So I’d been stalking this rather lovely 1950s Italian bike on eBay for a while. It had been listed and relisted as a Buy It Now-only several times, with a slightly reduced price and a slightly higher number of watchers each time… but it didn’t sell.
Then, the seller finally bit the bullet and put it up for auction and of course it began to attract bids. Over the 8 weeks it had been up, I had researched this bike somewhat and discovered it had been bought by the current owner at a Sotheby’s auction a couple of years ago. By the looks of it, he hadn’t done anything with it, and further by the looks of the photos on eBay he didn’t know how to set it up.
Cutting a long story short, I ended up buying it. Or at least, I thought I had.
Then the seller contacted me, distraught. There was a bit missing, and not just any easily-replaced bit. Oh no. This was an obscure size, reverse thread knurled thumbnut.
The one that sits at the end of the shifter arm, under the hub. (You can see it was in place in the second photo).
What clearly wasn’t in place, however, was the split pin which should go through a hole in the end of the shaft and stop the nut from falling off.
No split pin. No nut. No sale.
Now, a quick eBay search reveals that you can pick up a second-hand Campagnolo Paris Roubaix complete mechanism for…. around £900.00.
So, I struck a deal with the seller and bought the bike anyway, at a much reduced figure, reasoning that I could find a replacement or get one machined.
Here’s the shaft, minus the nut (and with the retaining pin hole clearly visible) and ith my thread gauge in action.
Here’s a better shot of the missing nut and pin in a properly set up, albeit very much in need of a clean, mechanism.
Here’s the original schematic from Tullio himself – this is the version where the chain tension control (the toothed gear and cam-operated arm that backs off the chain tension just a gnat’s as you tighten the quick release) is underneath the hub. In the production models it was above.
Anyway, a few phonecalls and emails later and I was in touch with both Pedal Pedlar and Brian Digby of Classic and Vintage Cycles in Derbyshire – both of whom were up for the challenge of making a replacement nut. So, with a sense of trepidation (seriously, have you ever used DPD before?!) I’ve sent the control arm up to Derbyshire for Brian to have first crack at.
Fingers crossed and we might have the bike back together in time for the summer!
Watch this space.