Il Gruppo Progetto: Serotta Colorado AL

The Velominatus’ machine is their own manifestation of personal taste and demonstration of adherence to The Rules.  We each, in our own way, meticulously maintain our bicycles and adorn them with the essential, yet minimal, accoutrement.   Yes, we must Obey the Rules pertaining to bar tape, tyre selection, saddle choice, stem height, color matching and so on.  But within those parameters there lies flexibility and choice.

Furthermore, this site is a refuge we turn to for brotherhood, community, and belonging.  However, cyberspace is a vacuum in that we apply and practice our craft apart from one another, spread to all corners of the globe.  With this in mind, I offer an experiment,  Il Gruppo Progetto, inspired by Brett’s Il Progetto: Bosomworth.  The intent, dare I say charge, of Il Gruppo Progetto, is for our community of Velominati to come together in designing my new build project, a Serotta Colorado AL.

I picked up the Serotta frame and fork recently to further my adherence, em, obsession over Rule #12.  Although not a top shelf Serotta (think of it as Maker’s Mark as opposed to The Glenlivet), it is a platform worthy of respect, care, and craftsmanship.  As fall arrived I found my foul weather steed in need of replacement and the Serotta was the perfect combination of material, style, and economics.  My mind was flooded with ideas of how I might build her up.  Then I thought of all of you, your experience, ideas, and of course, passion.

So as fellow Velominati, I humbly ask of your counsel for this build.  The basic platform is as follows:

  • Serotta Colorado AL frame and Kinesis aluminum fork
  • Shimano Ultegra 6600 and 6500 mixed group set (6500 cranks – octolink) 10 sp
  • Shimano SPD SL pedals
  • Bontrager XXX Lite wheelset

As you can see from the list above this worthy steed is in need of much more.  Bars, stem, bar tape, saddle, seat post, possibly a fork, tires, chain, headset, and cables.  Please keep in mind the following:

  • I do have budget constraints.
  • This bike should be capable of riding many miles on gravel as well as tarmac.
  • My plan is for this bike to be utilitarian in nature.  Performance, knock-about, foul weather, durability, weight, aesthetics, tradition, period (mid 90’s to 2004 or so)

So there you have it.  My proposition is for us to come together in a modicum of further connection than what cyberspace allows.  My hope is that the finished build will be a tangible symbol of our collective wisdom and a reminder to me of what we, the Velominati represent,  as I ride this bike.

Thanks in advance for playing.

Related Posts

133 Replies to “Il Gruppo Progetto: Serotta Colorado AL”

  1. @Marko

    I was ready to jump on that 3T Motus quill stem for my rain bike, but there are some reports of it cracking easily. What do you think?

    My rain bike is a LeMelvis and has a top tube that’s proportionally as long as Frank’s stem. I’m hunting for a shorter quill stem or short-reach handlebars.

    In other news, earlier today the iPhone tried to autocorrect my search for “Vittoria” to “buttocks.” What?

  2. @roadslave Not sure I want to introduce that sort of calculation into our household. The only weapons grade plutonium permitted is permanently under lock and key of SWMBO. While in Chianti I tried tentatively suggesting a wee 500k round-trip Pirata Pilgrimage to Cesenatico, but one look was sufficient to indicate that the plutonium safe would be in danger of opening were that idea pursued. (And, if it is of any assistance re the green eyed monster, I came back from the trip 3.5kgs heavier than when I left …).

    @Steampunk Yes, I wondered about the LeakyGas effect. But that doesn’t explain the Trek thing. I rather suspect it’s more to do with simple economics.

    BTW, Marko, nice post. Cool idea. Next time Brett suggests some modification to a steed of mine I may submit it to the wider group for discussion …

  3. @Geoffrey Grosenbach
    I heard the same thing about the motus which is why i went with the cinelli. One thing I read was the Motus, having the two-piece clamp, although convenient, is not as strong. I actually read something about Cipo not riding them for more than a race or two, not that i’d ever crank on them like Cipo.

    James has mentioned the mid 90’s and earlier cinelli quills typically have 26.4 clamps which limits us to cinelli bars. not a bad thing, just limiting these days.

    i have found a ebayer with a shit ton of NOS 3ttt and cinelli stuff. and don’t tell Gianni, but they have rolls and rolls of Benotto bar tape in original packaging. Where to these people find this stuff?

