Monday, May 22, 2017

Research, Ruminations and Issues - Ritchey Project part II

So I have this bike that is a cool frame, obviously well built and all these cool Italian components and I have no freaking idea what the models or years of manufacture are for any of them.  All of my research for old school Ritchey stuff kept referring to a website that no longer exists, and the C-Record era of Campy parts, that the bike apparently has, have no distinguishing marks that I can find and the Internets have been little help.

Cartoonish makers decal at the bb cluster 
After spending more time than I care to mention and putting on my deerstalker I was able to get to a ballpark on the frame and components.  I know from the decals on the frame that this Road bike was post 1986 and pre 1991, Sometime in 91 a Ritchey mountain bike frame was ridden to a world championship and so all the bikes after that have decals with the world championship bands on them and this bike has none, and the 86 and before bikes had the Ritchey name in yellow letters and the script was different and my script is white for the Ritchey name.  This frame is also tig welded not lugged or fillet brazed so that narrows it down a bit too.  I also reached out to the Ritchey company on their website giving them the frames serial number.....


And they were nice enough to respond and ask for pictures, specifically of brazeons and frame junctions which I have supplied them so I hope to know more soon.  I also went old school and reached out to the Classic Vintage Bike forums as I had come across some old threads about Ritchey road bikes there in my web search.   Its basically a discussion board like the early web days but with so little readily available info online I thought one of the members might have this bike or know something about them.

As for the parts I could have probably figured out more with a crystal ball,  After a LOT of searching the web, thank you velobase, I narrowed it down from a Universe to a Galaxy but not much more -I am not in a solar system yet.  These parts appear to be from the C-Record era of the late 80s to early 90s -similar to the frame - but don't quote me on that.  This is an era where even though they had different gruppos; Record, Chorus, etc, they didn't bother to mark that on the parts.  If you look at a campy part from say 2005 it will clearly say; Record, Chorus, Veloce etc right on the part but for the stuff on the Ritchey not a whiff.  It was literally down to me scrutinizing the PDF of a part in a catalog and comparing it to the parts on the bike and looking for subtleties like "oh my crank doesn't have that flair on the  cranks spider arm next to the crank arm so nope its not Record from 1991, damn where did I put that magnifying glass!   



Knowing I had an 8 speed cassette/hub helped some but not as much as I had hoped as apparently they went through a few phases of 8 speed stuff,   I found what appears to be an official Campagnolo presence on face book and shot them a message but I've only had crickets back so far.  I just found a vintage Campy group on FB too so I may ping them for some help.


By Saturday evening I had seen enough of the triathlon bars so I decided to take them off and since the shifters had been mounted to the end of them that meant dealing with the DT shifters as well.  The tri-bars gave me no trouble and since the shifters has such a long stretch of cable I decided to cut the cable and housing too as it would make removing the the shifters from the tri-bar mount easier,


I also discovered that the left (Front Derailleur) shifter which I just assumed was campy like all the other components was actually Shimano 105.  Not a big shock really as the left shifter, even into the indexed era operated on friction shifting and in theory if its friction you can mix and match the groups; Shimano shifters and Campy derailluers or vice versa, one of the things that makes friction so cool, that shifter gave me no problems and the old cable came right out.


The right hand shifter (Rear Derailleur), the Campy one, was a totally different story.  The picture above is towards the end of the story and if you click on it to enlarge you may guess part of the issues solution but I am getting ahead of myself.  Tri-bars off, shift cables cut, left shifter removed, cable taken out good to go and then I get to the right shifter and realize oh no, they fell for the classic blunder! second only to Don't get involved in a land war in Asia, is this Do NOT use Shimano shift cables with a Campagnolo Derailleur!!!  The barrel shaped cable end on a Shimano cable is bigger than its Campy counter part, and while you can jam it in there, the next poor mook who works on that shifter is going to deal with a stuck cable and then alot of blue language will ensue.

I poked, and prodded, I sprayed WD-40, and then I sprayed liquid wrench, and then I poked and prodded some more.  I walked away and came back, I wiggled and giggled it, I swore at it in Italian, ok that's not true I don't know much Italian.  And then I gave up till the morrow.

Since I was going to the farmers markets, and my LBS is smack in the middle of that block I packed the shifter along for the ride.  I stopped in and asked the head wrench if he had any solutions, and he also poked and prodded a bit with a thinner poking device but finally came to the conclusion I knew he would, the one I had avoided thinking about, the S word...Surgery, with the D word....Drilling (que dramatic music) which gets us to the picture above.  He of the steady hand and vice, got me to the point where I could take it home and punch out the remains of the cable head,  Just as I had last month with the step down ferrule I asked about payment, just like last time I was waved away even though he had spent a good twenty minutes fussing with this $%^#*ing problem.



No way I was letting him off that easy, so I crossed the street to do my weekly tasting at the Beer Junction,  My first beer, sadly, did not get photographed so you won't see the lovely IHS Triple Booster IPA from my College town of Corvallis Oregon, if there are no pictures how do you know I drank it - kind of like my friend Tim Joe's Schwinn Le Tour- its all spiffed up and complete but how do we know without pictures......?    The beer above is a tasty Beak Breaker Imperial IPA from Pelican brewery in Pacific City, Oregon - one of my favorite spots on the coast.


For my next selection I chose a hefeweizen which I can neither spell nor pronounce (Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier), hefeweizen is one of the first beers I enjoyed drinking back in my 20s so I have a soft spot for it but I find lately that its hit or miss.  I was explaining that to the barman and he educated me that what I had just had was a European style which tends to have a clove taste (not a fan) as opposed to the American style hefeweizen which is a cleaner, to my palate, taste,



After the disappointing but educational hefeweizen, I needed a palate cleanser so I had another offering from Pelican the Tsunami Stout.  Smooth like buddah, on my way out I picked up a bottle of cider and went back across the street to the LBS to drop it off as a thank you, I've said it before, no good deed should go unpunished, and with that it was time to toddle off home.  I should mention in my 2 km round trip to the market I was nearly hit by a car...twice! I got home safe but geez!  In both cases the drivers were either oblivious or didn't care as they both disobeyed clearly marked traffic signals/signs.  Its not that hard - when the light is red you stop, when it says no turn on red you don't turn on red,,,smh.


Back home I got out my special bike tools, tiny drill bit and not so tiny hammer and got to work on the shifter.



A stern talking to and a sharp blow got that oversize cable end right out of there, the irony is a Shimano cable will probably work fine now.  Its a bit worse for the wear but at least its functional instead of being a very nicely crafted paper weight.  Its set up as a indexed shifter and I noodled around with it in the stand before I took the tri-bars off and it seemed to work fine.  I am a friction fan these days but I am leaning toward leaving it indexed and if it doesn't want to work after all the trauma I have a set (3 actually) of shimano RSX down tube shifters I can use in friction mode.


  
I was also able to get my digital calipers back up and running, new battery, so I measured the inside of the seat tube and it appears I need a 26.0 seat-post for this bike, which I hope to confirm with Ritchey.  I plan to hunt down a used one locally and test it out.  My friend Pete is out of town but gave his blessing to the parts list I proposed, but I had an idea about a slightly different approach recently, more on that as I continue to work on the bike.   As always Ride. Smile. Repeat.


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