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Clara Italian Bicycle into Gravel

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Clara Italian Bicycle into Gravel

Old 12-07-21, 08:52 PM
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kansascity 
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Clara Italian Bicycle into Gravel

Helping my friend build a retro gravel bicycle and this Clara came to him inexpensively. Searches do not reveal much about these bicycles, only one other BF build that I could find so I figured more documentation would be good.
Purchased with:
  • Campagnolo downtube shifters, front and rear derailleur
  • Balilla Center Pull Brakes and Levers (No safety wings)
  • Normandy High Flange Hubs with Tubular Rim (will go back to confirm make/ model rim)
  • 70mm Italian Threaded bottom bracket with steel cotter crankset (has one marking I do not recognize)
  • Need to confirm as dying battery in digital caliper 22.2 TTT stem, unmarked 26.2 seatpost and 25.4 handlebars
  • Freccia D'Oro Saddle
  • Numbers on Non drive side below seat post lug 25540
Will post more photos as restoration continues

Sitting on vice, no force applied.

Only numbers on bicycle

Saved this decal




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Old 12-07-21, 10:19 PM
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-----

cycle appears a Chiorda contract build from early 1970's

lug pattern is Agrati "AM" ART. 000.8040/E/U

upper head lug is Agrati N. 000.8044

lower head lug is Agrati N. 000.8043

seat lug is Agrati N. 005.8049

fork crown is part of the Agrati "ROMA" lug ensemble and is item N. 005.8028

dropouts are Agrati N. 000.8002

fork ends are Agrati N. 000.8010

bottom bracket shell appears it may be Agrati N. 000.8507
(not shown clearly enough for an exact identification)

frame is a notch above the base in that:

a) head is a true three-piece rather than bulge-formed

b) both bridges are tubular rather than plate style

c) fork exhibits plating on crown and blades

headset and chainset appear to be OMG

stem & bar set 3TTT Tourist

pedals are Sheffield Nr. 663



-----

Last edited by juvela; 12-07-21 at 10:24 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 12-07-21, 11:41 PM
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So.....

Gas pipe?

claw, 70mm BB, likely limited tire clearance.

Not seeing a gravel bike here, it's probably just me.
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Old 12-08-21, 04:07 AM
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It would be a great gravel bike, although heavy, what is the tire clearence? At least 35 on 700c rim?
NOthing wrong with gas pipe steel just dont spend a lot of money on the components if your frame is lower quality...
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Old 12-08-21, 06:16 AM
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-----

earlier forum discussion thread on one of these cycles is here -

​​​​​​Clara brand bicycle?


-----
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Old 12-08-21, 07:25 AM
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Going to 700c will most likely require a longer reach rear caliper.
geometry should be good for white roads
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Old 12-08-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
So..... Gas pipe? claw, 70mm BB, likely limited tire clearance. Not seeing a gravel bike here, it's probably just me.
Not the worst steel of the era, claw Rear derailleur is a negative, 70mm is okay, fits 40mm on 700c wheel.
Originally Posted by Nikola88 View Post
It would be a great gravel bike, although heavy, what is the tire clearence? At least 35 on 700c rim?
Nothing wrong with gas pipe steel just dont spend a lot of money on the components if your frame is lower quality...
Fits 40mm on 700c, will use mostly already owned parts so it should not be an expensive build.
Originally Posted by juvela View Post
----- earlier forum discussion thread on one of these cycles is here -
​​​​​​Clara brand bicycle?-----
Yes, I already linked this Clara build in my original post. I wanted to combine as much research into one post.
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Going to 700c will most likely require a longer reach rear caliper.
geometry should be good for white roads
Had 700c tubulars originally, planning to run the original calipers.

About 2370 grams for the bare frame (53cm C-C seat tube/ 56cm C-C top tube)
Will post more highlights in the future.
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Old 12-08-21, 03:06 PM
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you are Good then,I would go dual pivots just for the power and modulation.
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Old 12-08-21, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kansascity View Post
Fits 40mm on 700c, will use mostly already owned parts so it should not be an expensive build.
Thats great! If you change rims to clinchers, I can recommend these tires, if you can get them:

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Old 12-08-21, 03:41 PM
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Great start for a low-buck "heroic" bike. Those brakes might be just fine with new Kool-Stop pads.
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RUSA #7498
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Old 12-09-21, 07:15 AM
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Claw RD not a huge deal. I made a gravel bike similar to this; early 70's Japanese that was much like this. Lucky you had 700c originally, I had to convert from 27".

I used a modern 130mm rear wheel and 11-34 9 speed cassette. Small 11t cog interfered with the bolt that holds the claw onto the rear dropout so I just omitted it and relied on the QR to hold the wheel and RD in place. Not ideal but it worked out ok. (Obnoxious if I ever had a flat). I was able to remove the original rear derailleur from the claw portion and use a newer indexed rear derailleur with the existing claw.

