Sunday, September 28, 2008

TANGE French bottom bracket cup set, lockring. NOS,New


Sold: $81 plus $4.95 shipping

My snipe: n/a

NOS NEW; FRENCH Bottom bracket cups and lockring by Tange. 35tpi. Excellent Japanese quality, be ready to overhaul your french bicycle! This is new, unused and still in the box! It does not get any better condition than NEW.

Reader Mikael posed the following inquiry:

Hi Velosniper,

I have noticed that the price of French thread bottom brackets have increased substantially in the last couple of weeks. This culminated in this unprecedented auction price: 200254763150 (I thought that $40 would be a price I could live with). Perhaps not surprisingly there are now six or seven auction by “vintage-bike” out of Nancy, France who is offering bottom brackets starting at a “reasonable” $35.00 or so. Obviously, I am way behind the wave when these prices are spiking just as I need a set of cups. Is this a seasonal thing?

Cheers,
Mikael


While $86 might not be unprecedented, it sure is a lot of money for a pair of cups and a lockring from a mid-level brand. But that's part of owning a French bike: you will pay more for expendable parts than you will with a BSC or Italian-threaded ride.

I'm not sure if it's seasonal, but perhaps the approaching end of good riding weather has other French bike owners either replacing parts they wore out this Summer, or trying to get a bike on the road before Winter hits. It's tough to draw conclusions from any single moment on eBay.

So, what are Michael's options? Nothing cheap, it seems...

My first thoughts for a quick solution were Harris Cyclery and Velo Orange, but neither has French-thread traditional cup and cone BBs or cups at the moment. VO has the lovely Edco competition bottom bracket ($88, assuming the 122mm length will work), as described in this post, and Harris is one of many places that carry the well-loved Phil Wood unit ($155 with rings, many lengths available). If a cartridge style BB is acceptible, both of these offer a performance-to-cost value that exceeds that offered by these Tange cups, and there is no chance of Mikael's existing spindle not working with another brand's cups (it seems he plans to reuse it).

If Mikael is set on a traditional fixed/adjustable cup set, Cyclartist has a nice set of Spidel cups for $75 buy-it-now. Otherwise, eBay looks pretty bare; I think he'll have to slug it out for one of Vintage-Bike's offerings.

He could also join the Classic Rendezvous mail digest and post a "Want To Buy" ad.

One last thought is to crack open the yellow pages and call all the local shops. He might get lucky and find a shop that has something appropriate in stock.

Good luck and thanks for writing, Mikael!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Market Snapshot: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Front Derailleurs

A recent frame purchase has me searching for a later-style Campagnolo Nuovo Record front derailleur.

Here are some recent auction results that I think represent current fair market values. All of these are from the post-CSPC era (1978 - on), so the outer cages have a lip at the leading edge and are pierced with three or more holes. Earlier NR versions look like this. Super Record versions have a black anodized outer arm but are otherwise identical.

Auction links and sale prices including shipping:

3-hole, clamp-on: $18
3-hole, braze-on: $36.50
4-hole, narrow band: $57.52

The first derailleur, above, is the most common type, a 28.6mm clamp-on version. A completed item search today shows a few in this price range, plus one or two abberations (including one at $51 - why?).

The second photo shows a braze-on version. These are relatively uncommon, but not much more valuable than the clamp-on version.

Front derailleur braze-ons became popular in the early '80s. The 1984 Palo Alto catalog shows only a $2 price difference between Super Record and Nuovo fronts, and they didn't list the NR braze-on option. I think most people just bought the Super version and went on with their lives. Even today, NR eBay values are much lower than SR.

It's easy to switch the cage and arm assembly from a clamp body to a braze-on body, if you have one around. This probably further suppresses the value of braze-on NR fronts.

The last photo shows the four-hole narrow clamp model, the most unusual of the post-CPSC Nuovo front derailleurs. Its relative scarcity is reflected in the higher selling price. This unit was only available for a short time around 1978. Note that the clamp lacks the "points" around the Campagnolo text, as seen in the first photo above. These clamps are fragile, and Campy went back to the original design fairly quickly. I have not heard any theories as to why they reverted to the three-hole cage; perhaps the extra hole reduced the cage's rigidity and therefore shifting performance, but that's just a guess.

For further reading, Tom Dalton wrote extensively about the four-hole derailleur on the Classic Rendezvous list earlier this year, pointing out the interesting fact that there was no Super Record four-hole version. The searchable Classic Rendezvous archives are here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Price Porn: CAMPAGNOLO PATENT ROAD BIKE CRANKSET DUST CAPS STEEL

Sold: $88 plus $6 shipping.

My snipe: n/a.

