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Bike with a (hi-)story - a dutch one.

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Bike with a (hi-)story - a dutch one.

Old 04-04-09, 04:54 AM
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Cool Steel
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Bike with a (hi-)story - a dutch one.

Recently I got offered a tall, colorful early 90's Gazelle.
It showed that it was to be sold by a tall handsome man in his mid thirties, living in a small town in the east of the Netherlands.

In the early 1990's the father of the seller was working for a company that manufactured a product called "Bison-Kit" (an adhesive). He was the director of that company.

And in 1993 and 1994 there was a bike racing team called "TVM - Bison Kit", with the insurance company TVM being the main sponsor and the company of the seller's dad being the other.


The 1993 TVM - Bison-Kit team had a very diverse structure of nationalities: there were
Robert Millar (GBR),
Dag Otto Lauritzen (NOR),
Johan Capiot & Alain Van den Bossche (BEL),
Gert-Jan Theunisse, Servais Knaven, Bart Voskamp, Marten den Bakker & Ad Wijnands (NED),
Bo Hamburger & Jesper Skibby (DEN),
Scott Sunderland (AUS)
and others.

(Sadly there isn't a bigger pic available.)

As I've learned recently, the five colors of the team and their bikes were chosen to represent the team riders' national colors: mainly red/white/blue for The Netherlands and black/yellow/red for Belgium, but those colors also cover red/white for Denmark, Norway & Swiss as well as blue/red/white for Great Britain & Australia.


One day in 1994 the boss of said bike team, a man named Cees Priem (whom some of you might have heard of as a former racer of Peter Post's T.I.-Raleigh team) was at the director's. While they were chatting Cees realized that the director's son was rather tall and he asked if the young man wouldn't like to have a nice bike. The director's son said yes - and so it went.
Sometime later the young man got the bike, a used bike, with a name written in small letters on the top tube - the name of a former rider of the team, John Talen (nickname "John Beton"), who had been in the team just for 1993 and left the following year which left the bike redundant.



John Talen had probably had his greatest success as an amateur. At the 1986 World Championship in Colorado Springs he won a gold medal in the 100km Team Time Trial (alongside Tom Cordes, Gerrit de Vries & Rob Harmeling) and a silver medal in the Elite Men's Street race.

He became pro the following year and rode as a domestique for Panasonic (with Phil Anderson, Steven Rooks & Viatcheslav Ekimov) and PDM (with Sean Kelly).
He entered TVM only for 1993 and left for Mercatore Uno (with Francesco Casagrande & the early Mario Cipollini) after that.

His main pro wins were the "Dwars door Vlaanderen" in 1988 and the "Grote Scheldeprijs" in 1990.
He finished the 1993 Tour de France (one of three Tours he finished) at the back of the field; after he had left TVM he even earned the "Lanterne Rouge" in the 1994 TdF.

John Talen was a (very) tall rider, so for him the steel of the team's bike frames was more like an advantageous material, giving him a rigid enough frame.

His team collegue Robert Millar complained about the weight of the steel frames and I can understand him as a climber, however he definitely did pretty well on his steel Gazelle.
He demonstrates that impressively in this Youtube-Video that shows Millar's famous breakaway-show in the 11. stage of the 1993 Tour de France.
Millar started his first breakaway on the way up to the highest climb of the Alps, the 2802m Col de la Bonette and the second, really powerful breakaway on the way to the finish in Isola 2000 (correct me but was Millar's using downtube shifters on this stage?).
1993 was probably the last year that the Tour de France was won on a steel frame, by the way - by the great Miguel Indurain, of course.


And this is the bike in question, the former team bike of John Talen:




The frame is made of Reynolds 531 Competition (with thinner tubes than the earlier 531db, so it's lighter than most other frames I have).

It's got a straight fork which should be pretty useful against wobbly front ends that can occur on taller bikes with light tubing.

The second dominant attribute of the frame is the unusual, "Pegoretti-style" top tube.
The seattube measures 61cm center-center, but a hefty 64cm center-top - good for showing few seatpost (team bike frames in my size are quite scarce just because good riders are rarely tall - with "Big Mig" being the one exception, naturally).




The rear brake cable goes through the toptube and the frame has lots of pantographs, mostly little Gazelles.
It has the usual number hanger and there's a TVM mark on the bottom bracket shell.




