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Pristine ‘91 Serotta Colorado 2: what to do?!

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Pristine ‘91 Serotta Colorado 2: what to do?!

Old 09-23-23, 06:40 PM
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Pristine ‘91 Serotta Colorado 2: what to do?!

In a stroke of good fortune, a friend messaged me the other day asking if I wanted their old ‘91 Serotta Colorado II. The name alone was enough to make me want to say yes, but the accompanying photo, showing the cool “mustard n’ ketchup” fade made it impossible to say no!

I brought it home today; the thing is immaculate, built up in ‘92 by Ann Arbor’s old Cycle Cellar shop. I did a little quick n’ light maintenance, and rode it around town a bit. The thing is sweet! Shifting is a little stiff, but the bike has been hanging in my friend’s basement for over a decade, and did turbo trainer duty for awhile, so I probably just need to lube the cables. Other than that, it’s cherry— even the old Conti GP 3000 tires still have the mold release fringe!— and that’s what’s causing the quandry.

What do I do?? Do I keep it ‘92 original with the 1st gen Campagnolo Record ErgoPower gruppo, Ibis titanium stem, and Hugi hubs laced to Mavic ceramic rims? Do I update it? Or do I remake it into something totally different? Honestly, it seems too nice to hack up either to upgrade/update, but if I don’t at least update the bars to a modern, flat-transition style to bring the brifters up a little higher, I probably won’t ride it much outside of coffee shop runs, which sounds like a pity. That 8 speed, corn cob cassette with what’s probably a 23t max is a real shake-er-upper; how did we ride that stuff back in the day?!! Yet, it’s too new for L’Eroica, right?

So what would you do were you in my place?



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Old 09-23-23, 07:16 PM
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If you want this to be your primary road bike, full rebuild.

If it’s an occasional ride, new chain/cassette/tires (and handlebars, if you insist).
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Old 09-23-23, 07:55 PM
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The special thing here is the frame and the paintjob, not so much the parts on it even if they're nice. I see no reason not to change the bars and gearing to make this enjoyable for you to ride.
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Old 09-23-23, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
If you want this to be your primary road bike, full rebuild.

If it’s an occasional ride, new chain/cassette/tires (and handlebars, if you insist).
That’s the thing: I don’t have any need for it to be anything. I’ve already got bikes for all of my use cases. This is just an extra, and maybe the greatest kick it provides is its original, period correctness.
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Old 09-23-23, 08:24 PM
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Even if it's "period correct" there were better choices back in that frame's day -- like those anatomic bars and ugly stem.

I'd just part it out and sell it. The combination of all that is no special magic.
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Old 09-23-23, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by lasauge
The special thing here is the frame and the paintjob, not so much the parts on it even if they're nice. I see no reason not to change the bars and gearing to make this enjoyable for you to ride.
Thanks. Maybe I am weighting the novelty of its timecapsule quality too much, but I’m seeing what’s happening over in the MTB world with bikes from this period, and originality is paramount to value, second to none, And, there’s no doubt that Serotta generally and the C2 model specifically, are legends in the American road scene, so if a collectibility surge happens (or exists; I dunno), this would probably be one of the more desireable bikes.

I just don’t think I could bring myself to put new, black, drivetrain components on this, because it would totally ruin the aesthetic.
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Old 09-23-23, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ljsense
Even if it's "period correct" there were better choices back in that frame's day -- like those anatomic bars and ugly stem.

I'd just part it out and sell it. The combination of all that is no special magic.
Whoa! Those Ibis Ti stems were the bee’s knees back in the day, and they were Gary Helfrich designs, a guy who’s contribution to the American road scene puts him in the elite pantheon, if you ask me. Titanium really only happened for bikes here because of that guy, so I’ve got mad respect for him, and even if I didn’t think the stem was beautiful— but I do— I think I’’d still see it as special for the history..

The bars are another matter, insofar as they are ugly, so I agree with you there! However, these were the first bars made for Campagnolo’s new ErgoPower brifters cabling and they were the lightest bars in the world when they came out in ‘93.

Anyway, that this bike is outfitted with top level, if not the best, stuff going at the time does constitute a “special magic” in my mind, and I’m struggling with the idea of messing it up.
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Old 09-23-23, 09:07 PM
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Fantastic bike!!!