    Thanks, I figured what the hell. I’ve learned quite a bit from these peeps today and think I’ll end up with a cool bike.

    Bars done. Cinelli Campione Del Mundo.

    Now, saddle and bar tape.

  4. Marko, you have us all in a lather with a project like this. It’s like 50 of your most obnoxious friends standing there in your shop, beer in hand, giving conflicting advice.
    Does a rain bike get fenders? If it does I know the fenders it needs.
    I have that Motus stem on my steel bike. It’s nothing great but I installed it because I was shipping the bike enough it was one of the only quill stems that let you remove the handlebars like all modern stems do, all at once.

    I just put a new SRAM chain on zeee Merlin and the power link no longer comes apart, grrrrrr. At least I couldn’t get it apart. Though I never owned one, I would suggest the connex stainless steel chain. This is a rain bike after all.

    Headset…a silver Chris King would rule, their blue wouldn’t match. I’d stick with the Al fork for now, to keep it regulation. Lastly, cable housing, blue would look sweet, silver jagwires would work, Brett is a little hard-assed about all black, maybe he has been living in NZ for too long(obscure All Black Kiwi uniform reference).

    That is some funny shit.

    I was a 40 year old with no car, living with me mum, and racing a BMX bike and still listening to Slayer so that demonstrates my maturity level.

    So you now have a car? Don’t live with your mum? And don’t listen to Slayer?
    I need an update on your lifestyle.

  5. @Gianni
    not that it wasn’t cherry to begin with but the aluminum stays shined right up. stuck a few of my bits on but am stuck until the headset, bars, stem arrive.

    Interesting note about this bike is the seat and downtubes are tapered, surely to stiffen the BB. Serotta called it their concept tubing back in the day. Seems to me it would have been fairly radical back then but maybe someone could chime in. Luckily i had 34.9 clamp front derailleur hanging out in the shop.

  6. @Gianni
    I am guessing our friend Cyclops is still living with mum (good to see you Americans using the correct spelling – but they are mudguards FFS) as he needs to borrow her sewing machine to do the Velominati saddle covers?

  7. Man – that Serotta is cool. I’ve always been a Serotta fan – they make fantastic frames. Then add in Ben Serotta’s fit system that he designed years ago, that to me, makes the most sense. Serotta also has quite a bit of old school history. If I was building up a new bike, a steel Serotta would be on the list.

    That aluminum Serotta looks great. I’m a sucker for unfinished welds – looks “factory” – and I mean that in a ’70s motocross way, meaning “trick”. Oops, sorry – showing my age once again.

    I’d build that up with mid-level stuff, like Ultegra – compact crank – nice wheels and the fattest tires that fit. Old Flite saddle for my old ass, and I’d be happy.

    Damn cool bike. Keep the pictures coming.

  8. @G’phant

    “I can’t afford it…”

    Whatever, lawyer boy! If ever there’s a candidate for having a bling Italian Stallion between his legs, it’s you. Obviously no balls between there though…

  9. @Dan O
    Cheers Dan O. That’s pretty much what I’m doing.

    I’m a fan of fat welds too. My P.K. Ripper was welded like that and I thought it was so rad in 83 or whenever it was.

    Serotta definitely have their following, Ben being the svenjolly of it all. As for fit, it’s interesting as well. my numero uno steed is a BMC which are known for their own unique fit. The BMC is a “57” and the Serotta is a “60”. Seems like a huge difference eh, but it’s really not. The headtube of the serotta is only 1/4 inch longer, the toptube is 3/4 inch longer, and the seat tube is only 1/2 inch longer. I can’t find specs on anything else for the Serotta, not even on their forum, as these Colorado AL’s aren’t that common. Again, it’s far from an Otrott but still a cool bike.

  10. Not a fan of Shimano shifters, especially older Ultegra and lower (ugly cable routing, plus the cable likes to fray inside the shifter housing). I’d look for some cheap SRAM Rivals. The frame is pimpin’, tho, and the saddle/ bar tape combo above would look sweet!

  11. @Marko

    Seems like a huge difference eh, but it’s really not. The headtube of the serotta is only 1/4 inch longer, the toptube is 3/4 inch longer, and the seat tube is only 1/2 inch longer.