The frame has a mentionably better build quality than the 70's or early 80's Gazelle Champion Mondial frames I've seen.
It's fully equipped with Dura-Ace 7400/7410 STI - safe the headset, which is an XTR!

I suppose the team mechanic must have experienced problems with the DA stuff and changed over to different parts from the same manufacturer/sponsor.
And that team mechanic was nobody else but Herman Braun, today one of the last builders of handmade (steel) frames left in the Netherlands.

The bike has Cinelli "Campione del Mondo" 66-44 bars with a circular bend, which I think is a nice touch since I don't like ergo bars at all.

The Selle San Marco Titanio saddle and the DA aero seatpost are a marvelously light combination.




The bike is original down to the bottle holders, save the rims that were changed to MA40 (with a S.S.C. 93 stamp at the rear I have never seen before).
Tires will get changed back to ones in yellow like the team used (clearly tubulars, like the seller comfirmed; but it doesn't need to be that original that I won't be able to use the bike in the future).

----

But the story isn't over yet:
as we were standing around talking the seller suddenly paused for a moment, then said "Ahh, wait for a moment ..." and hurried back into the house.
And when he returned he carried this:




An original TVM Bison-Kit long sleeve team jersey!
I was delighted and wanted to give him dibs for this very special item, but he denied and said it's enough for him to know that the bike is going to someone who really appreciates it.
What a generous gesture, I was deeply impressed and once again confirmed in my prejudices about dutchmen: tall, smart and handsome and very nice & friendly. I like 'em a lot.


So that was my story, hope you enjoyed it.
And thanks again to the nice guy who sold me this gem; I know it hurt him to let it go, seems it will always remain a part of his youth.



And now I'm sitting here thinking about making a fixie of it ...

Last edited by Cool Steel; 04-04-09 at 05:22 AM. Reason: redirected pics weren't showing
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Old 04-04-09, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Cool Steel View Post
And now I'm sitting here thinking about making a fixie of it ...
April Fool's was three days ago...
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Old 04-04-09, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Exit. View Post
April Fool's was three days ago...
I take it that you joke around on April 1st only.
That must have been some sad years up to now ...
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Old 04-04-09, 09:50 AM
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Wonderful story, beautiful bike!

stan
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Old 04-04-09, 09:50 AM
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Great story, well written, and a truly gorgeous bike that you have.

Does the jersey fit you?

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-04-09, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for the kind words!

Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
Does the jersey fit you?
Actually it does, yes!
It's a bit on the wide side for the torso, but the sleeves are spot on - I guess I just have the same height as my predecessor (when I testrode the bike I didn't [have to] adjust the seatpost and still it was a 100% fit, what really amazed me).
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Old 04-04-09, 04:08 PM
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Great story. May I ad it to my Gazelle site? Were you traveling in Holland when this happened?

How does it ride? Especially with that straight fork. How long is the toptube? I have a 61cm Gazelle of somewhat the same vintage, 1992, and claimed to have belonged to a PDM team mechanic. It handles well and is among my favorites, but with a super long toptube does feel a little wobbly in the front end, and is hard to control hands off the bar. My tubing is 753, but with a conventional curved fork.
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Old 04-04-09, 06:48 PM
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Funny, I read the title wrong and thought it was going to be about riding to a coffee shop in Holland and not being able to find your bike that was still parked in front of the place after "coffee"

Cheers...duuuuddde
Tony

P.S. I'm Dutch and can make fun of the Dutch if I want to....
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Old 04-05-09, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
May I ad it to my Gazelle site?
...
Yes, certainly.


Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
Were you traveling in Holland when this happened?
...
No, I had to go there to pick up the bike, but I didn't have to travel too far then.


Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
How does it ride? Especially with that straight fork. How long is the toptube?
...
To be honest: I don't know.
And I won't in the near future - the bike was instantly stashed away as I won't have much time for bikes in the next one or two months.
I just did a testride for less than 250 meters to check if the brifters were working and if the frame was straight. But to check that I had to ride hands-free, which wasn't a problem at all - the bike stayed very calm, however at slow speed.


Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
I have a 61cm Gazelle
...
Yes, I remember your bike pretty well.
We even had mail contact over at velospace.org about it, I was the one who bid on it [in Holland] but was surpassed by that well-known british Raleigh specialist you bought it from later.
BTW, I'm pretty certain that either the frame itself or it's paintjob is quite a bit younger than 1992. I'd put it in the late 90's category; "Goldline" still is Gazelle's current marketing approach today.

