Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yes, it really is that easy...

We Mavic fans often tout rebuildability as a major win over other options. Want to convert that clamp on front derailleur to a braze on? Just pop the circlips, press out the body, and pop a braze-on body on! Simple! Convert a rear derailleur from a short cage 840 to a medium cage 841? Pop a circlip, drive out a pin, replace the cage and there ya go!

Right. Maybe its simple once you've done it, or seen pictures of it being done. I recently picked up a set of 841 cages, and set about replacing the cages of an 840 with them. Here are pictures I took along the way.

On the left, we have a standard 840 short cage derailleur. On the right, the plates that make up the medium cage for the 841 derailleur. The only difference between the two are the cages.

Step one - remove the bolts holding on the pulleys and the back portion of the cage.

Step 2 - remove the circlip pointed to in the picture above. It'll pop off easily with a set of needle nose pliers.

Step 3 - drive the pin out. I use the handle of a screw driver to push it out. Try twisting the cage - at the stop position, the spring's 90 degree bend is in contact with the pin, and will make it hard to remove. Once you pivot the cage, it should be easy to push the pin out.

The hinge pin slides in the groove pointed to by the white arrow. It butts up against the tension spring pointed to by the red arrow. This keeps the cage from unspinning and losing tension, without any additional limit pin.

Replace the cage, lining up the spring. Press it inward, rotate it in place, and press the hinge pin back in. Replace the circlip, and you're done.

Now, what used to be an 840 short cage derailleur is now an 841 medium cage derailleur. Perfect to use with your 631 triple crank and 870 front derailleur. Total time elapsed, including pictures, was 13 minutes. Without documenting the process, it's easily a sub-10 minute procedure.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mavic 451/Suntour Superbe Pro/Dia Compe BRS500 Instructions

As previously discussed, the Mavic 451 brake was one of many brakes that was a rebranded Dia Compe BRS500. Some consider them the pinnacle of single pivot design, combining excellent stopping power, precise modulation, and the clean lines that come with its hidden spring.

Those of us who've used them know they can be a serious pain in the butt to adjust. It's a little easier when you have three hands and the proper instructions

Here's a parts explosion, just in case you accidentally disassembled your brakes when you tried to adjust them.

If you've emailed to me asking how they hell to make your Mavic 451's work, I apologize for my rambling responses. Hopefully these instructions will make things a little easier. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dura Ace EX headset

In 1978, Shimano introduced the Dura Ace EX series of parts. In it, Shimano introduced a lot of new concepts to their line. This included the introduction of the Shimano Uniglide cassette. While Shimano wasn't the first to introduce the cassette, they definitely made the concept popular, and stuck with the cassette concept for a number of years before it gained in popularity. Other little things they introduced in EX included one-key crank releases, standardization on all hex-key bolts, shaved teeth to improve shifting under load.

Also introduced was the UA-110 headset, better known in later years as the HP-7200. This headset is mostly known as the one with the funny wrench scallops.


While it doesn't require a special tool, a 32mm wrench isn't the greatest fit, and probably would result in marring the headset.

The HP-7200, and the closely related UB-110/HP-6200 differed only in their stampings, and in the use of an alloy crown race in the HP-7200. This resulted in a 44 gram weight difference. They were both available in parallel with an AX version, which was the same headset with a plastic fairing over the top assembly.

The Dura Ace and 600 EX headsets are often sold on eBay in conjuction with the word "rare". They were available from 1978 until 1984, so they're really quite common. Finding ones new-in-box, however, is a little less common.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Recent find...

At a bike swap recently, I managed to score this:

What's that in the bag???

New-in-bag Eddy Merckx pantographed Cinelli 1-A stem. Probably mid-80's, judging by the bar size, packaging, and the font the Merckx pantograph uses. Too bad its so short!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eddy sells out...

Sells out his shares of the bike company bearing his name, that is.

I suspect he hasn't played much of a role in designing his bikes for some time, so I guess its nothing to be too upset about. Sounds like he had hoped his son would take over, and when that didn't happen, it was time to move on.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Podio Pedals

Hey! Long time no see! Thanks for stopping by - I've been pretty busy with life, and haven't had much time to dedicate to writing. Looks like things will be a little easier from here on out though. This is just the first post of a few I have planned - more DA 7400 stuff, some Mavic things, and as you might guess, some more Merckx stuff.

