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When it rains, it pours: Trek 640 restoration (1983 of course)

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When it rains, it pours: Trek 640 restoration (1983 of course)

Old 10-16-23, 09:32 PM
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When it rains, it pours: Trek 640 restoration (1983 of course)

This has been sitting on Facebook marketplace for quite some time, advertised as a Trek 560 (it wasn't) with a broken brake (it wasn't) for $100.




It looked in rough shape: obviously someone had painted the components black and wrapped the handlebars and stem with who knows how many rolls of electrical tape. But the bad pictures at least showed a Campy rear derailleur. Figured it would be worth the drive even just to make sure the other components weren't Gran Sport to match.




Well, it was almost all Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport. I fully expected the brake levers to be broken as advertised, but the housing was just unseated from the lever. I didn't recognize it at first and it took some researching at home to learn it was a Trek 640... I had never heard of this model, but it appears it was only built in 1983. Same frame as other 610s, but Campy hubs, drivetrain and brakes with Cinelli cockpit. And the best color scheme to ever grace the 6xx line! I had thought these had Ishiwata stays and fork, but the fork has Tange stamps on the steerer tube (assuming this was original and not from some of the later 80s Treks).




Still some components were obviously not original. The Thompson seatpost and saddle were obvious, but strangely the downtube shifters were Shimano and the pedals are these steel HTI 866's that feel like the bearings are absolutely toast.




Some of the original components are a little worse for wear as well; the headset was poorly adjusted and I'm praying the head tube hasn't ovalized. The front brake caliper is missing its domed nut and the rear derailleur has an entire pulley missing. The old brake cables pulled right apart and the head of one is stuck in the lever.






But the worst blow is the black paint on the Campy hubs and crankset. Hopefully this comes right off the cranks, but I'm worried I'll have to relace the wheels to get the hubs polished again.



The bars and stem were a mystery -- had they been replaced? Did someone absolutely mar the original stem or bars? Only 4mm of electrical tape was between me and the answer!




Bars and stem look perfect, which is another relief.

Not entirely sure of the plan yet. Still checking a few places to make sure it wasn't stolen. My nephew needs a frame upgrade, but I'll have to determine if I trust him to lock up such a rare frame downtown.

I have other projects that are more pressing right now, so it might be a short while until there's an update on this one, but be patient for the final results!
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Old 10-16-23, 09:49 PM
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A consideration if this is to be a long term keeper. Needs paint. Has the flawed seatstay caps. (The "TREK" is stamped too deep; crack starter. (My 4 or 5 something has those caps and both sides cracked. (Picked up used, no decals but the head badge.) I believe it's a simple repair; that Dave Levy of Ti Cycles just heated and removed the caps, then bedded them down on lots of braze, filling the right side "R" with its biggest crack. But it's a paint killer so now is the time if longevity is important. I believe Dave has done at least a few of these. When I described the "R" crack (I hadn't noticed the other side yet), he knew how long it would take to repair and that he would do both sides, then said I'd find cracks on the other side. Yup.
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Old 10-16-23, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
A consideration if this is to be a long term keeper. Needs paint. Has the flawed seatstay caps. (The "TREK" is stamped too deep; crack starter. (My 4 or 5 something has those caps and both sides cracked. (Picked up used, no decals but the head badge.) I believe it's a simple repair; that Dave Levy of Ti Cycles just heated and removed the caps, then bedded them down on lots of braze, filling the right side "R" with its biggest crack. But it's a paint killer so now is the time if longevity is important. I believe Dave has done at least a few of these. When I described the "R" crack (I hadn't noticed the other side yet), he knew how long it would take to repair and that he would do both sides, then said I'd find cracks on the other side. Yup.
Interesting, haven't heard this about the TREK seatstay caps. Is this all of them or just on certain models?

I absolutely love the seatstay caps on old Treks, and I couldn't bear to do without them.
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Old 10-17-23, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I had thought these had Ishiwata stays and fork, but the fork has Tange stamps on the steerer tube (assuming this was original and not from some of the later 80s Treks).
I believe Tange assembled the fork and steerer. You'll also see bikes with Bridgestone stamps on the steerer.



