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[RESTORE] 1960 Frejus Supercorsa

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[RESTORE] 1960 Frejus Supercorsa

Old 11-15-23, 05:12 PM
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[RESTORE] 1960 Frejus Supercorsa

After lurking around here for the last decade, I finally got bit by the V&C bug. I have been toying with the idea of restoring an old VW Beetle, and realized my garage space wasn't terribly friendly to anything larger than a bike. I started road riding again last summer, and then fell down the L'eroica rabbit hole. I've been searching for a proper subject for a restoration project ever since. Came close a few times with a Conti and a Gitane, but nothing worked out for one reason or another.

Enter this 1960 Frejus Supercorsa. It was actually local to me, and had been sitting in the FB Marketplace listings for over a month with no movement. I had been badgering the seller about it, trying to get information, measurements and a better price, without much luck. We went back and forth for about 3 or 4 weeks, and I knew he had no other takers at his price. This past weekend, we finally came to an agreement, and I drove home with this wonderful 63-year old relic on the roof of my car.

The long-term plan is that I want to do the California L'eroica, or at least some larger, organized V&C-oriented ride in the Midwest. The more immediate plan is to fully restore this to 1960-ish condition. I'm giving myself a year to get it finished, and hope to show the progress here along the way. The first step is to get this into the photo studio at work and get it photographed in its current state. It's a hot mess, but kinda beautiful in the same breath. But it is a starting point.

Previous owner said he bought it 15-20 years ago and it sat in his garage. The owner before him was the original owner and it sat with him for 2 or 3 decades, not ridden at all. So it's been dormant since 1970-75, give or take.

As I go through the bike part by part, documenting what is there and trying to solve the riddle of its history, it's becoming more and more confusing. At this point, my current guess is that it was probably a frameset that hung on a wall in a bike shop somewhere for a few years, and was finally built up into a roller with parts they had around the shop. It's a hodge-podge of random components, with no plan or thought—other than to get it built and get it sold. So many nice parts on it, and yet so many weird things.

The front and rear wheels are completely different. Same tires, but a NISI hoop with Campy Record hub on the front and a Fiamme rear hoop with Shimano 3.3.3 high-flange rear hub. Universal front brake with a Balilla Brevettato rear brake. Campy Record front and rear derailleurs that came out 3 years after the frame was made. EB Williams AB.77 crankset from 1962 with a Campy outer chainring and a Williams inner. Beautiful GB Spearpoint stem and super narrow Maes handlebars that are era-correct, too. It really feels like it was a parts bin build and it has stayed that way for 60 years.

So here we go... until I get into the studio this next week, a few phone photos from the sale and my garage:






















If you are interested, the full Flicker Album can be found here.

More soon.


—Doug

Last edited by purpurite; 11-22-23 at 10:10 PM. Reason: crazy typo
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Old 11-15-23, 06:04 PM
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That is a white road bike.

‘the cranks are interesting. EBW… not much room behind the non drive side arm…. Some detective work needed. Campagnolo ring(s)…

have the thought that the headlugs were painted to address failing chrome.

‘’should be a comfortable bike.

never see things like this at a garage sale. Best I ever did was an old Brooks B-72 that I was able to get a few years occasional use from before it tore.
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Old 11-15-23, 08:10 PM
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A great project! You may be surprised at how nicely the chrome cleans up.
A lot of "close enough" to period correct components. Newer additions would be the rear hub, rims, right hand shifter, and Zeus pedals.
I'm sure @juvela can provide many details for us including whether Frejus favored Balilla or Universal brakes.
If you are contemplating replacing the Williams chainset with the Campy 144 BCD set in your photo album I'm sure there are a few of us here who would be interested in the Williams set.
Congratulations.
Brent
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Old 11-15-23, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by obrentharris
If you are contemplating replacing the Williams chainset with the Campy 144 BCD set in your photo album I'm sure there are a few of us here who would be interested in the Williams set.t
Hehehe, I just recently picked that up for $25. It's a mismatched NDS with a late 80s Record crank arm. Cleaned up really nice in the ultrasonic tub. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but the Williams is just so unusual to see and find, it's probably going to stick on the Frejus.
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Old 11-15-23, 10:01 PM
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congratulations on this most excellent intake and thank you for sharing it with the forum

