Il Progetto, The Project

Il Progetto, The Project

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I’ve spent a lot of time of late looking at ‘vintage’ road bikes on the interwebs. It all started when thinking about what my ‘dream bike’ would be, and invariably the frame material of choice was steel. Beautiful modern-day frames from the likes of Baum, Speedvagen and Italian classics Colnago and De Rosa were high on the list, and high on price, something that kept the ‘dream’ in dream bike. Then I struck on the solution;  surely people are selling off the old ‘ten-speed’ from under the house, not knowing that the old girl that had been handed on by Grandpa, who was a bit of a cyclist in his day, was worth a little bit more than the pocket money that they were asking just to save them the hassle of taking it to the dump.

Trawling the pages of TradeMe (the Kiwi EBay) started taking up my evenings, interspersed with endless forums that showed some of the most beautiful restored bikes I’ve ever seen. And like the awesome bikes my father has painstakingly  rejuvenated (and which we chronicled on this very site) they invoke the beauty and simplicity of the time. Beautiful to look at, but I wanted something I could ride as my one and only road bike. The plan was hatched.

So I found this old girl, a Columbus SL-tubed, locally made machine, and watched the auction with intent. When the time to bid came, cold feet got the better of me, and I passed, as did the cut-off with no bids put in. The next day, a slew of emails to guru of all things Euro, steel and cool, Oli, gave me the impetus to get the ball rolling. A buy-now offer was taken up, and for the princely sum of $220 NZ (about 50 bucks US) I had the Bosomworth secured. The next step didn’t come so cheaply though, but with a sale from the NZ distributor happening, the necessary group was ordered; Chorus 11 speed will be gracing the old girl, and some Shamal Ultras are being watched closely too, or I may just plump for some new Nuetron Ultras to complete the build. I’ve just bought a sweet Italmanubri quill stem for peanuts, and a post and headset are the next targets. (Wheel and component suggestions welcome.)

It may not quite be the dream bike, but it’s going to be fun to convert it into something close. So out with the carbon and in with the steel, out with the Japanese and in with the Italian. Even if the frame ends up not floating my boat, there are some back up plans in place.

I’m excited.

// Accessories and Gear // Il Progetto // The Bikes

  1. I contemplated buying this on Trademe, am totally sorry now, can’t wait to see what you do to it.

  2. It seems there is a strong Kiwi contingent lurking around here!

    I scored this little beauty from TradeMe today:

    Richard and I got talking about old bikes and stuff and Velominati came up. He is a regular reader, hopefully now commenter and community member. Cheers for the sweet stem mate!

    About an hour after Richard dropped off the stem, I was selling a pair of shoes to a guy, whose wife and new twins were in tow. We got talking about how they nearly named the young uns Frank and Andy, then about the Vuelta, and the VSP came up. “Is that you?!” he asked. Another long time lurker, apparently his wife found The Rules on a non-cycling site and turned him onto our community. He even referred to his new S Works shoes as ‘White Ladies’. Welcome Gianluca and Zoe (and little Frank n Andy!)

  3. @Brett
    I’m with @Russell; box-rims all the way. I would say even go with tubs (that’s what I’m doing with the Steel when I switch it to Campy). Awesome stem, and awesome story! Richard, Gianluca, Zoe, and Frandy – welcome!

  4. @frank

    Tubs, nah, not for everyday riding. Maybe some Open Pros, or Ambrosios if I could find any, on Campy hubs.


    Welcome to you guys as well!

  5. Brett, I ride a set of 2006 record hubs laced to open pros and alternate them with a set of 1994 shamals retro fitted with a 10speed freehub on my Merckx Max.
    They are sick wheels but you will pay plenty if you are trying to get a nos 32hole set of the silver record hubs. Mine came from ebay italy and cost more than you would pay for a small child on the Romanian black market.
    Good luck with the project – those Bosomworths like really nice.

  6. @Kiwicyclist
    Cheers mate. I’ve spotted a set of wheels on TradeMe, they are silver Chorus hubs laced to blue Open Pros. One of the rims is damaged, but they are only asking $40 reserve! Watching that closely I tell ya! I really want Ambrosio rims though, there have been a few on there, but only one at a time, a red clincher, a black tubular… But if I score thos wheels cheap even just for the hubs, I can get some OPs laced up easily. Would love the ceramic OPs, but they seem rare in these parts too.

  7. And this nice little package turned up today…

    Fools sent me 10 speed shifters though.

  8. Brett, don’t take it the wrong way, but I think you should have used a polished aluminum Campy crank, in order to fit with the thematic feel of the bike.

    Gotta love Chorus & up though~

  9. @wvcycling
    I hear ya, but if I was doing a ‘vintage’ build, true to the era, then I would’ve seeked out those parts. As it is, I’m going for a ‘nuevo-retro’ build, as if I was to buy a new Colnago Master or such, which would come with modern parts. I’m mixing it up a bit. Eventually, it could end up with a carbon fork and threadless headset/stem. Or I could end up with another carbon frame, so a polished old school crank would’ve looked even more out of place. I think Oli’s bike is a great example of what I’m going for.

