Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Mavic 571 cassette hub

Finally managed to score a Mavic 571 rear hub.

It came to me with an original, and as far as I can tell, unused, 13-23 Mavic cassette. The original skewer wasn't present; fortunately I have a correct one.

It's not the 571/2HG, so its unlikely I'll use it any time soon -- it would require actually shifting (ha!) to 821 shifters, or Shimano 8 speed brifters...neither are options I'm particularly interested in at the moment. If I stumble across a suitable rim, maybe I'll build it up. Just in case, ya know, I decide to try it out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

How it started....

A comment in my last post got me writing a comment back. Went long enough that it might as well be a post.

It started with the fixie -- though I'd like to go on record as having bought said Pista in 2002, prior to the current ridiculousness, and I sold the thing off to a (way too short) hipster for more than I paid. The geek part started with the blue Merckx.

I had gotten a ridiculous deal on a barely used Bianchi XL Boron. Being as powerful as I am (and smooth too!), I must have flexed it too much when riding, cause the clear coat on it developed spiderweb cracks on the top tube. Not the tube itself, just the paint. It kind of freaked me out a little, though. But mostly, it made for an excellent excuse to get a new frame.

So I started looking around for a new frame on eBay, when I saw the blue Merckx. "It must be mine!" I thought. Or possibly said to myself, the cat, or my wife, who at the time was just my new girlfriend, and infinitely less likely to opine "its nice, but where are you going to put it?"

Anyhow, it ended up selling on eBay to someone else, for more than I was willing to pay. I was sad. So I started doing some research. Merckx Grand Prix are rare, as I began to learn. Depression set it. I'd never have that bike!

Then suddenly it happened. Apparently, the guy who outbid me had a wife or something who did ask where he was going to put it, and the frame was being put back up on the block. For 7 tense days I watched + waited. 10 seconds left, I submitted my bid. My browser spun the little loading arrow. Was the Internet going to conspire against me? Would my bid go through?

As you probably guessed, it did. i ended up getting it for less than I had been willing to pay originally, and less than the guy had got it for. That was almost exactly 3 years ago now. It's morphed in to a mostly-Mavic equipped ride, but its still rocking the Ultegra 600 brakes my friend Jeremy (who spurred this post) gave me so I wouldn't kill myself riding a brakeless fixie. Thanks man!

The Merckx, just arrived, 2004.

I just got another Merckx -- the older one seen in the recent posts. My wife hasn't given me the "where are you going to put it" look yet, but I've already torn down my soon to be old commuter bike, in preparation for getting rid of the frame + pieces I won't be using on this bike. I figure being proactive buys me something, right?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mavic 821 Shifters

Mavic's 821 shifters were their only non-electronic foray in to indexed shifting***. They're ultra simple, and in some ways fairly crude. I'll do a teardown of them with pictures at some point.

Really, this posting is just an excuse to post a picture shot in my home made lightbox. Makes for a nice, smooth background with no flash reflections. Still needs some work, and I need to get used to shooting in it, but it should make the quality of my pictures at least tolerable.

*** Their MTB Wishbone shifters were the same basic design, using a notched disc. Same general idea, but different. My mistake.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

C-Record Brake Levers

Just got a nice set of C-Record/Croce d'Aune brake levers. These are going to be paired up with a set of CdA Delta's, to be used on the new Merckx. Still not sure of the date on the Merckx, but I'm not all that concerned. Its just an excuse to build up a fullish CdA bike. Even going to try using a set of Syncro's in indexing mode.

The levers arrived in pretty dirty condition. I spent 30 or so minutes cleaning them up, and they look fantastic.

Left is before, right is after. Hot soap and water can really work miracles when it comes to brake hoods.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A new bike in the family

I recently stumbled on an early Merckx frame while perusing ebay. Not the earliest, but sort of a transitional frame between the first generation and second generation of Merckx frames. On a whim, I threw what I thought was a low bid on it, and won. It was in Belgium, so I expected to wait quite some time to receive it, but to my surprise, it arrived less than a week later.