wrt kitting -

original stem & bar set would have been Ambrosio Champion

if the present bottom bracket assembly is Campag Record then it is certainly reasonable to think original chainset would have been Campag Record as well, 151mm BCD

the Campag bottom bracket assembly shown in your photo album is BSC thread so could not be employed on the cycle

front wheel may well be original to the bicycle. you will be able to read a date on the inner face of the axle locknuts; would expect either "59" or "60"



a Record model front gear mech is perfectly plausible to have as original equipment since its launch date is 1959; there are multiple generations of this product, if you would like to verify that the one worn by the cycle is first generation you can check the study made here -

https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/ca....219403/unread

as you write, the Campag Record rear gear mech would be an update from the cycle's original Campag Gran Sport model, the Record launched in December of 1963

it looks like the original brakeset was from Fratelli Pietra (Universal brand) model 51 Extra, the levers are model 306.
so the Balilla rear caliper (from Giovanni Galli S.p.A.) represents a replacement. note how perfectly it fits with the pads in the centre of the adjustment slot.
on the model 51 Extra set the brake centres are 50.5mm front and 64mm rear.

you could always fit to the machine a Campag Record saddle pillar. the cycle represents an excellent opportunity to fit a NITOR. an interesting one which would be period correct is the flat rail. in this design one must employ a NITOR flat rail saddle to go with it due to the unique design. this model would be period and national origin correct for the bicycle.



​​​​​​
​​​​​​
​​​​​​
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[saddle & pillar images courtesy of VB]

one small item needed for a restoration will be the Gaslo handlebar end caps with the Frejus marking
these little stamped aluminum thimbles can be costly




original handlebar wrap would have been Gaslo as well




the Zeus track pedals from Arregui are very high quality and period plausible. while not likely to have been original they are certainly not necessary to replace with something from an Italian producer.
---

in case you have not as yet encountered it there is a fabulous resource for information on Bozzi bicycle products at this enthusiast site. its creator is a member of this forum. the site includes detailed articles and the parts suppliers to the Bozzi company.

https://www.condorino.com


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Last edited by juvela; 11-15-23 at 10:06 PM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 11-16-23, 08:36 AM
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Wow, incredible information. Ive been searching for OEM specs on their bikes of that era with very little info other than a couple of old ads here and there.



original stem & bar set would have been Ambrosio Champion
That's the kind of information that would lead me to believe that this was built up from a frameset or something like that. Lots of non-OE parts on this bike, and the bar/stem combo is definitely unusual.


if the present bottom bracket assembly is Campag Record then it is certainly reasonable to think original chainset would have been Campag Record as well, 151mm BCD. the Campag bottom bracket assembly shown in your photo album is BSC thread so could not be employed on the cycle.
I'm 99% sure the current bottom bracket would be the matching spline version from Williams that mates with the AB77 crankset. As for the Campy one in the photos, I just happened to pick that up the same weekend from a different seller. It's not the correct BB for this bike, so that will be sold and moved on to someone who can use it, and the matching non-drive side crank arm will be a future eBay search. I'd like to eventually find a 1974 arm to match, but this crankset is not likely going on the Frejus.


front wheel may well be original to the bicycle. you will be able to read a date on the inner face of the axle locknuts; would expect either "59" or "60"
It's going to be one of the first thing that comes apart on this bike. I'm anxious to find the Campy dates on the locknuts. Might help get a better idea of how or when this bike was originally built.


a Record model front gear mech is perfectly plausible to have as original equipment since its launch date is 1959; there are multiple generations of this product, if you would like to verify that the one worn by the cycle is first generation you can check the study made here - https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/ca....219403/unread
Ooooh, great information. I will definitely dig into those posts.


