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.

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