In the mid-1990's, Merckx started marketing its own clipless pedal system, called the Podio. I have no idea how they were marketed in Europe, but here in the US, I never heard about them.


The cleats are fairly low profile, with what looks to be a non-standard bolt pattern. I don't know if third-party Podio shoes ever existed - the only ones I've seen are Podio branded. I think I heard somewhere they were made by Adidas, but I don't have a pair or have any way to prove/disprove that.

Sidi makes a Podio adapter plate. Not sure how easy it is to find, but I suspect it could be special ordered.


The cleats slide in from the back, and you twist to remove. Pretty normal. Tension is adjusted via a screw on the back. I assume they have no float.

Merckx still sells these. They're not distributed by Gita Bike in the US, as far as I can tell. I've never heard of any Merckx sponsored team riding them either. Matter of fact, the only person I've heard of riding these is the man himself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17th is...

Eddy Merckx's birthday. If you have a Merckx, grab it and go out for a ride.


I know I've said it before, but I'll keep saying it. When you live in New York City, its tough to have a large bike collection. Over the last few months, I've actually been downsizing, and have sold my Lazzaretti and my red and white Merckx. Don't feel sorry for me though, its all to free some space up for my soon to be born daughter! Exciting stuff worth losing a bike or two for. Not to mention, with all of the other work I've been doing installing cabinets, cleaning up our storage area, so on and so forth...I think I may have freed up enough space to justify getting another bike someday. Ask my wife about that, and I'll deny everything.

The real point to this story is that while its tough for me to have a ton of bikes, it is possible to collect some other bikey things. Jerseys, for instance, don't take up much space, don't cost much, and can be used on a daily basis. Here are a couple of the Merckx ones in my collection:

Lotto, circa 1988. The nice thing about having a nearly electric blue bike is that a jersey like this doesn't look so jarring.

Eddy Merckx team, mid-80's. Still don't know exactly what this is - most likely a jersey for a club team. Dutch maybe? More info here.

U.C. Seraing. I'd guess this jersey is from the last, say, 5-10 years. Junior club in Belgium. Fortunately, someone on the team was either tall enough, or fat enough, for me to fit in the jersey.

I have more, and sooner or later I'll get around to posting them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Andy's Giro Landshark Seruffy

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of Andy Hampsten's against the odds win of the 1988 Giro d'Italia. I can't speak of what coverage was like outside of the United States, but here in the US, every cycling related magazine has given the anniversary a ton of attention - which it warrants. With all the turmoil in the racing ranks the last few years, its great to remind people that there was a time it was easy to be proud to be a cycling fan.

As a fan of late 80's cycling, you know this sort of stuff is right up my alley. But I'm also a gear geek, so as you might imagine, I started wondering about just what the deal with his bike was. We've all read he was running a "prototype" 8-speed drive train. Just what does that mean? Production components just prior to release, or special, hand tweaked equipment?

If you're a reader of the Hampsten Cycles blog, you might have caught a short message about Taliah Lempert doing a painting of the Giro bike. Or if you ever pop by Taliah's Bicycle Paintings site (go do that now, and come back when you're done - I'll still be here), you might have seen the very cool series of paintings she's working on, showing various aspects of the bike.

There's a whole convoluted story, that involves a request to borrow some DA 7400 equipment I didn't have, then found but wasn't needed...basically, Taliah was nice enough to let me come by her studio to see the bike and take a couple of pictures. And then Steve Hampsten was nice enough to give me the OK on blogging about it. I made sure to get a good look at the component model numbers, and with a little help from some friends, figured out most of the components. Let's see what we have! As always, click any picture to see a larger version.

It's probably worth pointing out that this bike hasn't been stored away in some sealed time capsule for the last 20 years. From what I gather, its mostly original, but its possible some components have been changed.

The bike! Its not much of a secret that Andy's bike was built by John Slawta of Landshark fame, to replace a Serotta built, Huffy labeled frame. The wheels its sporting are not the originals, but the bike is pretty much as-ridden otherwise. The original wheels were either FH-7401 or FH-7402 hubs, with a Uniglide cassette, laced to Wolber Profil 18 rims.

If you look closely, you'll see that the rear derailleur is an RD-7402. You can tell by the hidden cage pivot bolt, which wasn't found on the RD-7401 or RD-7400. These wouldn't be available for some time after the 1988 Giro.

