Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Old Timey Whips

Old steel...

Concorde Squadra TSX in PDM team colors. I lusted for one of these back in 1992 when Sean Kelly was king and money was an extravagance. Veltec-Boyer was out of the PDM model when I finally had the cash and prices were slashed, so I got the Collstrop team replica instead.

Few bikes are more iconic than the 7-11 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra. Luscious.

This looks to be a newer version of the Legnano SLX that Pheeves has. The green/white/red scheme is as timeless as celeste...and probably equally loved/hated.

The masked chrome fork and stays paired with Bianchi's Nouvo Celeste (new for the time) paint made this bike a head turner. The "Ultralight" on the 1995 Bianchi Columbus TSX sticker was somewhat misleading, and rear wheel changes were a chore with the ridiculously short chainstays if you had any tire bigger than a Vittoria CX sewup. Trivialities aside, this bike didn't sing, it bellowed.

Ahhh, the 1991 Zullo team TVM bike. Doesn't Robert Millar look fabulous? It's not often you see a small maker appear beneath the legs of a big time professional squad, and these days, it's downright absurd. But Zullo hit on all cylinders with their SLX model done up in a mustard/yellow splash scheme. If only the Pariba tires kept them upright, perhaps a few of the originals would still be around. Regardless, Zullo is fabricating some really nice looking replicas for the tifosi. And I daresay they outshine the original in all aspects but originality...

When CP came in with his 1988 Rossin Ghibli in green/yellow/purple back in 1993 I knew this beast was one bike that I'd want for a long, long, time but never lay hands on. Alas, much time has passed and I'm no nearer to owning one than I was in '93.

The only thing I liked about the arrogant bastard that came in the bike shop with a few racing years under his belt and a law degree on his wall was his Tommasini Tecno. It sparkled more than any bike I had ever seen.

While I think Pinarello is in something of a state of confused de-evolution right now, they were riding high back in the early and mid 1990's. The Montello model was pure bodaciousness from its rich red paint to chromed stays and fork. Franco Chiocchioli won the 1991 Giro on one. 'Nuf said.

I had one of these (1988 Peugeot Chorus) passed down from the number one Charly Mottet fan in Chikagaland. By the time I threw a leg over it, it had already seen close to 50,000 miles. When I stomped on the pedals, I could make it shift; not something my 130lb frame was used to. Still, it was such a utilitarian piece of French couture, and my connection to all things eurotrashy, that I would by another one in an instant to relive the underwhelmingness of it all.

RG insisted on riding his Peugeot Super Competition even though he had nine other bikes that were more current and a bike shop with which to kit it out with newer Mavic 8spd with. It took awhile, but I understand where he was coming from now. You can't spoil a classic just because you can.

What's a list of great steel frames without the obligatory Colnago? That's right, a liar's screed. If this was the only bike you ever had, you'd be lucky.

Perhaps it's the fables I heard of Smitty throwing his virgin Gios Torino resplendent in C-Record into a ditch because of a flat on an equally new Vittoria CX tubie. Or, maybe it was the host of pantographed stems, cranks, seatposts, chainrings, and brake levers. Either way, I still want one. Also, what could possibly possess anyone to buy a Gios that wasn't China Blue?

My first love. The first "true" racing bike I ever owned: the 1987 Reynolds 531c tubed Gitane RS. It looked so rad with the Mavic 8spd group that I thought it was the coolest, sweetest, bike in the USofA. Some snickered at the pink (fuscia!) color, but what the hell did they know? They liked football, pop music, and cheerleaders. Definately not my bag. I honestly don't think there's another one of these out there. But if there is, I hope it's a 52cm.


The King said...

Well done. Thanks for taking me back to a time of elegant bikes. If I could add the Gazelle Champion Mondial and although not steel the Vidas 992 fought it out in this era as well and probably deserves mention amongst these steel steeds.

Neil said...

That picture of Millar is just superb-- made my day.

I wonder if he knows that however deep he delves into whatever he's doing now, he'll never look as pretty as he did then.

strangelife said...

Indeed the Gazelle was cool, as were the RMO Liberia and Panasonic-Sportlife Panasonic frames. I had to cut off somewhere though...maybe a round 2 would help. While the Vitus 992 was an improvement over the 979, I still prefer the 979 for pedigree thanks to King Kelly.

Ari said...

Legnano Slx
Eddy Merckx Motorola Sl
Pegoretti Marcelo
Bianchi Zero Uno
Ira Ryan
These are the bikes out of our 25 that the wife and I will never let go.
Thanks for the list.
Still want a Rossin Ghibli, Still want a Liberia, Miss my Colnago,
and I really, really had a love affair with your Pink Gitane. Probably the best bike I have ever seen.

STC Captain said...

Excellent throwback, as always.
I never owned any of the fine I-Tallian steel, but the best I straddled was a Waterford crafted 50th anniversary Paramount. I later discovered the rear lugs were marked with Ken Marrick's signature symbol.

Richard said...

Love the post. My closeness with any of those beauties was with a Pinarello multi colored Montello (the model won by Grewal at the 84 LA Olympics) at their Treviso factory in the Eighties.

JAG said...

Wow, what a trip down memory lane(of course I still ride my bikes of that vintage- and contrary to current thinking they still roll great). I remember when you got that pink Gitane- what a fag.

strangelife said...

Yep. Still faggy.