Part three is here..! That means I finally get to work with the Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary group.
Part one was frame prep, the foundation of the build. Part two was fitting the head set and bottom bracket; joining the frame and forks together, the starting point to which all other parts are fitted.
The head set and bottom bracket are important to a classic build, but they have definately lost their place in most modern groups. I consider the head set to be the figure head of a group set, it is prominent, it’s up there at the front of the bike, and manufacturers would put so much detail into their designs. Sadly it appears that most ‘modern’ head sets are only sealed bearing units pressed into recesses in the head tube, never to be seen again once all the spacers and stem are added.
Anyway, that’s enough of that modern talk here! Let’s get back on track and back to the good stuff! People pay attention to the parts on a bike, the shiny bits always catch the eye! So these anniversary parts need to look their best simply because they are the best. At this moment though they look like they have been stored away for years – which is very true! Anything with chrome will tarnish and deteriorate over time. The 50th Anniversary group is no different, it has chrome on every part – all the fastenings, adjusters and QRs are chrome. The toe clips are the worst affected part because they are all chrome.
Most of the anniversary groups I’ve seen have either been kept in their presentation case, or taken out and fitted to a show bike, but never actually ridden. My group set has had a life, it has been ridden, used for the purpose it was designed for. So with that in mind, I’m not expecting to get show condition quality parts after my clean up efforts.
I’ve got to be careful with my cleaning, I’m not a fan of super high gloss polished items. Some people restore classic parts by polishing everything to a mirror glass finish, but not every part left the shop like this. Most parts are matt grey anodised alloy – I like to restore parts to bring them back to original. Some parts of this group will be a matt finish and others will be highly polished.
I thought I’d start with some of the smaller parts, so picked the front derailleur – I soon wished I hadn’t. For such a small part, it has lots of chrome and that chrome was very rusty. Fastenings, adjusters and springs. Rust was also starting to show on the cage plates. Where is wasn’t rusty, it was dirty.
But with some soaking and some cleaning and some metal polish, the derailleur could easily pass as brand new.
Motivated by the results of that, I picked another small item, the gear levers. Again, for such a small item, there is a high percentage of chrome! The levers themselves should be polished but were very dull.
An old tooth brush and metal polish works wonders!
It was going well, the parts were looking good, so I thought I’d tackle something bigger, the chainset and crank dust caps. The chainset is mostly alloy but with some chrome on the chain ring bolts. The dust caps are a high polished chrome with the gold inserts. The alloy rings and cranks had lost their shine and rust was attacking the chrome.
This is a massive part of the bike and needs to look it’s best. I think it came out ok, again, apart from some small marks (this has had a chain going around it for hundreds of miles), it looks brilliant.
Brake calipers… why do they have so much chrome! Chrome fastenings, chrome springs, chrome adjusters, chrome washers.
These calipers are meant to have a matt finish, so I went easy with the metal polish.
Now they could easily pass as brand new parts – apart from the small amount of wear on the brake blocks.
The seat pin wasn’t too bad, it has some marks like all pins do, from being fitted in the frame, but generally, it was ok. It was just a little bit dull.
This is one part of the group that is definately meant to be polished. So that is what I went for.
The rear derailleur wasn’t too bad. It doesn’t have much chrome. Because of its job on a bike, it is often covered in oil and oil acts as a barrier to corrosion. This derailleur was just dirty.
…and after cleaning…
Of all the parts I decided to tackle on this first stint of cleaning, the pedals and especially, the toe clips were worrying me. I just did not think these would clean. The pedals are mainly alloy and needed to be polished, but the clips are 100% chrome and had suffered badly. Pedals also have a hard life. Even on bikes that don’t get ridden much, the pedals still get marked and scratched just by placing you shoes in them. Toe clips can also drag on the ground.
They are another massive part of the bike, they are large components with so much chrome and polished alloy that they always attract attention.
I’ve actually amazed myself at how well these have come out after cleaning. They are meant to be highly polished and that is exactly how they have turned out.
I’m so happy with how this group set has reacted to the time spent with a cloth and polish.
Next up in part four will be the wheels, freewheel, chain and brake levers, and I know they will present their own set of challenges.