as you write, the Campag Record rear gear mech would be an update from the cycle's original Campag Gran Sport model, the Record launched in December of 1963
One of those things as this bike starts to be taken apart will be inspection on the frame and the inner parts of the components. I can't wait to see how everything looks under the years of grime and rust. The early RECORD on the rear D is super interesting to me, if nothing else other than the beginning of the Campagnolo Record dynasty.


it looks like the original brakeset was from Fratelli Pietra (Universal brand) model 51 Extra, the levers are model 306. so the Balilla rear caliper (from Giovanni Galli S.p.A.) represents a replacement. note how perfectly it fits with the pads in the centre of the adjustment slot. on the model 51 Extra set the brake centres are 50.5mm front and 64mm rear.
This is awesome info. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do with the brake calipers and levers yet. I know I don't want the mismatch, so one or both of them will get replaced. The levers are less of an issue, but finding hoods that are not rotted might be a problem. I've been wondering if there are reproductions out there for brake levers of this vintage.


you could always fit to the machine a Campag Record saddle pillar. the cycle represents an excellent opportunity to fit a NITOR. an interesting one which would be period correct is the flat rail. in this design one must employ a NITOR flat rail saddle to go with it due to the unique design. this model would be period and national origin correct for the bicycle.
Yesterday, I found locally someone selling an early Record seatpost in 26.8mm and grabbed it, even though I have a feeling this seat tube would fit a 27.0mm better. In my searching across the interwebs, it looks like there is a lot of confusion as to the proper seatpost diameter should be on this bike. Many people are using 27.0 and seemingly just as many are fitting 26.8mm posts to Frejus bikes. All I know is that the post in the frame right now definitely is too small. I guess we'll find out more when this mid-60s Record post shows up in the mail. All of my measurements on the current post and inside the seat tube have resulted in MANY different results. Going to be trial and error, I guess.

I don't have any idea for a period correct saddle. These are interesting options, though I don't want to have to find a post that only works with one saddle. Looks and comfort will be more important on this built than period correctness, though. I'm not sold on the Brooks, so at some point I will definitely have to dig more into the saddles of the 60s.


one small item needed for a restoration will be the Gaslo handlebar end caps with the Frejus marking. these little stamped aluminum thimbles can be costly.
LOL, yeah they are. Might not be in the build budget just yet. Someone should make repros of those things. I can't believe it hasn't been done yet, actually.


original handlebar wrap would have been Gaslo as well
More wonderful information! You are a fountain of historic info and this forum and us users are lucky to have you here. Thanks so much for taking the time to pull this together. It can do nothing but help the progress of this build, especially as I am in my info collecting stage.


the Zeus track pedals from Arregui are very high quality and period plausible. while not likely to have been original they are certainly not necessary to replace with something from an Italian producer.
I don't know why, but for some reason, I am really anxiously awaiting the resto process on these pedals. I have restored a few pairs of Shimano clipless pedals before, but nothing this old. I kinda can't wait to freshen these up.

One thing I was thinking about with these, as I used toe clips when I first started riding in the 80s, was the actual bolt on clip on the bottom of cycling shoes that pressed into pedals like these. Who sells those cleats for road shoes anymore?


in case you have not as yet encountered it there is a fabulous resource for information on Bozzi bicycle products at this enthusiast site. its creator is a member of this forum. the site includes detailed articles and the parts suppliers to the Bozzi company. https://www.condorino.com
I most definitely have. It's hard to not find that site when searching for old Frejus info. Another wealth of knowledge we're all lucky to have. Now, if we can get the forums, registry and info back from the Classic Rendezvous site, we'll be in business!



Again, this is incredible info. Thank you! We're lucky to have you here in the V&C forum on BF.


