Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pinarello Magnesium AK61

When manufacturers using steel went looking for a new material for bikes Pinarello found magnesium. It is light and strong but difficult to work with. They dabbled with it for a few years until carbon took over. The last metal bike to win the Tour de France was a Pinarello magnesium Ak61 Dogma in 2006, ridden by Oscar Pereiro.. Here is a rare version called the Ego. This frame is currently for sale on Ebay:

Pinarello Ego

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Alberto Masi

Here are some photos courtesy of Greg Honn of Milano Sport. Back in the late 70s Faliero Masi sold the rights to the Masi name in the US. Alberto, his son, was unable contractually to sell bikes with his own name to buyers in the US. Greg Honn started importing bikes made by Alberto Masi under the Milano Sports name.

Alberto Masi was always an innovator and brought the internal lugged steel frame, the Tre Volumetrica 3V, to the market. Until I saw these images of Greg's on Ebay I did not realize Alberto ever made aluminum frames. Greg says "I had this built for local pro Matt Crane when he was an amateur." It is made from Dedacciai V107 tubing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bianchi Mega XL 1998 Tour de France Mercatone Uno Team replica

When I did the research for my own Pantani replica I found a lot of discrepancies on the web as to what was correct. I discovered that the reason for this problem is that Pantani's and the Team's bikes changed during the season. In addition Bianchi produced multiple replicas, after Pantani's 1998 Tour de France win, for sale to the public.The original team frames were made of Dedacciai 7000 aluminum tubing but the production replicas were made from Dedacciai SC61.10A tubing.

One of those replicas was a limited edition of 101. Each bike has a decal with the build number out of the edition. They also have a gold plated head badge. Here are some photographs courtesy of Rogerthebikedude of his that is currently for sale on Ebay.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We must, of course, acknowledge the forerunners of modern aluminum bicycles. Some of you might be surprised that an aluminum bicycle was made back in the 1930's. The article, from Cycling magazine 1938, at the Classic Rendezvous website talks about one of the aluminum bikes made at the time, the Carminargen.

Many of us are familar with some of the newer attempts at using aluminum including Vitus and Alan. These frames were used in the Tour de France for a few years and were OEM'd by other builders like Guerciotti, Motobecane and Colnago.

my thanks to Jos @ V*V*Velo
Gary Klein brought us one of the first large tubed frames:
photo courtesy of monclerk2
and Cannondale brought the large tube frame to mass production.

This brings us up to the hydroformed frames that started appearing in the Tour de France in about 1995.

Aluminum as a material for bicycle frames

I guess the place to start is a few notes on the material we are interested in here, aluminum and it's alloys. Because aluminum is not as strong as steel larger diameter tubes are generally needed to achieve the required strength. Lugs are generally not used and the frames are glued or TIG welded together.

There are a couple of major players in manufacturing aluminum tubing for bicycle construction. Italian manufacturer Dedacciai has be one of the leaders in tube production. Pez has a nice article on a visit to Dedacciai:

The other major player and innovator has been US manufacturer Easton.
I found this article by Easton about adding Scandium to Aluminum and why. I think there are a lot of misunderstandings when vendors use the term "Scandium" in their products.

Friday, March 7, 2014

For those of us interested in the history of racing bicycles there is a lack of information on the group of bicycles built and raced after the age of steel and before the age of carbon. This was a short interval between about 1997 and 2006. Before 1997 steel was King and after 2006 Carbon ruled the peloton. It would be a shame to lose all the information on this era of Aluminum Racing bikes. Information is very hard to find so this is a community resource. Please submit your information, pictures and catalogs scans to google@danceoflight.com and I will try to organize and post the information.

To start things off I have copied my blog entry on the 1998 Bianchi Mega XL that Marco Pantani raced and won the 1998 Tour de France.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

1998 Tour de France Bianchi Pantani Mercatone Uno Team Replica build

*** send me pictures of your bianchi-pantani build and I'll post them here ****
                                      sent images to google@danceoflight.com

Daniel's Pantani replica with his newly found PMP seatpost.

