Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ugh I'm still here....

So I can't PROVE it, but shortly after I started going through all of my old magazines, I came down with a SERIOUSLY brutal cold/eye infection/general disgustingness. Did I, sorta like Howard Carter opening Tutankhamen's Tomb, receive the curse of every mother whose son never threw out a magazine? Perhaps some long dormant mold spore poisoning? Don't know! But I'm just about healthy, and I'll get back to my magazine project. Thanks for being patient!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winning - June 1991 - Issue 91

Today's reading...

Winning, June 1991. Issue 91.

Summary: Greg Lemond on climbing + descending. Davis Phinney on rites of passage. Chiapucci's Milan-San Remo Victory. 1991 Tour of Flanders/Hooydonck win. Ghent-Wevelgem sans Kemmelberg - Abdujaparov wins. Marc Madiot wins 1991 Paris-Roubaix. 1991 Fléche Wallonne - Moreno Argentin wins. 1991 Liége-Bastogne-Liége - Argentin wins. Colombia RCN Classic. Rishi Grewal Interview. What's in Store: Airwave by Profile (aero bars), Cook Bros. Cranks, Shimano PD-6402 Pedal, Cytomax Drink, Nike Cross-Terrain II shoe, Breezer Lightning MTB, Automaxi Click-On rack, Bell Scotchlite Helmet Covers

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My new project - Winning, July 1991 - Issue 92

You may be shocked to learn that I have a pretty serious collection of magazines from the late 80's and early 90's. Its true. My name is Jeremy, and I'm a packrat.

The biggest problem with having a ton of magazines is knowing whats in them. There aren't really any online sources that'll tell you what's in the July 1991 issue of Winning, for instance. So to that end, I'm going to read a magazine a day (or at least, try to) on my travel to and from work, take a picture of the cover, and then post a quicky synopsis here. Then I'll know where to look to find pictures of a 17 year old George Hincapie if I ever need them, and you'll know what issue to bug me about if you want info on the Tour du Pont 1991.

Winning, July 1991. Issue 92

Summary: Greg Lemond on going for Number 4 TdF win. Davis Phinney on sprinting techniques. 1991 Tour of Spain/Vuelta a España. 1991 Tour du Pont. 1991 TdF Contenders. Johan Bruyneel profile. Frans Maassen wins Amstel Gold. ONCE profile. Jim Gentes on the Giro helmet and rider helmet strike. George Hincapie as a Junior profile. US to MTB World Cup. What's In Store: Ciclomaster CM 37, Titan Titanium Gel Saddle, Time Apres-Velo Socks, Blackburn MTN P90+ saddle bag, Trek 8700 Composite ATB, Scott Unishocks, Zefal Double Shot 100 Pump.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I pay attention to modern stuff too!

It's true! I like bikes and cycling of all ilk - even the racing going on in 2010. I've been contributing here and there to Pavé blog, where Whit Yost has been nice enough to let me play armchair directeur sportif on more modern topics than I normally cover here. My most recent post is on Garmin's Transitions, and what a merger with Cervélo might mean to them. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mavic Tech Manuals

I recently came upon a couple of different caches of Mavic literature. Original marketing or technical materials are invaluable resources. Unfortunately, a lot of people agree, and pay absolutely ridiculous prices for them on eBay. That's fine for the collector, but what about the guy who just wants to know how to work on their 851 derailleur?

Or 840/841 derailleur?

Or convert their 631 double crank in to a single? What about that guy?

Don't worry, 305, 315, 316, 317 headsets, 500, 510 and 550 RD hubs, 610 and 616 bottom brackets, 637 crank, 646 pedals, 820 and 821 shifters, 845 and 801 derailleurs, we remember you too.

Here's the 89/90ish technical manual. I'll post the later 1995ish technical diagram update tomorrow - that'll get the 571/2 hubs, 631/2 cranks, and a scad of other items in to the mix as well.

Now go forth and fix your Mavic stuff! If you promise to stop making up random numbers for Mavic components, I might even post more! And if you're sitting on resources that aren't already scanned, scan 'em. If you need help, let me know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Birth of a rim

Ever wondered how aluminum rims are made? No? Too bad! Here's how it happens, with diagrams from the 1996 Mavic Rim catalog.

Step 1! Procure aluminum extrusion based on your rim profile. These come as straight sections, extruded via a die in to the desired shape.

Step 2! Coil the extrusions in to a continuous, spring-shaped loop of the right size. A straight line is then cut across the coil.