Originally Posted by 79pmooney
A consideration if this is to be a long term keeper. Needs paint. Has the flawed seatstay caps. (The "TREK" is stamped too deep; crack starter. (My 4 or 5 something has those caps and both sides cracked. (Picked up used, no decals but the head badge.) I believe it's a simple repair; that Dave Levy of Ti Cycles just heated and removed the caps, then bedded them down on lots of braze, filling the right side "R" with its biggest crack. But it's a paint killer so now is the time if longevity is important. I believe Dave has done at least a few of these. When I described the "R" crack (I hadn't noticed the other side yet), he knew how long it would take to repair and that he would do both sides, then said I'd find cracks on the other side. Yup.
I think this is something way overstated- Yes- it has happened to some bicycles. No- it hasn't happened to this bike in 40 years of ostensibly rough use and treatment. I've owned a few 400, 600 and 700 series Treks with that seat stay cap, seen a few hundred more, there were thousands and thousands made, and I've seldom heard of first hand accounts. In any case- it's something to repair once it's happened, rather than preemptively repair something that most likely will never break.
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Old 10-17-23, 08:01 AM
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Nice score..... as to the paint on the alloy components I think you will find they clean up rather quickly and easily; having said that poorly applied spray paint gets everywhere so if you want the hubs to look good I would unlace the wheels and clean the hubs properly.

One of my older bikes (1952) came with every alloy and chrome piece painted silver (by the original owner!) in an attempt to freshen it up.....it cleaned up pretty easily with a little solvent and a little elbow grease. The reason for the freshening attempt them became apparent as some (not all by any means) of the chrome bits were pitted, and I guess he just wanted it all to be consistent.
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Old 10-17-23, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by markk900
Nice score..... as to the paint on the alloy components I think you will find they clean up rather quickly and easily; having said that poorly applied spray paint gets everywhere so if you want the hubs to look good I would unlace the wheels and clean the hubs properly.

One of my older bikes (1952) came with every alloy and chrome piece painted silver (by the original owner!) in an attempt to freshen it up.....it cleaned up pretty easily with a little solvent and a little elbow grease. The reason for the freshening attempt them became apparent as some (not all by any means) of the chrome bits were pitted, and I guess he just wanted it all to be consistent.

A poor man's anodize, if you will.

Yes, I figured the paint would come off pretty easily, especially on the more polished pieces. By the time I got it, much of it has come off of the chainrings and other wear areas.
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Old 10-17-23, 11:46 AM
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I've never had these Cinelli bars before. Is it normal for them to be so ovalized and the bend area? It's hard to adjust the brake lever position because the brake band has to deform around the bar.
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Old 10-17-23, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Interesting, haven't heard this about the TREK seatstay caps. Is this all of them or just on certain models?

I absolutely love the seatstay caps on old Treks, and I couldn't bear to do without them.
The older Treks has shallower letters and didn't have the issue. ThHe deeply lettered caps that cracked were only used a few years after which Trek went to the lugged seatstay ends. I think the next year. (I suspect the cracking issue had a lot to do with Trek going into a whole new process for attaching seatstays. Yes, better for production etc, but often there's a driving force behind such moves.)

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
...

I think this is something way overstated- Yes- it has happened to some bicycles. No- it hasn't happened to this bike in 40 years of ostensibly rough use and treatment. I've owned a few 400, 600 and 700 series Treks with that seat stay cap, seen a few hundred more, there were thousands and thousands made, and I've seldom heard of first hand accounts. In any case- it's something to repair once it's happened, rather than preemptively repair something that most likely will never break.
I might be exaggerating. But I've only owned one Trek and it broke. 1 for 1 is 100%. The guy who fixed it wasn't surprised at all and he's been around a while.

I made the repair suggestion because the paint is more than half the repair cost. Now is the cheap time to do it. (And maybe throw on a braze-on or two. I got third WB bosses.)
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Old 10-17-23, 03:00 PM
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This is the newest Trek I've ever owned (save an Elance a while back) so it's probably the first one I've had with the deep letters. I'll take a look! Never noticed the difference before.

Polishing is going well. Surprised to see these cranks anodized; I didn't know Campagnolo did that back then, but maybe I'm only thinking of their top tier polished cranks. If I were keeping them, Ice probably deanodize and polish, but I'd rather sell these and buy two sets of SR Apex cranks.



