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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:28 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:23 pm
Posts: 49
Following a suggestion to my introduction post, I'll share some details about my current project here.

This bike was a fluke find at a local fleamarket. Clearly, it had suffered through multiple disinterested (or at least dispassionate) owners in the past, judging by the flat tires, locked up brakes, rusted chain, etc. More than that, at some point a previous owner deemed a chainguard necessary, as well as a set of flat bars. On the good side of the equation (the very good side), was the fact that most of the bike was finished with a Campagnolo Super Record groupset. Even better, the seatpost, chainring, brake calipers are all pantographed quite nicely. Unfortunately, due the swapped bars and other 'improvements' over the last 30 years, it's not in 'all original' condition: the panto'd stem and brake levers it would have had are missing, the pedals were switched for a pair of the cheapest possible plastic platforms, nor were the wheels that were mounted on it original (swapped out for no-name clinchers somewhere along the line). The frame, similarly, shows signs of hard living... Don't get me wrong, the bones are solid; no significant rust (beyond some surface stuff), and no dents in any tubes whatsoever. But there are certainly chips, scratches, gouges, and marks aplenty to show that she hasn't been an indoor queen. So, clearly a diamond in the rough, but certainly one worth saving!

Here is the first set of photos, taken before I tore into her... they are among the worst mobile phone snapshots I've ever taken, with my neighbors' backyards in better focus, but it's what I got! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:37 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:23 pm
Posts: 49
Ok, on to chapter 2: disassembly! (or maybe "disassembly, and focusing the camera!")

As I started tearing into the bike, I noticed that the build date on the frame was stamped clearly into the headtube - convenient! However, the Campy bits that were mounted all seem to predate the frame build by 5 years? The rear derailleur is a Super Record Patent '77, and the crankarms are equally date stamped with a '7' in a diamond. Hmmm... a mystery! Some good folks over on bikeforums helped speculate a bit, and helped with some identification as there are no decals on the frame other than those clearly visible. In my view a likely scenario is that someone had an earlier Superleggera and swapped the groupset over to a newer frame, but anyone's guess is really just as good.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:54 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:23 pm
Posts: 49
Moving on... capturing progress over several days with dish and tooth brushes, varying degrees of sand paper, emery board, polishing compound, a partner tolerating my modifying our living room coffee table into a workshop, and one sunbathing dog.

During cleanup, I was able to confirm that the fork and frame are indeed a matched pair - the bottom shell and the forktube have the same stampings. The fork also shows the rifling which (as far as I've been made to understand, at least) indicates it to be Columbus SL tubing. Some of the detail shots evidence the paint chips etc., but also show that the seatstays are fully chromed underneath the paint. Beyond that, after clearing off the muck I was able to confirm Campagnolo dropouts in the rear as well as the fork.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:12 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:23 pm
Posts: 49
In the last few days I've made some progress on acquiring period pieces to rebuild her with... I scored a set of very clean SR brake levers & hoods locally, a nice seat from one of the vendors on here, and will be picking up a pair a NOS Mavic GP4 rims laced to Record low flange hubs later today. As far as I know none of them are as 'originally spec'd', but at least they're bits correct for the period, which an owner at the time might have opted for. No doubt the collection process will continue for ages to come, as the few key things that I need seem to be rarer than hens teeth...

In the meantime, I'll keep myself busy with questions of what to do next:

- should I find some enamel to touch up the frame with, should I clearcoat the exposed parts and leave them as a testament to a life well lived, or should I simply rely on a good coat of wax to protect it. Or, are these blemishes simply too much, and aim for a repaint? [/list]

- what to do with the seatpost, which has suffered some fairly serious pitting below the insertion mark. Without access to a real workshop, how can I get that sucker to shine back up? I've gone down as far as 80 grit to get some tooth into it, but even that's not getting me enough bite to make a difference...

- Upon close examination, it seems as if someone might have repainted the flutes on the seatpost red at some point. There are small flecks of dark blue peeking out from underneath. the chainring and the milled out shifters both are filled with blue as well. Should I redo the seatpost and calipers in the 'correct' color?

- where to find, at least, the correct panto'd 3ttt stem

- what to do, if anything, about the 'mismatched' dates between the groupset and the frame (am I getting overly geeky here?). For example, I could swap out the rear derailleur for a SR gen.2 and look for a set of crankarms dated to the early 80's?

- and the ultimate question: what am I aiming for? At 6'4", I have no delusions that a 58cm frame is a good fit. I'd love to find a 60cm+ one and work out a trade, but have little hope that the stars will align in that regard. How likely is it, after all, that there's someone out there about 10-15cm shorter, with a similar conundrum?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:34 pm 
Old School Hero
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Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 240
I'm not sure how Bianchi number their frames. I've got a fairly original '80 SL with a 9.8 stamped seat lug. The components have a 9 in a diamond but it has a Piaggio transfer under the enamel on the head tube so that makes it at least 1980. I've also got a frame that the owner swears was bought new in '83 but the seat lug is stamped 12.8 and the components are circle 2. Maybe the second digit is the year and the bikes take a long journey from factory to shop floor.
Whatever, you've got the parts for a great looking Bianchi and I'm looking forward to seeing it built up. I'd go for blue panto like the original.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:26 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:23 pm
Posts: 49
Simplex - seems like you may be right. It's ultimately anyone's guess what a bunch of Italians were thinking/doing 30-odd years ago! But you're right, I'm looking forward to seeing this thing take shape :)

To that end, I went on a bit of a hair brained adventure yesterday, but came away with a prize at the end of it: a pair of never-seen-the-road Mavic GP4/Campagnolo wheels. Also managed to swing by a local hobby shop to raid their supply of enamels... Was smart enough to bring my wife, the artist, who's on paint mixing duty. Hopefully we'll be able to get close enough to make touch ups worthwhile.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:26 pm 
rBoTM Winner
rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:28 pm
Posts: 3104
Location: Mansfield Woodhouse, Nott's.
Very nice rebuild. The wheels made me go weak at the knee's. 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:53 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:25 pm
Posts: 1262
Looks great, I would go to a car body repair shop paint supplier and ask them to mix up a small amount of paint to match then just touch it in


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:33 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:41 pm
Posts: 8247
Location: Cumbria
I first saw those portacatena rear dropouts in anger on a SABA frame at the Harrogate show in 1978 so the 1977 kit is earlier than the frame, which looks like 80's.

Have you got a TARDIS for nipping back in time and bringing things back :)

Shaun


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:58 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:23 pm
Posts: 49
Hah... I've been working on one in the backyard, but still need to calibrate it a bit! :)

In the process of this project which, admittedly, is my first fancy bike project, I'm learning all sorts of new things. Portacatena dropouts, for example, were a "huh, wussat?!" topic for me until a few weeks ago. A read through http://campagnolo.wikispaces.com/Portacatena certainly helped set me straight.

Anyway, I think you're absolutely right: the frame is an 80's product... I think that between the seat tube stamping and the decals that's one question I can scratch off my list. How an earlier group ended up on it will always remain a mystery, but for now I'm rolling with it. The trainspotter in me still wonders whether I should swap out the date-stamped bits (rear derailleur and crank arms, really) for something more 'year-appropriate', but that can be addressed down the road.


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