Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Four out of one hundred.

Of the approximately one hundred bikes that I have, I ride on a relatively frequent basis, just four. I do ride some of the others but very infrequently. I keep them because each has some interesting feature. The four that I do ride all serve different purposes.

Some of the one hundred in the collection

The Bianchi Treader.

The most used is the Bianchi ‘treader’, my commuter and hack bike.
I assembled it around 1991, so it is getting on for twenty years old now. My previous treader had been stolen so I built up this Bianchi frame that I had got in a ‘deal’. My intention had been to use the frame until I got around to building a suitable Mariposa but that day still hasn’t come.

It is a great bike. It handles really well. My only complaint is that the toe clips overlap the front mudguard, which can be a problem but I seem to have managed.

The frame is a Bianchi “Nuovo Alloro” from about 1988. It is made with Bianchi “Formula Two” tubing which I think is Columbus SL.It has a single freewheel of 46x19 which is all I really need around Toronto, although I have noticed that the hill out of the valley is getting a bit steeper these days and if that continues I may have to add another tooth to the freewheel.
The front hub is a Shimano Nexus generator, that works really well. There is a photoelectric switch which switches the front and rear lights on when needed and off when not. It is great. I never have to think about it. The only problem has been two rear bulbs replaced in about fifteen years. The ‘drag’ is insignificant.

The Sanyo headlight powered by the hub generator. The black box behind the fork crown is the photoelectric switch.

The bike gets very little maintenance. The chain receives a drop of oil once in a while and the bike gets a hose down with the high-pressure washer when it gets really grubby.

In the twenty years that I have had it I have replaced the saddle - it broke, replaced the headset - the lower frame race cracked, and replaced two rims – they split along the braking surface. I’ve replaced a few tires and had a few punctures but probably not more punctures than one a year. At the moment I have Vittoria 700x23 tires fitted. I find that these hold the road well even in the snow.

I use toe clips and straps fitted to TA pedals. I want to be able to ride this bike in street shoes and clips and straps work perfectly well for this.

The brakes are Tektro dual pivot. A few years ago I swapped the original Shimano 105 levers for Tektro. These are, I think, the best, most comfortable brake levers available. And they are cheap.

Mariposa "mountain bike". A bike built for the mountains.

My favorite bike is my “mountain bike". It was built for my second successful attempt at the Raid Pyrenean in 2003. I put it together with the idea of keeping the weight to a minimum while including the features that I feel are necessary for the Raid.
Honjo mudguards were fitted as it always rains in the mountains and I made a small and light rear carrier to which spare clothes or rain gear can be strapped.

The frame is made from light Columbus KL tubing that was intended for pursuit bikes but has stood up very well and is certainly stiff enough for me. There is a carbon fork to keep the weight down.

The wheels are Ambrosio Extralight rims with Campag. Record hubs, 32 butted spokes and alloy nipples. They are fitted with 700x25 Cadence Pro Pulsion Kevlar tires.

I have Campag Record derailleurs with a TA Alize triple crankset and Ergopower levers
Gears are 13-26, 10 speed with 52/42/30 on the front.

The brakes are long reach Tektro dual pivot that give clearance for the mudguards.
This is the only bike I have with a threadless headset made necessary by the alloy steerer in the carbon fork. I have yet to see an attractive commercial stem that would fit so I made this one. It is chromed steel, light and I think attractive. The ‘bars are ITM.

The Mariposa stem.

A Flite saddle is fitted to a Campag Ti post. The pedals are Dura Ace.

This is the lightest bike that I own and is a joy to ride. The weight complete with mudguards and carrier is 20 lbs. It is also the newest bike I have being only seven years old.

Alan Cyclo-Cross.

Cyclo-cross is one of my favorite forms of bike racing. I was instrumental in introducing cross to Canada in the sixties after having been an avid cyclo-cross rider in Britain. At Bicyclesport we formed a very successful team in the seventies and at that time I equipped myself with the “state of the art” cross bike of the period, an Alan

The Alans were the first aluminum racing bikes to be accepted by the pro peloton.. They were built with threaded tubes screwed into aluminum lugs and bonded with an adhesive. There had been aluminum bikes before but none were as well received as the Italian Alans. They were quite popular on the road but really made their name in cyclo-cross. Year after year the World Championship was won on Alan frames, very often with another manufacture’s decals fitted.

I got my Alan around 1976 and I am still riding it. Not too often these days, just for a bit of training “on the grass”.
Back in my racing days I used a single TA 46T chainwheel fitted with ‘cross guards’ and 14-28 six speed on the back. I had a Simplex derailleur with a bar end lever. Now I have 13-29 on the back and 42/50 on the front with Campag. Ergo power levers.
The Alan I have is one of their early cyclo-cross frames and does not have cantilever brake bosses. I have fitted Mafac centre-pull brakes which work perfectly well and I have never had them clog up with mud. I have Cinelli ‘bars and stem and a Turbo saddle fitted to a Campag ‘twin bolt’ post.

The original fork steering tube came ‘unbonded’ from the crown which although it didn’t come apart it didn’t allow me to steer in the direction I wished. Alan supplied me with a new fork.

The seat stays are bolted to the seat lug and one of the bolts did come out some years ago. It wasn’t until I looked at the photo of the seat lug taken recently that I realized that the screw is coming out again despite being stuck in with epoxy. It is easy to fix.

That right hand bolt looks a bit loose.

The Alan is now thirty six years old and still going strong, well relatively.

Mariposa Road Bike.