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Old 10-17-23, 05:00 PM
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Doing the Lord's work on that 640! That color combo is my favorite of '83 6x0 frames. Some bikes are just so abused its insane. As far as those Cinelli bars, I've never seen them ovalized like that, but given the rest of the bike, it makes sense. Looking forward to the restoration, however long it takes you!
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Old 10-18-23, 07:28 AM
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Is it something about Treks that attract the complete color treatment? By coincidence, my '83 Trek 6xx had everything painted blue - it was a Smurf bike.

It's now back to original.
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Old 10-18-23, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres
Is it something about Treks that attract the complete color treatment? By coincidence, my '83 Trek 6xx had everything painted blue - it was a Smurf bike.

It's now back to original.
I can understand the appeal of a totally blacked out bike, even if it's not for me. Especially if all the new components you see are black and you want your old steel bike to look "new."

But the blue? Totally lost me there.

Hopefully you added the Suntour Blue Line drivetrain 😂.
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Old 10-18-23, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
The front brake caliper is missing its domed nut...
It requires two nuts locked together to be be adjusted properly.
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Old 10-18-23, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
It requires two nuts locked together to be be adjusted properly.

I saw this on the other one; hopefully I can get a flat nut as well as the acorn nut at the hardware store. They won't be Italian though 🤫
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Old 10-18-23, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
hopefully I can get a flat nut as well as the acorn nut at the hardware store.
Go to Tacoma Screw. I think you have one down there in Portland, OR.
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Old 10-18-23, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
Go to Tacoma Screw. I think you have one down there in Portland, OR.

​​​​We do. Definitely not my part of town, but looks lik I'll have to make a trek.
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Old 10-19-23, 12:40 AM
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Not going to do too much more with the groupset; cleaning and touching up the frame next.
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Old 10-19-23, 08:53 AM
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Interesting specs when one looks at the catalog for 1983. One year only you mentioned just as is my 1983 700 that is right next to it in the catalog and it was also one year. With the 640 and 700, it seemed that Trek was trying to see if a higher spec sportish bike would be a good plan. It must not have worked out as they disappeared. Trek afterwards must have kept the higher specs for the racier bikes and the 720. I’m sure you will enjoy the ride on your 640. It will be a nice project.
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Old 10-19-23, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
The older Treks has shallower letters and didn't have the issue. ThHe deeply lettered caps that cracked were only used a few years after which Trek went to the lugged seatstay ends. I think the next year. (I suspect the cracking issue had a lot to do with Trek going into a whole new process for attaching seatstays. Yes, better for production etc, but often there's a driving force behind such moves.)
FWIW, the rear triangle assemblies for the 6nn series frames prior to the socketed seat lugs were brazed in Japan and used a different supplier for the seat stay caps than the Waterloo-brazed frames (7nn and 9nn series).
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Old 11-19-23, 12:36 AM
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Finished I painting all the components and repainting the frame:

Wheels were not fun. Had to unlace them to remove the paint and then replace and true them. An acetone soak got the hubs, but for the rims I put acetone in a metal fender (upside down) and spun it around every couple of minutes.



​​​​​​I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea, but I originally bought red housing for this project. Way too red. Gonna use it for a different bike and just use black for this one. This is my color test with garnet shellac on cloth tape to try to match the dark red. It's gonna take a few coats:



Didn't pick up any Gran Sports pedals, but found these (Italian) pedals that I think I'll use instead. No markings on them other than Left and Right (in Italian). Any way to identify these?

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Old 11-19-23, 08:49 AM
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Very nice. Great work bringing it back. And since I never miss an opportunity to post it, here’s mine, which came to me as a frame.
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Old 11-19-23, 01:14 PM
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Looks nice denaffen ! I wasn't planning on restoring it because I'm sure it isn't worth the cost and effort when I could just sell the groupset and frame separate for more, but all the 640s I've seen have been unoriginal (but nice!) components like yours.

Now fingers crossed that whoever gets this bike next also wants to keep it original!
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Old 11-19-23, 04:59 PM
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I think most of them got scavenged for the parts years ago. Iím sure thatís what happened to mine. So itís a mongrel build but a really really nice ride.

im currently contemplating a 650b conversion if Pacenti ever ships the rims
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