Squadra di Vecchi Tori

Tuesday track by kiwicyclist
December 11, 2010, 8:16 pm
Filed under: products, Rides

A fortnight ago I raced at Brunswick’s club night at DISC for the first time on my new track bike – an absolute stonker of a frame built by Darryl Perkins out of Reynolds 853 tubing – I had been experimenting in the prior few outings racing on my old shitter fixie track bike I get around on for commuting as my Falcon was starting to feel flexy – or at least I was finally noticing this characteristic.  Its funny how the kernel of paranoia can take root in the subconscious when it comes to anything relating to your equipment – you tweak your seat position slightly and then it feels slightly out, you notice the odd creak from somewhere near the bottom bracket and ask yourself do the bearings need a repack etc etc.  As Poz succinctly puts it – you get the ‘yips’ if you fiddle around too much with the bike – and in my case I’m a serial tinkerer – in contrast to the great Merckx himself I’m normally doing it with little idea of whether I’m actually improving anything – and as I’ll explain in a future post on bike fits I’ve been fairly successful in getting it quite wrong on more than one occasion.

So back to the Falcon – I’d noticed rub marks on the driveside stays – a sure sign that they were flexing sideways and rubbing against the chainring.  The Falcon has a soft spot in my heart – I picked up the frame on ebay from a guy based in Bendigo who had bought the frame from Shane Sutton – Shane is one of the lead coaches for the British track cycling team and a successful Australian track and road cyclist in the 80s along with his brother Gary, father of current pro Chris Sutton.   The frame went for an extremely good price which I put down to a fairly garish baby sick yellow paintjob – I think people had overlooked the fact that in the description it mentioned Shane had won a number of important races on the bike including the Bendigo madison in the early 80s and, as I subsequently found out later from the man directly, he had taken the bike to the world champs.   

The frame itself was built by Terry Dolan in the UK and badged under the Falcon marque, an old well reputed UK brand that I found out through research has subsequently closed down.  It is also a reynolds steel frame – 583 – which has pretty thin tubing – probably ideal for a slimmer and smaller built Sutton but not ideal for an 83 kg ex- rugby playing 44 year old.    I had it resprayed by Peter at Star Enamellers in Sydney, one of the best frame restorers and painters in the business and delivered the frame to his paintshop in person via a short diversion from a business trip to Sydney – a pleasurable experience in itself.  New decals came from Greg at Cyclomondo and the frame was returned a few months later looking brand new – the union jack proudly displayed at the juncture of the downtube and the trademark Falcon crest sitting on the headtube as an improvised headbadge.

I dug up this picture taken in the old Shifterbikes Collingwood studio, bike in the stand getting its pristine white cloth tape wound on as a final master touch to another immaculate build by Mr Shifter:

Until about 6 weeks ago my entire (relatively short) track racing career has been astride the Falcon – I’ve won and lost races on it, bumped pedals, changed gears between races and lugged it across my shoulder to and from the carpark with a gearbag laden with track paraphenalia, rollers and track pump banging against my back – you could say its like a favorite pair of shoes – a piece of my cycling identity.

Well, sentimentally attached as I am to the bike it is time to move it on.   In the new year expect to see it advertised on www.fyxomatosis.com and on display at the new Shifterbikes studio in Prahan.

My new Perkins ride looks like this:

Specs:  Perkins 56cm reynolds 853 track frame (well used but straight and true) – sold to me by fixed.org celebrity – Coffee Ben or Benny Tats – who has this blog: http://bentoovey.tumblr.com/, deda stem, post and track bars, C record track crankset, record bb, shamal track tubular wheelset.   It is stiff, tight and pretty twitchy but a vast improvement on the Falcon – like comparing racing an old E type Jag against new Mercedes AMG 55 SLK.    A “smile” bike – one that makes you grin when you hop on and go.  

(And how did I go on its first outing?  Crap in the first two races of the night – I’ll use the ‘getting the bike dialled’ excuse – middle of the pack in each and then a third in the points race.  B grade elevation remains as elusive as ever but boy did I have a great night of ‘new bike fever’).

So – cheers Ben.  I’m a very satisfied customer.

Now I have to just start winning some races!

Couple of other shots from that race night:

Motorpace action:

Mr Fyxomatosis’ track weapon – Merckx MX Leader track bike, soon to be graced with some ‘better’ track wheels according to the owner:

(photos shot using my panasonic GF1)


Eurobike 2010 by mpozzi
September 4, 2010, 5:29 pm
Filed under: products

This year, Eurobike 2010 is being held in Friedrichshafen Germany from 1 – 4 September 2010.

