Saturday, June 2, 2012

2012 4th of July Twilight Zone Marathon

They actually canceled the 4th of July marathon in 2010?!
I... I'm speechless...

Ok boys and girls, it's that time of year again when I interrupt the usual vintage 80's cycling goodness to bring you the 4th of July Twilight Zone Marathon update!
Looks like the programming folks at Syfy are behaving themselves and the marathon is on again for the second consecutive year since the 2010 debacle!  Look for your favorite episode here on Syfy's Twilight Zone schedule starting at 8am on the 4th.  However, it does appear that what was once a 2-day marathon that started on the 3rd in previous years is now cut down to showings only on the 4th.
Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come...
As usual, I'd encourage everyone to email and encourage them to keep the 4th of July TZ marathon going in the coming years.  So enjoy the marathon on the 4th doing whatever traditional things you've always done, and give a shout of joy... while you still have the vocal cords to do so, that is.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coming Soon...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oops! I did it again!

Ok boys and girls, a quick update. After scouring the usual places since last summer and finding absolutely nothing, I've finally come across something worthy of the MauisVintage treatment!
It's a diamond on the rough at the moment, but an absolutely iconic example of 80's cycling and something I'd been hunting for a long time. I'm giddy with excitement. The wife, however, is not, and is nagging me to sell something.

Stay tuned for more updates (about the bike, not my wife's nagging.)

In other news - After waffling about it for years, I've finally sent out a peeled mess of a Merckx fork to be re-chromed. If you've been reading along until now, you know I'm a big proponent of keeping things original so I agonized over what to do for a long time. Well, the rest of the Merckx is so pristine, I finally gave in and handed it over to the guys at the local chrome platers near my house. I expect to get it back soon.
If any of you are wondering, here in CA, the cost for such a job will run you about $145. We'll see in the coming days if it was worth it or not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Columbus Tenax - The Secret Revealed?

I picked up a partial Suntour Ole group off eBay over the summer (as part of my recent painted white parts obsession) and I'd been wondering what the heck to do with it.
Since the Ole group was found on mid-range bikes at the time, I needed to find a suitable frame to hang the parts on but what?
The parts originally came off a Nishiki International that looked like it'd been left outdoors for maybe most of its life, but an '89 International is pretty hard to find these days. So - since I'd been working on a Circuit, I didn't have to look very far to find a suitable Schwinn candidate, namely the Tempo. But what was this "Columbus Tenax" tubing all about?
I remember seeing the Tenax tubes back in the day and just dismissed it as some crazy, cheap tubeset Columbus sold to Schwinn and gave it some weird name just so it wouldn't be recognized as a crazy, cheap tubeset. It wasn't unheard of for a bike to use a Columbus tubeset found only on that particular bike model, although this was probably more marketing gimmick - some variation of an existing tubeset was used - than anything else. For example, I have a Colnago Altain that uses Columbus Altain oversized tubing. I'm pretty confident you won't find the Altain tubing on anything other than that particular Colnago model. What exactly is Altain? Heck if I know, but anecdotal evidence seems to put it in the same category as another oversized tubset of the same era, Brain.
Fast forward to the present and while looking around for a nice Tenax Schiwnn frame, I came across all sorts of opinions as to Tenax's true origins, everything from gaspipe to (gasp) Columbus SL?? Could it be true? Did Schwinn really produce midrange sleeper bikes that used one of the most venerable Columbus tubesets of all time in disguise?
Then something clicked in my head and while searching my old mags, I found this in my '87 Bicycling Buyer's Guide

From the review: "Tenax, used exclusively by Schwinn, is Columbus's production-grade version of its SL and SP professional series."

