Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Revelo No.1- A Study in Black & Silver

Here is the first of several Revelo retro bikes in the works.
This is emphatically NOT a restoration, but rather a concept bike assembled entirely of new components. Most of the components are new-old stock; a few are new where vintage parts are not critical to the design.

The idea for this bike grew out of the Campagnolo “Sport” 3 pin cotterless steel crankset. Rather rare, the “Sport” was introduced in 1971, and replaced by an alloy version- the “Nuovo Gran Sport” in 1973. Although it was meant as an entry level crankset, the “Sport” is very elegant, with super slender arms, and the quality of finish for which Campagnolo is famous. Already retro in 1971, it is reminiscent of the Gnutti splined cotterless cranks of the previous era. Joel Metz of blackbirdsf.org has theorized that both the Gnutti cotterless and the Campagnolo “Sport” cranks were actually made by Magistroni.

The acquisition of a black new-old stock frameset brought this project into focus. It was represented by the seller as being made by the Spanish maker Razesa. In the early ‘70s and early ‘80s, Razesa made high end framesets for the Spanish component manufacturer Zeus, and this frame resembles the Zeus “Victoria”- a club racer model. It has no markings whatsoever, and inexplicably sports forged Gipiemme dropouts rather than the expected Zeus dropouts. In any case, the framset, though not super light by today’s standards, sports some interesting details: an unusual sloping fork crown, and oval chainstays, suggesting Columbus tubing.

The contrast between the chrome crankset and the all black frame jelled the concept: an understated, all black and silver club racer.

Diligent shopping netted the appropriate complimentary gruppo- Campagnolo “Gran Sport” ca.1971-1979, all new-old stock. I’ve always liked the “Gran Sport” gruppo- a slightly less polished version of the “Nuovo Record” gruppo- Campagnolo’s crème-de-la-crème components of the era until the introduction of the “Super Record” gruppo in 1974. A little elbow grease and a dab of Simichrome polish will bring these components up to full parade dress. Campagnolo “Gran Sport” pedals proved difficult to obtain in new-old stock condition, so I have substituted a pair of new-old stock Zeus “Gran Sport” pedals; identical copies. Likewise, the headset is new-old stock Zeus “Gran Sport”- correct for the frameset.

The Cinelli 1A handlebar stem probably outclasses the other components, but to my eye, it is the quintessential stem of the era, and I happened to have an old logo, new-old stock example on hand. It is complimented by an Ambrosia “Campione del Mondo” handlebar wrapped Merckx-style in black cotton tape, and capped with Velox rubber plugs.

The wheels are hand-built on Campagnolo “Nuovo Tipo” hubs, using stainless straight gauge spokes, new-old stock Rigida Red Label rims, and shod with new Continental “Contact” 700x28c tires.

The whole ensemble is topped off with a handful of new components. A new Brooks B17 saddle with chrome plated rivets sits on a new-old stock Campagnolo “Gran Sport” seat pin. The nickel chrome plated 6-speed freewheel and chain are by Interloc Racing Design. The highly polished Honjo aluminum fenders are from Velo Orange.

The graphics are intentionally understated, so as to not compete visually with the black and silver color scheme. Short run water slide decals for application over black paint proved to be an interesting technical challenge; fodder for another blog entry.

Altogether, the effect is that of a European club racer as it was meant to be- before being stripped down to full racing dress for the American market.
Straight out of the Revelo time machine- brand spanking new, and unridden. Bobish…dare I say Bobalicious?

There are more pictures of the bicycle here.

Here are the tech specs:

Frame: Razesa NOS

Model: Victoria

Seat Tube, C-C: 61cm

Top Tube, C-C: 57cm

Chainstays, C-C: 42cm

Stand-over Height: 86.5cm

Rear Dropout Width: 126mm

Front Dropout Width: 100mm

Bottom Bracket: Italian

Tubing: Columbus (?)

Dropouts: Gipiemme, forged

Rear Mech: Campagnolo “Nuovo Gran Sport” NOS

Front Mech: Campagnolo “Gran Sport” NOS

Shifters: Campagnolo “Record” NOS

Cable Routers: Campagnolo NOS

Crankset: Campagnolo “Sport” NOS

Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo “Nuovo Record” NOS

Freewheel: IRD 6-speed, 13-28 New

Chain: IRD New

Pedals: Zeus “Gran Sport” NOS

Toe Clips: MKS, Lg NOS

Toe Straps: Lapize NOS

Rims: Rigida Red Label, 700c x 36 NOS

Hubs: Campagnolo “Nuovo Tipo” LF NOS

Spokes: Stainless Steel, straight gauge New

Tires: Continental “Contact,” 700 x 28C New

Brake Calipers: Campagnolo “Gran Sport” NOS

Brake Levers: Campagnolo “Gran Sport” NOS

Cable Housing: 5mm, black New

Headset: Zeus “Gran Sport” NOS

Handlebars: Ambrosia “Campione del Mondo,” 43cm NOS

Wrap: Black cotton/ Velox ends New/NOS

Stem: Cinelli 1A, old logo, 100mm NOS

Saddle: Brooks B17, black New

Seat Pin: Campagnolo “Gran Sport,” 25.8mm NOS

Fenders: Velo Orange/Honjo, Extra long, 35mm New

Pump: Primus, black NOS