Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bike sharing in China - 2018

Bike sharing is a great concept. Hire a bike from point A and ride it to your destination point B - once at point B the bike is secured for the next rider who rides it to their chosen destination, and so on. 

Certainly a great concept if it is managed well and used in accordance with bike sharing rules.

I'm sure that most Chinese municipal bodies could see the value in a well maintained and managed bike sharing service, and so encouraged businesses to become involved with the idea.

.....and sure, at times, things may get a little untidy, but all worth it for the benefit to the community, right!

Unfortunately many businesses in China jumped onto the bike sharing idea and produced many bicycles for use in a country where millions of people use bikes everyday.  However management was poor and things started to get a little out of hand.

As there were so many bikes to chose from bike sharing systems became very cheap and so users abandoned bicycles on road verges after use with little or no respect to others. As the problem grew local authorities impounded the abandoned bicycles and have stored them until they can figure out how to resolve the problem. 

Have a look below to see just how out of hand things have become!

....and if you though these pics were bad keep looking below!

......and some of the storage yards have been there long enough that vegetation has grown over the mounds of unwanted impounded bicycles, heartbreaking to say the least!

Most of these images were allegedly taken in Shanghai and Beijing in 2017. Thanks to 'The Atlantic' for sharing these powerful images. Click here for more info and images.

I'm certainly not going to pass judgement on this, the images speak for themselves...

Safe riding,

James @ PVC

Sunday, February 25, 2018

1990's Colnago Super - Part 2

Part 1 covered the restoration and transformation of my 1990's steel Colnago Super frame which was posted in November 2017. 

In short, I originally bought the early 1990's frame from a bike shop in Belgium last year and selected the frame because it was a steel Colnago frame that had a rear hub spacing of 130mm (which allowed for a modern group set to be fitted to the bike). I was a after a retro Italian frame that was compatible with a modern group set so this frame fitted the bill perfectly. 

As seen from the 'Part 1' post the frame re-finish was superb and I totally recommend Cameron from Cyclecolor for any valued bicycle restoration project that you may have.

Anyway, the frame was refinished beautifully so I set about collecting a worthy group set for the project, but which gruppo should it be?

Being an Italian frame the group set definitely had to be Campagnolo, and the set needed to look right on the was it a new silver Potenza gruppo, a new old stock (NOS) silver Athena 11 speed gruppo, or an older NOS Campy gruppo from the 90's? 

After much deliberation and internet research I decided to go for a 2014 Campagnolo Chorus gruppo.

I chose this set because it was Chorus (minimal carbon and just beautiful!) and it was the last Chorus series to have a traditional 5 arm crankset. Campagnolo have now replaced the traditional 5 arm crankset with a modern looking 4 arm crank which really wouldn't suit the bike (as below - you can see what I mean!).

Campy traditional 5 arm crank

Campy modern 4 arm crank

So I compiled a list of 2014 Campy Chorus components and purchased NOS parts from differing internet bike stores to make up the set. It's very surprising how different the prices are for differing components from various internet stores. It really pays to shop around, and depending on how much you spend the stores often include free shipping which sweetens the deal considerably.

So here are some images of the build. I hope you enjoy the images as much as I have had the pleasure of building the bike....

Since finishing the bike I've ridden it for a couple of hundred kilometres and I am very impressed with the bike. The ride is very balanced, accelerates instantly, and the group set is smooth and accurate. Probably my most satisfying vintage build so far.....

Ride safe,

James @ PVC

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Colnago Arabesque - 30th Anniversary edition

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the famous Colnago brand in 1984, Ernest Colnago produced a limited number of steel framed bicycles called the 'Arabesque' model. These masterpieces are highly sought after by bicycle collectors and have often been considered the most desirable of all collectable bicycles.

Most of the Arabesque frames were originally sold separately except for a few that were adorned with a special edition Campagnolo Super Record group set that was pantographed with Colnago 30th anniversary markings. 

Here is an advertising image from the day which promotes the sale of a limited number of models being sold with Colnago special edition 30th anniversary group sets made by Campagnolo.

Here are some images of an original 1984 Arabesque bike taken recently for an online auction:  

The Arabesque lug work on these frames was considered to be exceptional at the time of production in 1984. The lug detail is quite beautiful and this attention to detail has never been replicated by any other bicycle manufacturer to date.

Beyond the beautiful lug work Ernest Colnago wanted to add something special to his design to further enhance the desirability and beauty of the frame. He decided to add a solid gold 3 leaf clover inlay at the top of each seat stay as pictured below.

Here are some more images of the bike...

As you can see on this particular build the group set fitted to this Arabesque frame is the Campagnolo 50th Anniversary Super Record set that was produced in 1983. This famous and also highly collectable group set was made to commemorate Campagnolo's 50th anniversary.  Incidentally this was also the year that the founder of Campagnolo, Tullio Campagnolo, passed away at the age of 81.  

Colnago commenced re-making Arabesque frames in 2015 after factory workers discovered some Arabesque lugs that were left over from the original production. Although the new issue is almost identical to the original issue collectors still regard the 1984 editions to be superior in quality to the newer models. 

Thanks for your interest, until next time....

Safe riding,

James @ PVC

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wilier Triestina Ramato

Another well known and highly respected Italian cycling manufacturer is Wilier. 

Wiler was founded in 1906 by Pietro Dal Molin. After World War II Wiler formed a professional cycling team led by Giordano Cottur of Trieste, Italy. In 1945 the name of the brand was changed to Wilier Triestina, and the distinctive copper coloured finish became a trademark of the brand.

At this time, of course, all frames were made from steel and the copper coloured finish was quite unique.

Here is a fine example of a Wilier Trieste steel framed bicycle from the early 1980's using Columbus tubing.

Due to the resurgence of retro steel frames Wilier have reintroduced the copper coloured 'Ramato' finish on modern steel, and the modern version is absolutely amazing.

There is certainly something special about fitting a modern Campy groupset to a modern steel framed bike....and a little bit of chrome rounds off the deal nicely!

Wilier are calling the most recent edition of this model the "Superleggera". Producing a copper finish on the frame is quite an expensive exercise, so the pricing of this model is not accessible to all cyclists. 

Thankfully Wilier have produced the same frame in alternative finishes that allows the bike to be more affordable to us all. The frame also comes in black, red, and white.....same frame, with the same impressive detailing.

See the Wilier website for further info....

...a beautifully crafted steel bicycle for the modern retro rider!

Safe riding.

James @ PVC.