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Colnago, oh, oh, oh ,oh

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Old 10-16-05, 09:05 PM
  #1  
luker
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Colnago, oh, oh, oh ,oh

I sat down this evening to post the pictures of the Colnago build that I've been going through. Now, two and a half hours later, I think I'm finally ready to begin. Geez, computers are time piggies...

First, I'll post the before pictures. The frame and fork originated for me in LA, and were eBay acquisitions.
The chrome was completely shot, and while the paint job was actually pretty cool, there was extensive rust setting in in the region of the bottom bracket. I've always wanted a Colnago, but buying this was a complete lark (uh, it was cheap) and so it kinda went to the bottom of the project pile.

Over the course of the last year, I've gathered a pile of parts with the Colnago in mind, kind of restricted by not knowing exactly what vintage the bike was. In the last couple of months, threads from discussion groups, advertisements of items on eBay, and local expert knowledge narrowed the bike to the 78-82 range and pushed me toward 2nd gen SR parts.
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Old 10-16-05, 09:17 PM
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I wanted a black one. Dunno why. I think maybe I want a complete set of vintage black Italianos, with yellow trim. Kinda line em up in my tiny living room. It'd be fun to see how many I could move into the living room before Patti kicked me to the curb.

Anyway, a set of reasonable Yellow reproductions (on vinyl) came up on eBay and I bought 'em (they were, uh, cheap). And, while they don't say anything like "Ernesto Colnago" or "Super" they get the message across that this is, in fact, a Colnago, so german-shepard skinny road dogs will sit up and pay attention! Right?

The Colnago rose, finally, to the top of the pile (I'd secured enough parts to start a build, I thought). I screwed up my courage and decided to refinish this baby myself. Really, I couldn't do much worse than the last guy...paint stripper to the fore! I include some pictures of a naked Colnago, just in case anyone is interested in the joint and lug work. Pretty good coastlines, don'tcha think? And the chainstays are really complex; the point where the chainstay bridge attaches is actually part of the chainstay. A little raised island is pushed out on the inside of the stay. The stays are both creased their entire length on the inside, I suppose for additional rigidity? We'll see when I get to ride it!

The bike was chromed on both chainstays, and it looks like it was chromed about 1/3 of the way up the seat stays as well...
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Old 10-16-05, 09:22 PM
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Pollock and Slawta rest easy.
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Old 10-16-05, 09:24 PM
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That's a rare Jackson Pollack signature Colnago! Only to be out done by the Lee Roy Neman and Andy Warhol....

So, it must be from before the 80's Send it off to Sotheby's right away...

Or it was painted by Landshark.

Don't care about the misspelling, it was too much fun to write.
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Old 10-16-05, 09:39 PM
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So, after stripping every last bit of that wretched paint from the frame (thanks for your help, Patti!), I duplicolored it. Yeah, yeah, where's the authenticity? Like I said before, I couldn't do much worse than the guy before me, and it really looked like the cheapest solution (still think that it was). I picked out a metallic black RV and Van paint, mostly because it wasn't a specialty paint and so I know I'll be able to get touchup to match in a year or two.

After rubbing out every little bit of rust on the bare frame, I primed with duplicolor primer (not impressed as of right now). I was concerned that another brand may have had bonding issues with the color coat. After I fixed a few remaining surface issues, I shot two color coats over the primer (and, in broad daylight, with a home-made 360 degree jig, I still got light on the inside of one chainstay!). I clear coated the frame with one coat, so that the decals wouldn't show their edges, and let it sit for a day or two to harden up.

Next I applied the stickers - not a tough job as there were only three (plus the Columbus sticker). Of course, there were hard lessons to be learned here too...work from the middle of the decal toward the edges, and work very, very slowly. I caught some bubbles in the seat tube decal. Well, crap. It worked out okay, but I cannot emphasize enough that you've gotta work slowly...

I then chased the cutouts and engravings with gold Testors paint. That stuff was invented by the devil himself. Every time I tried to apply some paint, finger prints would magically appear on a completely unrelated part of the frame. It was like something out of the Exorcist, or something. I honestly cannot say why this was so hard, but it was.

Then, finally, I followed with four coats of duplicolor clear. That is about two big cans. I wish I'd put on a third can, as the edges of the decals can still be seen as level changes in the surface of the paint. But I got tired of shooting. I let the paint set for four days, and then polished with, um, Mothers mag cleaner!
and that crap really works. It cut just a little faster than Meguiers and left a smooth, flat, polished surface. Course, I didn't use very much, and worked very carefully, but I'm a believer, at least in as small a painted surface as a bicycle.

When I got to the build, I found that I'd used the brakes that I'd earmarked for another project. I finally ended up using a NOS brakeset that I'd assembled over the last several years from loose parts purchased on eBay. Oh, well. I guess that I can do that again, one little piece at a time.

