Kaaaaaaandries' pursuit for the ultimate vintage roadie!

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  • So it's 2015 and January is out of the way (if you work in personal tax then you know the struggle) so what better way to kick the new year off then to start a new project?

    Towards the tail end of last year I had a clearout and got rid of most of my parts etc due to a change in living situations but now I'm back on my feet I fancy something to tinker with and spend my money on. I say that, I've still got one bike and a fair few other bits to clear - scary how quick things can get out of hand...

    Anyway, I've tried a handful of road bikes before, all of them really nice in their own way but almost always too big. Anyway, I’m quite partial to a pre-90’s bike, mainly for styling reasons. I drive a MK2 Golf so I suppose I don’t really do new things. I did try a Specialized Allez for a few days though - Hideous thing! My langster was stolen last year and a colleague lent me it in the hope that I could cycle to Paris on it.. but I it didn’t take my fancy whatsoever plus plans for the trip fell through completely – shifting was effortless though! Here it is with that ugly ass chainring – Tiagra I think.

    Out of the probably 7 geared bike's I've had, this was probably my favourite...

    Dawes Impulse 531.. size was 53cm top tube I think with Shimano Exage parts. Nout special but it was so smooth and the size was just right. It is also sold however, to someone on here. Cant remember the guy but he was pretty cool.

    Anyway, I ramble way too fucking much!

    The plan;

    1. Must be vintage steel
    2. Must be downtube shifting - no modern group here (Although open to the pro's of this vs downtube shifting/old gruppo)
    3. Size 54-56cm
    4. Not cost the earth - i.e. no waiting 10 years for Campagnolo or paying £500 for Campagnolo seat post if it can be helped.

    So the above list isnt too exhaustive but I'm hoping it doesnt turn out to give me too many options as I'm shit at making decisions.

    I'll take pics of what I currently have and work from there. I've recently acquired a Concorde Aguila/Aquila in a nice white and blue hue. As with most Concorde's there's not much info that I can find (for now) that gives me a basis to work towards. It's got Columbus tubing and an array of mixed parts but most importantly the top tube measures 54cm. I'm thinking of building it up in Shimano 105 but more on that later.

    My first question to the forum, any link to history surrounding Shimano 105? The Concored has 105 downtube shifters in a Green/Blue anodised colour.. I’m thinking of obtaining the entire group in that colour scheme maybe if possible.

    Also any reason I should consider a more modern group? I’ve seen a few builds on here that encompass newer drivetrain on old frames. And if so, what do you recommend? Be interested to hear people’s 2p’s especially given the frame is Italian (?)

  • If the Shimano has that green/grey tinge, I expect it would be 1055/1056, downtube shifters and brifters were available in that groupset.
    I have the groupset (brakes, FD and RD, brifters) if you're interested.

  • all of them really nice in their own way but almost always too big
    Size was 53cm top tube ... and the size was just right
    New bike must be size 54-56cm


  • Gives you an idea how big those other bikes were... Besides, am I the only one who doesnt mind a few cm here or there?

  • That's OK. It just confused me haha. Good luck with the build!

  • am I the only one who doesnt mind a few cm here or there?

    Depends. You've had a few bikes and think you know what fits you, so it does seem odd.
    Even more so when your criteria is so wide (a pre-90s steel rode bike).

    Personally I'd go for STI's because ultimately having brakes and shifters just makes sense. I'd also go 10speed because there's lots of second hand choice (as well as well priced modern replacements like cassettes) and because 10 is... well more. Although lots of people swear 8sp is much more durable.

    As for modern groups, I think other than gear numbers, the big improvement for me is brakes. They almost always seem to improve. Well set up shimano STI's from the last decade seem to shift plenty well enough for most people (I haven't used campag). The other consideration with vintage groupset is cost. If you read dammit's serotta thread, one of the main reasons he gave for modern ultegra
    was cost/VFM vs a vintage campag.

  • Hi Kaaaaaandries,
    Why not consider a mix of modern and traditional?
    My favourite bike is an 18year old Raleigh clubman with 9speed downtube shifters, a 105 rear and front mech. I also use a modern Shimano dual pivot brakeset. The bike marries old and new and is so comfortable with the 531 frame. It is a joy to ride and I set it up for light touring duties.

  • Haha, yeah apologies for the confusion.

    I'm 5'10" and always thought that a bike around 56cm was ideal for me but then I tried 56cm with short stem and found that more comfortable. Before that tthough, I had all those other bikes I mentioned above which ranged from 57cm to 60cm.. In fact I think the first roadie I bought, a Falcon of some sort, was 60cm and I just soldier'd on with no seatpost showing. All part of the learning curve I guess and will also explain the reason for my ruined Brooks B17 from all the movement when pedalling!

    It was only in August last year that I bought the Dawes above and found out that actually I'm prolly more suited to 54cm with a human sized stem.