Now, that could mean a lot of things, depending on how one defines "production grade". However, I think one can safely conclude that Columbus Tenax is more closely related to SL and SP than it is to gaspipe and probably on par with the tubes found on equivalent Asian-born models of its day. Also, aside from the Paramounts, I believe all the Schwinn models using Columbus tubes were limited only to the three main tubes, with the stays and fork made from Tange or similar tubing.
So, does this mean that you should be putting your Tenax-equipped ride with its newfound Italian heritage on ripmeBay now and watch the bids come pouring in? Probably not.
BUT - does this mean that you should love your vintage Tenax-tubed Schwinn even more now?
You betcha!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Andy Hampsten's Motorola Merckx

Aside from Lemond, in the early '90s, Andy Hampsten was getting to be as big a name in US cycling as you could get. Lemond was struggling in that year's Tour, while Hampsten finished 4th overall. Were we witnessing the passing of the torch from Lemond to Hampsten? Was Hampsten going to be the next US rider to win perhaps multiple Tours? It was an exciting time for both Hampsten and the storied team he rode for, Motorola.
I was pretty stoked when I came across this article - much of my Motorola resto ended up being based on these specs.

A few interesting items of note:

- External rear brake cable routing still present on what I assume to be a 1992 model

- Interesting use of "Dura Ace Grey" brake cables instead of the Motorola blue seen so often on team bikes.

- Chromed driveside chainstay.

- The rear derailleur cable fixing bolt is in the 'reversed' position

- Specs and pic indicate a Dura Ace Aero seatpost, but also reference an XTR post. I have yet to see an example of a Merckx Motorola team bike with an XTR seatpost. Heck, I barely even remember what an XTR seatpost from the early '90s timeframe even looks like!

- Definitely looks like a 7410 crankset there, which is referred to as a 'prototype'

This post rounds out the Motorola Merckx chapter of the blog for now. I'd been looking all summer for another suitable project for all the Valued Blog Readers out there, but it seems it's been pretty slim pickings. Don't fret though, I still have a backlog of at least two more projects so you'll probably be seeing one of those soon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In keeping with the current Phil Anderson Team Motorola theme, today's post is a couple pages of the 1991 Motorola Cycling Team Press Guide. I acquired this while researching the buildup of the Phil Anderson Merckx. Although the pics of the bikes are really small, there is some information to be gleaned here (mainly from the bikes in the team picture).

- The bikes shown here do indeed have exterior top tube rear brake cable routing

- It does appear that Wolber aero-profile rims were spec'ed front and rear.

- The fluted version of the Dura Ace seatpost was spec'ed instead of the aero version.

- One big question that's still unanswered for me and is difficult to tell from the pics: Are those 7402 or 7410 cranks??

Here's the 1991 team roster according to the guide:

Norm Alvis

Phil Anderson

Frankie Andreu

Steve Bauer

Andy Bishop

Mike Carter

Nathan Dahlberg

Andy Hampsten

Ron Kiefel,

Dag Otto Lauritzen

Scott McKinley

Bob Roll

John Tomac

Brian Walton

Sean Yates

Urs Zimmerman

Let me know if you see a favorite rider in that list and I'd be happy to scan a page from the guide and send it to ya. I could probably do the entire guide too, but that would take a while longer. :-)

Stay tuned, as I have one more Motorola Cycling Team-related article to post before I round out the Motorola theme and move on to something else. Could be more Merckx, could be more 80's Japanese goodness, could be Campy, maybe time for another poll?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Phil Anderson's 1991 Team Motorola Merckx specs

As promised, here's the specs of the Team Motorola build. I consulted various sources both online and in print (which will featured in a future blog entry) in order to come up with the final build that would hopefully be a reasonably good representation of the way the bike would have looked when it was still in Phil's hands.

Frame: 57.5cm Eddy Merckx Team Motorola (custom geometry for Phil Anderson)
Fork: (Not Original) Eddy Merckx Columbus Steel, professionally repainted and color-matched to frame. Fork decals from Cyclomondo

Hubs - (Front) Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
(Rear) Shimano Dura-Ace 7403 Freehub
Spokes - DT Swiss Champion 14-gauge
Rims - Wolber Profil 20, 32-spoke
Tires - Vittoria Rally tubular

Derailleurs - (Front) Shimano Dura-Ace 7403 (clamp-on)
(Rear) Shimano Dura-Ace 7403
Brake/Shift Levers - Shimano Dura-Ace 7400 STI
Chain - Shimano
Crankset - Shimano Dura-Ace 7410, 53/39
Bottom Bracket - Shimano UN-72
Cassette - Shimano HG-50 8-speed cassette, 13-23