Suggest you post in the Classic and Vintage sub-forum for ideas. Many very knowledgeable people there. https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage

Personally, I would look for options for wider gearing to make it more rideable in a way that maintains its original character as much as possible.

Go Campy!
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Old 09-23-23, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Whoa! Those Ibis Ti stems were the bee’s knees back in the day, and they were Gary Helfrich designs, a guy who’s contribution to the American road scene puts him in the elite pantheon, if you ask me. Titanium really only happened for bikes here because of that guy, so I’ve got mad respect for him, and even if I didn’t think the stem was beautiful— but I do— I think I’’d still see it as special for the history..

The bars are another matter, insofar as they are ugly, so I agree with you there! However, these were the first bars made for Campagnolo’s new ErgoPower brifters cabling and they were the lightest bars in the world when they came out in ‘93.

Anyway, that this bike is outfitted with top level, if not the best, stuff going at the time does constitute a “special magic” in my mind, and I’m struggling with the idea of messing it up.
Yeah, that's my point -- I like the bike but am not a fan of the bar or stem, while someone else might be nuts for that stem and pay $300 or something for it. Someone else may be hunting for those bars. But the odds that someone is hunting harder for the sum of all the parts versus the sum of all the people looking for the parts themselves seems clear -- sell it all for parts. Everyone has their own period project to make ideal.
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Old 09-23-23, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ljsense
Yeah, that's my point -- I like the bike but am not a fan of the bar or stem, while someone else might be nuts for that stem and pay $300 or something for it. Someone else may be hunting for those bars. But the odds that someone is hunting harder for the sum of all the parts versus the sum of all the people looking for the parts themselves seems clear -- sell it all for parts. Everyone has their own period project to make ideal.
I’m going to keep it awhile and ride it before I sell it, that’s for sure, so parting it out is off the table for now. If it is true that people are looking to build their perfect period project, I wonder to what extent that’s because there are so few unmolested, awesomely built bikes in good condition?

Relatedly, the hubs are the original star ratchet hubs, Hugi, which was later bought by DT Swiss, and the King headset is the GripNut design, first introduced in ‘92, The Thomson Masterpiece post is arguably not period, being intro’d mid-90s, but it’s inarguably one of the best, most iconic seatposts, certainly from the USA. So the build is really top flight.
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Old 09-23-23, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
If it is true that people are looking to build their perfect period project, I wonder to what extent that’s because there are so few unmolested, awesomely built bikes in good condition?
I've got two points -- first, a rider's perfect retro project is the bike that resonates -- the first bike he raced with, or that he coveted while learning to race, whatever. So it's just unlikely any bike is a match. To recreate it, one must find the frame, group, wheels, etc. Someone else's bike might be close and have arguably more expensive or iconic parts, but that is not the point. It has to fit an individual's aesthetic or at least nostalgia.

Second, say I'm wrong, and people are looking for recreations of ideal vintage builds, this is just not an example. It's an awesome frame, but it has no history as a bike -- it's not a replica of any tour winner, and as you've acknowledged the parts are not even of the same era. They seatpost looks very modern. The frame is classic. The bars and stem scream a very narrow era of the 90's and the wheels are going to divide people into camps -- and I think there will be a lot more in the anodized or bare aluminum camps than the ceramic coating.
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Old 09-23-23, 10:11 PM
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Listening to you more closely, and the problems in my responses, I think the best advice would be to sell the stem and handlebars and get a nice black quill stem, like a Cinelli XA, and a set of modern bars that match your reach and geometry specs.

Then you'd have an awesome bike that clearly sparks something in you.
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Old 09-24-23, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ljsense
Listening to you more closely, and the problems in my responses, I think the best advice would be to sell the stem and handlebars and get a nice black quill stem, like a Cinelli XA, and a set of modern bars that match your reach and geometry specs.

Then you'd have an awesome bike that clearly sparks something in you.
Thanks for the consideration and replies!

I’ll ride it a bit more as is, and let my feelings from that be my guide to a course of action.
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Old 09-24-23, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sced
Fantastic bike!!!

Suggest you post in the Classic and Vintage sub-forum for ideas. Many very knowledgeable people there. https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage

Personally, I would look for options for wider gearing to make it more rideable in a way that maintains its original character as much as possible.

Go Campy!
Thanks!