    The best of the bunch - Ribble made from Columbus SL and Shimano 105SC, Mavic Open Pro 4cd wheels, Rolls saddle. Very nice although on one ride out to Ringwood I couldnt feel my penis I was that stretched out! Was only about 15 miles out too..

    It's in a good place now though...


  • I've ridden hundreds and hundreds of different bikes in different sizes. I've never had a bike fit but I believe I've pretty much got there just by trying so many different bikes and components. I always thought I was a 57cm st and a 55cm tt until I tried something that was 55cm st and 53cm tt.

    It's amazing how having the right size frame, good quality tyres at correct pressures and the bike being set up correctly makes a bigger difference than quality of the parts themselves (obviously aerodynamics and weight reduction make a difference but just for training you go by 'feel')

    If you're looking for the best of everything why not get a frame made? Custom sizing, classic style lugs possibly with 1 1/8th steerer so you can run modern forks (or steel, your choice) and a nice cockpit with no convertors. Also compact bars with brifters are always a win.

    Not sure that I'm just thinking what I would do in your situation but personally I'd have something like this...

    Also you mention you're not wanting to go with and modern group with brifters. Have you tried any others apart from Shimano 105? I personally hate shimano shifters and the fact the brake lever is a shifter, those 105 shifters are also absolutely huge and just feel horrible (all my opinion, of course). Try modern(ish) Chrous or modern Sram before you make your decision.

  • @hugo7 and @ianjchip thanks for the info!

    I havent given any thought to how many speeds I want tbh. Where I live I tend to stay in one gear for my commutes and only ever change if we're doing a fairly quick group ride or going up some of the hills round the Purbecks! Maybe the less the better?

    I did read Dammit's thread a while back and do remember his reasoning, but surely older Shimano 105 wouldnt be as expensive as old Campag? Also, possibly even cheaper overall than modern 105?

    What makes this even more of a ball ache is that I'd ideally like a bike with matching parts that I can take pride in saying I put it together myself (read: chose the parts myself lol). Funny thing is that the Concorde I mentioned has Exage parts and even a Deore rear derailuer lol. And the wheels I'm thinking of using have Shimano 600 hubs...

    I think what I'll do first is chuck whatever I have on the frame, if I like the frame enough then I can then play around with all the bits and pieces!


    Thanks also @Acliff for the above - I found more info ! I will give you a shout when I come to collecting the parts!


  • I've ridden the same 1980's Columbus SL frame with:
    (a) original form: 6-speed block, down tube shifters, contemporary/mainly Campag parts, Mavic rims, classic Cinelli drops, etc. and
    (b) modern group (SRAM Force), new but low profile wheels, (Nitto) compact bars/quill stem.
    It's a completely different bike and a much, MUCH more enjoyable riding experience, but still maintains classic looks. (Depending on how narrowly you define "classic" of course.)

    Obviously so much comes down to personal preference, but the biggest improvements for me, in order, would be:

    • convenience of bar shifting, over a wide range and smaller increments
    • braking performance
    • comfort of compact bars/shifter set up

    So my vote definitely goes for a modern component build with sympathetic aesthetics. :)

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  • @PhilPub and @JamesNQ Thanks for the input, although that really doesnt make my decisions making any easier :) ^That looks a real nice bike, any link to a Current Project for it?

    The reason I've been pretty much dead set on old 105/downtube shifters so far is because I've only ever used Shimano's STI system twice. Once with the Specialized above and again with a different Dawes that had their RSX group. Wasnt particularly blown away by either to be honest and just assumed that all shifters of that type would be the same. Also I had trouble shifting from small chainring to big chainring on both occasions and like @JamesNQ mentions they are huge and it feels weird cus they move in all sorts of directions simaltaneaously.

    Anyway saying that, I'm all up for trying out newer Sram but another thing I failed to mention is that I'd ideally not like to spend more than £200 on this! I'll be able to generate quite a fair amount on selling the other things I have so I suppose I wouldnt mind increasing that slightly by another hundred.

    That does mean that a custom built frame is completely out of the question however!

    Updated plan;

    1. Decide which of the two vintage steel's I currently have are more suited. Between Concorde and an unknown Reynolds 653.
    2. Mix and mash parts together and ride the damn thing!
    3. Find a friend with Sram for me to try!
    4. Spend no more than £300 max excluding parts I already have so that'll go on groupset and wheels probably/maybe. If I have money left I can then play with compact bars and swap things round a bit.
    5. Buy some rapha and go drink coffee at a cafe somewhere after doing 20 miles
  • Ah yeah, budget could be a constraint. I spent nearly three times as much on the refurb as the original bike cost when Ron made it for me in 1987! I've only reported into the ongoing CP thread with updates, so no separate link, but you can see the bike in various stages through my pics, including my visit to Colour Tech early in 2012, where I had the pleasure of meeting Ron again, a few months before he passed away.
    Historical: https://www.flickr.com/photos/37023885@N­06/sets/72157629316172017/
    Current state: https://www.flickr.com/photos/37023885@N­06/sets/72157641993804834/

    From your experience of Shimano shifters it's definitely worth giving SRAM a go. The brake lever is nice and solid, and you might prefer the shape/feel of the hoods.