Brakes - Shimano Dura-Ace 7403 Dual-Pivot
Pedals - Look PP96 clipless
Headset - Shimano Dura Ace 7400 (NOS)
Seatpost - Shimano Dura-Ace 7400 Aero
Saddle - Avocet Racing II (NOS)
Bar/Stem - Cinelli 66-42 with Cinelli cork tape/Cinelli XA 85mm (NOS)

As far as I know, many of the Motorola Team bikes had a Shimano sponsor sticker on the non-drive chainstay and mine was no exception. However, the frame was in poor condition and all that was left of the original sticker was the top part of the "M" and a bit of the "I" and "A". I ended up removing those scraps and replacing it with a new sticker. The replacement was just a bit larger than the original, but I think it completes the look.

I searched long and hard for an Avocet Racing II saddle and found this one in "NOS" condition with a lot of shopwear. No titanium rails like the team used, but good enough to complete the build. Note the DA 7400 aero seatpost - I've since found some evidence that the 1991 team may have used the fluted version instead.

L Look PP96 pedals - donated from another famous Merckx bike (which will be featured in a future post) and perfect for this project. Period correct, but not for the Motorola team. They actually used a similar pedal that was a 'pro' model.

Really scored on the rear derailleur. Absolutely gorgeous!
Note the cable fixing bolt is reversed. Out of the box, the 7403 bolt is actually hidden by the derailleur body. The Motorola mechanics (as well as scores of other owners) reversed the bolt to make accessibility and maintenance easier.

Dura Ace 7403 hubs, but with a 'modern' 8 speed HG cassette. First set of wheels I ever built, so we'll see how well they hold up.

Shimano's first ever STI shifters. Some of you may already know that a few Motorola riders still preferred DT shifters, and even more used a single DT shifter to handle the front chainring shifting duties to save weight on mountain stages.

Wrapping and finishing bars is truly an art form.

NOS Cinelli XA stem mated to 66-42 bars. Just the way Phil would've liked it.

DA 7400 front hub laced to Wolber Profil 20 rim. Absolutely one of the greatest hubsets. Ever.

NOS DA 7400 headset. The DA 7403 brakes aren't the prettiest, but they get the job done.

Absolutely stunning paint job on the forks.

Note the incorrect cheap black plastic ferrules on the shift casing. Back in the day, it probably would have been cheap chrome plastic ferrules.

Anyone who's ever shopped for Merckx fork decals will know exactly where these came from. The shape of the white background on the Columbus decal still bothers me, but these decals are undeniably top notch all the way.

No, I didn't forget the dustcaps! None of the Motorola Team bikes I've seen had dustcaps for the crank bolts. I'd assumed this was because they spurned the traditional cap/bolt in favor of titanium bolts to save weight.

That's it for now, kiddies! Stay tuned for my next post detailing the inspiration and references that helped me complete this build, as well as some other cool Motorola stuff!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Well, boys and girls, the 4th of July is almost upon us and what better way to celebrate our nation's birth than with the patriotic colors of the Motorola Team? And now, without further delay, I present to you Phil Anderson's 1991 Team Motorola Eddy Merckx!

I'll have full details soon in an upcoming post and hopefully better pictures. My camera's battery squirreled itself away in hiding somehow and I had to use an older backup camera. Hope y'all enjoy the pics and I'll do a full writeup in the coming days. In the meantime, hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

4th of July Twilight Zone Marathon 2011

"Yeah, I'm the guy who decided to cancel last year's Twilight Zone Marathon, so what? Um... where did you say this place was again?"

Well, I'm happy to say that Syfy did the right thing this year and is bringing back the 4th of July Twilight Zone Marathon! I was a little concerned about the status of this year's marathon, considering last year's debacle, but it looks like we're back on again! Starting at 6am on July 3rd and running all day on the 4th, back to back to back episodes of TZ! Check out the schedule here and look for your favorite episodes!

If you're as happy as I am, let Syfy know, so they don't try pulling some lame shit again a couple years down the line.

