Monthly Archives: May 2015

Three Beauties

The three bikes pictured below (and their riders!) took part in the Gütersloh RTF ride a couple of weeks ago.GTautobahn One more ride in great weather, with a wonderful organisation, good food (although I was told due to the huge number of participants it became somewhat scarce towards the end), and another opportunity to have compassion with car drivers.

The most interesting bike in my opinion was this Stevens because here´s a great looking frame off a major brand´s peg again. Is steel on its way back into the mainstream?

XStevfullIt´s based on the Royal Blue 91 race frame, introduced to fete the millionth frame sold by Stevens I was told by the owner. I couldn´t find any info like this on the Stevens website, but the price tag of 799 Euros for frame, fork and headbearing seems rather reasonable.

The only issue I have with the frame is that using Reynolds, Tange, Columbus or what have you quality tubing would surely not have made that much of a difference pricewise. As it is, the website says that tubing is CroMo which I find a shame considering so much work goes into the frame building and the preparation of the fleur de lys lugs. Anyhow, it´s a beauty.

Xstevbb Xstevfrontdo XstevforkcrXstevheadb Xstevseatcl Xstevreardo Xstevlwrheadl

 

I don´t think the other two of the bikes need any introduction, the Rickert and the Tommasini are just classics.

Tombb Tomseatstay Tomseatcl Tomreardo Tomhead TomfullHere´s the Rickert – a genuine Reynolds 753 frame. The lady riding it is fully aware of what she´s got, luckily. She is the first owner, too.

Xrick753 Xricksticker Xrickseatcl Xrickreardo Xrickheadbo Xrickfull XRickforkleg Xrickbrakecablett Xrickbrakebr Xrickbb

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Colnago Riddle

This bike which I bought at the weekend illustrates the old saying sic transit gloria mundi.

XCschriftlichainst

Not having been in contact with Colango bikes much, and being overwhelmed by the sheer avalanche of info available on the net, I have not been able yet to find out what sort of Colnago my frame is, cheap or nice. My guess is it´s a cheap version as the brand name has been stamped into all sorts of frame parts.

Here are some photos:

XCfullThis is what the bike looked like when I first got it.

It sported a mix of a number of Campag groupsets:

XCfrontder XCftbrakecalXCrearderXCrearhubvel

Or perhaps anyone will be able to make head or tails of the frame #?

XCreardoframe#But here´s some frame details.

XCtopheadl

Simple headlugs, as well as …XCseatcl

… a pretty cheap seat cluster solution.XCschriftrekettenstr

XCforkcrlwr

The cast fork crown however is quite nice.XCcablestopchainst XCcableguidett XCbrakebr

All of the above is run of the mill again.XCbblwr XCbb:MavGreat b/b shell – alas someone fitted a Mavic threadless repair unit b/b which took out the first three or so threads on each side of the shell. A quick trial fitting of an Italian thread Campag Record b/b however showed that no serious damage was done, and that the Mavic unit was not installed because of any damaged threads. Strange.

The elderly gentleman I obtained the bike from reported that he hadn´t liked the “garish” white and red original paintwork, so he had it redone. Wonderful idea, especially as the new paintwork hasn´t protected the metal well from rusting.

So, what was this frame´s paintwork like originally, and which tubing sticker would it have carried?

Ride of Silence

Germany´s first ROS took place last week. Daniel Doerk´s (itstartedwithafight.de) incessant work for the improvement and humanization of Osnabrück´s traffic situation led to about one hundred participants cycling into Osnabrück town centre on Wed at 7pm.

While the general atmosphere wasn´t exactly one of silence, with the bikes people brought a never ending topic, it still was quite horrible to listen to the second-by-second investigation accounts of three lethal accidents being read in the spots where the cyclists actually died.

Let´s hope there won´t be another ride necessary next year.

ROSspcard

The spoke card created by Daniel for the occasion

ROSread

A stop at an accident site

ROScrowd

waiting for the start

ROSthreewh ROSTand ROSNorw ROSKlapp ROSampel

 

 

The Other Day, At Work…

… I spied a very nice bicycle of a not too well known German brand, which has been around for 30 years. I have emailed the firm for more info but have not had a response yet, so here are a few reminiscences accompanied by some photos only.XHdttransf

From what I remember and gather from the internet (rad-forum.de, showflat number 54456) for instance), the Herkelmann Velodor series was sold in a German department store around 1995 for just under 1.000 DM. The store chain had obtained the bikes cheaply when Herkelmann went bust after trying to establish an expensive luxury bicycle brand in Germany. More active cyclists at the time thought highly of this experiment, but Herkelmann´s bad luck was that he tried about 10 years too early – at the time the German bike market was still ruled by price alone, and the average cyclist didn´t care a hoot where a bike was built as long as it was cheap.

