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Dennis Sparrow custom - does anyone have history to share?

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Dennis Sparrow custom - does anyone have history to share?

Old 11-21-10, 06:30 PM
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Dennis Sparrow custom - does anyone have history to share?

After keeping quiet all last week about this Ebay discovery, I was lucky enough to win this Dennis Sparrow road frame. After local pickup on Friday morning it sat in the trunk of my car until Saturday night while I traipsed around Seattle with my sister and nephew, visiting for a band concert from Austin. I took photos this morning and posted to the "Winter Project" thread with a short plea for more info, but so far nothing.

So, I decided to open it's own thread.

The only specifics I have right now is that the fork steerer has an older Columbus dove stamping and rifling at the bottom quarter. I can't place the type or manufacturer of the lugs or the fork crown, but the small logo in an oval on the top of the BB shell on the non-drive side (half-hidden by the cable guide) is something I've seen before. I just can't remember where. The serial number, stamped roughly in the center of the BB shell, is 79090. DOs are Campy 1010Bs, and the driveside rear DO has the additional buttress points for the Campy Portacatena drillings/tappings. The finish is obviously original, so I have to assume all the braze-ons are original as well. A nice touch is the 11 o'clock offset (to the non-drive side) of the brake cable guides on the top tube. Lugs are beautifully finished with lots of thinning and clean, consistent shorelines. From what I can see in the BB shell, this frame was put together without using pinning in it's construction. The chainstays are pretty much round vice oval which gives the impression that they're nearly the same diameter as the down tube.

I'm guessing 1979 judging by the first two digits of the SN and the Portacatena-ready dropouts.

Does anyone have any info on Sparrow's frames? Any idea whether he is still around, how long he produced frames and what kind of numbers were produced?

BTW, one of the neatest headbadges I've ever seen; I'd really like to know the significance of it's various parts! Unicorns, even

Enjoy these few pics. This will be the wintertime rollers bike, and since I will leave it as-is with the exception of some small paint touching-up, will also end up my crap-weather training bike.















Thanks in advance for any help with my research.

Cheers,
DD
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Old 11-21-10, 08:44 PM
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whoa.

I love that head too. Have you done any searches for it on the internet? Seems like there might be some kind of heraldry connections, you know? And there is an entire visual "vocabulary" to the meaning of each symbol - and even the posing of symbols - in those examples. I'm going to monitor this thread to see if someone comes up with an answer.
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Old 11-21-10, 08:52 PM
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A bunch of info here including what he's doing now.
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/579325-whatever-happened-dennis-sparrow.html
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Old 11-21-10, 08:55 PM
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I know nothing about Sparrows but I believe there was a thread posted here about a year ago describing this bike that was custom built for the poster.
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Old 11-21-10, 10:48 PM
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Jettore: yes, I saw that thread but kept seeing references to "this guy told me to call that guy..." and then when the call was made the guy who knew him had passed on.

However, I note something I missed before and that's the Yellow Book entry. I think I'll either call or post a letter this week and drop him a friendly line

Always nice to get info straight from the horse's mouth... I'll update if/when I have more info.

DD
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Old 11-21-10, 11:21 PM
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Please include build pics and info as you go.

I learn quite a bit of new information when you go through the process.

...and you know how much I like these big bike pics.

Especially when it is such a cool frameset.

...and my wife approves of "vicarious" bike purchases.
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Old 11-21-10, 11:31 PM
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Grady, I would gladly have boxed it up and sent it to you but you'd have been disappointed as the biggest container I have right now is a shoebox

I'm going to throw in my non-rifled Record BB cups for now, so I should be able to build her up by end of the week. I promise more pics then.

I enjoy my 'vicarious purchases', too. This will be my last real one for quite awhile, I think.
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Old 11-21-10, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Grady, I would gladly have boxed it up and sent it to you but you'd have been disappointed as the biggest container I have right now is a shoebox

I'm going to throw in my non-rifled Record BB cups for now, so I should be able to build her up by end of the week. I promise more pics then.

I enjoy my 'vicarious purchases', too. This will be my last real one for quite awhile, I think.
Then I think you have chosen wisely, my friend!

It will be very nice, but maybe it will get out and play a bit, or is it a trainer only bike?
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Old 11-22-10, 12:05 AM
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I'm speccing it so that I can use it in the wet weather, too, however our temps are dropping fast and I want to take care about the icy/snowy conditions and leave that to the surer-footed Mondia. This has no cutouts in the BB shell, nor any special drillium or anything like that - and it will wear before-restoration Campy, too.

Then, come spring, I'll disassemble, clean up the parts and hopefully we have a dry and sunny summer!
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Old 11-24-10, 12:17 AM
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Tried the Yellow Book phone number for Dennis - disconnected

So, I'll be writing a letter (what a concept in this day and age!) on Thursday. If there are any of you out there wanting more info on your Sparrows, post to this thread and I'll ask for you

I will be asking about serial numbers, production numbers, what time period he built from/to and of course the significance of the headbadge details.

BB will have to wait for a new 68SS spindle - only one I have is pitted! Drug it out of the spares box and was really suprised to see that. I don't think it's mine, actually, as I've never pitted a BB or headset in my life (I'm pretty anal about maintenance).