*****USED BUT IN EXCELLENT CONDITION*** 70'S CAMPAGNOLO "PATENT" CRANKSET DUST CAPS. ALL CHROME STEEL. ****IN EXCELLENT CONIDITON. NO RUST. VERY LITTLE SCRATCHES. NO BLEMISH.****

I sincerely hope that this is the ugliest picture I ever put up here, especially after yesterday's lovely shot of that Galli group by tanya9465.

But I seemed to have goofed, or at least misjudged the market significantly in my post about the three-arm Campy Gran Sport cranks. I suggested that the included NOS steel "Patent" dust caps represented about $30 of the $102 selling price of that auction, but these used caps sold Monday for a shocking $88 before shipping. What would those NOS caps be worth then? Pardon me while I go look behind cabinets in the garage...

I have a theory that sometimes an auction can be too well executed. Who knows what sins are hidden in this blurry photograph? The bidder's imagination is free to wander, unfettered by the reality of pitted chrome or evidence of alan key rudeness that might put him off if it were clear in a better picture. I only hope that reality lives up to this buyer's dream.

*********

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vintage Italian Galli (Campagnolo) road race group set


Sold:
$159.98 including shipping from U.K.

My snipe: n/a

Full Galli groupset minus the hubs. Galli was an Italian company that produced a wide variety of parts and groupsets from the early seventies to the late eighties.This groupset is original and in good condition. All parts can be used straight away on your vintage Italian bicycle. Bottom bracket and headset come without bearings but I think they are the standard (Campagnolo) size. Bearing surfaces have some signs of use but have no pits and are in good working order. Rubbers on the brakelevers have some cracks but are not completly dried out.

Specifications: Threading: British; Front mech: Clamp on; Cranks: 170mm 52/42

I was surprised by the relatively low selling price for this group.

Seems like an inexpensive way to build up a late '70s bike that would stand out in a crowd of Campy Nuovo Record rigs. While the castings and finishes are not as refined, it's the functional equivalent of NR or Gran Sport, and it's certainly more unusual. The large chainring is particularly attractive.

It's very complete, and with english threads it will fit a large number of bikes. A definite bargain, wish I had gone for it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Price Porn: " SIMPLEX" rare ! exceptional derailleur 543..NIB !!

Sold: $826 including shipping.

My snipe: n/a

rare and exceptional in this condition! MINT !!! rear derailleur SIMPLEX 543 , new, new, new ! with cable and box. Only one, no second chance !!

Hilary Stone's excellent overview of this family of derailleurs is here.

The user set an internal limit device according to the number of freewheel cogs on the bike, hence the "5-4-3" designation. The indicator tab shows that this example is set to handle five cogs.

The Simplex pushrod design vanished in the wake of the parallelogram derailleur we all know today, popularized by Campagnolo's Gran Sport.

Classic Rendezvous shows a 543 selling for $1,325 in October of 2001, and examples of type 59 and 60 variants for over $4,000 in 2003.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Edco Competition Bottom Bracket

Sold: $90.42 including shipping

My snipe: $60-ish.

This is sealed bearing bottom bracket features aluminum adjustable cups on BOTH sides for perfect chain line adjustment. The bearings are still perfectly smooth. Given what a pain cleaning and adjusting the bottom bracket is, many people put these Edco bottom brackets on their all-Campy rigs. Judging by its appearance, this one looks like it was mounted but never actually used. The threading is English (34.8 x 24), so it will fit the vast majority of bicycles. I measure it at 116mm.

Edco is a Swiss company that began making bicycle components in 1900. I have seen a few pictures and auctions of what look to me like '50s or '60s era hubs, but this bottom bracket is from what appears to be their first big push onto the international scene, the high-quality "Edco Competition" group.

The Competition group became available around 1983. In retrospect, this seems like a bad time for a small European company to try to market a new complete groupset; Spidel, the French confederation of former heavyweights was fading fast, Huret was now half-German, and the Japanese dominance of the recreational market was just a click-shift away.

Edco themselves made only the hubs, bottom bracket, headset and crankset for this group. The derailleurs were badge-engineered top of the line Simplex models, the Super LJ (front) and SLJ 6600 Aerodynamic (rear). The shifters were the familiar Simplex retrofriction type, and Simplex provided the seatpost as well. I don't know if the shifters and seatpost were actually branded Edco or left plain. All of these Simplex components are top performers for their era.

The parts that Edco manufactured themselves are also of outstanding quality, and the bottom bracket is the stand-out part of the whole group. As the seller points out, it was smooth, maintenance-free and allowed for fine chainline adjustment. It can also be installed and removed by a competent home mechanic without the usual battle with a fixed cup.

The headset is alloy and is the equal to any loose-ball competitor. Visually, it's a Super Record copy.

