Coming At It From Another Angle

I was walking in Brooklyn not too long ago when I noticed this:

Here’s the story:

What, all those words and no detail on the drivetrain or the frame tubing?

I am deeply offended as a taxpayer.

Speaking of vintage bikes, I’m pleased to report that this past Friday I had a breakthrough with the Cervino:

As I mentioned recently, I’d been feeling the saddle angle needed a little tweaking, and I didn’t have the special Campagnolo wrench. However, I finally got around to digging out a regular one:

There was enough clearance in the rear (easy now!) to get a couple turns in on the rearward bolt:

The front was another story:

However, after attacking it from various angles I managed to complete the adjustment.

Next, I moved onto the shifters:

I’ve come to really like the top-mount position since it’s so easy to shift one-handed, but I find I need to snug up the little D-ring bolt on the rear shifter at least a few times on every ride, and I was determined to solve the problem. These shifters are extraordinarily simple. Here’s all that’s inside:

And then there’s this stuff:

When moving the shifter, what happens is the large washer that says “Campagnolo” on it moves ever so slightly–just enough to loosen the D-ring bolt just a teensy bit. I’m reluctant to use Loctite, and I’ve already tried a handmade threadlocking (or at least threadsnugging) concoction that Grant Petersen sent me awhile back, though that didn’t do the trick. So this time around I thought maybe throwing an extra washer in there between the keyed nylon insert and the washer that says “Campagnolo” on it might fix it, but after putting it back together and moving the shifter back and forth I could see that wasn’t doing it either.

Oh well, I figured that at least I’d managed to adjust the saddle, so settling for one out of two I headed out for a ride. As it turned out, I’d underestimated the effects of a minute saddle adjustment, because the bike felt not just a little bit better but way way way better, and for the first time since receiving it I found myself immediately thinking it was at least as good if not better than the Vengeance Bike:

Sure, there’s the loosening shifter, but the Vengeance Bike had that too. In fact it had two different shifters on it:

The front was a retrofriction or “Doppler” shifter that stayed put, but the rear had pretty much the same internals as the one on the Cervino, and it loosened so readily I had to snug up the bolt every time I used it:

This did not diminish my fondness for the bicycle, and in fact I rode it all through Switzerland that way, but I did eventually solve the problem by removing a washer. So hopefully I’ll figure it out on this shifter too. Or I could always replace it with a retrofriction shifter of similar vintage, since they only cost $950:

Yeah, I’ll just keep snugging up the bolt, thanks. And at least I don’t have to charge it.

Speaking of the Vengeance Bike, a reader recently shared this with me:

That bike is pure speed, in that it looks fast while standing still, and also kind of makes me want to turn around and run away from it as quickly as I can.

Anyway, after Friday it rained for several days, so I switched to a bicycle better suited to the conditions:

The shifting on this bicycle is nothing short of sublime:

Mismatched shifters notwithstanding:

Also, despite the weather the trails were quite rideable if you knew where to look:

Good thing I know where to look.

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