Step 3! Join the two ends together, forming a hoop. Some rims have an aluminum or plastic insert here to hold the shape. At this point, some rims are also welded.

Step 4! Drilling the rim. This is done using a re-targetable, computer controlled drilling system.

Here's the drilling system Mavic was employing in the 1996 time frame. I doubt much, if anything, has changed.

Step 5! Anodize. At least, this is where you anodize if the rim is. This is where another manufacturer's rim is painting or powdercoated. Machining of a brake track is probably also done here.

Step 6! Eyeletting! Again, if your rim has eyelets. No eyelets, no eyletting. At this point, any finishing touches are applied, like decals, inspection is performed (hopefully) and the rim is wrapped and ready to head out.

Carbon rims are obviously an entirely different process. I have some memory of a video that documented how they were made. Anyone have a link?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Practice makes perfe...pass the Doritos

Back in 2002, back in the dark ages before the waiting lists and hundreds of people clamoring to get in, I went to UBI to try my hand at frame building. Schedule-wise, the class that worked best for me was the steel TIG class. It was a ton of fun, and I learned a lot, but the learning curve on TIG was pretty steep for me - I've often described it as 2 weeks of self-administered shock therapy. It's not easy!

As you might guess, training people to do production welding takes some time, and teaching them to do it in titanium takes even more! Steel is pretty forgiving, but titanium is far, far less tolerant. So naturally, a largish titanium frame production line is going to have their people practice. Apparently, someone at a large Ti frame producer thought this..."air filter" made a perfect project.

As a practice project, it's got it all - mitered joints, tight radius welds, and milled-down tubing. It's owner tells me it has one fatal flaw as an "air filter" - you can't put it down without it tipping over, due to where the holding ring is welded. Bike frame design has been thoroughly refined over the last 100+ years, but every once in a while, someone tries something new that ends up not working as well as the classic triangle frame. Guess the same thing applies to the "air filter".

Any guesses as to what frame manufacturer this came from?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Revolution? If you say so...

Harry just gave me a few more old magazines and catalogs - I guess after 15 years they stopped being interesting bathroom reading for him. Anyhow, this little pamphlet caught my eye. Early 90's, probably around 1991 or 1992 based on the materials it came with.

A new, totally Italian patent derailleur!

I can only assume this was one Italian bike shop's response to the adoption of the formerly Suntour patented slant parallelogram by Campagnolo. That the revolution came in something that clearly owes much to the Vittoria, Oscar Egg and Simplex derailleurs of the 1930's and 1940's, I can't explain. I've never heard of this derailleur before, never seen one, and would be more than a little surprised if they were ever really available. Does anyone know anything beyond whats in the booklet?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mavic Paris-Roubaix SSC rims - not IMPOSSIBLE to find...

Just really hard to find, and doubly so at a reasonable price. A pair of new-old-stock rims seems to sell for approximately $500US - excessive to say the least.

Paris-Roubaix's are tough-as-nails rims, made to get down and dirty in the spring classics. They're made to be ridden, not hung on a wall and admired, so I was quite happy to find this gently used set, formerly the property of a Dutch rider from the Agu-Abus-Koga-Cordo team. Patience and careful watching let me pick up them for a fraction of the price of NOS - laced to a really nice set of Shimano Dura Ace 7403 hubs. They'll be relaced to a set of Mavic 571/2 hubs sometime between now and April, 2011 - at which point they'll revisit their cobbled past.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mavic 631 v. 631/2

Not entirely sure what the difference between a Mavic 631 and a 631/2 is? Here are some pics that'll make the difference abundantly clear.

On the left, a 631. On the right, a 631/2. Most of the differences are pretty plain to see. The spider of the 631 narrows gracefully as it reaches its ends. The 631/2's spider largely stays consistent in width. The spider is a little shorter and stockier than the 631, which allows it to run a smaller chainring in the outermost position - down to a 42 I believe.

The crank arm itself is less rounded on the 631/2 as well. It's middle flat section is slightly wider.

The backside. The spider has much less material on the 631/2, with relief work evident on the backside. At the very top of the picture, you may also notice that the 631 has some material taken off the edges of the crank arm, while the 631/2 does not. There's also some material removed on the 631 around the spindle interface, while the 631/2 has none removed.

