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Hidden in Plain Sight

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Hidden in Plain Sight

Old 02-24-24, 05:08 PM
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Hidden in Plain Sight

I was fortunate enough to be gifted a well-used Dura Ace 7700 group set. I put several hours into cleaning, degreasing, replacing a broken spring, and getting it into reasonable shape.

Then I was gifted a wheel-off trainer (yes I am lucky!). But the trainer requires 130mm rear spacing, and has a Shimano freehub. My only readily compatible bike, I considered too good for trainer duty. I also contemplated spreading one of my older 6 speed bikes, but I was not thrilled with that prospect either.

What I really needed was a decent, but not precious bike with 130 spacing to accept the DA7700 and be delegated to the trainer. Would a trainer bike really count as n+1? Not waiting to come to a conclusion on that question, I set about searching for a suitable frame.

I looked around for a week or so and came across an ad which had been up on Craigslist for almost 1 year.

eBay / CraigsList finds - "Are you looking for one of these!?" Part II

After some google searching, not much information popped up about Jansen-Oomen except that it was a shop in the Netherlands and seems to have an associated club.

Certainly one look at the colors, and instantly Bianchi Mercatone Uno comes to mind. But many people have copied that paint scheme. And a number hanger. Studying the ad pictures, it had many similarities to Bianchi frames such as the X4. In any case, it looked like a worthy victim, so I picked it up.

Once I started cleaning it, it became apparent that this is indeed a Bianchi, hidden under a respray.

The “B” in headtube lower lug is clearly visible.

The BB shell is same as seen on multiple Bianchi, though the raised “Bianchi” lettering in rectangular recess is either obscured by flooding of paint, or possibly ground down. But with the right angle, you can clearly make out the name hidden there.

On the sides of BB shell, the “B” is hardly visible if at all. On one side there is the faintest remnant, almost as if it were ground off. The S/N and frame size formats look right.

Dropouts have no stampings.

Spiral ridges in all 4 BB tubes

Other identifiable features:

Aero seat stays

Seat stay ends

Rear brake cable top tube routing treatment

Rear derailleur in chain stay routing

Silva brake bridge with Bianchi on each side (deeply buried under paint), diagonally oriented

As for the fork, I believe this is a replacement. It “might” be something like a Tange 185. It has internal spirals, but I found no markings whatsoever on steerer (possibly hidden under paint). It is similar shape, but different than Bianchi internal lug design.

My guess is there was front end damage, requiring new fork and repaint. There is the faintest hint of ripple in the downtube, just behind the headtube lug. You need to have the right lighting to see it. Fork is a nice choice, though the original may have been a chrome unicrown ELOS.

Anyway, my best guess is that this is an early 1992 Bianchi TSX. Apart from paint and fork, it matches other ‘92 TSX online.

Any insights from the experts would be appreciated. Hope you enjoy the mystery!

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Old 02-25-24, 03:10 PM
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Nice find!

I dig the fork crown and the paint job, also lots of other pretty details
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Old 02-25-24, 06:25 PM
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Perhaps @Bianchigirll would find thid one interesting.
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Old 02-27-24, 04:24 AM
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Steel1 It's too bad that they also covered the real triangle as well. I assume you checked for the spirals in the DT and ST?
One morning you wake up, the girl is gone, the bikes are gone, all that's left behind is a pair of old tires and a tube of tubular glue, all squeezed out"

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Old 02-27-24, 09:42 AM
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Hi Bianchigirll thanks for the reply. I did check for the spiraling in BB and I felt ridges in all 4x tubes exposed in BB. I took some pictures (after framesaver treatment), but it was hard to get good focus. The top tube only has a small hole visible from ST and HT, so I couldn’t see anything useful on those ends.
I guess there may be chrome on both chain and seatstays, hope its clean and in hibernation in case I ever want to repaint years down the road.
Here are the BB and fork pictures:

Spirals inside fork

Could this be the fork?
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Old 03-16-24, 09:57 AM
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Slowly updating here (about 1 month old info).
Not really any new info on the frame pedigree yet.

I frame-savered the frame and fork, then did a cleaner wax.
The cleaned up groupset is shown below. Notice the big 30T rear cog! I was skeptical if this would work.
New crankarm stickers on the way from smd4!

The BB-7700 was all new to me. Very interesting design… online reviews were so so, saying it is susceptible to dirt and finicky. Mine had bad cups/cones, and I was not able to find replacement parts. Plus it had Italian, and I needed BSA threads… But I was taken by the unique design, so I picked up a beautiful NOS one.
My one real mistake was not getting frame BB threads chased. I have never had to do this before, since all my other bikes have original paint. This one had overspray in there. While the BB went in, I definitely used more than normal finger torque getting it in. I don’t think any real harm done. Oh well, live and learn!
Then, a super nice neighbor gifted a Campy record SP! A little polish and it is looking great.

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Old 03-30-24, 01:21 PM
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Today is raining, so its a good opportunity to post an update.The replacement fork needed cutting. It was too long and had lots of excess threads which necessitated a thick spacer. I cut the steerer to size, debured and chamfered the top, and ditched the spacers. Fairly easy process, and it turned out well! I also counted 6 spirals inside the steerer tube, which is supposedly the number Tange used (whereas Columbus had 5), so more evidence pointing toward a Tange fork.

For the cockpit I already had some Prima 199 bars hanging in the garage. I picked up a beautiful NOS 3T Record 84 stem. Frame had come fitted with a nice FSA headset, so I kept that.

Before cutting fork

Wheels have 7400 hubs with Open Pro rims, 36 hole. The tires are some cheap but VGC CST that came on another used bike.

As I mentioned before, I was given a Campy SP-10RE seatpost. When I got it, I could see the wedge looking area between upper and lower clamps had been flooded with superglue. Hmmm, seems like an indicator that PO was having issues keeping things set properly. I scraped off all the old residue. Sure enough, I have been having exactly that problem, where after a good ride the level gets thrown off. Not sure if anyone has some advice on this particular model… I was wondering if Finish Line Fibergrip would help or hurt the situation, I just haven’t gotten around to trying yet.

Topped it off with a Flite TI with suitable colors. I chose the bar tape and saddle after looking at some of the old Mercatone Uno bikes online, although I don’t think they even rode Bianchi or used this color scheme in 1992. At that time it was possibly GB MG or Gatorade.

Assembling cables was a breeze. The internal routing has tubes, so passing a new uncut cable (tip of braid still welded) passes right thru. There are housing stops built in so the housing only goes about 1cm into frame.

For the RD, I swapped out the B screw for a longer version due to 30T cog in the cassette. While I was skeptical, it turned out OK and the short cage is able to shift it well enough. While I won’t ride that way, cross chaining would push the limits but not break things. I definitely appreciate the low gearing as a bailout 😀

Overall I am very happy with this bike. I didn’t put much $ into this one.

I have already put quite a few miles and elevation on it. As far as ride qualities, it is stable, easy to ride with no hands, and very confident on the downhills. No discernible flex on the climbs. Ride is nice and smooth, it’s really a pleasure!
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