Oh my God, we’re all going to die

29 August 2009

This morning’s ride was a bit interesting. It all starts with the fact I left the bar at last call yesterday and woke up with around 7 because I left the shades drawn. Sleep deprived and dehydrated always a good start to the day.

Originally I had planned doing paradise loop, but I did not realize my own strength and snapped the cable to the front derailleur when it wasn’t shifting and I tried to “help” it along. So I decide to divert to headlands. Everything is fine, i get to the top of the climb no issues… It’s beautiful (also crap phone camera):

I start down the descent and get outside my comfort zone very quickly. Basically I’m not a fast descender anyway and the majesty of whether the delta brakes will fully function is still in the back of my mind. So I turn back and notice that the front brake is rubbing against the tire. Apparently in the 20 seconds down the steep way the brake had shifted its way down (something I had noticed during last ride and adjusted for before this one). I guess the shear of braking just pulls on it enough to get it to shift down. So I’ve got a cable to replace and an urgent need to make that front delta brake stay put.

Then the last bit of fun is my attempt to go through Lands End past the Legion of Honor to the cliff house, but the small road shown on google maps is part a road and part a gravel/dirt path. Road bikes (and me riding one) aren’t too fond of such things. I ended up cutting up on a path that led to the VA hospital and just giving up and heading home. Still managed 20-ish miles. Alright.

Enter Phil Wood

15 July 2009
Installing a bottom bracket is an interesting process of trial and error. It all comes down to aligning the chainline. The basic idea being you want to center the freewheel in the back with the crank in the front. It’s easy to measure the alignment of the freewheel in the back, so it’s just a matter of getting the crank to line up.
The Procedure:
  1. Screw on the bottom bracket cups and roughly center the bottom bracket
  2. Put the crank on
  3. Measure the chainline, if it’s all lined up, go to step 7
  4. If it’s not where it’s supposed to be, take the crank off
  5. Adjust the bottom bracket cups to improve the alignment
  6. Go back to step 2 and repeat
  7. Things are properly aligned, so measure how far the threads are exposed on each side
  8. Take it all apart
  9. Generously apply Loctite to threads of the BB cups.
  10. Thread it back in using the measurement from step 7 to get the alignment right.
  11. Pray to God that the Phil Wood logo lines up in the star cut out of the frame because that would look awesome
  12. Jump up and down in victory
  13. Attach the cranks
Didn’t get a good picture until a bit later and a few more components were installed. Oops.
The italian frame adds an extra kink – both sides of the bottom bracket are threaded right-handed. As a result, the left side has a tendency to unscrew itself. Less than ideal if you find yourself on a long ride. Best you can do is crank it down during the install and put Loctite on the threads.

Frustration thy name is Shimano

19 June 2009

So the nearly NOS Guerciotti frame of mine had a Shimano Sante headset installed on it, meaning the fork was cut too short to install a Campy headset. Damn. Add another component to the list of non-Campy on the Guerch.

So here it is instead:

Supposedly this group was positioned somewhere between Ultegra and Dura Ace intended for the semi-pro rider. So still far above my riding level… Also great if you’re planning to build a bike to get married on as all the components are white.

Chrome would’ve been prettier.


15 June 2009

So where exactly does one find a bike’s worth of 1980-90s vintage parts….

Here and there.

4 countries, 6 states, and several bikes stores later…

Bottom Bracket – Nice Woody

10 June 2009

Ever think to yourself: “you know what would be fun? firing some bullets at my bike.” Well, that’s what Phil Wood components are all about. Bulletproof. Great choice for a bottom bracket.

This will be one of the few modern components on the bike aside from the Mavics. Based on what I’ve heard about the old school cup-and-cone bottom brackets, it is a nightmare. In addition, what were the Italians doing? Besides bizarre choices for threading and so on, extra bonus with an Italian bottom bracket — right handed threading when you’d like left means the cup likes to loosen itself (physics!). With a California bike heritage, the first component maker to utilize cartridge bearings, and the maker of the best lube around, Phil Wood is a natural fit. If I know what I’m doing, you’ll even be able to see the beautiful Phil logo through the G-star. If that’s not bike porn, I don’t know what qualifies anymore.

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship

4 June 2009

Like an amazing metaphor for life, these Cinelli bars/stem will guide the old Guerch. Why amazing? Cinelli was responsible for getting the Guerciotti brothers into frame building and trained them in the art. So the partnership continues.

One side note, the bars are actually relatively modern, but still have the old school Cinelli bar diameter. They also feature the “ergo” bend (see how it’s not a smooth curve like most retro bars), which will be nice once it’s actually time to go on some long rides. Hands — you are welcome.

Rear deraileur

31 May 2009

Not as beautiful as the earlier versions with the engraved Campy logo, but this one is in great condition nonetheless. Nothing too exciting about this, but it’ll be a nice workhorse.

Synchro Shifters

22 May 2009

Probably the second most ridiculous component on the bike. Known for their finickiness and lack of desired functionality, these beauties were Campy’s attempt to do index shifting in the late-80’s to early 90’s. These are second generation synchro shifters (but after they did away with the designation between 1st and 2nd gen. why do I know this?). Interestingly enough, these are for 8-speed, which is far less than ideal with freewheel type hubs since it puts more stress on the axle than desired. I have no clue what kind of magic i’m going to have work to get them functioning as desired, but I will probably have the most success just replacing the cog for 8 speed indexing with a 6 or 7 speed version.

If nothing else, they’ll work in friction mode and I can just make a clicking noise whenever I shift. ::click::click::click:: Oh, there’s the gear I wanted….

::trumpet fanfare:: Delta Brakes ::trumpet fanfare::

10 May 2009

Building an Italian bike that’s from 1986-1993? If it doesn’t have Delta Brakes, it’s crap. Less so for the actual performance and more so for the beauty/ridiculousness. A true case of form over function. Likely the most expensive single component on the bike. Ride them for the compliments, swear at them for their operation. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The best part – these brakes were won on eBay using a friend’s iPhone (thanks @the_danno) at Toronado from a seller in France. Most money i’ve ever dropped at a bar in one sitting… so far.

Headset (now with speed holes!)

4 May 2009

Upon inspection, you may notice the Guerciotti already has a headset installed. It was described as a “boutiquey” period relevant headset from Shimano. But really, what business do Japanese parts have on an Italian frame? Think about the last time Italy and Japan were allied… that ended badly. Almost as catastrophic as that joke.

So on that note, more Campy! The most important part: this headset has speed holes. Literally. Why? because who doesn’t like going fast? Whoosh!