  10. @wvcycling
    I’m with you here. Much prefer the polished aluminium. It’s a real shame that modern cranks are so ugly. Surely someone can make the carbon look good. Particularly disappointed with Campagnolo for releasing something ugly.

    I’d read a few years back an interview about electronic gruppos with a guy at Campagnolo who said they’d mastered the technology, but couldn’t release it since it wasn’t beautiful enough. I guess he was on holiday when they designed the cranks.

  11. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Or did I miss the memo? I love the look of the pre-84 Super Record cranks with their stunning satin finish and the aluminium Record cranks also, but I like the look of the carbon ones too…

    I’ve noticed a lot of people seem pretty adamant that they are the arbiters of style, but to me they just look closed-minded.

  12. Oli,
    i quite agree with your sentiment here, but I think that the beauty one beholds can fall into several categories:
    1. Timelessly classic
    2. Beautiful at least partly because it’s the highest performance equipment / top of the range / newest technology.
    3. Beautiful because it’s different and new now.
    Cars and bikes often fall into categories 2 and 3, and I fear the cranks do too. Let me leave you with this:
    There are several machines in here, that we might have thought beautiful in the 90’s….?

  13. , @George
    I disagree whole-heartedly that the Campy carbon cranks are ugly; they are stunning and, aside from being slightly larger in diameter (which is a nice look), they are nearly identical to the earlier alu versions.

    I like your list; 3 is bullshit, I call 2 “form follows function and function is beautiful”, and 1 is just right. The Campy stuff fills both #1 and #2 nicely.

    That TT bike is actually from one of the most exciting eras in bike innovation. They were coming out with truly innovative and crazy designs…they were unhitched from conventional thinking. Sure, that’s an ugly fucking bike, but that is a representation of a bygone era.

    I have a similar TSX to Oli’s, and I’ve gone the same way (mostly) as Oli; carbon fork, seatpost, modern wheels (Ksyrium). I’m going to switch to Campy and 3x wheels as well, but the important bits need to be modern if you’re going to ride it a lot. I had the old steel fork in there with a quil stem, and I just couldn’t get my position to be identical to the other bikes, so I wasn’t riding it. Tossed in the carbon fork (found me a Bianchi carbon) and I was good to go.

    The steel will feel amazing, but the modern components have to be added to the mix to make it a true daily-use steed. That said, I’m using my old Record alu crankset on it, and doing my best to find the alu Chorus 10spd shifters…

  14. @ George; how about beautiful because it please your eye and no other reason? And I never liked the yellow on Pantani’s machines, but wouldn’t presume to criticise it if someone owned a bike in that colour scheme.

    My point about beauty is in the eye of the beholder should have had the added statement that if you haven’t got anything nice to say, perhaps don’t say anything at all. Especially when you’re talking about someone else’s taste in bicycles.

    That’s just how I roll…Cheers, Oli

  15. @Brett
    The carbone cranks are beautiful(to me) and will look great on the rebuild. I’m getting a little carbone thinking about it. And the new external bearings seem like an improvement. Who wants to install a square taper BB on any bike anymore? Not me. I have a slightly used Campy record sealed square taper BB if you ever want one, English threads. Or you Frank? eh?

  16. Agreed, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. People will always disagree on what bike looks good, what doesn’t, which riders rule and which ones suck. And a lot of time we say things that may be not very nice. But that is why we have such a good little community here, and spirited discussion is always welcome. In the end though, no matter who we call a douche, we are inherently pretty good folk.

  17. I’ve been riding a combination of steel bikes for about 2 or so years with modern running gear – managed to get a great deal on campy record 10spd with alloy cranks from for two bikes and had ops laced up by shifterbikes in Melbourne. I didn’t like the skeleton brakes on frames of that era and wanted the combination of a period ‘look’ (e.g. 32 hole box style rims, alloy cranks etc) with modern running gear and reliable performance – weight was less of an issue given these frames are ‘relatively’ heavy anyway. My latest is as per the attached link as posted up by Marcus previously
    I’ve raced these bikes and they go as good uphill or on the flat as any modern carbon bike in my view. My track bike is even older and all pretty much period ‘correct’ – 1983 Falcon formerly owned by Shane Sutton fully restored and raced regularly. Its good to keep these old beauties going….

  18. You know me Brett, cranky at the best of times. ;-)

    Apologies to George if I came on a bit strong – I think I was still a coffee short…

  19. @Oli Brooke-White
    It’s all good, you probably had a touch of the Armstrongs there…

  20. You’d be pissed off too if the whole internet hated you!

  21. @Oli Brooke-White
    Not just the internet. I heard there’s this one kid in Texas who likes him still, but…

  22. Brett,
    Welcome to my world.
    I can’t think of a way to say this without sounding like I’m bragging…I own a pretty mint Bosomworth that was made by the man himself and this might well be the inspiration to blog how it arrived in my life.
    Thanks for sharing.

  23. Is the Bosomworth still sitting around in the shop?

  24. @minion
    Yep, just needs a groupset and wheels! Donations welcome…

  25. Yes! Finally something about mobile games.

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