Eurobike is the meeting point for manufacturers, buyers and journalists from all over the world when it comes to cycling. Since 1991 it has grown to be the leading trade show for the international cycle industry. In terms of size, some brief stat’s:

• 1,090 exhibitors on more than 100,000 m2 in 14 halls
• 35,000 industry specialists from 69 countries
• 1,500 journalists from 36 countries

After that there’s the bikes, the gadgets, the clothes…….

Have a look at Eurobike and see what’s coming in 2011 on a road near you.


Merckx corsa extra – columbus max by kiwicyclist
August 8, 2010, 8:59 pm
Filed under: products

It seems like most visits I make to Shifterbikes these days are like having a birthday and xmas rolled into one – I’m either dropping parts off for the next project or collecting the latest bit of work that ShifterDan has put together for me.

I called into the studio last Thursday night to collect my former merckx reincarnated with a new frame sourced via fyxomatosis from France – a v. nice nos Merckx corsa extra in columbus max in exactly my size – I have been keeping an eye out for one of these frames for some time.  I was intrigued to find out what all the fuss was about – Dan had told me the difference in ride quality from other steel frames was like nothing else and he was not kidding.

Here is the result:

Doesn’t look too shabby with shamals either:

So apart from looking good most importantly what is like on the road?

It is nice – very nice – to ride.  Much stiffer than either my Casati or my previous Merckx frame – (which are both made of columbus brain tubing) – but not to the point of feeling ‘harsh’ – and although the tubeset is considered to be stiff (see below) – compared with a modern carbon or alloy frame its no more so and has all the good things that steel has to offer – the frame produces nice feedback from the bitumen – hard to describe but the closest I can think of is a nice road ‘buzz’ coming up through the frame – reassuring feedback which had me feeling pretty comfortable on a 3 hour test ride on Saturday morning out with the group.  Standing out of the saddle there is no feeling of flex or ‘give’ that other steel frames can provide – this will be a good bike to race. 

Some close-ups of the tubing – different shapes at either end which was fairly revolutionary for the era:

Close up of the aero fork:

For the techheads out there I’ve reproduced an extract on max tubing from Prollyisnotprobably.com – the full article can be found here:http://prollyisnotprobably.com/2010/02/merckx_mondays_22.php

“It’s best to note that MAX was not proprietary to Eddy Merckx bicycles. Many other manufacturers used MAX on their bikes. Later, Merckx developed a proprietary lugset and changed a few tubing specs on the MAX tubes and re-named it MXL. Here’s a description on MAX that has been floating around the web, un-cited, for quite a while. I cannot find the original source, which is why it’s still un-cited.

“Columbus MAX tubing is ridiculously oversized and ovalized, to the point where it’s simply too stiff for most of us. It’s this kind of stiffness that has endeared Max to countless professionals, especially the big sprinters.

For most framebuilders, knowing MAX is Columbus’ big gun is enough. But for Eddy Merckx, it had to be improved. Merckx had to have his own tubeset, tweaked to suit the rigors of stage racing and long one-day events for his sponsored pros (team Motorola, Team Lotto and team Telekom). It’s short wheelbase, coupled with the stout pipes, let the MX Leader descend like nobody’s business. Point the bike downhill, aim it at a corner’s apex and you’ll sweep through in a magic arc. Those fat, aero-shaped MAX fork blades do a terrific job of relaying tactile information from the hub to your hands. As far as high-speed handling is concerned, it’s hard to imagine a bike being much better than this.

The MX Leader is a great bicycle, with timeless geometry and a short but storied pedigree. But it’s more than a bike that will last you (barring rust or a crash) a lifetime. It is a piece of a legend.”

Complete tubeset photo by Bishop Bikes

The MAX tubeset was often called ‘too heavy’, sluggish; over-built for the average rider. With a *40mm x 30mm biaxially ovalized down tube, shaped from a 5mm round tube with a .8/.5/.8mm butting profile, the MAX weaponry was undeniably rugged. It accelerated like a rocket. The chainstays are 36mm tall and 18.5mm wide with a .6mm wall. Remember, this is steel, not aluminum. MAX’s top tube was made from a 31.7mm tube and biaxially ovalized to 37.5x26mm with a .7/.4/.7mm butting profile and the seatstays are ovalized to 18.5x12mm.

