both points pretty well.

I could then stuff a 27.2 seatpost in at the top, but rough edges were cutting into the aluminum and scraping it, and seemed like that might be what was keeping it from going further.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:33 PM
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A quick trip to auto-parts store set me up with a brake hone, medium grit. I had read most of the seatpost-won't-fit threads and understood by now the suggestion to run a brake hone. I could see paint, and a non-metal color that didn't look like rust (maybe a coating?). So I gave the first couple inches of the seattube a honing run, and then rounded the very top inner-edges with an emery-board (for fingernails) that I use for fine work.

At that point, I could get about 3-3.5" of a 27.2mm seatpost into the seat tube, where it stuck. And that made no sense to me, because the end was past the bulge, and I couldn't see any internal burrs of edges. I wonder, how far down is the butting? My guess from looking inside and from tapping was that I was getting the end of the seatpost to almost that point.

I tried two seatposts that I had handy. One was a suspension post (so it had internal structure and a heavy end-piece at the bottom. The other was aluminum, with a fine-pebbly finish. More on that later...

The first ~2" of seatpost slid in fairly smoothly.

That's where I'm currently stuck, so to speak. I gave another honing run, and am pretty sure by a sound change that I got over the butting boundary. The seattube starts in, not loosely but smoothly, but at about 3" starts to bind, and at ~3.5" if feels like I'd need a pipewrench and vise to remove it if I did any more.

Re-reading relevant threads, I wonder if the top of the seat-tube is no longer co-axial with the seat-tube a bit below the lug.

I'm starting to have some sympathy with the prior owner, and thinking "I'll just stuff in the next size smaller, and crank down the binder bolt".

I wish I had a 27.0 and 26.8 seat tube to experiment with. Maybe a 27.0, and a beer-can shim for the top 2", would be the right answer?

The other option would be to get a 27.2 road post (I don't need 350mm+ of length) as planned, and grease it really well, and just try more force. It may be that the two I tried were first, not flexible (the suspension post) and second, not greased (borrowed off my daughter's bike) and not-smoothly-finished. Maybe?

I'm not sure what would be a good third option. There is thread-contention about just running the hone in there until the post fits. I don't have any brake-hone experience before this, it's hard for me to know whether I'm just polishing and smoothing the material (which 'hone' suggests) or might be removing an amount of metal that makes a structural difference.

Suggestions welcome.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:36 PM
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Are you sure this model took a 27.2? Have you had a LBS check the diameter below the seat stays?

great looking bike. My Italvega lies dormant while I finish a year in exile.

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