While I´m writing this, I should really be riding, but – excepting one occurrence – this is a fitting ending to a mostly horrible week, bike wise, anyway, during which I was hampered by a number of things.

To start with, all hell broke lose at work keeping me from posting all week long although I had promised some people to publish some photos. This I have finally managed this morning.

Next, my car broke down. I´m not a strong enough rider to commute to work, 35km one way on the bike, 41 by car, hilly to boot, plus often up to 10kg of luggage. There´s no feasible public transport either here in the Northern German countryside, so my car is important to me, and I spent a sunny Saturday morning, yesterday, watching a specialist in a town 65km away from here repair it because no workshop in the neighbouring city could handle the problem. <GNASH>

Yesterday night the weather forecast was heavy rain for today, high winds, and while we´re not deterred by most bad weather coditions, this did put us off. Accordingly I didn´t set the alarm clock, and woke up to no rain, even a little sun, but too late to make it to the start of today´s ride, nice and hilly, in a town about 50km away.

But worst of all, I disassembled a bike yesterday evening which was among the most horrible I´ve seen. I earned some money, never full time I admit, in the past, repairing bikes, and have seen “repairs” executed by some hamfisted owners, but usually I just told them to throw the bikes out and get a new cheapo, which I could supply in many cases.

Last week, Thursday, I was able to get my hands on something I had coveted for a long time, namely a frame built by what I had thought to be Berlin´s equivalent of Dortmund´s Rickert, a frame builder called Lüders. As it turned out my two Lüders at least are nowhere near as nice as my Rickerts, but it wasn´t the right week to expect anything great happening.

I had noted the two Lüders in the used bike stand of our village cycle dealer´s some weeks ago, brought there by the family of a deceased cyclist who bought them new in the late nineties. Never seen any in our nick of the woods, and now two. It never rains… Also our village cycle dealer doesn´t deal in racing bikes, so it was some find. There still were some problems about the sale of a new bike, but last Thursday I was able to buy the batch for a rather moderate sum. I will post extensively about one of the Lüders, equipped with a 9sp Record groupset, which I will repair after all and not part out as originally intended. The other one will definitively be broken for spares, reasons later.

Also included in the deal was this monster, built by the Lüders owner, and not by our village cycle dealer:

I had asked the cycle dealer expressedly not to repair anything on the three bikes to keep prices low, intending to break the bikes for spares, so he is in no way connected to any of the mechanical problems depicted in the following photos. In fact I´m grateful for him to have given me first refusal on the batch. I bought all three bikes as u/s and not roadworthy.

Once a very nice bicycle indeed this Columbus had been butchered by the last owner and turned into something no longer resembling the thoroughbread it had once been, but also only vaguely reminding me of an able town bike.

The former owner had obviously been a cyclist for a long time, because I heard this

shouting “PAT 80” at me from the used bike stand. The bike had been ridden to the last, so when I saw this

I got a little weary and decided not to ride it home. It´s the front brake, BTW, and the photo was taken with the brake release lever down (4 photos down, the lever is up, but that was later.)


This is what should hold the luggage rack. A single finger had the rack sway by centimetres. The dynamo clamp also had sagged and was touching the chain in sixth.

This shows the whole dilemma:

Wonderful frame, but the clamp holding the rack doesn´t even have a rubber insert to keep it from swaying. Of course there were all the classics, too, like askew valve stems, chain catching pin on the outer chainwheel not under the crank, over- and undertightened bolts, as well as this beauty:

Great work.

But then look at these – beautiful. The thinned lug tip, the fork crown… When wheeling the bike to the car I noted that the headraces seemed strangely stuck, and upon disassembling them I found that they were just tightened right down to the end, not adjusted. Luckily the races survived the ordeal. Also the bottom bracket bearing had been assembled without grease. There was only some residual lubricant that had not been cleaned out. Again, the races were not great, but ok. No pitting in either case.

My bikes never are too clean either, but I think this is way OTT. The derailleur didn´t work; some WD40 did the trick, though.

Another trick I need to remember: Use wide white plastic sticky tape liberally to tape lighting wires to frame tubes, then get spray can in frame colour and spray over sticky tape, cables and everything else in the vicinity. Paint will hold perfectly on frame, cables and a number of other things, even on chain – never mind it will come off the tape.

OTOH, I got a number of spares off the Columbus, the Superleggera pedals for instance going straight onto another bike, so all in all I got my money´s worth, if not more. Also the 8sp Athena suitable seatpin went onto my other Rickert as it still lacked one. Strangely the seatpin was 27.2mil – coming out of a Columbus tube I was able to reuse the pin in a 531 tubed frame.

Again, I´m not complaining about anyone involved in the deal through which I acquired the bike; I´m just asking myself what went on in the last owner´s mind. But nihil nisi bene, and he´ll have had his reasons, so that´s that now.

I somehow mislaid (or didn´t take?) the photos of the brakes, strangely modified. Both calipers and levers are versions I´ve not seen before, but then I´m not a Campag specialist. I´ll (re-) take the snaps and add them when I find the time.


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