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Picked up a 1990 Appel today

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Picked up a 1990 Appel today

Old 06-29-13, 07:44 PM
  #1  
gsinil
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Picked up a 1990 Appel today

Hi,

Brief intro: I have been lurking around here for quite a while mostly to bring myself up to speed on vintage steel bikes.

I did a lot of MTBing back in the mid and late 90s when I lived in the Alps but after moving to wonderful Illinois, I obviously gave up on MTB and finally on biking all together. About 3 years ago I got the urge again and decided to get myself a cyclocross bike which is perfect for the many gravel paths in the forest preserves here in Chicagoland. Now it's time to get get a dedicated road bike as well...
After a lot of search on eBay and CL, I came across a bike that I've never heard about before, a 1990 Appel which was listed as 55/56cm.
With the help of this and other sites, I got some helpful info about who Appel was and decided to pull the trigger. Picked her up today:



The guy I bought it from rode it for 3 years, mostly recreational rides and a few triathlons and then got out of biking. It was sitting in his basement for the last 20 years and hasn't been ridden at all since he put it away. It has a few very little nicks but overall it's pretty much in pristine condition. All Shimano 600 with a Cinelli stem and Wolber Profil clinchers. 22.2 lbs. including the TIME pedals.

When I was ready to leave the seller mentioned that he also has a few "more things" that came with the bike.
He pulled out another brand new set of Wolber/Ultegra wheels, a Mavic rear wheel set up for TT and 3 brand new tires; in addition he had a bike stand. He offered it all together for another $100 - no brainer



Got home and already took her for a spin around the block; couldn't go for a real test ride since even though they are holding air at 100 psi, the tires ar 20 years old and probably brittle like glass.

It's my first steel road bike but it felt great and even though 55cm is a little on the small side for me (I am 5 11) I think I can tweak it so it will fit just fine. All I need for now are new tires and bar tape.

Well, what can I say, I am a really happy camper with the purchase, especially after I found out that there are currently 2 Appel bikes listed on eBay for $3K+ (a "little" more than I paid)

More to come...
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Old 06-29-13, 11:16 PM
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BluesDaddy
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Those colors!
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Old 06-30-13, 12:15 AM
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Love it! Could you post some shots of frame details?
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Old 06-30-13, 12:33 AM
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Congrats on a great bike. Also welcome to the Appel Club!
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Old 06-30-13, 05:35 AM
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Never heered of Appel before, but it sure looks good. I like those colors, and with Shimano '600' you cant go wrong. Need some more pics of that bike please, like the tubing stickers, brakes, shifters etc so we can drool over it.
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Old 06-30-13, 05:46 AM
  #6  
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It's a shame Mike Appel is not better known. He is regarded as one of Americas finest frame builders.
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Old 06-30-13, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Wino Ryder View Post
Never heered of Appel before, but it sure looks good. I like those colors, and with Shimano '600' you cant go wrong. Need some more pics of that bike please, like the tubing stickers, brakes, shifters etc so we can drool over it.
https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...electedIndex=0
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Old 06-30-13, 07:54 AM
  #8  
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More pics to come soon. Just got her ready for the first ride...
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Old 06-30-13, 01:05 PM
  #9  
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Wow, nice score. I love the paint...even looks good with the "splash" bar tape. Looking forward to more detailed pics.
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Old 06-30-13, 01:13 PM
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Like another poster said, never heard of it, but it looks dam good!

It has that 80s C&V look that I am crazy about..Again, never heard of it, but just by glancing at it, it is a class bike..

Congrats..

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Old 06-30-13, 02:45 PM
  #11  
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OK, I took her for a 30 mile ride this morning.
Put on a HED Belgium front wheel with a 25mm Conti Grand Prix 4000 and installed a 25mm Gatorskin on the Wolber wheel, replaced the TIME pedals with my Shimanos and I was ready to go.
I don't have any comparison since I never rode a steel road bike before but compared to my Focus Mares CX carbon bike, it's a much more responsive and somehow more lively ride
Speed wise I was about 1 mile faster (average speed) over the Focus with road tires - might just have been because I was all energized, who knows...

The one thing I am pretty sure I will have a hard time to get used to are the downtube shifters. Somehow it just feels way too disruptive; not that this would really matter for my recreational rides but it felt annoying nevertheless. So I guess I will have to look into brifter options.
Not really willing to spread the rear end to 130mm so my choices are probably fairly limited.
Just read that Campy Ergos and a Campy RD would work fine on Shimano a 7 speed freewheel/cassette.
Checking eBay as we speak but would also appreciate any comments or suggestions.

Here are more pictures that I took with my iPhone during the ride:



There is one question I have about the seat stays. Compared to pictures of his other bikes, Appel seems to have taken a different approach to join the top of seat stays, almost as if the stays and the lug are one piece. Maybe a simpler and cheaper way of doing it?
The other thing I would like to know is what tubes he used, the Columbus stickers don't say anything

And, I do agree that it is a shame that Appel is relatively unknown in the biking scene. I guess the fact that he apparently wasn't a good businessman (obviously) didn't help to promote his name. On the other side I kind of like the idea of being "incognito"; I am sure there will be more than enough curious questions from other bikers over the years to come.