The 631/2 is quite a bit lighter than the 631 - though it's hardly a lightweight. This can probably be attributed to the shortening and relief work done to the spider.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Brooklyn Bike Jumble This Sunday!@#

The 2nd Annual Brooklyn Bike Jumble is going down this Sunday, 5/16/2010 at JJ Byrne Park at 4th St. + 5th Avenue in - you guessed it, Brooklyn, NY. I'll be there selling some cool items, including all sorts of vintage jerseys, NOS Campy bits + pieces, and a smattering of other cool items. Blog readers who say "hey" may even get better prices!

While you're there, check out Harry's Coney Island Velodrome exhibit as well!

Friday, May 07, 2010

A little Lemond Catalog reading for the weekend

Greg LeMond recently re-launched his personal website. To a lot of us, Greg represents everything good about pro cycling. He was an incredible talent, making winning seem easy in his earliest years. Following his unfortunate hunting accident, he used a combination of smarts, incredible bike handing skills, and sheer will to win an additional 2 Tour de France overalls and a Worlds title, to go with his pre-accidents wins.

Greg was an unfortunate victim of the pharmacological revolution in the pro peloton in the early 90's. Where natural talent and intelligence could compete with the cortisone and amphetamine jacked pro's of the '80's, contending in the face of EPO just wasn't going to happen. Greg's been pretty vocal about it, and has gotten a lot of shit from people for speaking his mind. I've seen the guy speak. He's not some ultra-polished PR-trained robot, but a normal guy, who speaks humbly and honestly about what he saw and sees as the undoing of cycling - and does so without an ounce of bitterness. 3 time tour champ. 2 time world champ. He has nothing in the world to be bitter about.

Anyhow, go check out his site, follow him on Twitter, be his friend on Facebook. Encourage and support the guy - he's awesome.

I'm disabling comments on this post - my blog, my soapbox. But in exchange for your forced silence on this topic, here are scans of the 1992 LeMond Bicycles catalog.

The Team Z version of the carbon frames were Calfee built. Where the consumer ones?

Carbon. Calfee or not? It has the webbing we associate with them, but I don't know...

Geometry. Long top tubes was (is?) the Lemond geom

TSX and SL. The rainbow TSX frame, along with the inverted version (black top tube) is the one I always associate with Lemond.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tips for being bike OCD like me

So I've just finally recovered from all the sweat and tears that went in to my Lemond Paris-Roubaix build. Totally knocked the bike geek out of me for a few days. I'm back now, though, and raring to go on new projects!

First, though, some things I learned/relearned when working on this latest project.

  • Researching Bikes
  • I've mentioned them before, but there are some incredibly valuable websites out there for anyone research about team bikes. I leaned on them while documenting Merckx team bikes, and I continued that trend while working on the Lemond. My usual tactic is to look up a team, load up the picture pages for each of the riders on that team, and see what turns up for pictures. Here's the list: is particularly awesome - its got an english interface, and their search facilities are really excellent.

    Google searches won't help find a picture of a specific bike unless its captioned. So get creative. If you're looking for pictures of a bike from a specific year, search for events that bike would have been used in - in this case, "Paris-Roubaix 1994" and the like.

    Period magazines are key! I had a whole slew of 1993/1994 magazines already, but eBay is a great place to keep an eye on as well. There's bound to be pictures of the bike you're looking for if you look hard enough.

    Here's a trick I recently started employing. When you DO find pictures of the bike you're looking for, or even pictures of events you think will have pics of your bike, Google the photographers name. This will usually show up on the side or bottom of any picture - both the photog's name, and the agency they were working for. I found a picture in a magazine by Stefano Serotti. Googling him turned up his website, and a ton of pictures of riders on the frame in question at the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

  • Building Wheels
  • About 10 years ago, I used to build wheels regularly, but hadn't built any since maybe 2004. This build called for a somewhat special wheel set, and I decided I'd do it myself.

    First - tensiometers are awesome. I had never built with one before, but I'm older and wiser these days. I highly recommend using one. It took a lot of guesswork out of building my wheels. Recommended tensions are available from most vendors. Keep all of your spokes in the same ballpark, and you'll end up with strong, straight wheels that can stand up to anything - including the horrible cobbles of Brooklyn. My 571/2 wheelset stayed straight and properly tensioned. They may even be straighter now than before they were ridden!

    While I'm older and wiser, I still like to save some money when I get a chance. I've used Wheelsmith Spoke Prep in the past to good results. This go around, though, I really didn't want to buy a $20 jar that'd end up going dry before I used it again. So I did a little research, and made a little bet with myself that PTFE plumber's pipe thread compound isn't radically different than the Wheelsmith stuff. Same general design goals - lubricate the threads, act as a quasi-thread locker, without hardening. The PTFE versions contain teflon, just like the Wheelsmith stuff. Regardless of whether its EXACTLY the same, it works great, can be obtained at a decent hardware store, and is dirt cheap - I paid $3 for a tube that'll last me through at least a dozen pairs of wheels. Don't use too much though, it can be a little messy.

