Hey there, AYC patrons! Today is another awesome day of bike riding and bike teching. Last night, my next door neighbor gave me this awesome late 70's machine. It's my first ever British project, and my first ever 531 frame to be working on.
Here's a picture of the bike before I tear it down:
Now, I know it's not currently that much of a looker, but this bike is made of awesome materials, by an awesome British manufacturer, and it has an awesome history...
As soon as my neighbor gave me the bike, I went down to the local shop with it to have a nice chat with the owner, Chris Robinson (of Robinson Wheel Works) in order to try to ascertain a date. He's willing to bet money on the fact that it's 78-82; however, I'm not so sure. It's either a bit older than that, or it's a very conservative bike of its era with 27" wheel geometry, nutted brakes, and split cable housing guides/pump pegs.
Anyway, some fun facts came up when I took this to Chris. Apparently, the bike was purchased from a famous local store in Alameda, when Chris was still in high school. He was working there at the time, and even though the wheels don't match, they both bear his wheelbuilder sticker -- he built both of the wheels, and probably saw this bike ride out the door.
The restoration is going to start with a nice oxalic/citric acid soak just strong enough to remove the internal rust (I just need to find a kiddie pool). I don't know if I'm going to strip the paint, just because that would start getting pricey with a new powdercoat. Plus, the patina on the frame gives it a lot of character.
This frame is also a bit of a mystery. Its real date is being highly debated, and there are no serials to be found. Another thing I found truly odd was the fact that this bike is outfitted with Shimano dropouts. Most British bikes, especially Mercians, are outfitted with Campagnolo dropouts, so I'm willing to wager that this bike is at least semi-custom.
Those dropouts won't stop me from taking off the mish-mash of parts, and throwing on some beautiful 7speed Campy products... Also, a new, matching set of wheels is in the garage waiting for a new home (as well as a pair of unexpected 700c tubulars) on this bike. Currently, the only parts I know have lined up for this bike are the crankset and the brakeset.
Keep tunin' in for more updates as the project progresses.
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