I received a nice note from Vic in South Africa. An alter kaker like myself, he wanted to know if I ever heard of a frame called "Fantini". I figured it was your typical Italian frame, but when he sent pics, it became clear that this was a little out of the norm. I asked where he got it and his reply,
"I bought the frame at Eroica Britannia (England, in June this year), for about US $250, from an Irish guy. He had it labelled as a 1989 Fantini, that’s all I know. I liked the frame and had never heard of the name, so, sucker that I am, I bought it!!"
Check out the front brake arrangement. Perhaps the oddest arrangement that I’ve ever seen. Also note the internal gear cables and the nice job done on the rear dropout attachment. If anyone can provide some further info, please post it to the blog and let’s help out the brother.
Several times a year, I receive an email asking about a what kind of bicycle tubing is being used on a bike. The decal is not in any of the catalogs and the owner is stumped. The most recent of these inquiries was from Ravi and it was a very Columbus looking decal on a Grandis. The tubing was for OVER-MAX. Tubing catalogs contain ‘stock’ sets of tubing that are available to builders. Framebuilders can do things to modify handling by changing individual tubes. For instance, many builders used to replace the Columbus SL down tube and chain stays with SP if the rider was of a certain weight. This would allow something between a full SL frameset and a full SP frameset.
When a manufacturer is large enough, they can go to a tubing supplier and ‘spec’ a custom tube set. In some cases, this will be to make something seem better than what is really is; like the Schwinn Premis of the 80’s with it’s Tenax tubing. This was a not very special chrome-moly that was most likely seamed. Probably similar to Aelle. Schwinn used the decal make the bike more ‘special’. At the the other end of the spectrum, you have folks like Ritchey, designing a tubing pretty much from scratch and working with the tubing manufacturer to produce a high end product like "Logic". In the case of this Grandis, it appears that they worked with Columbus to spec a tubing based on MAX, but has properties that Grandis felt could only come about with a custom product. The thing about these ‘custom’ tube sets, is that unless you have the specs from the manufacturer, there is no way to tell exactly what the butting is like. Apart from a hacksaw check.
Would anyone know how I can find out more about an oval tubed frame, steel, Bottecchia? Even the seat post is Oval.
Please pardon my late reply. Ovalized (or Aero) tubing was all the rage for a brief moment in the early eighties. None of my literature shows a 'dedicated' Columbus set being available, but the fad was so short lived, it could have existed. My guess is that because Bottecchia is a fairly large builder, they could have had a proprietary set made by Columbus (or Dedaccia, or Reynolds, or whomever) for this model. Try to find a catalog for this bike. I'd guess 1981 give or take a year. I would also seek out a Bottecchia newsgroup and see what you can garner from them. Take good care of the seatpost, that is the most difficult part to find these days. Thanks for your note and visit.
Subject: Tenax tubing
Attempting to find info on this tubing used on my Premis. Is this
abbreviated in any way in this listing?
63 cm frame weight around 2340 grs. Be interested to find what size
frame is used for weight reference.. can not find that online.
Jay in Wis.
Jay in Wis.,
Tenax is not exactly a "Columbus Tube Set". Manufacturers like Schwinn (and Bianchi, and others) would often go to a tubing maker and get a specific tube set drawn for them. They could put their own name on it that way to acquire a certain 'cache'. In most cases it was just marketing hype. While the Premis is a fine bike (I sold them), the tubing contained in it is most likely very similar to either Aelle or Cromor. The only way to know for sure is to hacksaw the bike into pieces and measure the wall thickness. I'd rather you ride it instead (if summer ever arrives in your frigid parts). Thanks for your note and visit.
It’s been a while boys and girls.A Sorry to have kept you waiting.A I’ve got a big ol’ box of Suntour ephemera that needs scanning.A I put up a binder from Suntour that has the Superbe stuff in it.A Unfortunately, most of the road stuff is missing, but it appears that all of the track gruppo is intact.A This is old.A Like me.A No indexing, no aero, and all metal.
A couple of new pages at the BIP.A Firstly, a bunch of material about Carpenter Technology’s Aermet 100 steel alloy for bicycles (and landing gear).A Man, did I get a hard one when this stuff came out.A It was 1994 and aluminum and titanium were pretty much the bee’s knees for frames.A Carpenter found a way to mill Aermet into tubing and make it braze-able.A No butting, 0.5mm from one end to the other.A I ordered some and built myself a new road frame.A I used Hank James’ mountain lugs and built it inAa ‘compact’ style.A Super hard, my files would not scratch it and I used grinding wheels to mitre the tubes.A End result was a 3.5 pound frame that my 250 pounds could ride.A Well, for a while.A After about a year I got a creak and discovered a crack in the seat tube where the front derailleur clamped onto it.A The tubing was so thin that the clamp deformed it just enough to cause trouble.A I replaced that with another aerment tube but with a ‘ring’ of chrome-moly pushed into the bottom to reinforce that area.A Did the trick.A I put a few thousand miles on it but then one of the chainstays rusted through (non-aermet) due to my lack of frame prep after the build.A Someday I’ll fix it.
