I’m well on the way to getting every part of this build back to their very best. Part three was all about the components of the 50th anniversary group, and putting the shine back onto them. There were two main components that I left out of that post, they were the hubs and the brake levers – the bar tape and brake lever hoods have made me think the most, leaving me in a bit of a quandary.
The hubs in this group are actually ok. They are a little grubby, with a coating of greasy dirty oil, but they should clean and polish nicely. It’s the chromed quick release levers that are the problem. Like most other chromed parts on this bike, they have suffered, and surface rust has started to take hold.
These wheels run beautifully smooth and true. They were built by Ron Robson at Denton Cycles and I’m expecting them to stay true and well tensioned for some time to come. The hubs are barely run in and I couldn’t possibly make the bearings any smoother than they are now, so I’m not even going to try. The wheels will stay intact, there is absolutely no need to take them apart. That will mean that I won’t be able to clean them as well as I could if they were apart, but I should still be able to make a difference to how they look.
And I have… The quick release levers on both wheels have turned out much better than I’d expected. The hubs are looking good too – they could have been better if they weren’t already laced; it’s difficult to get into all the areas of the hubs around the spoke heads, but I’m more than happy with how they look.
The freewheel just needs a clean. Like everything else on this bike, it has hardly had any use and actually has more dirt on the surfaces than any wear. The Sedis chain isn’t worn at all. My chain checker shows that it is still well under the limit for replacement. It’s just tarnished with the thinnest layer of rust on the surface of the link plates.
A couple of chain whips are all you need to remove the sprockets from the freewheel body, that allows me to give everything a scrub.
The real quandary on this build comes with the brake levers and bar tape. I want to keep this restore original but I need to move the brake levers further up the handlebars because at the moment they are positioned too low.
They are actually lower than I would normally position levers on a new build – as a starting point to setting up a bike fit, I place the tip of the brake lever on an extended straight line from the bottom edge of the handlebar, but these levers are maybe 1/2 inch below that. If I want to move the levers up I will have to unwrap the handlebar tape to get to the brake lever clamps. So my first quandary is do I fit new bar tape (losing originality) or try my best to remove the existing tape carefully and hope it doesn’t tear.
One thing I have noticed is that I don’t think this is original bar tape, I think the bars have had new tape fitted at some point. Here’s what I think… It is thick, custioned ‘cork’ type bar tape – not what I would expect for a period 1984 bike build, this is more likely a mid 1990s bar tape. Also, the tape isn’t cut and finished correctly… it hasn’t been cut property against the handlebar centre ferrule. This makes me think that this tape wasn’t fitted by Dentons; that tape would never leave the workshop with a finishing cut like that.
My theory is that at some point, the brake levers have been lowered from their original position to increase the reach of the bike. When I got this bike, I was quite happy because it is slightly shorter than a standard SBDU 57 cm frame. The shorter top tube is just what I need to keep the reach short, but it isn’t for everyone, which is why I think the levers were moved and the bars re-taped.
If it isn’t original tape, does that give me scope to replace it?
My second quandary is the split in each of the brake lever hoods.
The hoods aren’t too bad, they have splits but they are ‘clean’ splits. Most rubber hoods like these deteriorate over time, they get hard and brittle and gradually fall to bits; brake lever hoods have a hard life!
Can I repair them or will I be forced to replace them?
They aren’t a specific part of the 50th anniversary group, they aren’t marked with a special logo, they are standard Super Record hoods, so I could easily replace them… but do I want to? I’d rather not, but I may be forced to if I can’t deal with the splits somehow. That is the quandary.
The levers themselves are in excellent condition. Brake levers can get scratched and scuffed – people fall off bikes and damage the levers, even just leaning a bike against a wall can scuff them. These levers have escaped both of those fates and are still in great shape.
The levers have come up really well after a quick polish. They weren’t bad to start with but now look even better.
Now that is everything clean and restored and ready to go back on the frame. I just need to have a think about the bar tape and brake lever hoods, but that won’t stop the build from getting underway.
The finishing kit of original leather Cinelli saddle, Cinelli 1R stem and Cinelli Giro D’Italia 64-42 handlebars will complete the parts for this build.
Here is the complete specification…
Frame and Forks SBDU Ilkeston 753R 1984 57 cm Campagnolo Super Record 50th Anniversary Complete Group 1983 #9555 Headset Super Record (English) Bottom Bracket Nuovo Record (English) Chainset Super Record 50th Anniversary 42/53 170 mm Seat Pin Super Record 50th Anniversary 27.2 Brake Levers Super Record 50th Anniversary Brake Calipers Super Record 50th Anniversary Front Derailleur Super Record 50th Anniversary Braze On Read Derailleur Super Record 50th Anniversary Gear Levers Super Record 50th Anniversary Pedals Super Record 50th Anniversary Titanium Toe Clips Super Record 50th Anniversary Hubs Super Record 50th Anniversary 32 Hole 100/126 (English) Rims Mavic OR10 32 Hole Tubs Vittoria Nuovo Pro Spokes Stainless Double Butted Bladed Freewheel Maillard Course 6 Speed 13-21 (English) Chain Sedis Saddle Cinelli Grantour (Leather) Handlebars Cinelli Giro D'Italia 64-42 Stem Cinelli Record 1R Toe Straps Alfredo Binda Laminated