A retro-mod frankenbike, with patina?

As it came to me this bike was equipped with a Campy sport level 2 x 5 drive-train. For this year of bicycle that meant that it had a rear hub spacing of 120 mm. That is not a problem if you are going to use the original components in building this bike up. But….. I wanted to give this Atala an update and I just happened to have a Campy Veloce 9 speed gruppo laying around. Of course the spacing for a modern 9 speed hub is 130 mm so that is not going to work, right?

Tempting fate!

To use the Campy Veloce gruppo I first had to see if I could make the hub fit in the frame spacing. My rear hub had a unique 128 mm (face to face) spacing. That meant that I only had to spread the frame by 8 mm over the original 120 mm spacing. I used the “all thread method” to spread and then relax the stays. I did this repeatedly, increasing the amount of spread each time and then relaxing and measuring the results. It was a very slow process and I was not getting much of a result for each cycle. I eventually had to spread the dropouts to over 180 mm, at which point it settled back to 126 mm when it was relaxed. It was pretty scary to spread the stays that far and I expected some kind of failure at any moment. I decided not to push my luck any further and I settled for 126 mm.

The original white paint had faded with age to a cream color and the whole bike was covered in some kind of sticky coating. The bike had suffered from what I’ll call storage abuse and some of the paint was pretty chipped, but there was very little rust and I thought that it might clean up reasonably well. I am a fan of keeping the original paint on a bike if at all possible and this was mostly good. So with a good scrubbing and some clear-coat I had my platform to build on.

With the parts I had set aside to put this bike together I began the assembly. I wont bore you with too many details but it went something like this. Build wheels, blah blah, mount components, blah, get things aligned, blah blah, fine tuning, clean up and test ride. The resulting bike looks like this:

Here is a list of components used for this build:

  • Campagnolo Veloce front and rear derailleurs and shifters
  • Campagnolo Veloce triple crank-set and BB.
  • Campagnolo Victory hubs
  • Velo Orange Raid rims
  • 3TTT bars with an SR stem
  • Miche headset
  • Modolo brakes
  • Saavedra seatpost (Argentine Campy clone)
  • Brooks B-17 saddle

After a few test rides here are some of my impressions of this bike. It is a fun bike to ride, it is lively if not fast and handles pretty nicely. The longish wheel base contributes to a stable and comfortable ride. It is a little on the heavy side at 24.8 lbs with pedals. With the triple crank-set it climbs well and the Veloce gruppo shifts accurately. With its relatively high stem height it sits quite comfortably and you could ride this bike all day long!

For some perspective on how this project began here is the “before”.