As I’d mentioned when the frame arrived, one of the first things I did had been to quickly assemble the frame with some spare parts from the man-cave so I could work out correct sizing for some of the components I needed for the build. While at this point I’m keeping my eyes open for all components, I have 2 main priorities:
Firstly, the seat post. You may have your own ideas but your position on the bike is largely dictated by where your saddle is, so I want to get the correct post fitted and set so that I’m then able to look for correct length stem.
Remember on vintage bikes, you typically don’t have vast expanses of seatpost sticking up above the frame and with some of the fluting on the posts and the minimum insertion requirements, you can actually end up with quite limited scope for adjustment depending on the length you go for.
Having set my saddle height and taken my measurements (including allowing for different crank lengths), I knew I was looking for a 27.2mm post about 180-200mm long – you have 60mm for minimum insertion, allowing 120-140mm for any fluting/decoration – and after some searching I found a beautiful fluted Campagnolo Super Record seatpost in the right size and ordered that from the US.
Unfortunately I missed the additional cost of the customs duties that eBay automatically included – a whopping 28.7% of the purchase price – really??? you are having a laugh (and delivery was way slower than I normally expect from the US)😤😤😤
Not quite the initial bargain I thought, but still quite a way under the going rate for comparable posts given it’s pristine condition, so not too dis-heartened and you live & learn.
It does however make me very wary of bidding/buying anything else from the US that is offered with eBay’s Global Shipping Program – and on a related note better make sure I buy any components from Europe before Brexit is completed and we have to start paying customs duty on those again 😢
Second, the crankset. Given saddle height is influenced by crank length, some may prefer to identify this first, but given I use a 172.5mm crank normally, if my choice of seatpost can’t cope with 2.5mm either way, I’m cutting it too fine and am ordering the wrong seatpost!!
Having done some research (thank you VeloBase), there is quite a bit of variety in length of BB spindle needed by the different groups/cranksets to get the correct chainline, so being sent the wrong BB initially is possibly a blessing in disguise.
This bike is being built to be used so a traditional vintage 42 tooth inner chainring is never going to work for me – I need to have some lower gearing for those hilly moments. I’m not going to put a modern compact on it and I’m not going to stick massive cogs on the rear, so that leaves me looking for a triple chainset if I can find one that is close to period correct. (Rule #47 be damned, although Tripels is a very nice beer 😀).
Sourcing a crankset is proving a bit more difficult – I had seen some Campagnolo Strada triples advertised last month that would have been perfect if I’d been looking for them then, unfortunately I wasn’t. Isn’t hindsight wonderful?
Having been looking for a while there seem to be a few options if you want a triple:
- Campagnolo Gran Sport / Record Strada / Victory all had triple variants in the 80’s (& the Euclid for late 80’s, but smaller touring rings)
- Modified Record Strada – the original has a 36T/100BCD inner, however there are some available that have been modified to use today’s standard 74BCD inner
- Croce d’Aune / C-Record / Chorus triples from late 80’s, but believe these are after-market modifications (many, well done I have to say)
- Buy a standard double, then order a set of “Triplizer” chainrings. Basically a replacement inner ring that effectively becomes the middle ring with a new smaller inner ring bolted to it
Other shoppers sadly appear to have the same idea as me and those cranksets I am interested in are ending in bidding wars, with me on the losing side so far, however I’ll keep trying. (I won’t mention the one I should have won, only to be distracted at the vital moment by my mother who was visiting 😞)
As eager as I am to complete the build, I want to be happy with the finished article so I shall be like the Tortoise in Aesop’s Fables – slow & steady will win this race, I don’t intend to be like the Hare, racing off to buy the first components I can find, only to decide I want to change them before crossing the finish line.
Image from “Aesop for Children” available at Project Gutenberg Illustrations by Milo Winter (1886-1956).