My winter project was a 1998 Bianchi Mercatone Uno team bike. I have always liked the paint scheme on the bike and I was a Marco Pantani fan so this was a project I wanted to do. The first task was to obtain the frame. I watched Ebay for many years until one came along at a price I could afford, which was only a few hundred bucks.
1999 Bianchi Production replica of the 1998 Team Frame

You need to remember that when assembling a bike from the frame up, costs can add up fast, especially if the frame needs chrome re-done or needs to be repainted. This one was in beautiful shape and I thank the previous owner for taking such good care of it.

There is interest in the bike that Pantani rode in the 1998 Tour but there is also a lot of mis-information and disagreement on the internet. Like this article in CyclingNews. So I guess the first task is to determine exactly what is correct for this bike. The problem lies in the fact that Pantani's bike changed over the 1998 season and had different equipment on it at different times. That is from whence some of the disagreement comes. Also, Bianchi made a production Team Replica bike and a limited edition of 101 that were not exactly a replica of Pantani's race bike. The other team members did not have bikes exactly like Pantani's either. I decided to use the images, on the net, of stage 15 of the 1998 Tour de France as my reference for this project. Those pictures became the standard of what is correct.

The bike is commonly considered to have a Campagnolo 9-speed titanium group with Campagnolo Electron wheels, which I found to be mostly correct except for the Electron wheels. From images of Pantani riding stage 15, it can be clearly seen that he is riding standard Campagnolo Record wheels and I can't ID what rims he used. But they are standard box section aluminum rims. l believe the quick releases were made by PMP as was the seatpost. Most riders don't "mess" with the bikes they are supplied with by the team, but Pantani removed the guts of the left brifter for shifting and installed a classic downtube shifter on the left side. There is a lot of speculation as to why he did this--to make the bike lighter, to improve the shifting in the front? Who knows for sure.

 He used Time Mag EQ pedals painted red. The saddle was the embroidered Pantani Flite special edition, made by Selle Italia. He also used a red cyclo computer which I think was made by Echowell.
Notice the Campy Record hubs, red Time pedals, PMP QR and the missing left shift mechanism

In any build like this you have to temper your accuracy by your budget. Some parts may not be available anymore at any price. There are collectors who must have new-old-stock never-used parts for a build or original equipment with a pedigree. But most of us have to make do with what we can find or make some of the parts or hum-a-few-bars and fake it. My interest is in the look of the bike and the fun of trying to recreate it, not investment potential.

I found that there was a pair of aluminum quick releases available from a vendor in Taiwan that looked very close to the PMP units on Pantani's bike.

The seatpost I used is an American Classic titanium which also looks very much like the PMP.

Comparison of photos from the 1998 Tour and other seatposts.

Pantani's stem is an ITM painted to match the yellow-orange in the frame.

I have to use wing bars because of problems with my hands so I had to paint a stem to match. I was lucky to find a paint at the local hardware store which is very close to the original. I ordered decals for the stem from www.doityourselflettering.com which are quite cost effective.

I found a red cyclo computer, a close match and the only red one I could find.

There are also decals missing from the production frame. The production bike did not use a Time fork and it used a different frame tubing so the decals for Time on the fork and Dedacciai on the seatstay are not on the production frame. Also Pantani's frame had www.bianchi.it on the top tube which Bianchi did not put on the production frame. I found the Time and Deda decals on Ebay UK and had DIY lettering make the url decal.

I could not find an image good enough, of the number on Pantani's bike so I made the rider number from an image I found of Sean Yates riding in the 1995 tour. I cutout the number and used it to create one for the 1998 Bianchi, digitally.

I had a lot of fun researching and working on the project this winter. Do I have a perfect replica of Pantani's 1998 Tour de France bike? No, but it is close enough for me.

I "borrowed" a number of images from the web, to illustrate this post,  that have been copied so many times that the original owner is lost to me. If any of these images are yours and you want me to remove it or to acknowledge it please let me know.