The front end. Cinelli Campione del Mondo, ie 66 bars. The size stamping was obscured by the computer, but they looked to be 42's. The stem is a Cinelli XA.

The brakes calipers are BR-7400's. The levers are BL-7401's. They don't have the return (SLR) spring the later BR-7402's have, but they are adjustable for tension via the allen bolts securing the lever to the body. Non-standard Shimano engraving.

Shimano FD-7400 front derailleur. FC-7400 cranks in 170mm, with PD-7401 Shimano/Look pedals - which, by the way, are awesome pedals. I still ride the Ultegra version on one of my bikes.

Steve just informed me these aren't the original pedals. That being said, the originals would probably have been the same. And they're still awesome pedals.

The saddle is a Cinelli Volare SLX, mated up to a SP-7400 seat post.

Ok, now things are getting interesting! I wasn't able to maneuver around to see the model information on the levers when I was in the studio, but when I heard a friend of mine would be visiting the bike, I asked him to take a look at the shift levers, to see if he could figure anything out. Matthew + Roberto had better access, and were able to read the model number - SL-7401. Hand engraved on the inside of the lever is a '512', as seen in the above picture, courtesy of Roberto. SL-7401's were 7 speed levers; when 8 speed levers were introduced to the public, they were designated as SL-7402's.

The most likely scenario is that the lever in question contains modified or pre-production 8 speed guts, which would be a fairly easy item for Shimano to machine. These weren't regular production levers available to a pro early - these were levers being field tested to see how an additional cog would perform in a race as grueling as the Giro.

If you were wondering what components to hang on your new Hampsten Cycles Landshark Replica, maybe the above will give you a few ideas. I highly recommend checking out Diablo Scott's 7-Eleven Bike History page. About half way down, he has a scan of the Winning magazine feature on this very bike. Take a look at the bar tape, and then check out my pictures. Is that really the original bar tape on there? Good luck finding that pattern if you're building a replica!

Did I miss any components? (Cateye computer - and yes, thats the original one) Let me know. Don't forget to check out Taliah's site and Steve's Hampsten Cycles blog - they were both extremely cool about me taking pics, asking silly questions and being a nuisance.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cool new saddle

Well, new in the sense that I just got it. It's a Eddy Merckx embroidered Selle Italia Turbomatic 4. I've ridden Flites for years - a particularly well broken in example currently graces my main bike. Recently, however, I put a Turbomatic on my commuting bike, and it felt GREAT. So now my main ride will be getting one as well.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Trexlertown, anyone?

Just a quick post - I'll be at the Trexlertown swap tomorrow. If you're going to be there, make sure to say hi! I'll likely have some sort of sign or something to identify me. Tell me you're a blog reader, and I'll give you the friends + family deal on anything you're interest in.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Resisting the STI urge...

I'm a bike luddite of the late 80's, early 90's variety. If you ask me, thats the best time frame to play in. Steel bikes still reigned supreme, but there were all sorts of cool, interesting carbon and aluminum frames out as well. Sure, some of the bikes of the time period would be considered garish by today's stands, but they were unique. These days, I'm pretty sure half of the mid-range carbon frames out there are all made in the same factory from the same molds. Just doesn't get me in the MUST ACQUIRE mode.

Another thing we 80's/90's types get is the transition from classic friction drivetrains, to indexed downtube, to modern STI/Ergo style integrated brake and shift levers. And dual pivot brakes! Oooh, and aero cabling too! I'm getting all excited just talking about it.

So when I speak of resisting the STI urge, I'm not resisting using integrated levers. I speak specifically of resisting the urge to use these specific ones:

New in box Shimano ST-7400 STI shifters. Unmolested, and fresh as the day they left Shimano's factory. The BR-7403's aren't as fresh, but the box had an opening for them, so I figured it was a good place to keep them...

These levers are from what I would guess were the last batch of 7400 series equipment Shimano made.

One interesting (kinda, sorta) piece of information that I've been trying to confirm is that while later versions of the levers (like this one) have hollowed out lever tips to reduce weight, the earlier versions were solid. Have an early set? If you get a chance to take a peek, let me know if they're solid!

Confirmed! According to Randy Dugan, owner of a major source of envy, the last 2 inches of his set of ST-74xx brifters are solid.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Merckx serial number updates!