The only panto part that I could afford that said Colnago was a nice NOS chainring, bought in the dead of last winter. It looks very nice on the bike. I wish I could afford a panto seat post and one of those cool "Colnago Ernesto" Cinelli stems. Eventually, I suppose, those things will find their way onto the bike...
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Old 10-16-05, 10:01 PM
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Skip Magnuson
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A great story and a beautiful bike, congratulations.
Cheers,
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Old 10-16-05, 10:36 PM
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A brave man to shoot black, looks pretty, Antiques Roadshow won't approve but better than what was there. So what is the ride report?
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Old 10-16-05, 10:48 PM
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nice

enjoy the ride
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Old 10-16-05, 10:59 PM
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Looks purty, but I liked the acid trip look too...
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Old 10-17-05, 08:56 AM
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Excelent finished product. did you do any sanding/prep between color coats and/or clear coats on the paint? I've done 1 and a half coats of color on my Centurian right now and debating on wetsanding the first coat in prep for the final color coat. I'm going to use a Testors silver paintpen to detail the lug work and know from past experiences with those paints that you do exactly one section at a time and let it dry completely before touching anything close to the painted region. The stuff does migrate like crazy.
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Old 10-17-05, 09:09 AM
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Wow... looks great! Nice job luker
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Old 10-17-05, 09:18 AM
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Looks good. It should ride as nice also. Bob
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Old 10-17-05, 09:52 AM
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Well done. I can only hope Shadowfax comes out half as nicely.
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Old 10-17-05, 11:03 AM
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i thought the original paint was cool.. i might have to do that if i ever get around to building a replacement bike
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Old 10-17-05, 06:44 PM
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luker
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okay, y'all, I'll admit that the original paint was really cool. I would have liked to have saved it, but it was scabrous where the rust had set in, so as a proper curator must, I took steps to, um, curate.

Ride report: Sunday - beautiful, 68 degrees, little wind. Rides okay, uh, what is that little clunk? Oh, that freaking Italian fixed cup is coming loose? And why does it want to steer itself? Maybe I shouldn't have poked fun at the possessed bike thread...darn, the headset is self-tightening!

I just barely made it home to tools...

Okay. Adjustments made. First (ahem) ride, Monday at noon. 38 degrees, 10-15 mile wind from the southwest (like, from California, dude!). Feels like I'm riding just behind the mayonnaise jar in the refrigerator. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Wuzzit like?

um, it is light in the front end...steers quickly. Dunno how much the shorter stem is contributing to this, but it handles fast. Not hard to track down the white line, but sensitive to wind gusts (geez. Its getting colder out here...). That doesn't help the bike too much out of the saddle. It climbs okay, but I have to concentrate a little to keep the bike from hunting...

And it is stiff! the bottom bracket won't sway, no matter how much I stand on it, and I am a fairly big boy...I am reminded of the Paramount 50th Anno, and that is made of SLX. I am certain that this is SL, and not SLX, but il maestro Ernesto has worked some magic to take the flex outta the back end (speaking of which, I'm no longer certain that I can feel my back end...

It ends up in my bike spectrum between the Masi and the Pinarello - doesn't climb as well as the Pinarello, doesn't ride as nicely as the Masi. But I rode a Pinarello about a million miles during my racing days, so I'm naturally predisposed to that geometry, I'm sure. And the Masi, well, it is one of the best-behaved of the bikes that I have ever ridden. But the Colnago would be an excellent stage racer, a pretty good crit bike, and probably, under someone more svelte than my hulking butt, an excellent climbing bike as well. If I had purchased a second-hand Colnago in 1986, instead of the Pinarello, this exercise would probably have turned exactly upside down...

I'm gonna mess with the seat a little and ride it again tomorrow - it is supposed to be warmer!
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Old 10-17-05, 07:24 PM
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Fantastic! It's a shame about the original paint, but if it had to go, it had to go.
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Old 10-18-05, 06:24 PM
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2nd official ride. Nothing like the first. Man, bike reviewers are all full of S**t. There is no similarity between yesterday's bike and today's bike. I raised the seat 1/4 inch, and set the tires at 100 psi (yesterday was 115). I rode 18 miles of rollers, and the bike is an excellent climber. Tracks well at 25 mph, and isn't excessively stiff. I still feel like I'd like the Pinarello better, but whoo, the Colnago is a good rider...
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Old 10-18-05, 07:19 PM
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so my bike, which we think is the same thing is your bike, also gets blown around pretty bad in the wind. like today for example. glad to know it's not just me.

also, my colnago is super responsive to even the slightest turn of the handlebars. gotta love it.

your bike looks good. the black just makes it look fast. I bet you'll enjoy riding it a lot.
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