MAX DT, TT and lugset photo by Bishop Bikes

As I mentioned before, the MAX tubeset was used for a brief period of time, prior to the MXL tubeset. Now, the MXL tubeset did not use the original MAX top tube or seatstays. I’m not really sure why this is, but it more than likely has to do with weight and general aesthetics. After seeing the profiles of these tubes, it’s easy to consider this tubeset incredibly heavy, when the reality is, the total mitered set for a 58cm frame came in around 1500 grams, which is lighter than many of Columbus’ modern day tubing.

MAX bottom bracket shell photo by Bishop Bikes

Where MAX gained a majority of it’s beef was in the club-like lugs. these things resemble a medieval weapon. Depending on the year and casting, the BB shell would weigh between 260 to 290 grams. For comparison, most BB shells weigh around 100 grams. the MAX BB shell was almost three times as heavy! Talk about a “beefy” bottom bracket.

MAX fork crown versions photo by Bishop Bikes

MAX also had two different fork crowns. A lugged version, shown on the right and an internal version for a flush-finish. The blades on the fork are 18.5×35.8 ovalized to 14mm at the tip. Constructed from 9/.6 Columbus Nivacrom steel.

Catalog scans from Tears for Gears

In 1992, Eddy Merckx introduced the MAX bike to the public. Professionals had been riding these frames for a brief time period and this was the first time it was available to the general public. The MAX Merckx frames had a fastback-seatpost clamp, the rather chunky fork crowns we saw above and the different TT and seatstays. They were short-lived to say the least.

Catalog scans from Tears for Gears


Sites we like by kiwicyclist
May 26, 2010, 10:46 am
Filed under: products

Like many cycling blogs we have listed at the left hand side an ever- expanding list of sites we frequent or businesses one or some of us support.   In the case of nearly all of them they share a common characteristic – a group of individuals or small businesses from the whole spectrum of the cycling community that share a boundless passion for our sport in one form or another.  Whether it is in producing cyclewear, providing inspiring commentary or otherwise they represent links that are important to us.

From time to time we will give you a bit more detail about who they are and what they do – many are small businesses where the people who have set them up are doing it ‘differently’ from the mainstream and in their own way are adding to the rich tapestry of cycling culture and its current renaissance. 

Mick Peel is one such person – someone who rightly fits the description of ‘artisan’ – he specialises in renovating or re-covering bike saddles and bar tape and does beautiful work.   A recent example is set out below and more can be found at the busyman bikes link opposite.  

Go and have a look at the links – you might find a hidden treasure or two.


Cross Bike by kiwicyclist
May 16, 2010, 10:24 am
Filed under: products

I bumped into one of the organisers of the Dirty Deeds cross series on Saturday afternoon at Shifterbikes- he got me so psyched up about the events that I put the knobblies back on the cross bike ready to hit the trails in the near future – it looks baddass I reckon.

1985 Belgian Diamant nos cross frame, nos 170mm Ofmega cross cranks with 44t ring, 18t white industries rear freewheel – velocity hubs double fixed to velocity aerohead rims, galli post, cane creek levers, nos suntour xtc brake calipers, 35mm continental cross tires, cinelli bars & stem, time atac mtb pedals.

Build by shifterbikes.

Now all I need is mud…..


Motta Singlespeed by kiwicyclist
May 2, 2010, 5:24 am
Filed under: products, Uncategorized


Photos of my new Motta singlespeed collected from Shifterbikes on 1.5.10.

I took it for a spin this morning to Mordy.  It rides really nice – noticeably stiffer than my Merckx.

Spec list:

Frame:  Gianni Motta 2001 Personal model – 55cm columbus SL (nos from late 90s era)
Cranks:  campy strada 170 cranks, fyxomatosis 47T chainring
Post: campy record polished
stem: 3ttt Masi engraved, mavic bars
levers: record
wheelset – white industries fixed/free hubs, DT spokes to 32h mavic open pros, 17t white industries freehub
brakes – campy monoplaner – silver anodised
saddle:  arione


New solo kit by kiwicyclist
April 28, 2010, 11:43 am
Filed under: products | Tags:

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New kit from Solo arrived in the post today – a pair of the new Solo “lugged” bib knicks and separately a Solo Maxwell jersey which I picked up from Spoke’n in St Kilda.  The kit looks the business and will be tested on tomorrow’s ride.  Solo can be found at www.solocc.com
Paul Mason, who runs Solo in Auckland, NZ has just launched a new urban riding clothing range under the ‘Derny” label.  Its nice stuff.
Check it out at www.dernyclothing.com