DD
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Old 11-24-10, 02:46 AM
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Unicorns and sparrows!!! A whole bunch of awesomeness on the headbadge.
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Old 12-05-10, 12:48 AM
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Here she is, all built up after a nice hour-long shakedown ride during which she performed flawlessly. Great ride quality, perfect fit...a dream!



Mostly built with Campy Super and Nuovo Record, with a Cinelli 1R stem and Campione del Mondo bars, Regina Oro chain and freewheel. Wheels are Weinmann concave, black anodized with alloy and stainless Phil Wood hubs (the rear is a kinda-rare Hi-Low). Yes, that's a carbon-shell Flite Evolution saddle - and I know, it ain't C or V. But it's comfy!

Enjoy!

DD
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Old 12-05-10, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Here she is, all built up after a nice hour-long shakedown ride during which she performed flawlessly. Great ride quality, perfect fit...a dream!



Mostly built with Campy Super and Nuovo Record, with a Cinelli 1R stem and Campione del Mondo bars, Regina Oro chain and freewheel. Wheels are Weinmann concave, black anodized with alloy and stainless Phil Wood hubs (the rear is a kinda-rare Hi-Low). Yes, that's a carbon-shell Flite Evolution saddle - and I know, it ain't C or V. But it's comfy!

Enjoy!

DD
Just right! A gorgeous build again from you sir.

I love the balanced look of the black, silver, and orange.

The thing that amazes me is you, Buldogge, BBM, and others here build these beauties so quickly after you purchase framesets.

You guys don't fool around.

I end taking way too long for each build.

It's my own little procastinator's hades.

If I may ask a question, what pedals and straps are you using?

Maybe a closeup of the crank please if you don't mind as well?
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Old 12-05-10, 08:22 AM
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Gorgeous build DD. It should brighten up the Seattle muck a bit with that wonderful orange hue!
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Old 12-06-10, 12:04 AM
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A few more pics of the completed project - close-ups for you, Grady

Pedals: Campy Superleggeri with steel axles; straps: a nice unused set of tan Christophes. I got the straps new about 4 years ago at Recycled Cycles down in Ballard. I think they were re-issues, and I knew they wouldn't be around very long, so I snagged up the last 3 pairs they had.

This one went together pretty fast, but that was only because I had everything but the BB cups and spindle just waiting in boxes to be mounted on something. Remember how long the Colnago Super took (not to mention the Mondia)? By comparison, this was a snap!

Super Record crankset with Superleggeri (steel axles) pedals:



1974 Nuovo Record rear derailleur/Phil Wood Hi-Low hub with Regina Oro freewheel:



Brothers from different mothers:



Another shot of the "twins":



Enjoy!

DD

Last edited by Drillium Dude; 12-06-10 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 12-06-10, 05:46 AM
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We've got to keep this baby up near the top where it belongs.

Love what you've done with this nice frameset.

Nice comparison with that beautiful Super as well.

You've inspired me, so I bought a very nice Walter Croll "unpainted" NOS frameset on Saturday.

I'll pm you, maybe we can chat about color ideas.
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Old 12-06-10, 08:43 AM
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Beautiful bike. The colors work well together.

I am digging those black concave rims.
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Old 12-06-10, 10:09 AM
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Awesome. I had to scroll up to check the date on the first post...you built that fast. Bike looks amazing and the shot of the "brothers" is great. Do you favor one over the other?
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Old 12-06-10, 07:12 PM
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Velomateo: So far I've only taken the Sparrow on a short, flat run around town. No climbing or descending yet, so I don't know how she'll compare to the Colnago just yet. I'm interested, though, to see if I can't discern so sort of handling difference between the differing rakes of the forks.

Roger: The Weinmanns were something I'd never seen before. In black, I mean. I got them for $15 from a French Ebayer and paid more in shipping than the rims! But I rode the silver-anodized ones back in the day and they're the strongest rims I've ever been on. They built up into some very solid wheels (although the front Phil needs a new set of sealed bearings - there's a little bit of play in there).

I toyed with the idea of stripping off the anodizing, but instead decided to leave well enough alone. If they start looking bad down the road, I can do it later on.

Grady: looking forward to pics of your Croll. I have a Bicyclist (nee Bicycle Guide) magazine where he's featured in their "Hot Tubes" article. That's gotta be an outstanding frame!

DD
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Old 12-06-10, 07:35 PM
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Looks great...I'm really digging the orange bikes...makes me pine more for a Molteni Primato!

Hmmm...Grady...Molteni Croll???
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Old 12-06-10, 07:56 PM
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hot bikes.
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Old 12-06-10, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by buldogge View Post
Looks great...I'm really digging the orange bikes...makes me pine more for a Molteni Primato!

Hmmm...Grady...Molteni Croll???
Time will tell.

Paint has never touched the metal!
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Old 12-06-10, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by drillium dude View Post
wow!
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Old 12-06-10, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Bloody hell! So awesome!!!
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Old 12-06-10, 10:34 PM
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Another shot of the "twins":



Enjoy!

OK Now you're just bragging.
That is a great looking pair.

DD[/QUOTE]
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