Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Honoring the Giro

   Although many teams in this year's event seem to be practicing some questionable sportsmanship and ignoring cycling tradition, I'm not going to bother commenting on the action. I've been frustrated too long by the financial pressures on teams and the negative influence it has had on pro racing - whether it is outright cheating or controversial tactics.
   Instead, I'm going to celebrate the 100th Giro d'Italia with photos of my recent bike projects, which are Italian of course! Most of you know of my love for Colnago bicycles, and I have been lucky enough to work on many and even have had a couple go through my personal collection over the past few years. I am so happy to see that the brand is a major presence in pro cycling again, with teams at both the World Tour (UAE Team Emirates) and Pro Continental (Gazprom-Rusvelo) levels riding Colnago bicycles!

UAE's Jan Polanc wins Giro stage 4 atop Mount Etna - aboard a Colnago!
    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a Master X-Light that I picked up in the Bronx. The bike came with a Campagnolo Record Titanium 9-speed groupset and a high-end Fir wheelset. After a bit of cleaning and some new tires, here it is...

   The 2008 "Extreme Power" Aluminum bicycle was also a fairly quick build, as I already had a Campagnolo Chorus Carbon groupset on hand, and just needed to collect a few parts, like seatpost, stem and bars, before assembly.

   Although this next project has the flair of the Azzuri, not all my bikes this week are Italian. LOOK was originally a ski equipment manufacturer established 1951 in Nevers, France. Through partnerships with companies like Rossignol and Dynastar, they became a dominant manufacturer of ski bindings. That technology was used to pioneer the development of clipless pedals, and Bernard Hinault's 1985 Tour de France victory with Look pedals effectively helped bid goodbye to toe clips/straps forever!
   The company touched off a second cycling revolution, this time in carbon fiber frames, when Greg Lemond won the 1985 Tour aboard the Look KG 86. The frameset was completely handmade with a combination of Kevlar and carbon for rigidity. In the early nineties, the KG 196, featuring aerodynamic shaping and extreme stiffness, became the company's first monocoque (one piece) frame, made with a weave of Kevlar, carbon, ceramic and aluminum.

   Grandchild to these frames is the KG 271 (above), which features a more traditional frame construction of tubes and lugs - except with carbon. Curiously, in an old 1999 catalog I found online, I noticed that Look was a supplier of pedals to the Mutuelle de Seine et Marne team that existed at the time. The color scheme of this frameset matches the unique team colors, and I wonder if the company was also set to be a frame supplier before the team folded that year - it's fun to speculate!

   Anyway, I don't have a definite plan with this frame, as I have plenty of work on my plate, but I do have a Campy Record Titanium 8-speed group that needs a home. I've had enough trouble collecting (French) Mavic parts for the Vitus 992 Lotto frameset - I don't really want to go that route again!