In his 1988 book, Frank Berto supposed that the design of the crankset was influenced by the Campagnolo C-Record, with its arched spider flowing smoothly from dust cap to chainring. The crank is extremely light for its era, weighing only 577g versus a comparable Super Record crank at around 650g (estimate).

The hubs are also smooth and light, with rather plain chrome Q/R levers with alloy ends. All of the group's Edco-made alloy parts are finished in a nice pearl-silver anodizing and simple red graphics.

But who made the brakes? The wheel guides and lever drilling seems to match the Weinmann Carrera. Weinmann was also a Swiss company so maybe there was a local connection. The quick releases on these brakes have a small pin above the rotating area which is seen on the Weinmann 405, but the cam is external on those brakes, and here it's internal, as it is on the Dia Compe NGC400. Weinmann and Dia Compe shared many designs and patents, so maybe there was some crossover on the Edco brakes. It almost looks as if these are NGC400 arms with Carrerra parts hung on them, but that's just a guess.

In the end, despite its quality, the group probably suffered from the same problems that killed Spidel; mismatched finishes and no market share. OEM specification is the key to success. You don't succeed by selling one groupset at a time to local bike shops; you sell thousands of them to manufacturers. The only bike I've seen that came with these components was the Masi Nuova Strada (photo) (auction), and I've only seen two of those. Anyone know of another application?

Later Edco groups featured some odd, pre-STI brake-mounted shifters that would have given the CPSC a heart attack, and forays into moutain bike components. These and other products can be seen at Classic Rendezvous, where I found the catalog image above. Edco also made the hubs for Zipp wheels until about 2001 when production went in-house. Sapim took over the bicycle division of Edco in 2001 but it doesn't appear that they are still using the brand name.

Tuesday Price Porn: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Brake Levers First Generation


Sold: $410 including $5 shipping

My snipe: n/a

Rare First Generation Campagnolo Nuovo Record Brake levers in very good condition. These levers would make a great addition to your vintage 70's or 80's bicycle. Shipping will be $5.00 for Priority mail within the continental US. I will ship to any location buyer is willing to pay for. Any questions gladly answered.

Ray Dobbins saw my post on his beautiful '72 Masi, and tipped me off to this auction, saying:

"A pair of first gen NR levers, sans mounting clamps. The seller had them on eBay and canceled the auction early due to lack of interest. He relisted with a slightly better description (added First Generation to the title and a couple more pics), and BAM! $405! I have corresponded with him and he confirmed that the buyer was real, and paid via PayPal the very next day. Definitely a record-high for these levers."

Thanks Ray!

After searching through the CR List Archives for some clarification, it appears that 1st generation levers have a more-pronounced sine-wave shape, and are narrower at the tip. Compare them to later levers here and it's pretty easy to spot the difference. There are also apparently some differences in the lever body - if anyone can clarify this, let me know. Good keywords and photographs apparently made the difference with this re-listed auction.

Be a Co-Sniper! If you'd like to suggest an auction, a link, or anything else you think is relevant, please email me at velosniper@gmail.com.

Friday, September 12, 2008

NOS French bicycle decals


Sold: $39 including shipping from France.

My snipe: n/a

How evocative are these French decals? Just gorgeous.

Another beautiful item from eBay seller rhclassics, a.k.a collector and historian Alex March, owner of the wonderful Rene Herse Project site.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Auction Photography of Ray Dobbins

Ray always does a fantastic job of shooting his bikes for auction. He explains his process in detail on his website.

His 1972 Masi GC ended unsold at $4,000.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday Price Porn: VINTAGE JUL 82 BICYCLING 3RENSHO MIYATA ROSSIN DEROSA


Sold: $90.19 including shipping

My snipe: n/a

HERE BE AN ISSUE OF BICYCLING MAGAZINE FROM JULY 1982 IN DECENT SHAPE. Featured in this issue are ITALY VS JAPAN- MIYATA TEAM, FUJI PROFESSIONAL, 3RENSHO SUPER RECORD EXPORT vs. GUERCIOTTI JET, ROSSIN RECORD DEROSA SUPER PRESTIGE; wright brothers cycle shopkeepers; touring in denmark and Wisconsin and lots of other articles in the regular departments as well as great ads of gear in the early 'old school' days! old school issues of magazines are getting harder to find, so scoop these up when you can.

1982 now seems like the end of the golden era of classic racing bikes. No click shifting, no funny bikes. Brake cables looped upward in the open breeze. Colors and graphics were pure and simple. Wool jerseys, crochet gloves and leather hairnets proudly appear on the cover of the country's biggest cycling magazine. Within just a year or so, all of this would be hopelessly passe.

Inside, several bicycles that are now considered top classics were tested head to head. I believe the cover story is what drove the price so high. 3Rensho-related stuff has been gaining in value, perhaps more because of renewed interest in the brand's legendary track bikes than anything else, and DeRosa bikes are among the best riding and most revered classics today. The other test bikes have their own smaller cults as well.