I'm not really surprised that your front end is a bit nervous, that bike seems to have a very aggressive fork angle, so it's designed for fast, curvy courses.
[If it's really made of 753 (and I still have the same doubts about that I had when I first read the ad on the dutch classifieds website) the thin tubing will even boost this phenomenon. That should be the reason why very few tall bikes were made of the really thin steel stuff like 753, KL, 015 or similar; I even think I can remember a recommendation from T.I.-Reynolds not to make frames bigger than 60 cm from 753.]

Anyway, apparently your bike was purpose built and I'd try to use it for instances that fit it's design - for that it should be a real killer, like all our "dutch wonderbikes".
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Old 04-05-09, 07:41 AM
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Nice bike. Great history. Good tale.

But ... what is unusual about that top tube?
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Old 04-05-09, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
...
But ... what is unusual about that top tube?
It's not the top tube itself, but the fact that it's dropped (in relation to the seattube and the headtube).
The result is a tall bike with a much lower standover height than usual.

The highly regarded italian frame builder Dario Pegoretti [re-]introduced this technique in the late 1980's and some very famous riders used his frames, like that one here:
(see arrows for "Pegoretti-style" TT)



And here's why Dario did it this way:
"Pegoretti frames 58cm and larger have dropped top tubes. 57cm and smaller frames are measured as center to center, but on the larger frames Dario drops the top tubes and extends both the seat and head tubes to compensate. The amount of drop varies with frame size, as do the extensions on the seat and head tubes, but ultimately this allows him to build larger frames both lighter and stiffer without compromising positioning on the bike." (source: Competitive Cyclist)

For lugged frames like the Gazelle you even have to have custom built lugs to implement this feature.
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Old 04-29-09, 03:09 PM
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Late to the party, I know, but I couldn't resist posting this result sheet of the 1983 Vlaardingen - Maassluis 2-up timetrial.
Notice mr. J. Talen, in 6th place? And notice mr. F. Faro (thats me!) in 4th place? Ha !!!
(and in 3rd place Bram Jouvenaar, on a Gazelle bike I recently sold to the US ...)

I have to add that John Talen was 18 at the time (I was 29), and maybe still in the junior category. A couple of years later, maybe in 85 or 86, just before he turned pro, I had another encounter with him, this time in the criterium called the Ronde van Zuidland. This is very close to his birth village. Halfway through this 100 km race, I was struggling alone in between groups, trying to correct a situation already gone wrong for me (several small escape groups, I had kind of missed the right train). Then John Talen passed me (alone), hands relaxed on top of the bars, turrning a smaller gear than me, obviously on his way to the front. I think he won that race.
I know my place in the universe ...
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Old 04-29-09, 03:17 PM
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I thought 531c is remarketed 531 db.

Really nice bike and story.
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Old 04-29-09, 03:29 PM
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Threads like this are why I hang out in the C&V.

Very, very cool.
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Old 04-29-09, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Cool Steel View Post
.
BTW, I'm pretty certain that either the frame itself or it's paintjob is quite a bit younger than 1992. I'd put it in the late 90's category; "Goldline" still is Gazelle's current marketing approach today.

I'm not really surprised that your front end is a bit nervous, that bike seems to have a very aggressive fork angle, so it's designed for fast, curvy courses.
[If it's really made of 753 (and I still have the same doubts about that I had when I first read the ad on the dutch classifieds website) the thin tubing will even boost this phenomenon. That should be the reason why very few tall bikes were made of the really thin steel stuff like 753, KL, 015 or similar; I even think I can remember a recommendation from T.I.-Reynolds not to make frames bigger than 60 cm from 753.]

Anyway, apparently your bike was purpose built and I'd try to use it for instances that fit it's design - for that it should be a real killer, like all our "dutch wonderbikes".
Here's the one CoolSteel is referring to. Short wheel base, but really long toptube, which seems to be a resultof the steep angles. I'm not short, and neither are my arms, but I had to find the shortest stem in the parts box to make this bike fit me. It came with a 140mm stem! Would love to have seen the original owner's physical appearance.

But all things said, I love the way it rides. As long as I don't let go of the bars. That's where brifters come in handy.

The seat stays are large diameter tubing. Much bigger than all my 531 frames. Is this an indicator of the steel used in the tubeset?