    I don’t understand any of what you’re saying. Nearest I can figure is your leg is shorter than your arm.

    nteresting note about this bike is the seat and downtubes are tapered, surely to stiffen the BB. Serotta called it their concept tubing back in the day. Seems to me it would have been fairly radical back then but maybe someone could chime in. Luckily i had 34.9 clamp front derailleur hanging out in the shop.

    Any clue what year that frame is? In 91 or so, maybe it was a bit before that, Columbus built a steel tubeset for Merckx called the Columbux Max which he used to build his MX Leader frameset. It had not only tapered tubesets, but was reversed both directions; flaring wide at the BB and then going tall and skinny at the HT to make it more awesome.

    I know Columbus sold that tubeset elsewhere, and I’m not clear if that was because an agreement between Merckx and Columbus ran out or if it was always available, but I thought it was made for Merckx either way.

    That was a big innovation at the time. A few years before my dad bought the MX Leader (pictures will come next time I’m home), he had bought a Somec with TSX tubing. We were riding alu ‘whales at the time which rode like a chimney on jackhammers. I remember I got on that Somec and my eyes opened. Writing this now, that might have been the moment I really, truly fell in love with bikes. The way that thing danced under me…it revolutionized what a bike could feel like.

    The Somec was all round tubes, everwhere, but TSX is columbus’s stiffest tubeset. Brett tells me it’s for “fat guys”, but there’s no pleasing Brett, so don’t bother trying.

    Then came the MX Leader, and much later I picked up the steel Bianchi TSX, which has round tubes most everywhere except at the BB. That’s a ’96 as far as I can figure, and by that time Cannondale had tapered the crap out of their tubes and had bikes you could actually ride without needing to replace your chamois creme with Preparation H.

    I guess this is a long way of saying that if it’s 96+ you probably don’t have an innovation on your hands, but at least you have something that will ride well. Much earlier than that – bearing in mind it’s alu – and it’s a crapshoot.

  12. @Marko

    That saddle is fucking ASKING for some embroidery lovin’. Not to mention how good she’ll look with the bike. And let me remind you it’s quite silver. Brett.

  13. @frank
    re this:


    Destroyed a set of shimano pads in one particularly wet day.

    There’s your mistake; you’re not supposed to use your brakes.

    I agree with your sentiment, but sometimes that is clearly moronic. On this day, I passed someone who had been following your advice. He had crashed head first into a cliff on a descent and was lying face down in the stream of water running down the road with his feet twitching alarmingly. I honestly thought the guy was dying.
    I make no apology.

  14. Marko,
    I think you’re fucking up.
    You’re in danger of building a bike that will be too beautiful to use in the rain.

  15. @frank
    It’s a ’97 (25th anniversary edition) so if your theory holds true maybe it’ll ride as nice as it’ll look. I know what you mean about the early 90’s ‘whales. Whilst a young college lad in 92 or so I traded a dude a bag of weed for a ‘whale mountain bike. They were THE hot frames then weren’t they? I remember the first time I saw one with those MASSIVE tubes. So cool I thought. If a frame could be made of glass without breaking, that’s how I imagine the ride feel, zero flex/dampening.
    I can picture you following Volvos and Saabs around North Oaks riding your cutting edge cannonwhale in your Dale of Norway sweater circa early-mid nineties. Classic.

    I do think the FDJ antares is the way to go. For the record though, it’s white and blue, not silver and blue. So now I’m introducing white into the palette.

    Damn, I fucked up? Thanks, man.


    So if I go with the blue/white antares and bar tape do I dare go with yellow KoolStop pads or is that going too far? Perhaps black pads are safe, afterall, this bike will be ridden after Labor Day.

  16. This is my first post. I feel obliged to post to point out that the Fizik tape is ‘patent’ in nature in the lower section (drops) but transitions to branded and matte in the upper sections.

    Whilst this can allow a fine show of your taping skills, it’s not really in keeping with a frame of such traditional beauty, which I feel would work best with simple white perforated tape (unbranded) such as that made by Deda and Silva. A white and black (or pictured white and blue antares) saddle would set this off, otherwise, I’d go all black.

    Were an Easton made Dura Ace post of the period to find itself on the frame, it’d be a happy post indeed.

