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 Post subject: Ribble 653 Record
PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:09 am 
Feature Bike
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:13 pm
Posts: 1143
Location: York-ish UK
Now then Rouleurs,

I've been loitering on the MTB forum for a few years, but hadn't got it together to produce a Racer, until now.

However, I had managed to gather a hatful of frames and a bunch of assorted kit, but the cold light of reality broke in recently and bullied me into selling most of it with the intent of buying something that I could actually ride.

And while I was contemplating what sort of retro roadie to go for, this bike came up, and I couldn't let if pass:


Image

Frame


Its 56cm c-t-c with a longish toptube and simple lugs (Prugnat?). No name drop outs; slotted BB shell; internal cable routing; pump peg and chain hanger; no other markings or serial number, just a 56 stamped into the BB. Paint job is very average and it will be off to Bob Jackson eventually.

I've seen similar bikes that the owners say were Dolan built, but I've no idea who made this for the shop. My guess is it is early to mid 1990's. Any ideas who built for Ribble back then?

As a self confessed amateur geek when it comes to steel frame materials, what made me pull the trigger on this otherwise unassuming shop bike was the fact that it's made of Reynolds 653 Record.

Image


653 is widely reported to be a sweet frameset with its blend of 531 front and 753 rear tubes, but I'd not heard of the Record variant.

After a bit of googling (actually, a lot, 'cause there is loads of opinion out there to winnow), the best info I can find is that 653 Record is a late incarnation of 653 with finely drawn out main tubes (like 531 Pro), coupled to the usual 753 rear stays.

Comparing top tube measurements, those made of 653 Record are 0.7/0.4 butted; regular 653 and 531c are 0.8/0.5; while 753 are 0.7/0.5 or 0.7/0.3 (track). There is an often copied internet rumour that 653 was developed with Eddy Merckx, but I'm not sure I buy it.

I'm hoping there are some steel experts on here who can chip in with more info on the material: e.g when was it manufactured; did you have to be 753 cert'd to build with it, etc.?


Image


Ride


Soooo.... after 20 odd years away from road machines, how does a thin tubed steel bike ride? Sensationally. After using MTBs on and off road, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stomach a bone shaker ride - but this bike is beautifully supple and intuitive, even with skinny tubs over the back lanes (although I must confess reaching for the brake lever extenders a couple of times - muscle memory from my old Raleigh Winner ....)

And when you stomp on the pedals (despite the photo, I have got some) it leaps into life. I haven't got much experience to compare it with, but I've heard complaints about 531 being a bit flexy when you whallop the power: this won't be an issue.

Perhaps most noticable for me was the steering. I'm still getting used to how subtle you can be with steering inputs using pedal pressure, knees and body. And I've realised I don't really know how to pedal, and that it is quite important (for the first time I can see the advantage of clipless).


Components

On first impressions, the 600 group is workman like: brakes are much better than expected and the sti units are intuitive if a little lacking in bite/precision. But given the frame material, I think this is going to be a bit of a weight weenie build.

Image


I'm leaning toward an upgrade to Dura Ace 7410 in time. So far I have changed the original 105/MA40 wheels for some radial bladed Wolber tubs laced to Mavic 501s. Another survivor from the shed exodus was a Campy alloy 7 speed freewheel that I'd been hoarding for years. With these on it's down to around 20lbs and very lively. The Flite saddle is quite comfy, but I think a brooks will be a weight penalty worth conceding.

Image


Anyone recommend a good book on how to pedal?

cheers :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:49 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:28 pm
Posts: 921
Location: Almeria, Spain
Nice Bike Doc,

I had a similar one in a yellow / blue fade. The frame had been standing outside for some years but once I freed the seat post and built it up it rode very well with lots of "spring".

I was so pleased with it I had it resprayed by Mario at Vaz Finishes. Sadly after a year or two the down tube rotted out from the inside despite having been Waxoiled by me at rescue time.

Worth checking this if you can with all steel frames I now Know.

Any way enjoy your new ride.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:13 pm
Posts: 1143
Location: York-ish UK
Thanks shedo. It looks like this one has led a sheltered life so far, and I'm a fairweather sort, so hopefully it will last a while.

Since first posting I've been trying to find out who made these. On close inspection, the rear dropouts are marked TI14. This and the semi-vertical dropouts with adjuster holes suggests that they are columbus items.

With these, no serial number but a frame size stamp, I'm leaning toward the conclusion that it was put together by an Italian factory that built for other brands to market.

Anyone know which Italian makers were accredited to braze reynolds heat treated tubes?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:03 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
Posts: 5131
Location: Wakefield, Yorkshire
Nice bike, looks in good condition so why bother with a respray? The paintwork is a lot better than some bikes I've seen around - mine included!

Give it a good polish and keep the patina, you know it makes sense :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:53 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:24 pm
Posts: 47
Lovely bike. I'm still riding my Ribble SLX from 1988. It's going up the Galibier and Alpe D'Huez in 20 days time, eeek :shock:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:56 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:18 pm
Posts: 3186
Location: NFA
Excellent.

Thats a bike I would be proud to own (although much bigger, obviously)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:58 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:54 pm
Posts: 165
Hi Doctor
the frames were built by Autostrada back then ,we sub contracted for a lot of major retailers .I may well have built that very frame,the quality and accuracy would put many of other so called hand built frames to shame.
The lugs and drop outs are tecnociclo made in Italy again good quality items


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:40 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:27 am
Posts: 414
Location: Staffordshire
Andy PA, tell us more.
Autostrada, Mike Kowall, yes?. Where were you based.
We are having a little discussion, on a Harry Hall CX bike, and possible Mike Kowall connections with Harry Hall frames.
Mike.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:19 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:54 pm
Posts: 165
Show me some detail photos lugs etc and I can tell if its a Kowal
btw record 653 is a lighter main frame thats all,you dont need a 753 cert to build one but dont get to hung up on that because the cert is a joke and doesnt mean you can build a frame properly.The rear triangle and forks are 753 and should be silver soldered ,I havent met many people who could silver solder properly ,as soon as the flux goes black you have over heated the tubing and it will crack.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:13 pm
Posts: 1143
Location: York-ish UK
Great stuff AndyPA -- that's made my day! It's such a sweet frame: great to know its pedigree and how it's made.

Can you tell us more about Autostrada back then? (I'm assuming it's the one in Staffs) Was it a big outfit?

much obliged


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