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Old 04-30-09, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by s70rguy View Post
Late to the party, I know, but I couldn't resist posting this result sheet of the 1983 Vlaardingen - Maassluis 2-up timetrial.
Notice mr. J. Talen, in 6th place? And notice mr. F. Faro (thats me!) in 4th place? Ha !!!
(and in 3rd place Bram Jouvenaar, on a Gazelle bike I recently sold to the US ...)

I have to add that John Talen was 18 at the time (I was 29), and maybe still in the junior category. A couple of years later, maybe in 85 or 86, just before he turned pro, I had another encounter with him, this time in the criterium called the Ronde van Zuidland. This is very close to his birth village. Halfway through this 100 km race, I was struggling alone in between groups, trying to correct a situation already gone wrong for me (several small escape groups, I had kind of missed the right train). Then John Talen passed me (alone), hands relaxed on top of the bars, turrning a smaller gear than me, obviously on his way to the front. I think he won that race.
I know my place in the universe ...
Hey, that is a very nice story, thanks for sharing. Great to hear somebody here actually knows the bike's former rider.
(You even seem to know his birthplace! I had to look it up, it is "Meppel" - I don't even know where in the NL that is.)


Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
Here's the one CoolSteel is referring to. Short wheel base, but really long toptube, which seems to be a result of the steep angles.
A far cry away from the typical "dutch criterium" geometry, so I suppose it was in fact custom made.

Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
The seat stays are large diameter tubing. Much bigger than all my 531 frames. Is this an indicator of the steel used in the tubeset?
I have several 531 db frames with very beefy seat stays (mostly french frames, but my RIH has got 'em as well), but I don't know enough about later steel.

A really nice bike you have there after all, I particularly like it's condition - the DA parts look almost new, unlike the ones on my TVM-Gazelle - seems it's been raced ...
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Old 04-30-09, 06:59 AM
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wonderful bike---and I really enjoyed the write up. thanks!
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Old 04-30-09, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Cool Steel View Post
Hey, that is a very nice story, thanks for sharing. Great to hear somebody here actually knows the bike's former rider.
(You even seem to know his birthplace! I had to look it up, it is "Meppel" - I don't even know where in the NL that is.)




A far cry away from the typical "dutch criterium" geometry, so I suppose it was in fact custom made.



I have several 531 db frames with very beefy seat stays (mostly french frames, but my RIH has got 'em as well), but I don't know enough about later steel.

A really nice bike you have there after all, I particularly like it's condition - the DA parts look almost new, unlike the ones on my TVM-Gazelle - seems it's been raced ...
Born in Meppel, yes, so Im wrong about his birthplace. But John Talen must have lived in or close to Zuidland, he was a member of the club PRC Delta (check the result sheet), which is located in Spijkenisse.
Zuidland and Spijkenisse are south-west of Rotterdam, but part of the greater Rotterdam area I guess. Vlaardingen and Maassluis are west of Rotterdam, along the Nieuwe Waterweg, which is the waterway that leads from the Rhine to the sea. This is the windy country ...


About the long toptube of his bike: not only would it have been custom made for John, but he certainly wasnt riding criteriums that much anymore, as a pro, so a different geometry (more stage race) is quite logical.
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Old 04-30-09, 09:28 AM
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If I may add some more anecdotal info to this excellent thread: CoolSteel lists the line-up of the 93 TVM team and it includes the Dane Jesper Skibby.

In Denmark there's mandatory military service and in 1985 or so I got drafted to the Army together with Jesper. We were in the same unit for a year, and this spindly guy with absolutely no interest in anything but bicycling was one of the highlights of that unavoidable chore. He was so thin and boyish looking, and completely out of place, that you'd think the rough and tumble farmer boys of the squad would soon get him down, but not Jesper. With his extremely fast wit and constant funny comments he pretty much got away with everything.

He's pro career included at least 8 seasons with TVM and completing 8 TdF's. Because of his constant joking and disrespect for all the top dogs he also was one of the most popular riders in the peleton.

Here's the famous pictures of Jesper crashing on Koppenberg and having the official's vehicle crushing his bike. I think because of this event Koppenberg were eliminated from Tour de Flanders for many years.



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Old 05-01-09, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
In Denmark there's mandatory military service and in 1985 or so I got drafted to the Army together with Jesper. We were in the same unit for a year, ...
WOW!!!
A thread with a real international flair, even arising from personal encounters with those famous riders. Awesome!

