Monday, August 1, 2011

The One

Ask me five years ago what my perfect bike would be and I would have shown you this:

1980s Colnago Master with full C Record ensemble

Great 1980s colourway yet subtle enough to soothe a modern palate

A time when the Colnago Master came with lugs similar in design to the Supers and Mexicos that preceded it
(and a personal favourite amongst the various Colnago lug styles that have come to pass)

The 1980s sublimated. Sublime, my dear, sublime

Simple elegant lugs and that Gilco-designed tubing. Well!!

Nice set of delta’s Mr R Heeren

The glorious C Record drivetrain

Sold for “buy it now” price of USD $2680 on the 27 July

I wasn’t the buyer but not because I didn’t want it (I did) nor was it because I thought it was too expensive (ok, it’s not exactly a bargain either). It’s because I managed to rein in a slavering troll and made a rational decision based on the available options. For a start, beautiful as it is, the bicycle and the goodies decorating it ain't that uncommon. And that sack of coin could help pay for some house renovations, or buy me 150 delicious meals at my local takeaway, or even get me a fancy take-a-look-at-my-enormous wealth... watch (like the bicycles I collect, an unnecessary indulgence in an era where the mobile phone can do what phones are supposed to do in addition to messaging/emailing/twittering your contacts, taking pictures, accessing the internet, organising your life, holding the world’s entire music collection, as well as tell you the time).
I should probably also wait for the Americans to decide on what they are going to do with their debt limit and see what ramifications this will have on the world economy (I’ll put this quirk of democratic governance next to “filibuster” in my list of why the US political system makes less sense than Australia’s even as our policies are currently held to ransom by the whims of a minority).
And, yes, I already palp a couple of Colnago Masters of my own.

The troll’s contribution to Blue Steel. So wrong yet so right

Not to mention that the troll has managed to squirrel away about 80kg of seductively shiny, if pompously portly C Record parts (yes, that’s almost enough kit to fit out one bike). The fact of the matter is that I seem to have moved on from the wide-eyed, open-mouthed naivety of five years ago: ie I now have affectations of bicycle snobbery. (Actually, "bicycle snob" is a term used by the 2% of the general population with a modicum of interest in bicycles to reflect people like us. The remaining 98% would probably use the more appropriate term of "bicycle dweeb". Unfortunately those that know me in particular seem to prefer the simpler and perhaps less charitable term of "dork")
If I am to buy C Record again it has to be either the 1985 first generation ensemble (the one with the stamped winged-wheel logo's and the closed-cage RD - a time when C Record was arguably at it’s aesthetic peak so much so that it didn’t matter whether or how it worked) or the 1994 last generation (when the groupset reached its functional peak whilst still retaining most of C Record’s aesthetics).

Speedbicycles 1985 Bianchi Specialissima (complete with the most impractical bidon to ever grace a bicycle - um, try finding one of them things nowadays..., now under the troll’s stewardship

This is concerning. NOS NIB 1994 Record groupset purchased in a 1995 clearance sale with spares carefully organised in my dad’s old Echolac bag (cheap Campy 50th anniversary bag eat your heart out)

And the internet now avails us to a mind-boggling array of opportunities. A paradise of choices through which the troll gleefully floats buoyed by a river of his own mucous.

Leaving C Record aside we have the following available for sale:

1980s Agordina in immaculate blue cromovelato with SR - apparently a production Willier Triestina at a time when Willier produced frames for other brands (for sale via ebay with “buy it now” of USD $1900) - ADDIT sold 2 Aug

Willieresque lug cutouts

Not sure whether I can cope with crimping of seat and/or chain stays at the dropout on any bicycle that hasn’t got
C O L N A G O emblazoned on the downtube...

Good God. They really made fork crowns with that shape?

1976 Condor Team Issue with refined Italia lugset and NR ensemble (for sale via Hilary Stone GBP £495) - ADDIT sold sometime in Aug

1984 Raleigh Road Ace with Shimano 600AX groupset (Hilary Stone GBP £495) - ADDIT sold sometime in Aug

Quite possibly the world’s largest Masi Gran Criterium - 64cm seat tube ctt! (ebay “buy it now” USD $3000)

So many choices available yet so little to differentiate those of us with bicycle pretensions. And no single bicycle seems capable of realising all our lusts and desires. I, for one, have now chosen to embark on a state of play that will no doubt leave my hopes and aspirations utterly unfulfilled. I shall look for a bicycle or part that is so rare that I simply cannot afford it. Or a bicycle or part so rare that I simply cannot find it (or rather, find someone willing to part with it).

Moser Time Trial Frame - the same design as used in 1984 when Francesco Moser broke Eddy Merckx’s 1972 hour record (sold USD $9,100)

1986 Cinelli Laser time trial bicycle with full first generation C Record gruppo and factory Cinelli discs (ebay auction still active) - ADDIT sold 7 Aug for USD $16,600

Ibis BowTi - the most beautiful titanium structure (and concept) to ever grace a production bicycle - forgive the flexy ride and the the laws of physics which dictate that pulling the brakes will pogo you over the bars (ebay “buy it now” USD $5500) - ADDIT listing ended early on 15 Aug - presumed sold outside of ebay
I often wonder what would have happened if, five years ago, I had gone out and purchased a Colnago Master with a full C Record ensemble. Whether this would have quelled some inner yearning before things got out of hand. Happiness (well, at least bicycle nirvana) would have been found. And that would have been that. Or whether this would have been just one more piece of wood for a smouldering, greedy, insatiable fire.

I’m too old and too cynical to be sentimental about most things. But a fragment of trivia caught my attention as I was skipping through the news channels. Now I’m not sure of the context nor how a piece like this becomes newsworthy. But the story, as I understand it, is about a couple who met when the chap was just 14 years old. Many years later the lady passed away leaving her life-long partner with some wonderful memories of the time they shared together. Some time later their son took a photo juxtaposing a fragment of the past with the present situation where this chap is once again on his own. When the chap was asked how he knew that she was “the one” (a valid question in our modern world with seemingly endless choices) the chap simply states “She had a skirt!”.
This is the photograph (from

Dear Photograph,
Thank you for everything we had.

Maybe they were lucky.
Maybe it’s not just the choice they made but their ability to stick by it.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I enjoy dipping into your blog from time to time. Keep blogging!

Re the Agordina. Do you have a link to the auction just out of interest.
I happen to have purchased a nice bike from that seller in the past.

wingnut said...