—Doug

Last edited by purpurite; 11-16-23 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 11-16-23, 10:30 AM
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two images was unable to fit into earlier post

forum has a limit of ten insertions per post

Gaslo advert of ca. 1955



Arregui catalogue page illustrating the Zeus track pedals



---

saddle -

the machine's OEM saddle is likely to have been a traditional leather one of Italian manufacture

two frequently seen names are Italia and Rosa

these saddles do not endure as well as some of the better models from Brooks & Tron et Berthet (Ideale) so they are difficult to locate in reasonable nick

if you wish to stay Italian you could select something from Unicanitor; these can be variously listed as Unica, Nitor and as Cinelli
with this design however they feel at the outset is how they are going to stay

your nether regions may have a preferred model from Brooks or Tron et Berthet to which they are partial - hesitate not(!)

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present bottom bracket assembly -

reason for mentioning Campag was that the lockring looked like it might be a Campag one

know of course that spindle could not be Campag due to the splines
whatever is going on in there is clearly a mixed assembly - note the three threads showing on the adjustable cup

AB77's are quite valuable so could be sold for a good sum

if you can envision one day doing a top line Brit machine from the early 1960's you might wish to retain them

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arrestors -

if mine, might go with Balilla partiallly because somewhat less common than Universal and also because of the wonderful levers which could be fitted

there are two generations of the levers. for this machine you would want the "early" with the metal QR spring clip. somewhere around 1967 this was changed to red plastic.

advert of 1959 -





later type lever with red plastic QR -



with Balilla you would also have the option of changing to centrepull if wished

​​​​​​

​​​​​​https://classicrendezvous.com/countr...nents/balilla/

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one feature not visible in the photo album which would assume to be present is the lubrication port on the bottom bracket shell

Bozzi continued to use this shell on some examples as late as 1966 - well after the balance of the Italian cycling industry had ceased their employment

suspect the buyer for Bozzi must have gotten a very good deal on them at some point BITD; perhaps another manufacturer was unable to pay for their order from the shell producer and so producer sold a large lot to Bozzi at a reduced price...


---

have lots of good fun - take your time and enjoy the process

-----

Last edited by juvela; 11-18-23 at 07:01 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 11-16-23, 10:53 AM
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one feature not visible in the photo album which would assume to be present is the lubrication port on the bottom bracket shell. Bozzi continued to use this shell on some examples as late as 1966 - well after the balance of the Italian cycling industry had ceased their employment. suspect the buyer must have gotten a very good deal on them at some point BITD; perhaps another manufacturer was unable to pay for their order from the shell producer and so producer sold a large lot to Bozzi at a reduced price.
Yep, there is one on the BB shell and the one on the back of the head tube is missing. The remaining fitting appears to be brass and in a shape I have never seen before. Might be tough to find exact versions of these grease fittings to replace in the frame, I may have to use something more contemporary, even if they are just for looks.



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Old 11-16-23, 11:28 AM
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Very nice find, and a fantastic project!

WRT the Universal lever hoods, I get my ammortizzatori from Tre Emme in Italy:

Universal stuff at Tre Emme Caverni
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Old 11-16-23, 11:46 AM
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Lovely! What an excellent find. Hoping to get my paws on an early 70's Frejus in a couple years once I work through the current crop of projects.

After a thorough, gentle cleaning, that is going to look dramatically better. The one item I foresee being a challenge is the spokes. It looks like only surface rust, so they should be safe, but removing it thoroughly is not a fun task, and given those particular spokes, the task will need to be repeated. One solution would be to rebuild the wheels with spokes that are resistant to corrosion, but obviously your call - and may not even fit with your aspirations. Enjoy the restoration process and the ride.
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Old 11-16-23, 11:49 AM
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1960 was a great year for road bikes.

You are inspiring me to get back to work on the Siegers.
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Old 11-16-23, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie
Very nice find, and a fantastic project!

WRT the Universal lever hoods, I get my ammortizzatori from Tre Emme in Italy:

Universal stuff at Tre Emme Caverni
-----



in the U.S. Tre Emme stands for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3M


-----
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Old 11-16-23, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela
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in the U.S. Tre Emme stands for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3M

-----
Ah, yes. Well-known for their pubblicalo notes.

