Sunday, April 25, 2010

3Rensho track bike

Today is ANZAC Day.

Specifically it relates to the 25th of April, 1915 when Australian and New Zealand forces (the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps) landed at dawn on the shores of Gallipoli. What was meant to be a quick strike against the Turkish forces (to open the Dardenelles for the allied navy) became a drawn-out 8-month stalemate with appalling casualties on both sides.

More recently ANZAC Day is taken as a time for Australians to remember those that fell in the service of their nation. Since 9/11 the various theatres of war have been thrown into the forefront of public consciousness. We fight to preserve the right to live in freedom (from restraint) and (the) liberty (to choose from what’s available). The more cynical will say that we fight to live in a manner we are accustomed to. And for resources that are important to us.

Whatever the slant, today is a time to reflect. And for many that reflect, today is a sad day for humanity.

This is a bicycle blog site and I dare not venture any further than a superficial reference to this important date.

Going back to the reason for this post, here is a 3Rensho (San Rensho) keirin track frame from the 1990’s. There are a number of variations of 3Rensho lug styles and this example is almost certainly made by Makino after the retirement of his master, Yoshi Konno. A Japanese bike through and through with full NJS parts (Suntour Superbe Pro, Hatta, Nitto) made for the most Japanese of bicycle sports - keirin racing.

During the second world war Japan was Australia’s greatest threat. In the 1990‘s Japan was Australia’s most important trading partner. Go figure.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

San Diego Custom Bicycle Show

Well, well, my bike made it to the SDCBS. It's the bike with the blue head tube sitting behind Dave's "Uberbike" in the pic from Velo Cult. Yeah, you can barely see it on this shot but I couldn't find any better pics of it on the internet.

Kind of like being an extra on the set for Lord of the Rings...

For some great profile shots of the main actors at SDCBS take a visit to the Velo Cult website.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lotus Sport 110

A design icon and fast enough for Chris Boardman to win the 1994 Tour de France prologue. I prefer the BT Superbike but then again I’m Australian... And there's something special about the clean lines of a track frame... And maybe the issue of fatigue fractures seen in the Lotus top-tube...

These great pics come from a Lotus enthusiast in Melbourne, Australia and posted in a Lotus (as in the car) forum.

This particular bicycle was sold to another Lotus enthusiast in the UK in Dec 2006 for $7,500USD.

Friday, April 9, 2010

BT Superbike

It’s amazing what you can find when you poke around. This is a BT (Bike Technologies) Superbike developed in the mid 1990s from a chance collaboration between the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).
This particular bicycle was given to its previous owner by his employer at the completion of the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000. The bike sat in his office for 10 years as a conversation piece before being passed on to me. It is almost certainly a hand-me-down from the AIS track team as evidenced by the decals which are placed beneath the clear coat (standard production frames do not wear the AIS decals). Not to mention the numerous battle scars from past exploits on the track. And this specimen clearly had a tough life.

Superbike. A name so presumptuous on a design so audacious that it’s become cool and iconic. It also helps that the Australian track team under Charlie Walsh was a tour de force whilst riding these bikes (1994-1996).

Typical for the AIS track team, this bicycle has full Campagnolo componentry albeit from a mixture of groups. With the assortment of parts, one can imagine this being a competition pursuit frame (wearing full C Record componentry and Ghibli disc wheels) that has subsequently devolved into a training bike (with Chorus road cranks and Campagnolo "Sidney" 2000 rims). The bike has been tidied up but nothing has been changed. Nice to think that maybe some rising track star has ridden these exact components...

For me this is how a carbon fiber bicycle should look. Simple, swoopy, aerodynamic lines.
Excellent information on the BT Superbike can be found through these links to the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney).

Monocoque bicycle frames like the BT Superbike came into being following relaxation of the UCI regulations in 1990 leaving Mike Burrows to bring out the Lotus Sport track pursuit prototype in 1991 (conceived much earlier then shelved in 1987). This subsequently became the Lotus Sport 108 in 1992 and hit the headlines when Chris Boardman won the 4000m individual pursuit at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics setting a world record of 4 min 27.357 sec, and lapping the 1991 World Champion, Jens Lehmann, in the final.

Lotus then went on to make the production Lotus Sport 110 road bike and Mike Burrows went on to design similar frames for Giant.

Lotus Sport 110

Giant MCR

It is a shame that these bicycles are now, once again, illegal under UCI regulations (current rules require a double triangle frame) but let’s leave that discussion for another day...