So, we’re into the New Year, the days are getting longer and a middle-aged man’s thoughts turn to long, hot summer days in the saddle. That in turn got me thinking about the Bianchi Folgore restoration that Dan Bool is carrying out for me in Bristol. (Read more about it here)
One thing that Dan and I had agreed on is that the 65-year-old chainring on the bike had worn severely and needed replacing.
A bit of eBaying over Christmas and I managed to find two suitable cranksets from the same seller in Italy:
The sharp-eyed will notice that there’s a 40-tooth and a 48-tooth chainring here. Even the not-so-sharp-eyed will notice that the chrome’s a bit knackered.
But not to worry. Step forward Hockley Enterprises of Southend, who I was delighted to discover, are still thriving. Chroming’s a chemically nasty business and many suppliers have either gone under or changed their processes in the 10 years since I last used Hockley Enterprises. The only discernible change is that they now have a barrier to stop visitors from walking straight into their workshop off the street! They have 3 levels of service: standard (6-8 weeks), bit-of-a-rush (3-4 weeks) and tearing hurry (1 week) with a scale of charges to suit. I went for the bit-of-a-rush option, having only a little patience, and just under 4 weeks later these babies arrived:
What a difference! *claps excitedly*
So now the question is authenticity or rideability?
Do I replace like-for-like, leaving the bike authentic but with a still knee-crushingly-high 48:24 bottom gear, or do I put the 40-tooth ring on, with a much more manageable 40:24?
I don’t mind changing the chain length – chains don’t scare me – but cottered cranksets bloody do! I can never ever get them to sit correctly or the cotter pins to fit properly and usually end up having at them with a mallet and punch, which is fine on a drop-forged, slightly rusty lump but less than ideal on a freshly chromed beauty like those above.
Here’s Dan Bool’s take on the matter:
He’s firmly in the rideability-trumps-authenticity camp and I must admit, having collected my thoughts through this post, so am I.
There, decided. Thank you, internet.