’73 ItalVega “Super Record”…kinda Pt 3

IMG_8332Maiden Voyage

The plan was to ride solo for the maiden voyage but teammates talked me into riding with them. I wanted to show bike off so I agreed. I hung on the back because I was still getting used to the bike and didn’t want to cause any accidents and we connected with a large group ride.

The first thing I noticed about the ItalVega was how smooth & quiet it is…and it’s 45-years old! Shifting is smooth as it can be for an old-school lever system and the frame, although a wee-bit big for me, handled and responded wonderfully.

When the group began a Cat 4 climb, I knew I’d be in the rear but was also surprised that I caught some of the bigger riders on their carbons. Rounding a dog-leg turn that pitched up to 15%, the chain disengaged the cassette which meant I was spinning but going nowhere. Gravity kicked in and fearing I’d fall, I angled for the center of the road, thankful there was no traffic. I continued to spin, hoping the chain would catch, but it didn’t, and with no more momentum, I toppled. I wasn’t hurt and the bike was okay, but I laughed as I felt I was in a Monty Python skit.

Other Rides

IMG_8336To date, I have logged a little over 100-miles on the Super Record and I’m using it as my winter training bike. Since the rear cassette has only 5 gears (14-16-19-22-26) I’m disciplining myself to use as few gears as possible in an attempt to mimic a fixie. I especially try this on climbs. Quite the challenge for these skinny old legs!

Recently, I joined some teammates on a lunch ride. On the climb (another Cat 4) it handled well and I felt like my pedal strokes dug into the hill, if that makes any sense at all.  On another steep section, the chain disengaged but this time I was prepared and immediately juggled the shift lever to grab a cog.

On the steep descent, I hit 44.5 MPH, which I never reach on my Colnago carbon, and I felt comfortable and safe rocketing down this hill. Well, as safe as one can at that speed!

Once on the flats, we formed our paceline and when we took a sharp corner at 20 MPH, I again was in awe at how IMG_8353it handled: smooth, strong, accurate line. Later, when I took my hands off the handlebars, the bike remained balanced and straight.

 

 

Conclusion

When I was refurbishing this bike, I never in my wildest dream expected it to ride and perform like it is. At best, I hoped it would be something to ride to my local coffee shop or pub. Instead, it rides like a champ! And I know I’ve said this already but this bike is 45-years old!!

I love the compliments I get on how the bike looks as well as the memories it conjures when I first started riding over 30-years ago. That’s a great cocktail!

My only complaints are that I wish it had one more gear (12 or 10) because I run out of gears on downhills and sprints, and the frame is a bit big. Small potatoes in the long run.

To be truly candid, in some regards I like how the ItalVega handles more than my carbon Colnago. No, I’m not about to get rid of the Colnago, but it sure is nice to have 2 killer machines in my arsenal!

Below is an old Bicycle Magazine review of an ItalVega “Super Speciale,” which although a step above the Super Record, is still a good source and proof positive that these were great bikes.

IMG_0431

 

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