I finally began making updates to the serial list. Its been a few months. When you procrastinate with something like this, it gets harder and harder to convince yourself to tackle the mess you've made. So I'm taking it slow.

I added 6 1985 frames to the list today. I have another 60 from 1986 and on that I'll be adding over the next few days, and then probably another 20 I'll do over the next couple of weeks. I've added a column denoting new additions since 4/15, so you can get your pic fix without seeing frames you've already seen.

(4/18) Just added some 86/87 'A' coded frames.

(4/25) Just added 13 88/89 'B' coded frames.

(5/12) Back from vacation! 'C' coded frames coming soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Mavic stuff? Who woulda guessed...

If there's one thing you can count on, its that I always have Mavic stuff to show off. These are the most recent additions.

Mavic 860 front derailleur, in the later, brown cardboard packaging. Earlier versions were in a yellow box with a mylar window. There's a ton of new in box Mavic stuff on the market these days. I'll post a yellow box pic once I dig one out of storage.

This is sort of a neat item. It's an early Mavic rebuild kit for the 500 RD front hub. The high tech packaging differentiates the different rebuild kits with a marker crossing out the 5 and 6 speed rear kits.

The contents are all the pieces required for a rebuild, including the bearings, adjuster shields, caps, spacers and c-clips.

If there's one Mavic item thats proved elusive, its a seat post. I have one, but it looks like someone sought out the most burred, undersized seat tube they could find, inserted it, raised and lowered it repeatedly, and then chucked it in a corner. In other words, if you have one that you're looking to sell, feel free to contact me. Thanks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Eddy Merckx 1990 Catalog

I'm always on the hunt for primary sources for information about the bike stuff I'm interested in. Pictures, catalogs and the like. Words may lie, but pictures...well, they can lie too, but I'd rather be fooled by a period picture thats been retouched than by the recollections of a guy who worked in a store with a guy who worked for a manufacturer who's founder was a mechanic of another guy who's cousin rode with Eddy Merckx. Sure, I'd still like to hear their story, but I'd take whatever I heard with a grain of salt.

I recently picked up a 1990 Merckx catalog, that isn't (yet) in the enormous bike catalog archive that Mark Bulgier has. I've seen this catalog a few times on eBay, and loathed the fact that it wasn't scanned and available online.

It's up on in full resolution now. Get it here.

If you have this catalog, and never made it available to me and other Merckx addicts, I'm very dissapointed in you.

Anyone who's read this blog knows it was a Grand Prix that got me all excited about Merckx bikes. Mine is an 88/89, so it predates the above, but its very, very similar. My current thought is this catalog is from early 1990, as I believe they switched the way they did internal routing in 1990, from both cables on the top of the top tube, to the entrance tunnel being on the lower side of the top tube. I guess 1990 was when they decided non-aero brakes were dead.

10th anniversary frame. Whats interesting about these is a large percentage of them bear a B date code, which indicates they were actually built in 1988/89. I'm guessing late 1989 is more accurate, which makes sense -- model year 1990 frames are usually available prior to the end of the previous year.

Century TSX. Note the different internal routing. The entrance tunnel is out of sight, on the under side of the top tube.

New team color scheme too? Team Forum? Never heard of them -- can anyone tell me more?

The Team 7-11 frame. I think this is effectively a Century in 7-Eleven colors. Note the presence of a 7-Eleven Team decal on the top tube.

Corsa Extra, in the 1990 Weinmann color scheme -- perhaps my favorite of all the color schemes. Someday one will be mine. Also present is a color scheme I assumed was a team one which just appears to be a stock color scheme.

Corsa. The Faema reproduction is a beauty, and you can't go wrong with either the 7-Eleven color scheme or the blue. No 7-Eleven Team sticker here.

Pista in SL, sporting a Corsa decal. Simple + attractive in blue.

Have any Merckx catalogs that aren't at the Bulgier archive? If you don't have a scanner, I'm more than happy to scan for you. There's no good reason for people to pay ridiculous amounts of money for an 8 page catalog, when its so easy to scan and make them available to others.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Somewhat hard to find Mavic piece

I love buying from the French sellers on eBay. They've got all sorts of NOS Mavic bits, and while shipping isn't cheap, they're usually happy to combine shipping, and stuff gets to me FAST -- from the Paris area to NYC seems to take less time than from California. Being an impatient type, its always great to receive a package before I expect it.

