[CR]Bikes that don't have it, and bikes that do

Example: Production Builders

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 10:42:05 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
From: Russ Fitzgerald <velocio@earthlink.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Bikes that don't have it, and bikes that do

I got back into cycling because of a '62 Dawes I bought cheap and rebuilt. I rode it a while with the upright bars it came with, and enjoyed it, but wound up selling it.

I had always wanted a Peugeot PX-10E, and I finally got one at the first Cirque back in '98. Black, curly Nervex Pro lugs, white frame tubes, etc., etc. I built it up all stock ... and it never quite felt right. Later, I realized that both that one (a '73, I believe) and the c. '74 PX-10LE I also owned were from the years Peugeot experimented with steeper angles.

The hell of it was, I HAD owned another French bike that rode so much better - a stickerless green Gitane Tour De France, built at a time when Gitane couldn't get enough Stronglight cranks and used Sugino Mighty Competitions. THAT bike, which came to me with tied-and-soldered Campy Record HF hubs and Fiamme red labels, was a great bike. It handled intuitively, and it soaked up road shock wonderfully. But I foolishly sold it. The second one I got, just like it down to being the same funky green color, was awful. It just never felt right.

Now I know what I like - 72-degree seat tubes, head tubes about the same, 59.5 cm or so c-t, 58 cm or so top tubes, and I have three bikes with those same dimensions that I love; two of them are customs, my Rivendell and my Mercian fixed-gear.

The third is my old Dawes - kitted out with drop bars, a B-17 and Lyotard Berthet pedals with clips, it rides a lot like the other two.

Now I'm wondering if I'll even like my new project whenever I get around to building it. This '82 Mercian Colorado has steeper angles, and the shortest wheelbase of the bunch. It's been a while since I had a bike with no fender eyelets. We'll see.

Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood, SC