  17. @Musket
    Way to make an entrance man! Very good suggestions as the perforated tape would certainly be “period” and be quite a match to the cinelli bars.

    I’ll have to scour the interwebs for said post.

    Righteous, mate.

  18. @Musket: and you come out all guns blazing… nice post. Particularly liked the “Whilst this can allow a fine show of your taping skills…” awesome. And then you tie it all in with a return to Rule #8 and black, black, black…. be obliged more often, please

  19. @George
    I think I prefer the FDJ saddle, but I’m not sold on the blue and white bar tape, which puts me in agreement with @Musket. And the more I think of it, maybe this ride needs a more old-school saddle. These very contemporary ones don’t look quite right.

  20. @Steampunk
    This is why I’m leaning black. Yes, it is a contemporary saddle but at least in all black it’ll be more subdued. Furthermore, I’m struggling with the introduction of another color (white). As Brett pointed out, it’s not a christmas tree. I love the antares though as it’s what’s on my other bike and as I said, I like the boys to play in the same neighborhood.

    and although I’m fairly confident in my taping skills, I could use more work.

  21. If you wanted a more “old school” saddle, but don’t want an old school beating betwixt your tuberosities, I’d go an all black Regal E (new Regal) – similar width (150mm v 147mm) and shape to the Antares, but with old school Regal cred. It’s even available in limited numbers with old school rivets at rear.

    So far as worrying about another colour with white, I wouldn’t. White is a primary colour, and so long as tape and saddle match, it’ll work just perfectly. If anything, it’ll better show the blue and yellow of the frame. Yellow or blue tape with a semi matched saddle run the risk of making your bike look like an optical illusion. If colours worry you, start with removing the decals from those rims.

    I’d use some King stainless cages, or Elite Ciussi stainless on that too.

  22. @Musket
    I like where you’re going with this. Something tells me you’ve got a gorgeous bike(s) lying, er being ridden, around. And yes, the decals are coming off the rims. Definitely thinking elite ciussi cages with yellow nubbins.

  23. I like the black Antares. Esp if you embroider it, would be very late 90’s PRO.

    I’m all for white saddles on a race day rig, but seeing a dingy white saddle de-sheened and grit ground in from many miles of training isn’t so impressione.

  24. @Marko
    Those are bling-tastic! And sealed bearings, a must have for the rain bike.

    I like the boys to play in the same neighborhood.

    heehehee, you are wise. Stick with the same saddle, I’d vote black to keep it simple.

    You never mentioned mud guards(FFS!) If you need ’em, these are wicked nice. Aluminum too.

  25. @Jaja
    Jaja, the nitto crossed my mind, briefly. They are widely available and compatible with much, but, it screams hipster fixie doosh to me. The cinelli, OTOH, bellows out a classic soprano aria. Thanks for the post though.

    them are sexy mudguards.

  26. @Marko

    I shall have to avert my eyes from my stem on the way home tonight, now I know it is screaming hipster fixie doosh to all and sundry! Although I live in Kent and we don’t really do hipster fixies down here, so I might get away with it.

    Have you gone for those handlebars?

  27. @Jaja
    Doh, sorry Jaja, no offense. I will say this for Nitto, they seemed to have picked up the quill stem torch left extinguished long ago by the likes of cinelli, 3ttt, and others. There certainly is still a need and I understand they’re nice stems.

    Yes, I ended up with cinelli campione del mundo bars. nice match to the stem methinks. i went narrower as well (42) as I usually ride a 44 but in keeping with the period I thought narrower bars would be a subtle nod.

  28. Agree with Gianni on the saddle – whilst it may go against all things velominati, function beats form when it comes to a saddle. Saw a good bumper sticker on another cycling site the other day – “if no one an see you riding a fixie, is it still cool?”.

  29. @Marcus
    It’s like the old joke about scooters and fat women. They’re both fun to ride until your buddies find out.

  30. @Musket
    You mad fucking genius. The Regal saddle. I am 100% with you on this one, Marko’s boys can learn to play in another playground. Good enough for LeMond and Boonen, good enough for me.


    Saw a good bumper sticker on another cycling site the other day

    *gasp* There are other cycling sites?

  31. @Marko

    No offence taken. Beautiful bars. I’m a big fan of polished bars – I will probably be doing a bit of de-anodising and polishing this winter.

    next question: what about down tube shifters?