This is a stratospheric price for an issue of Bicycling, which mostly sell for under $10.

Monday, September 8, 2008

SIDI TOURING SHOES Size 47 UK12.5, US13 1980s


Sold: $73 including shipping

My snipe: $68.77 including shipping

Offered for sale are a lovely pair of slightly used Sidi touring shoes which are sized 47 equivalent to UK size 12 1/2 or American size13. No reserve.

Mountain biking killed touring-specific goods in the mid-eighties. The casualties included long-wheelbase road bikes, half-step triple front derailleurs, and efficient non-cleated shoes that work with clips and straps. Carnac supposedly makes some, and there is a custom shoe maker in London that makes a '50s-style leather cycling shoe, but the prices are eye-watering.

I would have gone higher on this pair, but the blue suede was a little too much for me. Next time I see a pair in black, I'll snipe to kill.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

campagnolo crankset vintage


Sold: $102.50 plus unspecified shipping from Germany

My bid: n/a

campagnolo vintage crankset 170 mm. new, never mounted.

This is the three-arm, 116mm BCD NOS Campy Grand Sport crankset from the mid-1970s, which pre-dates the later and more common 5-arm 144mm type, which was basically a less-polished version of the standard Record crank, with slightly different casting reliefs in the arm and spider. It is also distinct from the even earlier steel 3-arm "Sport" crankset, which is 116mm BCD as well.

One of the best known OEM applications of this crank was the late '70s
Raleigh Competition GS.

I think it's an attractive shape, practical, and fairly unusual. While the original chainrings aren't present, any number of Stronglight, Simplex, TA or Campy chainrings will fit. It will also accept a 36T small sprocket, not quite as small as a 110mm "Compact" crank, but significantly smaller than the 42/41T minimum of a 144mm Record crank. I doubt anyone you're riding with has one either. Further, two desirable "Patent" chrome dust caps are included, probably worth over $30 auctioned separately.

NOS status will always maximize final value. Condition matters and these look great.
Still, it's Grand Sport, not Record, and that alone will turn off buyers. Some people collect Dura Ace; does anyone collect Ultegra? And those chainrings won't be cheap.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday Price Porn: NR Vintage 1982 Campagnolo Super Record Rear Derailleur

Sold: $312.81 including shipping

My snipe: n/a

This is it! Complete with titanium hardware and straight out of the Sultan’s private reserve. The lone modal that marked the transition from Nuovo to Super Record. A 1982 Campagnolo Super Record rear derailleur with in great overall condition with strong springs and tight pivots. The top pivots are hollow and the bottom pivots are solid. An outstanding old school rear mechanism for any friction drive train up to 7 speeds, and freewheels up to 28 teeth. Not many of these around any more. Most have been snatched up but luckily the Sultan is in business to supply restoration artist worldwide with hard to find Campy items like this. The pulleys have been upgraded to the newer Campy pulleys. Please see all photos.

The "Type 1" Campagnolo Super Record rear derailleur is distinguished by the silver convex outer parallelogram link. It looks much like a contemporary Nuovo Record part, as opposed to the "Type 2", which has a flat outer surface reading "Campagnolo" in script. Originally introduced in 1973 (not 1974 as I first wrote here, thanks anon), it was superseded by the later type beginning in 1978.

How to explain this item then? Campy derailleurs of this era have a manufacturing date stamp on the upper pivot where the cable housing enters. Although the date is not shown in the listing, the Sultan claims this one is dated 1982, four years after the intro of Type 2.

Perhaps Campagnolo simply used the parts they had lying around. It's not hard to imagine a sleepy Italian factory, someone finds a box of type 1 outer links in a dusty corner, and into the assembly line they go, to the delight of future derailleur freaks.

Aberrations like this excite collectors as evidenced by the selling price, which is about double what a mid-seventies Type 1 would bring (especially with incorrect "upgraded" pulleys).

However, if you look closely, you'll see that the bottom pivot pins are solid, which could indicate that they have been replaced. While it's not easy, it is possible to build whatever combination of upper and lower pivots and links you have into a functioning component. Then again, the upper pins look original...

So, is this some kind of franken-derailleur that someone paid way too dearly for, or is it a real 1982-but-first-gen-SR derailleur? Perhaps only the Sultan knows for sure.

The Sultan is an interesting eBay seller. He specializes in the mercenary dismantling of classic era road and mountain bikes for component resale. While some people find it disturbing that he is ripping apart original bikes, others appreciate the quality of his auctions and product. His clear photography and his ability to inject a little personality into his listings have made him into something of a brand on eBay, and he continually realizes higher prices than other sellers with similar goods.