[CR]A newbie:: What to do with my Mondia Special?


Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 10:08:22 -0400
From: Lee Harrison <lee@asrc.cestm.albany.edu>
In-reply-to: <mailman.3333.1063137593.240.classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]A newbie:: What to do with my Mondia Special?

Hi -- I have a Mondia Special, serial number 133436 if anybody cares for exactness. It was bought in Menlo Park CA, in spring of 1967. It has a "Super Mondia" medalion, and "Mondia Special" decal on the seat-tube. The bike has the Chrome/blue/white paint scheme ... which I think was perhaps the most popular in that era.

Just FYI, I really like the bike to ride ... much more than any modern frame I've tried. Like a lot of the older ones it is a larger frame (for my size) than is current practice and it also has more rake and trail on the fork, and it is a more relaxed and stable bike to ride, and feels more predictable (particularly down-hill braking) and less likely to end-over on me.

My bike was Campagnolo _except_ for the brakes, which are Weinmann. It had the early Campy bar-end friction shifters ... which were not one of Campy's better ideas. I've replaced the rear-shifter with a Shimano item, because the Campy one gave out. Other than that the bike is stock, the paint is not in bad shape except the decals are shabby, and I still ride it... but it needs an overhaul ... which leads to ...

Rebuilding it comes down to a lot of different decisions...

Does the bike have "collector value" as it is? Anybody trying to maintain/ collect a Mondia? The company is gone (meaning no decals or minor bits like that), and the older Campy stuff is getting hard to sustain.

Today the bike is really a better touring/randonnee bike than a racing bike, and the Campy Record running gear is getting old, and isn't as nice as new good stuff. It is also hard to maintain get/parts for. In particular as a randonee/light touring bike the Record B won't handle a wider gearing range (and I'm 52 and can't pull the gears uphill I could when I was young). The campy touring gearset of that vintage is even harder to come-by/maintain, yes?

A particular issue with putting new gear on is that new rear axle/freewheels are 1 cm wider than what it has. This would mean spreading the frame to adapt to new.... afterwhich it won't be stock.

I do have the original Campy axles and freewheel/cluster, and they don't have too many miles on them though (I got a second set of clincher wheels fairly early), so I'm not in trouble... except that keeping those means keeping the old cluster-sets and deraileur ... yes?

What this all says to me is that a "sensible" course of action would be to strip the frame, spread the rear, braze on lugs for panniers (and anything else needed for new deraileurs etc.) paint the bike in something nice but not too gaudy or attempting to match what it was exactly (I would like to preserve the nicely chromed carved lugs ... the bottom bracket is not chromed... which IMO is good) ... and then fitting it out with modern bits... 105 or Ultegra depending on what I think I can afford.

Another issue is that the Weinmann centerpull brakes have small opening accommodation when the cable is de-tensioned ... the largest tire they can pass is 25mm. As a practical going-forward bike I'd like to be at least able to mount 28s without nuisance. But they are good brakes and were/are a fairly rare item, seen mostly on Allegros and Mondias (and Juvelas, which Mondia built).

A side question is whether the bits I would take off would be worth anything to anybody else trying to keep a bike really "stock" -- to partially defray the cost of this.

Any comments/opinions ... particularly from anybody who "has been there" on these decisions would be welcome.

About me: I'm a scientist who researches light transmission through the atmosphere, clouds, climate, etc., and develops scientific instruments for this purpose. I live in Albany New York, which is sort of so-so for being "bicycle friendly." (The winter is hard here.) I try to do several bicycle tours a year ... my father (73!) and I did a tour around the Olympic Peninsula and some of the San Juans not too long ago.