    Finally, the Wheel Fanatyk blog is awesome, and this tip of theirs is brilliant. In a nutshell, you build and partially tension the drive side of the rear wheel first, adjust for roundness, and then tension the non-drive side to bring the wheel in to dish and trueness. Done correctly, the spoke tension will be perfect on the drive side just as the wheel becomes properly dished. Touch up trueness, make sure its still round, and you're done - in less time that it takes to build a front wheel. I found myself needing to lower the tension on the drive side as I was pulling the rim to the center, and would probably initially tension the drive side to 60% when building an 8 speed whel in the future (at least, that same hub + rim combo). Even still, it was a far, far easier method for building a rear wheel than I had ever employed before.

    None of my pictures show them off, but I made custom Mavic team-style decals for my rims, like you'd see on a set of Paris-Roubaix tubulars. You know, the individual letter decals M A V I C that show up just over to the right of the valve stem. There are tons of custom vinyl decal cutters on the Internet. I used this guy, and they came out great. I think it was a nice little touch on my part, that I entirely managed to not photograph. Oops!

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Tomorrow: Paris-Roubaix! Brooklyn Pavé reminder

    I don't know about you, but in order to get a whole Sunday for watching a race and going for a ride, I have to put in some family time the day before. So just a quick reminder for you New Yorkers about tomorrow's ride:

    1pm: Meet up at Old Stone House
    2pm: roll out
    5ish: return

    Beers/foods in the general area. Either The Gate, Park Slope Ale House, or location TBD.

    Same caveats as before - this is a friendly little ride not affiliated with any responsible entity. If the rider has a flat or breaks a fork or gets socked by Bernard Hinault, we'll help out but we're not culpable.

    Friday, April 09, 2010

    2 days! Who's ready for Paris-Roubaix? This guy right here

    Just in case you hadn't noticed, I have a couple of topics I seem to write about. I'm clearly a Mavic junkie, a super-fan of late 80's/early 90's racing, and a pave obsessive. Most roadies cringe when you say Rock Shox, but I get all excited at the thought of suspension on cobbles.

    So when an insane opportunity arose to merge all of those in to one project emerged, I couldn't say no.

    What we have here is the nexus of all the things that get me excited in a bike. Lemond Team GAN, decked out about as close as possible to the bike Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle rode the latter portion of 1994's edition of Paris-Roubaix.

    In 1994, GAN was sponsored by Mavic, and rode the Zap electronic shifters in some events - or at least, tried to. As you can see here, Lemond was riding Zap at least a little during the spring classics.

    I'm not going to make any assumptions about why, but they did NOT ride Zap in Paris-Roubaix (and, in fact, in a lot of other races as well...but thats a different topic). Instead they rode a mixed drivetrain - the crank was a Mavic 631/2, the 862 front derailleur, and 571/2 front and rear hubs. For shifters, they used Campagnolo's Record Ergopower shifters, along with a Record rear derailleur. The 571/2 would likely have had a Campagnolo Exa Drive body on it, though it could also have been a custom spaced Mavic proprietary cassette.

    Up front, they were riding Rock Shox Paris-Roubaix SL forks. Mavic 451 brakes. Cinelli bars and stems - Duclos-Lassalle rode Criterium bars (yes, with Ergopower). They used a variety of stems on the bikes, including the Oyster and the 101.

    Selle San Marco saddles - some Rolls, some Regals, and some Titanios. Selcof posts.

    Obviously, a few liberties were taken in building the bike. I'm in no way scared of tubulars, but I AM scared of the price tag associated with Mavic Paris-Roubaix rims. Tracking down the 1994 version of the Record Ergopowers proved something of a pain, so I acquiesced and went with a set of 1995 Chorus levers - identical to the Records of the prior year, save some cutouts in the lever. There are a few other things I know are wrong, but I'll leave it to the astute - and annoying - reader to nitpick on my project.