Its an SL road frame. My guess is 84 or 85 -- I'll be mailing the folks at Gita, the importer of Merckx bikes in to the US to see if they can give me a date. No idea if they have a list of all bikes made, or if there's a serial scheme they haven't told anyone, but they might be able to give me more info. It has under-the-bottom-bracket gear cable routing -- so not early 80's, on top of the top tube brake routing, so not late 80s, and a single set of bottle bosses, which would be abnormal by the mid-to-late 80's.

Early-to-Mid 80's SL decal.

Early style side-slant lettering on the downtube

The modern EM logo caps on the seatstays.

All of which says to me, 84/85. I'll update when/if I hear from Gitabike.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Merckx updated...

Its been 8+ months since my original post on my Merckx, so its time for an update.

  • 1988/89 Eddy Merckx Gran Prix Frame (Reynolds 753)
  • Mavic drivetrain (631 Crank, 840 Rear Derailleur, Mavic 862 Front derailleur)
  • Shimano Ultegra 9 Speed Hubs/Cassette laced to Mavic Open Pro rims, Tufo Tires
  • Dura Ace downtube shifters + brake levers, Ultegra 600 Calipers
  • Cinelli Campione Del Mondo bars, 1A stem
  • Campagnolo Croce d'Aune seatpost
  • Look 357 Pedals

I'm quite happy with it at the moment. I'm sitting on a set of Mavic 821 shifters, that just might be able to do 9 speed, but I'm thus far resisting the urge to test them out. Oh, and good news -- the 840 rear derailleur does a great job shifting across 9 speeds. Very nice + crisp.

Also in the "someday-maybe-never" box are a set of 453 brake levers (not as nice as the DA), the 440 brake calipers (single pivot -- no thanks) and a set of 645LS pedals (might move to them, but I'm wary of clipless pedals that old). Almost everything I need for a full period setup, EXCEPT a 571 cassette setup, in Shimano spline pattern (571/2 HG I believe?). Don't want to give up my 9 speeds, or the ability to get cassettes at a reasonable price point.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Elusive Mavic 840 Derailleur...

is finally mine. I managed to snag one on ebay for a song -- literally at 25% of the cost it should have gone for. Go me. Click for a bigger picture.

Its got the usual array of scratches and scrapes. I tore it down, cleaned it, and rebuilt it. Its very smooth. Its about half an ounce heavier than a Shimano Ultegra 600 rear (RD-6400), so I won't notice its extra weight. Now I just need to mount it up, set the limits, and see if I can't get it working on a 9 speed setup. It has a ton of range, so I don't think its going to be an issue.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Modolo Brakes - SLK Style...

Modolo made a whole variety of brakes, particularly in the late 80's and early 90's. Eventually I'll get around to cataloging the earlier "Professional" style calipers, but here's a rundown of the SLK family. Click any picture for a larger version.

The ALX90 was, I think, the top of the line at the time. Or maybe it was...

The Equipe. I think this just may have also been designated the KX90. Definitely a pattern with different names for what amount to different finishes -- these look identical to the ALX90's. Can you spot the differences? Slightly different stripes on the brake arm, and the graphics on the levers themselves.

Uh oh. The Master SLK 90. Looks just about 100% identical to the above, but in a white finish.

Finally, the Mach. This is a Mach I, the lowest on the totem pole. Still a nice brake. The fixing hardware is different. They also came with cheapy, molded brake blocks.

In pecking order, they likely go:
Master SLK / Equipe
Mach (III, II, I)

But I'm not sure on the top 3. They're extremely similar. I'd only put the ALX90 below the Master SLK + Equipe due to the lack of graphics on the brake levers. Very scientific.

One things for certain. This family is where the Mavic 440 comes from.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Mavic goodies

631 Crank

801 Derailleur

820 Retrofriction Shifters

As always, click any picture for a bigger version.

Cool stuff. The cranks are destined to be mounted on my Merckx, once I find a bottom bracket of the right size -- 70x113 Italian bottom brackets aren't terribly easy to find these days, especially in a square taper. They're probably heavier than the Ultegras on there now, but weight be damned, I'm all about aesthetics. Sooner or later I'll track down an 840 rear derailleur. They're Shimano indexing compatible, so I'll be able to keep the Shimano 9 speed shifters and cassette. Going non-indexed on my main rider just isn't going to happen.

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