This is an 821 shifter. Its the later packaging for Mavic components. Earlier parts were shrink-wrapped to a yellow, Mavic-logo'd card if they were on the small side. I'm sure stocking meant both were available in parallel -- but this packaging for the 821 was later.

The front 821 shifter is a retrofriction unit, not unlike the older 820 shifter. I don't think the 821 was made by Simplex, but its a possibility.

The 821 isn't hard to find, but the mount for non-steel frames isn't a piece I've seen before.

One of my dirty bike secrets is that I do, in fact, own a composite frame. Its an old Specialized Epic, that I refuse to love or care about too much, as its meant to be my commuting bike. It's sporting a Sachs 8-speed brifter indexing to a Sachs 7-speed freewheel, which works great, along with a normal Shimano downtube shifter for the front rings. It's unlikely I'll ever use the Mavic shifter on it, but its nice to have the option to. Now to track down a right-side mount...can't ever have too many options.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Who makes a better French brake, Italy or Japan?

It's a poorly kept secret that Mavic never made their own brakes. They didn't make their own shifters in some cases, and some of their cranks may have started as unmachined blanks from other companies...but their brakes they didn't even machine at all. From their earliest days, until the late 80's, they sourced all their brakes from the Italian company Modolo. In the early 90's, they switched to Dia Compe sourced brakes, produced in Japan.

Being a Mavic junky of the late 80's/early 90's variety, I thought I'd show off some of my brakes of the era.

The Mavic 440 brake was made by Modolo. As I detailed in a blog post about 2 years ago, they're the same design as Modolo used across their product line in the late 80's. They're good, solid brakes, which feel great when stopping.

In the early 90's, for reasons unknown, they switched from using Modolo brakes to using Dia Compe ones. These were the same brake as the Dia Compe BRS500, the Suntour Superbe Pro, and seem to be related to the currently available Cane Creek brakes. People either love them or hate them. They're very light, have adjustable tension, and perform admirably. But the hidden spring design makes them prone to problems where the head of the spring bends, and causes the brake to no longer maintain tension. Adjusting them is also difficult -- its done while the brake is mounted to the bike. One arm is pushed counter-clockwise to put it under tension, while the tension cone is turned counter clockwise with a cone wrench. Then, using your third hand, you tighten a hex bolt to cinch it all down, while maintaining just the right amount of tension.

Which is the better brake? Who knows?! They're both pretty cool if you ask me.

Just to head off a question I'm sure to receive...I don't know who makes the current Mavic SSC R3 brake. If you know, let me know!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Finite space + wife = time for a little purge

Living in NYC means finite space. Cohabitating in 900 or so square feet with a wife, an oversized cat and more than a handful of bikes means we spend a lot of time getting in each others way. Which means that if I want to continue getting cool bike stuff, I have to purge things every once in a while.

I'd make some quip about it being part of the cycle of life, but I avoid bad puns as much as possible. The real punchline here is, sometimes you have to get rid of some things in order to get others.

Since I have a whole lot of spares and duplicates in the collection, I figured I'd put some of it on eBay. Little bit of Campy, some Mavic, and Shimano thrown in for good measure. Check out my listings!

I'll be listing more, so keep checking in -- maybe that hard to find part will show up!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mavic 870 Triple Front Derailleur

Mavic offered more or less the same front derailleur from the late seventies until they got out of the component game in the 90's. It went from a plain aluminum colored version (810) to the anodized, "SSC" version (860), and was sold as a clamp on (810/860), French style braze-on (811/861) and Italian braze-on (812/862). The 860 and 862 are pretty frequently seen, the 810/812 a little less so. The French braze-on is less common, but very rarely used, and so there's little demand there.

Mavic also offered a very hard to find triple derailleur, starting sometime in the mid-80's. Designated the 830 (non-anodized) and the 870 (anodized SSC), it was the same as the 810/860, with a longer cage.

I was lucky enough to stumble on a trio of Mavic 870 derailleurs recently, which I got for an eminently fair price.

And because they're so easily broken down + reassembled, if one needed a braze-on triple (872), and all they had was a clamp on (870), they could just swap out the body from a double (862). Too cool!

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