Have you ever rung a stranger at six in the morning because you wanted to talk about a bike? Maybe you should.
My work is quite a distance away from my home, so I have to leave rather early in the morning, and when I see something tasty in the small ads of our local newspaper I normally fill the day´s swearword bin rather sooner than I should, and forget about it. Today things were different: There was a fifties track bike advertised. I waited until the very last moment before I had to get ready, and dialled the number. Someone rather sleepy answered, and luckily the elderly gentleman was far too well bred to tell me what he must have been thinking. Anyway, after about three minutes I clinched the deal on the solemn promise I would turn up ASAP after work, and this is what I bought:
Of course there´s no way this bike dates from the fifties, but it definitively is nice, and I wanted it. The price was right, and that was it.
It´s a Kotter from the time when his bikes were called Kotter´s Racing Team after the, you guessed it, racing team sponsored by former opera singer turned cycle entrepreneur Konrad Kotter between 1979 and 1982, with Didi Thurau as their most prominent rider. After the racing team era there were Albuch Kotter bikes until the early years of this millennium. The eagle on the headsticker was a bit boastful as Thurau was fired when he stopped being an assett, and the racing team had to be wound down due to financial difficulties.
Rumour has it that Kotter had most of his frames built in Italy, and this frame too screams Italian at you. It´s one of those typical medium cheap Aelle tubed late seventies affairs with lots of chrome, and whenever it´s a road bike you happen to see, it will have other nice bits and pieces on it.
It´s not a tretubi, which is something.
And it´s quite well built, too. Not much mudguard clearance here, and the bike was spared the fate of having the fork crown drilled by someone who thought he could make a hack bike out of it.
Same in the rear, and the fingerprint must be the painter´s, which is another proof that the frame was built to a tight budget, as is the not overly clean brazing.
The two K´s don´t go very far either in the way of luxury as the seat stay top definitively is a recycled cornflakes pack. Look at where the seat stay top ends and is plugged into the stay as such – there´s a line the plater didn´t have enough time to polish off.
Else, the lugs are nice, and even…
… a tad thinned if I´m not mistaken.
Here´s the b/b shell with a lot of numbers – one´s the frame number, of course, the 56 is the height, but the L83 I haven´t a clue about.
There´s a couple of nasty scratches, but there are no dents al all.
And, as always, leaving the best for the end.
A couple of shots of the mixed bag of bits, mostly Gipiemme, which fits in well with the middle price point frame.