  • Understand what you're saying @Kaaaaaaandries, almost feel we're walking the same path to the perfect bicycle

    Up until a few years ago every bike I owned had down-tube shifters because all I had tried were Shimano systems.

    If you're on a budget I'd strongly recommend Sram Apex, I've ridden it quite a few times before and it has similar characteristics to Force and Red, it gives a more satisfying 'clunk' than Campagnolo or Shimano seems to.

    Match that up with some good quality wheels and tyres and you're about set.

  • As far as I know, Concorde used to make very nice framesets. It was a Dutch brand whose frames were made by Ciocc I think when Pelizzoli worked there.
    Not all of them of course. But they have a very good reputation.

    As for the type of steel, I'd go for something intended for amateur/touring even if a tad heavier as they provide a better handling of the roads potholes and bumps.
    I'm riding both my 531's and Columbus Aelle's bikes and the Aelle's one handles the road in a much more smooth manner.

  • Still to your guns and stay retro! The early 105 group sets are lovely.
    This is a good resource:
    My favourite ride is a scruffy old Dawes Lightening, it's Dawes Supertube which is chromoly/ Reynolds 500 equivalent retro fitted with Dawes 531 forks.
    Components are all exage/ sakae with a 6 speed 105 rear hub, I've got the matching front hub and am waiting for a matching rim to turn up.
    I love it, it's not mutton dressed as lamb either and it is a sweet as a nut.

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  • +1 for stay retro! New frames seem to leave me a little cold, I've worked my way through a succession of old weird Raleigh frames before sticking with a Dynatech 400 for the last year.

    Just moved it on to STI brifters from downtube for the DA 7410/7700 gruppo I've cobbled together over the years. the gruppo is probably a few years to young for the frame but it's the bollocks looks wise.

    Take your time, grab a great frame, run what you got then build up the gruppo as and when you can

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  • First (and likely) candidate;

    Concorde Aquila
    Columbus tubing - unkown specifics but I would guess Aelle or Thron? Surely higher end tubing would be labelled accordingly?
    Mixture of Shimano bits
    Mavic Module 4 rims on Deore XT hubs
    Came with a Fizik Tunrda saddle which was swiftly removed - hideous thing!

    but most importantly - 54cm for both top tube and seat tube!

    Been using this for a week now and it rides and feels great, although as you will know probably most if not all the parts will be changed. From what I've been told it was owned by an older gent who ran a bike shop in Christchurch and he swapped the gearing from something more knee friendly hence the Deore rear deraileiur(?) and wider chunky wheels - cassette covers a wide range too! Not a fan of the wheels in it's current state, running 28c tyres- makes it feel slow.

    I've also been told it has a weird seatpost size of 25.2... Not sure if that's common but I'll check in the Concorde thread.

    I think it goes without saying that I'll try and build it up with 105 parts first and perhaps save up to try SRAM later. Is that advisable though to chuck so £300+ at this? I know some may think it isnt especially if the tubing does turn out to be gaspipe but going from what @anidel says Concorde are pretty well renowned for being good quality.

    Anyway, my first dilema is do I just go for the 105sc or the anodised colour... Luckily I have a silver and gunmetal set of wheels which will match each although I will be contradicting myself as not all the parts will quite match, more on that later..

    @JamesNQ can you link me to your CP? I recall reading it and remember you had a Bob Jackson in white, green and blue? I might be imagining alot of that though...

    p.s. also so tempted to get that Dawes Impulse back... if only I knew when I sold it!

  • I'm not sure that is a Concorde. The lugs don't look right to me, and the end of the seat-stays were they interface with the seat-tube, they don't look quite right either.
    My knowledge of such things is extremely limited, though, so I may well stand corrected.

  • The generic sticker could actually mean SL.

    What's the seatpost size?
    UPDATE: finished to read your post...25.2mm

  • btw Aquila on sale (sold) these days in the Classifieds: http://www.lfgss.com/conversations/26199­8/

  • final thing regarding higher end tubing...I personally wouldn't get a SL or SLX but an Aelle or Cromor. I don't race and like to enjoy my ride.
    Aelle (the one I've tried so far) is VERY nice (the Moser).
    I can go as far as to say it's a nicer ride than the Mistral in Reynolds 531.

  • +1 for that not being a concorde but happy to be corrected.

  • Noooo, have I bought a munter? :(

    Will see if I can get more details like stamps under BB shell etc.

    If it has been faked then it must have been quite a while ago, and pretty convincing too!

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Kaaaaaaandries' pursuit for the ultimate vintage roadie!

Posted by Avatar for Kaaaaaaandries @Kaaaaaaandries