My road bike is now twenty seven years old and although not state of the art these days it still rides well and will probably outlast me. Although the frame is 27 years old it has had various groups of components fitted during that time.

It started out with French components, Simplex SLJ derailleurs, CLB brakes, Maillard hubs, Stronglight crankset and Ideale saddle. It did, however have Cinelli 'bars and stem.

When my son Michael grew into it he raced on it for a few years as a junior For a couple of seasons the team he was racing with was sponsered by Bridgestone and the bike was repainted and fitted with Bridgestone decals. The French components were exchanged for Shimano STI.

After that the bike was repainted into it's current finish, similar to the old Motorola Team colours. Michael had grown out of it and I fitted a Campagnolo 9 speed group with Ergo levers and that is the way it has remained.

It is a great bike to ride but is heavier than my "mountain bike'. I'm thinking of building up a pair of light tubular wheels to give myself a treat for next season.

All photos, except the photos of the stem and the collection were taken by Walter Lai.
The stem photo was taken by Larry Strung.
The collection photo by Mike Barry.


Brucer said...

Nice bikes, Mike. The frame pumps are notable, too.

Otis said...

I thought the Peloso would make the cut, must be number 5 :)

Anonymous said...

Mike, I never heard the term "treader" before, perhaps it's a Cockney term. Up north in Manchester we would call our hack bikes "grid irons" because they were as heavy as those cast iron drainage grids at the side of the road, and they usually had the slots in the same direction as your wheel, perfect to drop your wheel into and get it buckled.

Mike Barry said...

The name treader originated in my UK club the Morden CRC. in the fifties. I don't know if the term is still used there but our family and many of our friends have always used it when referring to a hack bike. I think that it is a great name.

Anonymous said...

Superb & functional fleet of riding bikes, Mike.

Nice to hear you're considering some tubulars for the Road bike. I'm doing the same, after 25 years of avoiding tubs: Grant M provided some NOS 2006 Campag Record hubs (before the ugly, flat anodizing of the current model). Terry Wittenberg in Texas is building them up, 32h 3x, DT spokes (heavier gauge on the drive side), with Ambrosio Nemesis rims. Should be perfect for gravel driving with 25mm tubs!
Regards, Marco

Phil Piltch said...

Hi Mike,

I recall seeing your "mountain" bike up on the wall whenever I visited the shop onn Cranfield. Nice to see your other favourites.

My personal bike collections is small (all of five, each with interesting story). I have a very utilitarian commuter (a fixed-gear) I regularly ride to work but by far two bike of mine have become my favourites for most of my tours, be they short or long (or really long) - my Mariposa touring bike, which after 7 years on the road is still an absolute joy to ride and easily the most comfortable bike I've ever had. And easily the most beautiful.

The other is a fixie I build up from an old Dawes Galaxy frame as a fixed-gear. It too is a lovely bike in it's own way.


Justin Miller said...


Thank you for the interesting look at your favorite bikes. One thing that struck me was the different contact points, especially saddles and pedals. The different shoe/pedals seem logical, depending on the riding you are most likely to be doing. The variety of saddles is interesting.

Justin Miller
Philadelphia, PA USA

fred said...

Mike: I'd neglected to check for your latest posting. Is there a way to be alerted by eml when you put up a new post?

They are *therapeutic*!

You write:
[although I have noticed that the hill out of the valley is getting a bit steeper these days and if that continues I may have to add another tooth to the freewheel.] adds a new meaning to "long in the tooth".

You mention something very interesting:
[The pedals are Dura Ace.]
I'm still riding a pair that I bought from God....decades ago.

I'm glad I also bought the unique wrench to adjust the cones, which, actually, I've learned to avoid doing unless absolutely necessary in recent years.

"Leave well-enough alone" rules now-days.

But since I've put so many miles and countries on the Dura Ace, the removable back plates had worn over like old boots do, to the point that it was causing severe joint problems in the ankles.

I started looking around for replacements, and found that the lesser model plates (Shimano 600) would fit, but of course, I'd have to buy the entire pedals just for the plates. (Backpedalling here in Guelph have a pair in great shape for sale).

And then a friend across the street, who works at an engineering company, offered to take the Dura Ace Pro plates into work to mill them even. Height was lost, but they turned out incredibly well (he wondered if they were Titanium, they are so hard and light).

Since I don't use a cleat on my cycling shoes, the reduced height is in fact a plus, albeit milled down any further, and structural integrity will be compromised.

And the ankles are now running fine also.

I suspect the Dura Ace remain one of the ultimate trap type pedals ever made.

Something I noted decades back (and I guess I thrashed a lot harder then) was that the matching traps had a very short life span, being steel, and when they fatigued to breaking point, would be razor sharp.

I started buying the lesser plastic ones, and not only do they last a lot longer, they are cheaper, and *half the weight*!

Hey, I guess it fails on the 'cool' index, but they can still be found around, often brand new old stock. I haven't snapped one for years, however, and have a collection of replacements if they do.

One of the best things I ever bought from you, Mike! They'll last me years yet. Ground clearance is superb.

I must say, I do envy the very bikes you yourself choose from your own collection.

Must be a 'generational thing'!

fred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fred said...

I must correct a misconception based on a presumption re my prior post;

I now realize that Mike refers to a much later version of Dura Ace pedals.

I was referring to the 7400s, which continue to serve faultlessly after tens of thousands of kms of riding. All they need is the occasional drop of quality oil.

Wonderful picture of the 7400s here, and mine look almost as good as new, they wear so well: