Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gloria Garibaldina Extra Donna

Possibly one of the coolest mixte bicycles in existence. Currently listed on ebay by a well-known Boston seller and closing in less than an hour. Listing states this bicycle is unrestored and in original condition which is exceptional for a bike built circa 1939-1940.

Ebay troll can only watch with empty pockets as Sauron keeps his eye on other worldly matters...

ADDIT: passed in at USD $2,125. May well be a crisis on the horizon...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Negative sentiment

Over the past 6 weeks the Australian property market has plummeted. The media have reported a significant reduction in auction clearance rates which is a useful measure but has its flaws when used in isolation. Nonetheless, as a person standing on the brink of buying a property over the past 18 months, there is currently a definite sense of trepidation in the market.
A couple of months ago the number of houses for sale in an exclusive suburb exploded. Sales were doing well (actually, picking up since mid 2009) and Australian property rode a wave of enthusiasm. Sentiment has changed. Far fewer houses have hit the market more recently. Three properties that I have watched for some time have sold for significantly less than their original asking price.
No doubt the concerns over the Greek economy and the financial state of the European Union has a lot to do with this negative sentiment as does the rising interest rates within Australia. This may be just enough to tip the scale as Australia is in a rather unusual balancing act. Demand for housing far outstrips supply which drives up prices. Yet prices are overinflated when compared to average income, rental yields, and long-term historical averages. Australian housing affordability is rated as one of the worse if not the worst in the world.
Human sentiment is a powerful force in financial markets. When we are positive we buy up and live the good life. When sentiment is down we sell and markets dip. A rising economy and a falling economy follow a broadly predictable course - that is, until the market turns. What is harder to measure is when sentiment changes. In the main, sentiment bobs up and down with little change in the market on a broader scale. Occasionally the sentiment escalates and leads to dramatic changes or less dramatic “corrections” in the market.
Negative sentiment stemming from fear of the unknown presents an opportunity. And negative sentiment is often just that, a bobble of opportunity in the long-term market trend. In my opinion this is one such time and the Eye of Sauron will now look deeply into the Australian property market. It’s a little too early to predict what will happen next but the negative sentiment is palpable.
I may of course be completely wrong. We could be on a precipice and I am about to take a great stride forward into an abyss. But to be successful one requires a good measure of endeavor and luck. You just have to be more often right than wrong.

Friday, May 14, 2010

1st generation Campagnolo Nuovo Record brakeset

1968 Campagnolo Nuovo Record brakeset. The first year that Campagnolo produced a brakeset of their own, and for its time, the best looking and most effective caliper on the market. Distinguished from later generations by the lack of the Campagnolo logo on the caliper arms.

This set is NOS and still in it's box (itself in very good condition). Certainly very rare to see in this state and the the price reflects this: currently on ebay for USD $9,999.

From a pragmatic point of view, if you take it out of the box & stick it on a bike (nutted brake mounts of course...) you would be disappointed by its underwhelming performance compared to modern brakesets. Even if you are a collector you would lose monetary value by mounting them on a period build. My guess is that if (and it's a big if) this set is bought then it's destined for a showroom behind locked glass. Truly a brakeset that is haughty and arrogant in it's exclusiveness...

I have a shiny set of these on my pre-1965 Cinelli SC with the quirky (to say the least) orange repaint. It was probably fitted as an upgrade to the original brakes. For me, that gives it a sense of proportion in keeping with the manufacturer's original intention. A brakeset that is cool and classy and with genuine real world experience...

ADDIT: Just an interesting aside. The 1968 calipers have a noticeably finer grade of polish than the subsequent Nuovo & Super Record calipers. Even the calipers of the highly polished 50th Anniversary groupset lacks the warmth of the 1st generation. Sound familiar? Same trend is seen in the production of the Campagnolo delta brakeset one and a half decades later. Appears that a lot of elbow grease goes into the 1st run then the effort seems to drop off as production gains momentum.

Baum Cubano

Understated class.

Unused 2009 Baum Cubano titanium frame with Chris King headset just sold on Australian ebay for AUD $2275. Pretty good buy given that this is Baum's custom-built, custom-butted titanium frame and just one down from their top-of-the-line Corretto. Spec indicated as: 53cm TT, 51.2cm ST (sloping TT), 12.2cm HT (excluding CK headset), 73 deg STA, 71.5 deg HTA with 50mm fork rake.

Well, it's a good buy if the the spec fits your requirements...

If you are in to quality TIG-welded steel & titanium frames take a look at Darren Baum's website

I assume fans of steel lugged bicycles already know about Australian framebuilder, Darrell McCulloch

Sunday, May 9, 2010

1966 Campagnolo Record derailleur set

Ever thought about the number of teeth used on the rollers of the rear derailleur? Well, it's more than 9. In the transition from toothless to the now standard 10-11 tooth rollers there were these 9-tooth rollers. The tight bend in the chain lead to increased radial loads on the plastic pulleys resulting in them fracturing.

Live. Learn. Evolve.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cycling faux pas

What is appropriate kit for riding on the road these days?

If you are riding a carbon-fibre “race” bike then there appears to be a number of unspoken rules. For a start wear a good fitting set of bib & brace knicks and a matching top with sleeves. Never wear loose shorts on a road bike (unless you are commuting to work on a step-through/ mixte frame - and even then expect a couple of beer bottles to be thrown at you). Never wear mountain bike shoes on a road bike as it suggests that you walk your bike more often than you ride it. Never wear full-fingered gloves unless it’s the depth of winter and you you are wearing arm warmers as well. They should be reserved for mountain bikers who spend a good deal of time going over the front of their handlebars. If you have to wear corrective lenses then only wear the latest protective eyewear developed specifically for cycling (preferably Oakley or some other very expensive brand). And, under no circumstance should you ever be seen with a mount on your helmet for anything (light, camera, rear view mirror, any device to fend off magpies...).

Even if you ride really early in the morning and no-one sees you - one day you will be caught...

The only thing missing for full negative marks is a mojo

(which was removed as it kept falling off)

Must be time to get a skin-suit for single speed off-road riding...

Photo courtesy of who run a guerilla campaign of unsolicited shooting of everything that goes up & down the road to Mt Glorious

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Frame build

David Bohm has posted more pics of the frame we built on his flickr account. Just a teaser as I (impatiently) await its passage through Australian customs...