In moving forward, I had two guidelines:
- Be true to the original Italian design & components.
- Honor Mr. Chaney’s setup as much as possible.
One reason I say this bike is “like” an original Super Record is that as described in my last post, Mr. Chaney opted to switch out some components. To truly restore this to its original components as created in Italy would have been beyond my limited budget and would also violate Guideline #2. I know this may offend the purists out there, but so be it.
As it turned out, I would have to make some changes in order to get the bike in working order.
Mr. Chaney’s wheels, which were 27&1/4″ Mavic rims with Shimano hubs (the wheels on an original SR would have been Fiamme Red Label rims with Campagnolo hubs and ItalVega tubular tires) were beyond repair. Rick, a cyclist & bike mechanic friend, had a pair of 700 Mavics with 1984 Mallard (French) hubs that he was willing to swap. Although I would have loved to stay true to the original size, dropping to the 700 did open up more tire options for me. Even that took some searching, especially since I wanted gumwalls, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I found a used Campagnolo Nuovo headset for sale on Ebay and switched out the existing
OFMEGA (pictured.) Mr. Chaney’s saddle was of no use to me, and since I planned on riding this bike and not just showing it, I bought a used Selle Italia from a friend. A modern Italian touch in keeping with Guideline #1. I opted for my Shimano 105 pedals since I’ll be riding but I have the cage types should I want a change.
The pulleys on the 1972 Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleur were cracked which I thought would be an easy & inexpensive fix. Wrong! I was about to order a replacement pair for about $25 (I expected them to be about half that) when I thought it would be best to contact the store to see if these would work. The person said there was no way to tell but suggested I call USA Campagnolo in California.
The next day I called and was told the same thing: there was no way to know for certain. He said my best bet would be to pirate pulleys from an old derailleur. Odd, I thought, especially in this day and age of digital information, measurements, and tracking, but nonetheless, I took his advice & went to Halcyon Bike Shop who had bins of old gear for sale.
At Halcyon, I found a Shimano derailleur with pulleys that looked close in size and even spotted an old Nuovo but it was in bad shape. I asked the mechanic for his advice about using the Shimano. He shook his head and said it would be a long shot and that he wouldn’t recommend using the Shimano pulleys in place of the Campy.
Discouraged, I pressed on and went to get a “second opinion” from another LBS. He too wagged his head and showed me the product book he used when ordering parts. He pointed out how there were no measurements or dimensions listed for ANY pulley out on the market. I would literally have to order a boatload to MAYBE find one that worked. Pass!
In the end, I cleaned up the cracked pulleys and put them back on. I’ll continue my quest for pulleys but finding the Holy Grail would be easier!
I cleaned off the old bar tape, which was more time consuming than I imagined, and polished up the handlebars & stem which are original components. Although the handlebar is narrow by today’s standards, I’m keeping per Guideline #2.
The brake hoods, which originally were Campagnolo gum types, were so bad I had to scrape them off with a putty knife and use thinner to get the remnant junk off. I opted for generic replacements as the Campy ones were too expensive and were shipping from Europe.
I ordered Cinelli cork tape to stay within the style of the era but added a modern touch with them being the gel type.
The tires are handmade Veloflex 700 X 23 with gumwalls that I got for a great deal. When my confirmation email said I should get them in 2 weeks, I realized my haste in ordering may have cost me time. I went online to learn they were shipping from the UK. As it turned out, this blunder actually forced me to be more patient in applying paint, decals, and the clear coat. A blessing in disguise.
Once I had the bike scrubbed as smooth as I could with steel wool #3 & #1, I set up my garage for using spray paint.
Using twine, I hung the frame at eye height from the garage door opener which allowed me the ability to spin the frame with ease for painting. I put plastic everywhere to catch as much overspray as possible. I toyed with painting it Colnago red but I stuck to my Guidelines. Instead, I went for a bit more modern look with using a pearl-white finish.
In a few spots the chrome was shining through and I quickly learned that this pearl paint was a translucent finish, meaning I could still see the chrome no matter how many coats I applied. I removed the paint I just applied to one fork (Paint tip #101: always start with an inconspicuous piece first!) and spot primed all the exposed chrome as well as any trouble spots I thought were worth priming. I applied at least 3 coats of the top coat making sure there were no drips.
The headbadge was another matter.
There was enough remnant color on Mr. Chaney’s headbadge for me to determine what colors went where (see side picture.)
I taped off the areas and spray painted the appropriate red and green, doing so in separate passes. Using an artist brush, I dabbed color in the minuscule nooks that the tape accidentally covered. Later, I filled in the white around the “ItalVega” by hand (seen in closing pictures.)
Later, I found this photo online that shows the colors reversed. Puzzled, I double checked
my original photo which confirmed I had painted the correct areas. Then it struck me: Was my bike a fake? Or was this a design flaw from the get-go?
I reached out to the BikeForums Gurus who concurred that some ItalVegas had differing headbadge colors but no one knew why.
At this point, I didn’t care.
I just wanted confirmation that I didn’t have some sort of defect and was excited to get the bike finished.
Since I was still waiting on my tires and headset, I let the paint cure for several days before I painted the gold accents. I taped off the circular ones around the fork or tubes, eyeballing the width, and painted those by hand. The accents around the headset and bottom bracket I did freehand without taping. I used a tiny, thin artist brush for this, and since I paint professionally, I didn’t find this too challenging. And if it lapped over, I had a wet rag to wipe off any excess.
Decals & Clear Coat
I ordered decals from Velocals and was pleased with the relative ease it was to apply them. I followed their instructions religiously as I didn’t want to botch it up now. I was already stoked about how good the paint job looked but adding the decals made the frame come to life! I let the decals dry for several days before I clear coated.
I took Velocals advice and purchased the clear coat they recommended from my local auto parts store. I ended up using 2 cans and applied at least 5 coats.
I didn’t sand or buff in between coats of painting or clear coating, which is a no-no. Maybe if I do a project like this again I will, but to be honest, I was very pleased with my efforts; I’ll let the final results speak for themselves.
Putting It Together
Prior to painting, I thoroughly cleaned every component and bearing using a degreaser from the auto store and Simple Green. The only bearings I didn’t mess with were the ones in the hubs. Once everything was clean and regreased, I began to reassemble the bike. Adding the Nuovo headset gave it a regal touch and brought it closer to being original.
I had ordered new brake & gear cables along with cable housing and got those attached. I left plenty of extra cable should I need to make more adjustments. I didn’t have a bottom bracket tool so I took the bike into my LBS to get this attached along with the chain and any derailleur adjustments.
As it turns out, it was the best money I spent as he found little things I’d done wrong. When I picked it up the next day, I received nothing but compliments from the shop workers, many of whom weren’t even born when this bike was around!
Below are some quick pictures I took to share to the world. When the weather is nicer, which in Tennessee may not be until March, I’ll take some better ones. For now enjoy, and stay tuned for my next post about how it rides…or doesn’t!