I consider Aermet to be the grand-daddy of today’s high strength steel tubing like 853 an OX from True Temper.A I think that Carpenter had hoped to sell this technology to a bike tubing manufacturer.A They only made small amounts in an experimental mill.A I never saw very many frames made of it.A I think Bilenky played around with it for a tandem, but my memory is hazy.A
Zeus.A Or the Spanish Campy.A I have put upAa ZeusAcatalog from around 1985 that has their groups plus a bunch of other odd stuff in it.A I remember seeing my first Zeus bikes back in the seventies.A They seemed to be a lot of bike for the money.A The Zeus components were a blatant copy of Neuvo Record, but for a few dollars less.A Someone in Philly must have done well in selling them as I used to see a large group of African-American riders at the club rides on them.A We referred to them as the "Zeus Guys".A I remember doing a century around ’75 or ’76 and riding on River Road just north of New Hope.A The road back then was horrible, narrow and filled with pot-holes.A Rain was coming down in torrents and I was with one of the Zeus Guys.A The weather and the road were so bad we rode down the center of the lane to avoid the pot-holesAnear the shoulder.A We would build up a line of cars and every once in a while someone would honk.A We’d both turn and glare and that would settle matters.A Between the two of us, we must have totalled around 45o# and over 6′ 3″ apiece.
Six inches of snow and my daughter is playing on her computer so time to put up some more stuff.A Another Suntour catalog from 1988Ahas both road and ATB in it.A Some highlights include the (I believe) last edition of roller cam brakes andAa very confusing chart of what Accushift parts will play nicely with others.A
Index shifting was still pretty new and in order for Suntour to get aroundAShimano’s patent, they designed the ‘play’ thatAindex shifting needs into the shifter.A (Shimano had the floating upper jockey pulley that did this for them.)A Unfortunately, by putting it into the shifter, you could never be precise.A In addition, Suntour, for some bizarre reason, made several versions.A This would require matching a rear derailleur with a matching shifter.A Shimano, on the other hand, only made the Dura-Ace line unique and you could mix or match the rest without too much of a problem.A At this point I think that one can begin to see the decline ofA Suntour.A Beginning around this time, shops started to see less and less bikes coming onto the sales floor equipped with Suntour parts.A I don’t think it was a quality issue.A More than likely it was due to more aggressive marketing from Shimano.A But I cannot help but think that Suntour’s lack of technical development was also a contributor.
And now on to another departed manufacturer; CLB Brakes.A This brochure/newsletter from around 1989 is a hoot.A The brochure, "Top" Line, shows the three different brakes by CLB; Space Line, Olympic, and Elite.A Apparently all came in plastic ‘attache-cases’.AA According to Steve Griffith at the Classic Lightweights UK site; CLB at this point was part of Sachs and this was probably the last ‘hurrah’.A Check out this marketing:A Beware! The new CLB levers are so good-looking that they will blind you to alternatives!A Wow.A I wish I was that talented.A I might have a job.
I finally got my UMAX working with Windows 7 (x64) and took her for a test run by finally scanning this old Suntour catalog.A There are some interesting tidbits in this one, but one big problem; the catalog is almost entirely in Japanese.AA If anyone is brave enough to attempt translating, please let me know.A Gratitude is all you will receive.A
Remember the early days of BMX?A Anodizing!A Blue, red, and gold.A Suntour has some early examples of that in this catalog.A The "Hole Shot" two speed set up of BMX is in this as well.A I vaguely remember one or two kids using it, but it never caught on at the track.A Also of note, the "Mighty Click" system.A I don’t recall seeing this on any bikes here in the US, but from what it looks like, it is an early version of indexing.AA Ultra-6 chains and Ultra freewheels show up in here as well.A I remember them well when I was in college.A Broke not onlyAa bunch of chains, but several freewheel cogs as well.A It was at this point that I decided that Suntour was too "lightweight" and began migrating over to Shimano.A But in hindsight, the Superbe is, well, superb!
Always check your SQL version before an upgrade!A Locked myself out when I upped to WP 2.9.2 and because I’m on a shared server, my provider would not upgrade the SQL to work.A C’est la vie.A At last I figured out how to downgrade so I could access my posts.A And delete all the spam.A Amazing.A Almost 200 comments.A Only one was valid.A Hello, Hello, anyone home?
In any event, while I have not added any new content to the Bicycle Info Project, I have (as in past years), put up my photographs of the TD Bank/International Cycling Championship.A You can view the 2010 race here.A Or you can view previous years here.
It’s hard to believe that the race is 26 years old.A I’ve been to all of them.A (I even saw a lap or two in 1999 when my oldest was in the hospital at CHOP.)A When I first started back in the eighties, three or four of us would head down with the Sunday paper, some lawn chairs, and a cooler full of beer and hang out at The Wall.A No guard rails and you could walk easily up and down the street.A Now, I only go for the first lap as it has turned into the annual block party for Manayunk.A As the years went by, I began to ride down with people from the shop I worked at.A Always took pictures, but got more serious about it around 2000.A I then started to post the shots on the web and sent out blurbs to Velonews, and others to try and hawk one or two for publication.A Nada.A In all the years I have shot and displayed, I managed to sell one shot.A Robbie Ventura bought an image of himself coming into the corner in 2001(?) and used it on his coaching site.A Nice guy.A Shot on film as well.A Even had an interneg made so he could get a couple of prints for his folks.A Hope it is still hanging somewhere in the den.A I also got a nice note from a dad of one of the racers who could not make it who was thrilled to see a great shot of his kid.A Sent him a full size gratis.A You gotta love a proud parent.