[Sad to say that I can't add much to that race history aura - the only famous riders I've had personal contact with are two folks who run bike stores now.
They're both in their seventies today and were successful in the 1960's.
One of them wore the Yellow Jersey for five days in the 1966 TdF and the other one even won the 1965 Vuelta and was three times CycloCross World Champion.
Very long ago, not even near the TVM bike's time range.]



Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
Here's the famous pictures of Jesper crashing on Koppenberg and having the official's vehicle crushing his bike. I think because of this event Koppenberg were eliminated from Tour de Flanders for many years.

I don't know very much about Jesper Skibby, but even I knew that. That - quite dangerous - incident must've been one of the most well known crashes in the cycling world.
Oral tradition says that the spectators threw eggs, stones and everything else that was movable at the race commissar who had driven his car over Jepser's bike while the rider was lying beneath it .
It was indeed the reason for taking the Koppenberg out of the Ronde van Vlaanderen for 15 years - and the Koppenberg is kind of an "institution" for that race. To the belgians it's kind of a myth, similar to Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux.
Traditionally, the words "Remember Skibby" get painted on the road at the summit of Koppenberg.

I will (highly likely) be participating in this year's RetroRonde van Vlaanderen, starting in Oudenaarde about 60 km west of Brussels - and the second, longer lap will actually include the cobblestones of that very steep Koppenberg hill!
Those of you who can arrange to take part in the RetroRonde on the 28th of June should absolutely do so. It's the little northern brother of L'Eroica and it's a very nice event I can highly recommend.

Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
If I may add some more anecdotal info to this excellent thread...
Yeah, this thread is starting to develop true class, with all those first-hand additions about the then contemporary racing scene of half of Europe. I really dig it.
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Old 05-01-09, 08:40 AM
  #21  
jan nikolajsen 
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Do you live in Europe, CoolSteel?

Koppenberg must be really steep. Look at that barn building in background to get a sense of the perspective.

Because of the Skibby/Gazelle/TVM connection and thanks to your story, I have now added a TVM/Gazelle to the top of my frame wish list!!! Just as I thought I had enough bikes.
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Old 05-03-09, 02:20 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
Do you live in Europe, CoolSteel?
...
Yes, I'm living "across the pond" (from your POV).
A continent full of vintage race bikes.


Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
Koppenberg must be really steep.
...
Actually, it is merely 77 m (253 ft) high, the road is less than half a mile long, but it has up to 22% gradient!

And then you have the cobblestones and a very narrow road. Even pushing the bike up means exertion!


Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
...
Because of the Skibby/Gazelle/TVM connection and thanks to your story, I have now added a TVM/Gazelle to the top of my frame wish list!!! Just as I thought I had enough bikes.
OOPS - what did I do?
(I'm sure you'll find remedy soon ...)
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Old 06-27-09, 05:17 AM
  #23  
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Thank you for the great pictures and story. I tried to buy this very bike in NL when it was listed for sale, but I'm happy It went to someone who really appreciates it. It will always remain one of my favorite bikes of all time! Let me know if you ever get tired of it
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Old 01-24-12, 07:35 AM
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What a beautiful bike!

Sorry for dragging up an old thread, but I am looking for some information... Cool Steel's opinion especially welcome, but any opinions welcome! I am about to try to restore a Team TVM Lo Pro to it's former glory. Seems DA 74xx / 7410, 2 x 8 is the way to go.

How sure are you that the bike as set up is how it was when it was ridden Professionally?
How 'standard' were bike's set-ups back then? Or was it very normal for each rider to say 'I want xxx saddle, xxx bars and I prefer xxx rims? If so what parts were most often changed?
I am curious about the headset... I have found a photo of another Gazelle TVM bike online being ridden Professionally and it seems to have a black headset. Is it just coincidence that at least two bikes did not have DA headsets or is there something about DA Headsets of this era that people generally or Team TVM specifically did not like?
What were the original rims? (Not that I will be using tubs either!)

In terms of my build any tips on what rims, bullhorn bars, aero bars etc might have been on the lo pro equivalent of this TVM bike?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-25-12, 05:12 AM
  #25  
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Nice Gazelle

While ago I found a Panasonic that was raced by John Talen, before he raced for TVM. The Panasonic's toptube doesn't look 'dropped' to me, but it has an extended steerer and seattube. Jan Legrand contributed to the creation and the extended steerer tube could also be seen with 70s Prestos for example. By dropping the stem it resulted in a more rigid cockpit.
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