|"VINTAGE LIFE CYCLES"
CANADIAN & VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHT BICYCLE
BIANCHI "REKORD" 848
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|BIANCHI "REKORD" 848|
|MADE IN ITALY|
|FINDING THE REKORD
A TALE OF TWO BIKES
|My grandson and yard sailing partner indicated, numerous times, that we should attend the Hillcrest High School annual fall yard sale. It was on the list of yard sales to visit that morning, however; it was not the next visit based on geographical location. At any rate and due to his insistence, the high school yard sale was moved up in the morning�s agenda.
It was immediately obvious that the school had a lot to offer since about forty stalls had been assembled for the two day event. As my grandson and I approached the parking lot where the sale was being held, I noticed that there was but one bicycle offered, and it was a woman�s bike at that.
Generally, a woman�s bicycle does not earn much interest, however; I have learned that, more often than not, a woman�s bicycle will usually be in much better condition than a man�s. With this in mind and considering that there were no other bicycles to inspect, I wandered over to view the solitary old bicycle as my grandson headed off to see if he could add to his �Goose Bumps� book collection.
As I closed on the bicycle, I realized that it was something a bit out of the ordinary. In fact, my interest went from �who cares� to �wow� in less than a heartbeat. As it turned out, the woman�s bicycle was a full blown Bianchi �W� Strada in all but perfect and very little used condition. All but perfect?
In an effort to rid the machine of its drop handlebars, someone had sawed off the down tube shifter controls braze-ons. What a shame but not too serious considering that I am not usually interested in collecting women�s bicycles, particularly those too small for me to ride. I was, however, very impressed with the components that appeared to be all but brand new.
The 700c wheels were in perfect condition, as were all of the components. Managing to attract one of the yard sale attendants attention I inquired about the price of the bike. The lady considered the situation for a moment and suggested three dollars. I couldn�t believe it and snapped the bike up in an instance. True, the bicycle itself was of little value to me but I was certain that the component group would come in handy, sooner or later. I already had need of a set of 700c wheels for a Peugeot �PS28� that I had plans to restore.
My grandson and I loaded the Bianchi �Strada� into the pick-up and away we went, seeking other yard sales. The morning worn on and the boy indicated that he wanted to pack it in for the day. Since the morning was all but over, I took the him home and set off on my own.
I attempted called a friend on my cell phone. He and I had made plans to attend the Police Auction, scheduled to transpire that afternoon. Several times I attempted to call my chum only to be thwarted by his teenage daughter who seems to be in need of medical attention. The attention required, of course, would be the surgical removal of the telephone receiver from her ear. At any rate, I could not reach my friend and decided to kill time by making a few more yard sale stops while waiting for our intended meeting time to arrive. The last stop produced results that blew the earlier Bianchi �W� Strada find away.
A four foot by four foot plywood sheet indicated that this last visited yard sale was taking place in the back yard. Passing through the creaky gate, the first thing that caught my attention was a string of lightweights leaning against the fence. A quick inspection of the group revealed two bicycles of moderate interest � an early seventies Raleigh �Record�, in extremely good condition, and a rougher, but still presentable, made in France Peugeot �Challenger�. Brief negotiations picked the pair up for fifteen dollars. Before wheeling the two treasures away, I asked if the seller had any other bicycles for sale. He said yes and proceeded to show me the line-up hanging in his garage.
About half a dozed bikes were suspended from the rafters of the seller�s garage. The only bike in the group that caught my attention was a Bianchi �Rekord 848� in so-so condition. Indicating an interest in the bicycle, the seller lifted it down from its hook, affording me an opportunity for closer inspection. The bicycle had, at one time, been turned into a single speed machine. Back and forth negotiation netted me the bicycle, sans wheels, for twelve dollars and fifty cents. And why not considering that I had picked up the woman�s Bianchi earlier in the day which did have the wheel set included. One great bicycle from two independent sources on the same day! Who would believe it?