 

XHfull

Conditions in the bike rack were somewhat cramped, but the frame is on.

XHbb

Simple, but rugged structure for the b/b. The welded construction does not necessarily indicate cheap tubing.

XHbottlecageeyes XHcablestopseatstay

XHtttransfer

XHbrakebr

A number of constructional details point towards mountainbike parenthood in this frame.

XHfrontdo XHfrontfork

A number of braze ons on this bike are unused – it would make a great bike for loaded travelling, I guess.

XHheadtransf

head transfer

XHseatcl

 

Am I alone in being reminded of bilams in this seatcluster treatment?

 

XHreardo

Clean brazing at the rear dropout.

XHlwrheadl

 

Strengthening the headrace seats might make sense in heavily loaded touring.

XHdyn

The dynamo is dangerously askew, but a period correct Nordlicht which was very popular before the advent of the generator hub.

Let´s hope that the bike will survive its present role as a ride-to-work-bike. I´ve spoken to the owner and found that he appreciates it up to a point and is aware of the fact that he has a future classic on his hands, so let´s keep our fingers crossed.

 

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Miele Time Again

So it´s the beginning of May, and Gütersloh beckons again. No long ride this time, sorry to say, only from neighbouring Halle to Gütersloh which is about 20 km. The reason was a really awful weather report, with forecast rain and high winds, which turned out to be incorrect after all. Ah well. My son and myself arrived in Halle by car and met a friend who had taken the train.

Soon after meeting up with the friend at Halle train station we set off. It only took three quarters of an hour to cover the short distance to the meeting point, Gütersloh Stadtmuseum, which had had a marquee erected by Gütersloh Stadtmarketing, and a number of bikes had already assembled. We arrived just in time to listen to a speech made in honour of the original organizer of the event who had died earlier in the year.

Xrack

XallesMiele Xcockpit

Xmuswall

This time there were not so many very old Miele cycles, but some nice original condition ones, like this late thirties dumpster find:

Xprewfull Xprewsaddle Xprewmasc Xprewheadlamp Xprewheadl

 

The oldest known Miele bike had also found its way to the meeting. Its frame number is five digit and starts with a “13”, which means that chances are slim that an older one will ever surface.

Xhajobb Xhajosks Xhajofull

 

However, some very typical German ideas of what an old bike should be like or have as an accessory were also there. I must admit that I don´t like either aftermarket kick stands

Xprewstand

or the proverbial milk container or fire brigade bike. These more often than not show what owners think bikes should be like, but miss historical reality by miles.

Xmilk

A really weird and wonderful speciality from the early fifties is this Rex Hilfsmotor. Rex was one of a whole array of auxiliary engines made to fit bikes more or less well, like the Lohmann Diesel, the MAW or the Steppke. These engines had a very short tenure as Germany´s way into mass motorization as mopeds took over soon, being much more practical and a good way of showing that one earned enough money to do without the old-fashioned bicycle.

This Rex is in a marvellous condition and emits a sound not unlike that of a Velosolex.

Xrexmasc

Pre-WWII mudguard mascot

Xrexfull

Soon after 12, a 36 strong crowd assembled in front of the museum to set off on a 20 km tour though the countryside surrounding Gütersloh.

Xroadblock

The ride, as usual well planned and led at a pace of about 12 kp/h, culminated at a restaurant where Gütersloh Stadtmarketing invitied all participants to a meal and a drink. En route there had been numerous opportunities for interesting conversations with many riders.

After having partaken in the welcome refreshment, our small group of three people set off, deliberately missing the 4pm return to the Stadtmuseum because we thought we´d better get going as the weather was deteriorating. Our friend had a satnav fitted to has late fifties Miele sports bike, and asked it politely to show us the shortest way back to Halle train station. The little machine on the handlebars must have sensed that I detest such apparatus, and led us far astray, making our friend miss his train by two minutes. What the satnav had obviously not taken into account was the ice cream parlour next to the station, where we settled down to have a great time waiting for the next train, so we did get the better of it after all.

In all, the Sunday turned out to be a very nice day out, hopefully to be repeated next year, when I also would very much like to cycle the whole way from home to Gütersloh again.