    I'll be riding this bike Sunday, April 11 in the Brooklyn Pavé ride. It's a ride around Brooklyn, hitting some of the handful of cobbled streets that still remain. It starts at the Old Stone House in Park Slope (4th St. + 5th Ave) at 1pm - we roll out at 2. Please note - this is a friendly little ride not affiliated with any responsible entity. If the rider has a flat or breaks a fork or gets socked by Bernard Hinault, we'll help out but we're not culpable. Moderate pace over some pretty bumpy roads - you'll feel 'em way more than I will, what with my suspension fork - so nerves, or at least an ass of steel recommended. Email me (upper right corner of this page!) for additional info.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2010

    Still 4 days until Paris-Roubaix

    I'm only scratching the surface! More cobbled mayhem all week!

    VeloNews, April 26, 1993

    4 days to Roubaix: The correct answer is "elastomer"

    A few months ago, I wrote about the full suspension bikes that some Team Gan members were riding in 1994 at Paris-Roubaix. At the time, I wasn't sure what the deal with the rear suspension was - was it air/oil, or elastomer. The article below solves that mystery. (it was elastomer)

    That's a whole lotta technology on Greg's bike in the above scan. Early SRM power meter, Mavic Zap shifters. Most riders don't care what they ride, but Lemond definitely was the bike geek's racer - he was more willing to try out some of the new technologies that were beginning to emerge, even if some of those technologies, like electronic shifting, are only just becoming viable today.

    MERCKX TEAM COLOR SCHEME ALERT: The Lotto rider between Lemond and Cipo is riding a Caloi - which is really an relabeled Merckx. Different color scheme that I'd previously documented - guess I was right when I said there was a Lotto scheme I was missing.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2010

    5 days until Paris-Roubaix

    Cycle Sport, April 1994

    Monday, April 05, 2010

    Strong Backs and Weak Minds

    Harry's exhibit about the Coney Island Velodrome, Strong Backs and Weak Minds: The Saga of the Coney Island Velodrome opens this week at the Old Stone House in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. If you find yourself in the area, make sure to stop in for a visit!

    HIncapie's rookie year Paris-Roubaix

    This'll be George Hincapie's 14th try at Paris-Roubaix, I believe. He's come close to winning, finishing 2nd in 2005, with a handful of other top ten finishes. He's got the experience, but it seems to take a liberal dose of luck to succeed.

    Here's a little one pager from 1994 about him, from the June issue of Winning magazine. I wonder what 20 year old George Hincapie would have said had they asked him whether he would be racing Paris-Roubaix 16 years later - let alone whether he'd be considered a contender.

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Mike Melton Aero Bike?

    Anyone know anything beyond the usual about Mike Melton's work in aero frames?

    I'm aware of the work he did with Dave Moulton on the 1980 Olympics bikes, and I've seen some examples of later Olympic bikes attributed to him. But what's the deal with the bike above?

    It's built from True Temper RC. Fillet brazed throughout, except for the chainstays. Approximately 54cm. 74° seat and 75°-ish head tube.

    Funky little faring behind the BB. The seat and downtubes sleeve OVER the bottom bracket sockets. All of the tubes are shaped in some way, be it flared or flattened.

    Flattened seat stays. Shimano drops

    Oddly roomy for such a small bike - I usually ride a 57cm, and don't feel cramped in it. Probably the steep head tube angle.

    None of the equipment is original, just the frame and fork. Is this a TT bike? Tri-bike? Normal road bike? Was it built for a specific purpose? Team? Lots of mystery around this one...

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Harry's Coney Island Velodrome Exhibit

    TFG (that's TearsForGears) buddy and NY Bike Jumble founder Harry Schwartzman has spent years working museums, and is finally getting the opportunity to do a bike-related exhibit. His latest project is on the Coney Island Velodrome. It's set to open up on April 1, at the site of the Brooklyn Bike Jumble, the Old Stone House. (also the site of the original clubhouse for the Brooklyn Dodgers, for those of you who care about such things). Putting on an exhibit like this is a serious undertaking, and donations go a long way in helping to defray the associated costs. If you feel like you can spare a few dollars for whats sure to be a great exhibit, I know Harry would appreciate it. Click here for more info.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Road Bike Action August 1993 - Paris-Roubaix

    58 days until Paris-Roubaix. You ready? I'm ALMOST ready...still have a little work to do...

    Here's a little weekend reading, to get you in the mood - Road Bike Action's coverage of Paris-Roubaix 1993. Won by the previous year's winner, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle from the Gan team. With the success he had riding a Rock Shox fork the previous year, the peloton went a little suspension crazy, riding Rock Shox Paris-Roubaix's, suspension stems, and all sorts of other mad scientist style creations.

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