  32. @Jaja
    I like the Brooks idea, in fact I already have one. I’ll see how it looks. Thing is, it’s fine riding in jeans on a commuter bike but the rivets drive me nuts in my kit. Would look sweet though.

    Negatory on the downtube shifters, i’ve already got the gruppo. But it would be sweet if I was doing that much of a build. Next build, steel, downtube shifters

  33. Wow, so many cool suggestions, and a lot of wacky ones too (mostly from Marko, coincidentally!).

    I don’t know about getting too hung up on ‘period’ componentry for this bike, after all, it’s not a frickin steel Colnago or Merckx, it’s an ALUMINIUM Serotta, and intended as a bit of a beater, no? No Offence meant, but I think putting a Brooks saddle on it would then necessitate ditching those Bontrager wheels.

    Now I’m almost finished my Bosomworth build, reading these comments makes me wonder a little if I should have gone traditional/period on the build. But what I’m going for is a nice riding steel frame with modern components that will be my primary bike, one that I want to ride and enjoy, and can be upgraded to a more modern steel frame in the future. I’m looking at older steel bikes now for a winter/commuter, and it will end up with older stuff on it. Marko, you need to remember the purpose of the bike, keep it simple (you know, Shimano and Bontrager ain’t flash!)

    Got my Ambrosios laced up, just waiting for my ITM bar and a nice post, then we’re done!

  34. @Brett
    +1. Those wheels are ready for Roubaix!

    Being an Aussie in NZ, do you have an opinion on EMC2 bikes. I loaded up on an ebay deal too good to be true and so far I am happy with it – Team issue, Record 10 speed and Fulcrum zeros (which clash I know).

  35. Marko :

    What wacky suggestions?

    Yellow brake pads, blue tape, white saddles, anodized jockey wheels… should I go on?


    EMC2’s are pretty good bikes, I see a few around, mainly lower priced ones. The Team looks pretty nice. Eric MacKenzie was a famous racer here, and rode the Tour. I don’t think he builds frames, just desingns them, but I guess he gets his carbon stuff farmed out from China.

  36. @Brett
    I loaded up on an Equipe Team full Record 10 speed and Fulcrum Zeros (a clash with Campy I know) for AUD $2850. The deal was just too good to ignore. The only problem was my lack of experience with ebay which saw the Vendor ring my home number. There he proceeded to deliver the VelomiVeryAngry the great news(so he thought) that I had bought “a $9,000 bike”.

    Needless to say, she hadn’t been told anything about a new bike purchase nor did she hear anything past $9,000.

  37. HELP NEEDED – I don’t know if such a thing as a “broken arrow” exists for the Velominati, but I need the near-psychotic attention to detail that Frank, other keepers and fellow Velominati possess to help me out of a bind.

    Last night, I went as a +1 to my wife’s trendy work thingy, the Frieze Art Fair opening in London. She works in the art world… sorry. There were lots of beards, strangely, and many pairs of stripper heels on some inappropriately aged and dressed hot looking women.. but I digress.

    Bored shitless, I wandered the stalls, until I came across this (Frank, I’ve emailed you the JPEG… pls insert here, ideally with a cool hyperlink on the ‘this’ so people think I’m down with the kids and wired), which is a Gursky (estimated sale value $100,000+, I shit you not)… entitled “Tour de France 2007”. Given the price, I’m somewhat irritated. Bigshot photographer he may be, but he could at least tell us the fucking stage he was photographing (from a fucking helicopter, with a sodding expensive Hasselbladd – spelling may be off, sorry)…

    Anyhow, the wife turns to me, and says “My husband seems to like this cycling lark, HE can tell us exactly which stage of the TdF this was, who was in the lead, etc.” at which point I said I’d get back to them, and am now on this website, saying please help. Please, please help. i cannot face the smirks of this group of intellectual arty mother fuckers who will look at me with confirmation of my idiot nature that I can’t even identify a single stage of a fucking bike race, whilst they can take a pile of bricks and some tarts soiled underwear and sell both for over $1m apiece.

    What is the stage of the 2007 Tour de France is this? Which climb is it? What other trivia should I know? BROKEN ARROW! BROKEN ARROW!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.