You’re right; dunno what I was thinking there! I’ll see if I can request a move to C&V from the mods. Siu Blue Wind , can you help with that?
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Old 09-24-23, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Whoa! Those Ibis Ti stems were the bee’s knees back in the day, and they were Gary Helfrich designs, a guy who’s contribution to the American road scene puts him in the elite pantheon, if you ask me. Titanium really only happened for bikes here because of that guy, so I’ve got mad respect for him, and even if I didn’t think the stem was beautiful— but I do— I think I’’d still see it as special for the history..

The bars are another matter, insofar as they are ugly, so I agree with you there! However, these were the first bars made for Campagnolo’s new ErgoPower brifters cabling and they were the lightest bars in the world when they came out in ‘93.

Anyway, that this bike is outfitted with top level, if not the best, stuff going at the time does constitute a “special magic” in my mind, and I’m struggling with the idea of messing it up.
+1 on that Ibis ti stem being special. I would most certainly keep it, especially if it puts you in a comfortable position. The tops of the brake hoods might only need to be tweaked by a few millimeters to provide a more comfortable grip. Maybe try retaking the bars then use the opportunity to slide them up slightly on the bars? I think the bottom of the bars being close to parallel to the ground looks about right to me. Ergo bars from the 90’s get a bad rap but I find that they can be set up comfortably for me, they only look hideous when pivoted up to where the drops are angled up in the air. They look about right as they are.

while the Mavic ceramic rims are not current production (thus no tubeless option), so long as the braking surface isn’t deteriorated I would definitely keep riding them. AFAIK, with the correct ceramic specific brake pads those rims and brakes should offer great braking.

I think the current Campy components on there are gorgeous and also collectible. If it were me I would try to keep the 8 speed and try to also use the existing rear cassette. I am more of a Shimano person but I am familiar with “triplizer” chainrings. I’m pretty sure that there are 135mm (campy crank standard) Specialties TA Triplizer middle ring kits that would permit you to use that existing crank to add a 3rd “granny ring (74 bcd I believe, easy part to find). AFAIK the campy front ergopower shifter may shift the triple natively. Only the rear derailleur would be iffy for adequate chain wrap but you could always find a mid cage (or long cage) campy rear derailleur from this era to preserve the look.

Serotta frames to me are very finely crafted and the paint job on yours appears to be in excellent condition. I’ve always wanted a Serotta CSi but have an abundance of other road bikes this this isn’t happening.
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Old 09-24-23, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Thanks!

You’re right; dunno what I was thinking there! I’ll see if I can request a move to C&V from the mods. Siu Blue Wind , can you help with that?
Or just start a new thread in C&V
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Old 09-24-23, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61
+1 on that Ibis ti stem being special. I would most certainly keep it, especially if it puts you in a comfortable position. The tops of the brake hoods might only need to be tweaked by a few millimeters to provide a more comfortable grip. Maybe try retaking the bars then use the opportunity to slide them up slightly on the bars? I think the bottom of the bars being close to parallel to the ground looks about right to me. Ergo bars from the 90’s get a bad rap but I find that they can be set up comfortably for me, they only look hideous when pivoted up to where the drops are angled up in the air. They look about right as they are.

while the Mavic ceramic rims are not current production (thus no tubeless option), so long as the braking surface isn’t deteriorated I would definitely keep riding them. AFAIK, with the correct ceramic specific brake pads those rims and brakes should offer great braking.

I think the current Campy components on there are gorgeous and also collectible. If it were me I would try to keep the 8 speed and try to also use the existing rear cassette. I am more of a Shimano person but I am familiar with “triplizer” chainrings. I’m pretty sure that there are 135mm (campy crank standard) Specialties TA Triplizer middle ring kits that would permit you to use that existing crank to add a 3rd “granny ring (74 bcd I believe, easy part to find). AFAIK the campy front ergopower shifter may shift the triple natively. Only the rear derailleur would be iffy for adequate chain wrap but you could always find a mid cage (or long cage) campy rear derailleur from this era to preserve the look.

Serotta frames to me are very finely crafted and the paint job on yours appears to be in excellent condition. I’ve always wanted a Serotta CSi but have an abundance of other road bikes this this isn’t happening.
Thanks for the tips and insight!