Off to Ace to get stainless steel replacements for the rusty bottle cage screws...
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Last edited by gsinil; 06-30-13 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 06-30-13, 02:45 PM
  #12  
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Oh, forgot: thanks for all the kind words
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Old 06-30-13, 05:33 PM
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Whoa! That bike is seriously clean, the paint is just awesome. I love the way Appel builds, great lines. Give the down tube shifters a few more rides before you change them out. I understand they aren't what you are used to, but this bike isn't your Focus. They work fine, you just have to plan ahead a little more. Just a beautiful bike though, congrats.
Thanks for adding more pics.
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Old 06-30-13, 05:36 PM
  #14  
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This qualifies for Deal of the Year. Great score. The bike is gorgeous, and the extras are simply icing on the cake.
You may be able to put 10 speed or 9 speed cogs onto the 7 speed freehub for a 8 of 9, or 9 of 10 arrangement.
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Old 06-30-13, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gsinil View Post

Not really willing to spread the rear end to 130mm so my choices are probably fairly limited.
Why?

If you're not keeping it original then why not do a 10 speed modern group? Beautiful bike, by the way.
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Old 06-30-13, 06:05 PM
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Love the color scheme...congrats, she is a beauty!
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Old 06-30-13, 06:18 PM
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I'm looking forward to see what you do with this bike. The paint job is awesome.
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Old 06-30-13, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
Why?

If you're not keeping it original then why not do a 10 speed modern group? Beautiful bike, by the way.
I have to admit that I am tempted. Wouldn't mind a nice Campy setup.
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Old 06-30-13, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by velomateo View Post
...Give the down tube shifters a few more rides before you change them out. I understand they aren't what you are used to, but this bike isn't your Focus. They work fine, you just have to plan ahead a little more...
I will give it a few more rides and then decide.
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Old 06-30-13, 08:02 PM
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Quite a nice score, Appel was a great builder and you don't see too many of his frames surface. A well-designed and well-built steel frame can be very lively and responsive, glad you found that out.

Your seatstay treatment is called a fastback, I think the English used to call them "shot-in stays." Not simpler or cheaper unless the seatlug is cast with sockets for the stays. Could take more time and more mitering/filing to do a fastback, especially compared to using seatstay plugs.

Builders usually use a blend of tubing for handbuilt frames, especially customs. If it's all Columbus, being not a very tall frame, prolly mostly SL/SLX, could have an SP down tube if Appel wanted the ride a hair stiffer.

No reason not to use more modern components if that's what you want, IMHO. DT shifters have their charm, but brifters can be more convenient, especially with 8+ cogs. Spreading the rear isn't a real difficult job, and you can often find an LBS to do it for you if you don't want to do it yourself.

Have fun.....

Originally Posted by gsinil View Post
...I don't have any comparison since I never rode a steel road bike before but compared to my...carbon bike, it's a much more responsive and somehow more lively ride
...I am pretty sure I will have a hard time to get used to are the downtube shifters...it felt annoying nevertheless...So I guess I will have to look into brifter options.
Not really willing to spread the rear end to 130mm so my choices are probably fairly limited.

There is one question I have about the seat stays. Compared to pictures of his other bikes, Appel seems to have taken a different approach to join the top of seat stays, almost as if the stays and the lug are one piece. Maybe a simpler and cheaper way of doing it?
The other thing I would like to know is what tubes he used, the Columbus stickers don't say anything
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Old 07-01-13, 07:06 AM
  #21  
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Beautiful lines on that bike! Plenty of good road riding places if you can get to the North Shore.
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Old 07-01-13, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
...Your seatstay treatment is called a fastback, I think the English used to call them "shot-in stays." Not simpler or cheaper unless the seatlug is cast with sockets for the stays. Could take more time and more mitering/filing to do a fastback, especially compared to using seatstay plugs.

Builders usually use a blend of tubing for handbuilt frames, especially customs. If it's all Columbus, being not a very tall frame, prolly mostly SL/SLX, could have an SP down tube if Appel wanted the ride a hair stiffer...
Thanks for the info PCB!
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Old 07-01-13, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Beautiful lines on that bike! Plenty of good road riding places if you can get to the North Shore.
I am lucky since I live on the North Shore
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Old 07-01-13, 07:43 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
...No reason not to use more modern components if that's what you want, IMHO. DT shifters have their charm, but brifters can be more convenient, especially with 8+ cogs. Spreading the rear isn't a real difficult job, and you can often find an LBS to do it for you if you don't want to do it yourself...
I was actually able to put a wheel with a 130mm hub in without too much effort. So maybe I will just do that without cold spreading. I read in another post of someone that went this route and apparently over time the frame settled at 128mm.
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Old 07-01-13, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by gsinil View Post
I was actually able to put a wheel with a 130mm hub in without too much effort. So maybe I will just do that without cold spreading. I read in another post of someone that went this route and apparently over time the frame settled at 128mm.
I have 4 bikes that are spaced to 126 and have 130 rear hubs and none of them have been cold set. It really has been a non-issue for me. I agree with you above that a nice campy group would look fabulous on that bike.
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