So, for fifteen and a half bucks, I ended up with an Italian Bianchi that fits and has all of the necessary components to get the bicycle up and running. What a neat treasure hunt!
|TEST RIDE PREPARATIONS|
|MADE IN ITALY|
|Basically, the Rekord was a frame and little more to start with. No wheels, an incorrect bottom bracket, bent handlebar stem and no saddle. That, coupled with an incredible bit of luck, is how this bicycle started out.|
|The first item installed in an effort to prepare for the test ride were the wheels which were secured from the woman's $3.00 Bianchi. Ambrosio rims with unmarred stickers still attached were laced up to a set of Suze quick release hubs. The 700c x 35 tires were in excellent shape and still hug the alloy rims. Both units just dropped into place with little or no fiddling.|
|The handlebars appeared to be in good condition, however; the stem was bent. With this in mind and knowing that a TTT Record stem and bar set is on its way from Ebay, another set was installed just to make the test ride possible before the snow flies. Both front and back side pull brakes came with the Rekord and will be retained. The Modolo "Flash" center pull callipers are in excellent condition and, once again, Ebay comes to the rescue as a NOS pair of Modolo levers were picked up for $9.99 plus shipping. All that is needed fot the braking system is a set of Modolo hoods. The treasure hunting quest continues.|
|As found, the bicycle was set up as a single speed although it would have been impossible to ride do to the fact that the wrong bottom bracket had been installed. Both the front Campagnolo Nouvo record derailleur and controls were present, however; the rear derailler was long gone. Fortunately, a period correct rear derailleur had been found attached to an old Sekine several months earlier. The transmission is installed and functioning properly now.|
|Both the fork crown and seat stays are adorned with pantographing, a nice touch that speaks of the quality offered by the older bianchi bicycles. The frame and forks, though perfectly straight are cosmeticall challanged. Numerous paint chips and scratches are complimented by faded paint on the top of the down tube. The bicycle decals, with the exception of the tubing decal, are reasonably well preserved, presenting a bit of a delima - to paint or not to paint. A set of Bianchi decals have been found for the bicycle in case the decision to paint is implemented.|
|Not exactly the saddle of choice, this pearch started out on a Giant NRS3 full suspension mountain bicycle. The saddle installation is temporary, used only to make test riding of the bicycle possible. Little effort was spent attempting to get the perfect fit, at this point in time. The saddle was set a touch too high for the test ride, but served its purpose, none the less. Of course, it looks to be completely out of place.|
|RIDING THE BIANCHI|
|The Rekord was acquired fairly late in the season and more time was used up trying to find a Campy bottom bracket to replace the one that was misfitted to the bicycle. Eventually, with the season fast turning ugly, another compromise was made and a late model sealed BB was installed. A short while later saw the bianchi on the road for the first time since picking it up a month or so earlier.|
|It is not possible to offer a fair evaluation of the Bianchi Rekord 848's ride qualities. Little time was actually spent in the saddle and the bike was taken out only once or twice after its test ride. The test ride set aside all concerns about the frame and fork set. Riding the Rekord "hands-off" was not a problem. There was no tendency for the bicycle to pull one way or the other.
The ride did, however, feel good. Though never pushed, the bike felt as if it would be easy to get up to speed quickly. This Bianchi "Premio" has a ride quite similar to the Rekord though it would be unfair to compare the two considering the componentry on the Premio is much newer. Additionally, the Rekord's frame is considerably larger that that of its Oriental cousin, the Premio.
The Bianchi Rekord would appear to be a cut above many of the other bicycles in the collection, even though it is, more or less, being built up from the frame.
The stem and handlebars, pedals, saddle and brake levers will be changed out before any fair test ride could be conducted. Period correct TTT Record stem and bars will be coupled with a NOS set of Modolo levers. Most likely, a leather saddle will be installed although some of the Bianchi models available on Ebay seem appealing. The jury is still out but leather has the edge.
Presently, however; the Rekord is in competition with several other potential projects. This Canadian Miele is one of the bicycles that could experience the full restoration treatment. Then again, a recently acquired NOS Francesco Moser 51.151 frame just might become the cold weather project. Both this Dawes "Galaxy" and Raleigh "Superbe" require little more than a good cleaning up with a few minor component replacements. And the Peugeot PS28 is now on the road but interest in restoring it is fast deminishing with so many other projects seeking attention..
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