I didn’t mean to totally bad-mouth the bars as ugly, it’s just that for me, the position of the levers downhill, so to speak, is the issue. I really prefer the modern bar with the more level transition from the bar ramps to the hoods. The anatomic bend doesn’t bother me at all, aesthetically or otherwise. I know the Soma HWY One bar would remedy that issue, but maybe there’s something else more period appropriate in the 26mm size out there, too. But yeah, the bar angle and lever positioning as is looks perfect, it just doesn’t suit me, though we know from Fernando Lamas, “sometimes it’s better to look good than to feel good.”

The Open SUP CD Ceramic rims appear perfect, just like the rest of the bike, so if I can manage not to flex the wheel into the derailleur cage while I’m grinding that 23t big cog uphill, yeah, they’ll stay! It was a groundbreaking rim with that ceramic coating, so respect due from me.

I, too, am pretty hung up on the Campagnolo gruppo, and in no rush at all to replace it. I’m not a collector type, but I am nostalgic, and this bike, as-is, takes me back to a great moment in cycling, particularly American cycling, and thus holds my interest in keeping it period correct.

Special thanks for the tip on the TA Tripleizer; I didn’t know about that, and it may be the least invasive/destructive way to make the bike suitable for my, *ahem* let’s say “physique.”
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Old 09-24-23, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by sced
Or just start a new thread in C&V
I think cross-posting is frowned upon, so I’ll give it a minute and see if the mods move it, otherwise I will start a new one over there, probably with a slightly different focus, like a request for period correct options or something.
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Old 09-24-23, 07:46 AM
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keep it ‘92 original

Replace stem and freewheel if needed for riding.
Great rides that I can attest to.
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Old 09-24-23, 08:20 AM
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I would 100% put campy record 9 or 10 speed on there, and a stem/bar combo that was more aesthetically pleasing to me. A Nitto Pearl and some classic bend bars should do. Cool bike! I've always wanted to own something like that.
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Old 09-24-23, 08:29 AM
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Change the cassette and move the levers. LITFA otherwise and ride it ! It's beautiful !

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Old 09-24-23, 08:49 AM
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No reason you couldn't replace the bars and stem with something period correct. You could probably sell that Ti stem to offset the cost of a different one. You could also change your cassette to one with easier gears. If you change the cassette, you might as well put a new chain on it as well. Other than that, I would replace the brake pads, cables, and and perhaps the tires (even though they look newish, they may have dry rot from age).

It's a very nice bike. I would update these few things and ride it as much as possible.
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Old 09-24-23, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Keefusb
No reason you couldn't replace the bars and stem with something period correct. You could probably sell that Ti stem to offset the cost of a different one. You could also change your cassette to one with easier gears. If you change the cassette, you might as well put a new chain on it as well. Other than that, I would replace the brake pads, cables, and and perhaps the tires (even though they look newish, they may have dry rot from age).

It's a very nice bike. I would update these few things and ride it as much as possible.
Thanks! The bar and stem are absolutely period correct, though.

I took it out for about 20 miles today, and somewhat surprisingly, it seems the 53/39 x 12-21 is not unrideable for me, it’s just more time in the small ring than my ego is used to! I was riding super easy today, though, and no doubt on a longer and/or harder ride, the gearing would push me to exhaustion a lot faster than modern gearing.
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Old 09-24-23, 11:24 AM
  #24  
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Very nice bike! Campagnolo 8-speed shifts as well as any modern mechanical systems, as long as the right-hand lever G-springs and spring carrier are still fresh. If the shifting is crisp and the right-hand lever holds a gear correctly, you probably have a few '000 miles left before these two items have to be replaced.

If it was me, living in the land of hills, I would replace the cassette with a 13-28, which are still available. Miche also makes these. Longer chain of course. Need still lower gears? Then replace the crankset with a triple (Campy) and the rear derailleur with an 8/early 9-speed Campy long cage. All easily sourced on Ebay or this forum.

As far as the bars, I prefer the traditional round-profile drop bars, with the Campy cable housings taped on both the front and rear. Then, when wrapped with bar tape, this results in an oval shape, which provides more surface area and comfort for tired hands. Keep the bars, unless they are too narrow or wide.
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Old 09-24-23, 12:38 PM
  #25  
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Very nice american classic and iconic frame, I would keep it as is . I have almost bought one frame identical to this one but in others colors but the import taxes and shipping costs made it impossible, plus I have too many road bikes and mountain bike projects and no more space in the garage so that was not possible.
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