I'll be back with some more 80's Vintage goodness soon, I promise!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Merckx Build Kit

Here's a few of the pieces I'll be hanging on the Team Motorola Merckx soon. I thought it'd be fun to arrange the pieces in a similar manner to a Dura Ace advertisement I saw online once.
Even though Shimano will never reach the status of Campy's bling, working with these parts really impressed me in terms of finish and appearance. Shimano really pulled out all the stops for their top-end 90's gruppo.
Stem: Cinelli XA 80mm with matching blue insert (NOS)
Seatpost: Dura Ace SP-7400 Aero style
Pedals: Look PP96 - these are takeoffs from another bike project I'm working on. I thought the red pedals looked hideous on that particular build and was going to sell them. Fortunately, they are period-correct and very similar to what the Motorola team used so they'll be used for this build.
Crankset: Dura Ace FC-7410 175mm - I've seen a couple pics of the Motorola Team in the 1991 time frame using what looked to be FC-7402 cranks. The 7410 cranks were still a couple years away from being released to the public and still in the prototype stage for the pro teams. Motorola bikes with the 7410 cranks are iconic in their look, but I may still opt for the 7402's if I can find further evidence of the year(s) they were used.
Hubs: Dura Ace HB-7400 front and FH-7403 rear with 8 speed 13-24 HG cassette.
Brake/Shift levers: Dura Ace ST-7400 with NOS hoods - Apparently there are a couple variants to this model that aren't well documented, as well as a 7410 model. These particular examples have a mid 90's date code.
Rear Derailleur: RD-7402 - the workhorse of the Dura-Ace lineup.
Front Derailleur: FD-7403 w/clamp - No braze-ons for the team bikes!
Brakes: BR-7403 - A well-used example that cleaned up rather nicely. The original pads are long gone and it's doubtful I'll find replacements easily. In the meantime some late-model Ultegra one-piece shoes achieve a similar look.
Stay tuned for the buildup!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

1987 Specialized Allez SE

At last, I present you with some quick pics of my 1987 Specialized Allez SE.

Some items of note:
- Tires are Panaracer Paselas. While I love the vintage and period-correct look of the tan sidewalls, the aggressive tread design has none of the subtleness of the original Turbo LS tires.

- Pedals have been replaced with cheapo Performance CR150's that are Look-compatible. I find it's much easier to have just one pair of shoes that will work with all my bikes.

- Wheels are not original to the bike, but as close as you can get. 32-spoke Saturae HC20 rims laced to Specialized sealed bearing hubs. If you recall in a previous post, some dickhead stole my rear wheel. I've since found a correct 32-spoke wheelset that is currently on the Allez now. I still have the original front wheel, but I'm trying to find some time to correct a moderate bend in the rim before putting it back on.

- The saddle is original and badly faded. It sports a white cover, just like how I used to ride it back in the day.

- And yes, it's still sporting the SR handlebars donated from my 1985 Schwinn World Sport!

- Once again, kudos to Valued Blog Reader Greg for the catalog scan!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More of Phil Anderson's Motorola Merckx

Good ol Maui's been pretty busy letting the other guys do the dirty work this time around.

As you know from the previous posts, the Motorola Merckx I acquired didn't have the original fork. Luckily, I was able to track down a replacement fork and have it color-matched, cut to size, and have the threads extended.

A BIG shout out to D&D Cycles of San Lorenzo. They did a fantastic job color-matching the fork - you'd think it was the original fork on there. Needless to say, D&D will get all my business as long as they're around. Check 'em out if you have a respray in mind for the future.

And let's not forget another HUGE thank you to Justin at Velo Sport in Berkeley. Back in 2006, they prepped the frame as well as installed the HS and BB of my Colnago Altain and did such a stupendous job, they were the only shop I'd trust to do the work on the Merckx. This time around, they cut and threaded the fork, installed a NOS Dura Ace 7400 headset, and chased the threads of the BB. Another great job! Justin's a great guy, know his stuff well, and tells it like it is. Check out Velo Sport if you're in the East Bay.

Have a look at the pics and look for more updates as the build progresses!

Oh yeah, and you'll notice I replaced the Selle Italia Flite saddle with an Avocet Racing II saddle. And I've still got lots more nifty parts to hang on this bike soon!

Note to the long-suffering Specialized Allez fans: The work on the 1987 Allez SE is just about complete; I just need to do some detail work before I snap some pics, but I PROMISE I'll have those up sometime this month!