In hindsight I'd have been a little better off just finding an old 700c wheel and 14-34 6 speed freewheel. It's a lot easier to swap out the crankset for lower gearing.
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Old 12-09-21, 08:33 AM
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-----

since the machine left the plant without brake quick releases you might wish to add these in your build - especially in this case since you plan on fitting large cross section tyres

one parameter you may consider checking in your gravel planning is shell height

many vintage Italian road machines were designed with relatively low shells


-----
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Old 12-09-21, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----
one parameter you may consider checking in your gravel planning is shell height

many vintage Italian road machines were designed with relatively low shells
-----
Why would that be a concern? Lots of modern gravel bikes are going to lower BB shells than the "cross" bikes people were using on gravel previously. A good thing, as far as I can tell.
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Old 12-09-21, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikola88 View Post
Thats great! If you change rims to clinchers, I can recommend these tires, if you can get them:

Schwinn varsity looking blackwall... go tan side walls.
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Old 12-09-21, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kansascity View Post
How well are those seatstays attached? Looks a little gappy. Might want to investigate, for the sake of future durability?

Are you doing a repaint? Only asking because it looks sanded in those pictures.
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Old 12-10-21, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Why would that be a concern? Lots of modern gravel bikes are going to lower BB shells than the "cross" bikes people were using on gravel previously. A good thing, as far as I can tell.
guitar ted would agree

and, grant petersen

and, mike varley

and,..
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Old 12-11-21, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Schwinn varsity looking blackwall... go tan side walls.
Meh thats overdone... Black sidewall best sidewall 😉

Im joking, I have tried a few tires on gravel and from a pure performance perspective these are awesome for the money, and challenge being the small tire manufacturer from italy seemed somehow fitting for this build.

​​
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Old 12-11-21, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikola88 View Post
Thats great! If you change rims to clinchers, I can recommend these tires, if you can get them:
It will be swapped to clinchers. Currently, planning on using Schwalbe G-One because I already owned them.
Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Great start for a low-buck "heroic" bike. Those brakes might be just fine with new Kool-Stop pads.
Good point, some Kool-Stops will hopefully allow this to Center pulls to be usable.
Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----
since the machine left the plant without brake quick releases you might wish to add these in your build - especially in this case since you plan on fitting large cross section tyres
-----
Yes, will be adding quick releases.
Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
How well are those seatstays attached? Looks a little gappy. Might want to investigate, for the sake of future durability?
Are you doing a repaint? Only asking because it looks sanded in those pictures.
Doubled checked the stays and felt comfortable with it. It is going to be repainted. Friend copied all the decals on tracing paper and then start stripping it.


Few more pictures of original parts


Normandy Hubs

Normandy Hubs

Mavic Tubular Rims


Bent cage on campy matchbox front derailleur

Campy Rear Derailleur

Campy Friction Shifters

Brake Levers

TTT Stem 22.2 with 26.0 Handlebars

Unknown manufacturer, has one stamped logo beside tooth count
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Old 12-11-21, 03:21 PM
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What are your plans for the derailers? Refurbing originals? Or upgrading?
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Old 12-12-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikola88 View Post
What are your plans for the derailleurs? Refurbing originals? Or upgrading?
Upgrading. Not all parts are picked out yet, but probably a 2*9 or 2*10 brifter setup.
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Old 12-13-21, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by kansascity View Post
Upgrading. Not all parts are picked out yet, but probably a 2*9 or 2*10 brifter setup.
I'd throw your rear wheel in first with cassette to get an idea of the clearances involved. As I noted earlier most freewheels had a 14t smallest cog which is pretty large and had good clearance. I used a cassette with an 11t small cog and that had interference issues with the claw hanger attachment.

9 speed+ indexed shifting will get tricky with the stamped rear dropout and flexy frame on bumpy gravel. Full cable housing can help.

If I was doing this again on a low value frame with stamped dropouts I'd try to source a 6 or 7 speed freewheel setup. You can buy indexed brifters, indexed bar ends or indexed DT shifters in these speeds.
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Old 12-19-21, 05:03 PM
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I could not help but share these teaser photos.





Italy looks like a boot?



Claims that "Steel is Real"
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Old 12-29-21, 10:47 AM
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A few more in progress pictures from my friend


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Old 12-29-21, 01:38 PM
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Hey kansascity... if this bicycle is to be ridden in KC, I'd like to know what your gearing ends up being, as I'm below you, in south kansas. Plus, if the brake levers are original, I'd like to know if "Ballila" is stamped anywehere on them, or if they have any other identifying marks. I have a cheapo Italian Corso that has one unmarked brake lever... which I'm not sure is original. The brakes are a mixed bag of Universal and Ballila, so I don't know what I have, or should have, but it'd be nice to match the lever to the brake. Thanks. Cool bike and build... I think it will a heroic kansas gravel build.
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Old 12-30-21, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
Hey kansascity... if this bicycle is to be ridden in KC, I'd like to know what your gearing ends up being, as I'm below you, in south kansas. Plus, if the brake levers are original, I'd like to know if "Ballila" is stamped anywehere on them, or if they have any other identifying marks. I have a cheapo Italian Corso that has one unmarked brake lever... which I'm not sure is original. The brakes are a mixed bag of Universal and Ballila, so I don't know what I have, or should have, but it'd be nice to match the lever to the brake. Thanks. Cool bike and build... I think it will a heroic kansas gravel build.
Yes, this bicycle will be ridden in the Kansas City area. Current plan is 34/48 compact crankset with 12-32 9 speed cassette. Brake levers were marked with Ballila.




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