I doubt they make hoods for Universal levers, though.
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Old 11-16-23, 01:11 PM
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Lots of neat early series details on this bike. I think it will clean up nice.

/markp
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Old 11-16-23, 03:51 PM
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-----

front wheel note -

when you check the axle locknuts you can at the same time check the spoke head logo

would expect either Redaelli Lario or Alpina

there is a directory of the symbols here:

Spoke Head Identification Chart


-----
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Old 11-16-23, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela
front wheel note - when you check the axle locknuts you can at the same time check the spoke head logo
Will do. I think I will be disassembling the wheels and using the front hub, at least. Stainless spokes and a fresh build on something that connects me to the ground is really important. After 60 years, that stuff all needs to be updated.

Is there any value in the Shimano high flanged 3.3.3 (non 3-speed) rear hub?
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Old 11-16-23, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by purpurite
Will do. I think I will be disassembling the wheels and using the front hub, at least. Stainless spokes and a fresh build on something that connects me to the ground is really important. After 60 years, that stuff all needs to be updated.

Is there any value in the Shimano high flanged 3.3.3 (non 3-speed) rear hub?
-----

Shimano hub value small, roughly parallel to a Normandy Sport


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Old 11-18-23, 11:11 AM
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original handlebar wrap would have been Gaslo as well
Is there a source for cloth bar tape or are people using NOS items they find on eBay and in random shops? Seems to not be a thing anymore.
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Old 11-18-23, 11:38 AM
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NOS adhesive cloth tape has the problem that the adhesive is ofttimes kaput

most restorers seem to be using the modern products

one advantage of them is the large range of colours, much greater than what was available BITD


-----
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Old 11-18-23, 11:48 AM
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Looks like two good options might be Velox Tressostar and Neubaum's. I guess I should look before I leap.
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Old 11-18-23, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by purpurite
Is there a source for cloth bar tape or are people using NOS items they find on eBay and in random shops? Seems to not be a thing anymore.
Newbaum’s is a good replacement for cotton bar tape. Lots of colors and easy to find. Your bike will look great with cotton bar tape.

Great find btw.
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Old 11-18-23, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by purpurite
Looks like two good options might be Velox Tressostar and Neubaum's. I guess I should look before I leap.
the weave has changed over time, the old tape is more like what is still sold for tennis rackets and hockey sticks.
NOS tape can be an adhesive disaster.
if stored cool and dark, ok. Anything else? Bleh.
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Old 11-18-23, 05:31 PM
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I think I still have a set of Sheffield pedals that were left when I sold the Frejus.
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Old 11-18-23, 06:39 PM
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Wow!!

supercool thread

love this
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Old 11-18-23, 07:00 PM
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So an interesting thing happened. Locally, I found an old bike shop that was selling off a bunch of 60s & 70s Campy seat posts in various lengths and sizes. I grabbed the very clean Nuovo Record 26.8mm post crossing my fingers that the odd measurements from the one on the bike would get me close. It's a non-integrated clamp version under the B17, and it's obviously way too small. It looks like someone cranked down on the seat post bolt and tried to squish this small post in the seat tube. Not only is the clamp bolt bent, but it's all boogered up from 63 years of mis-management.



I got a bunch of different measurements off of the old post, closed my eyes and got the 26.8mm, thinking that the 27.0mm might be the right one. Turns out, the 26.8 is a bit too large, too. I have been slowly opening up the bolt clamps and cleaning up the inside burs on the top tube vent and the clamp slot. It fits, but it's TIGHT. I have not seen it anywhere said that a 26.6mm seat post is the right size for a Frejus, so I'm a bit confused. I will make this NR 26.8mm post work but wow, the tolerances are not what I thought they would be. I think that's mostly due to ham-fisted over-tightening of the clamp bolt.



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