1960s Falcon Track Bike - The British Italian Job

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  • Some of you may have seen this on retrobike and/or the classifieds thread.
    For those who haven't, here's the wrap-up. A Gentleman who's currently residing in Vienna offered this Falcon track bike for free on Retrobike. Quite a few people were initially interested but later backed out when they heard that packaging and shipping would be 170€. The reason for this rather large sum is that the Gentleman in question does not have a lot of time and asked a LBS to take care of it, the latter quoted him with this rather stupid amount god knows why. Luckily I got a couple of friends living in Vienna, one of which collected the bike for me today. Since I disturbed his hangover and it was quite a hassle for him to pick up the frame today (he has no car and it was not that close to his place...) I insisted on offering him a little compensation, which he initially denied but I eventually convinced him that it would be for my own peace of mind and that the whole deal was still an extreme bargain for me.
    Anyway, he picked up the frame today and will ship it to me within the next week. I decided to start a Project thread so as to gather some Information and ideas for the build.
    Here's the original 'sales' thread: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtop­ic.php?f=47&t=354241

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  • @anidel helped me find some information on the frame and he posted some catalogue pictures in the sales thread which identified the frame as a Falcon San Remo Track. The San Remo was the top of the line model and used Double Butted Reynolds 531 tubes all around. This particular model, unlike the san remo shown in the catalogue, has Nervex Pro lugs.
    Here's anidel's post from the classifieds thread:

    These are the framesets built around 1970s, if this is true and no other types of track frameset were made (but surely they had made some on order), then this should be a nice 531 quality frameset:

    Here are the models from the 1970's in ascending order of quality:

    Model 58, 68, 64: Junior Racer, smaller frames and wheels
    Model 70, 71: Black Diamond, seamed tubes
    Model 74: E.C., seamed tubes
    Model 82: Super Tourist, seamed tubes
    Model 88, 89: Super Tourist Deluxe, Reynolds 531 plain gauge seamless
    Model 80: San Remo Cote d'Azure, Reynolds 531 plain gauge seamless
    Model 78: Olympic, Reynolds 531 plain gauge seamless
    Model 92: Super Route, Reynolds 531 plain gauge seamless
    Model 90, 94: San Remo, Reynolds 531 double butted
    Model 96, 98: San Remo, Track Bike, Reynolds 531 double butted
    Model 76: San Remo, (aka Equipe or Professional) Campagnolo NR, Reynolds 531 double butted

    Also 1970s catalogues shows this was indeed the only track model (but called Model 98) and it was in 531: velobase.com/Resource_Tools/DownloadFile­.aspx?Path=%2fCatalogScans%2fFalcon.zip&­FileName=Falcon.zip

    but it doesnt' look the same. Also the headtube lugs look kinda fancy and more Nervex than Prugnat.

    So I researched some more about Falcons with Nervex lugs and found this:

    Another San Remo Road Version with Nervex lugs, the owner which is quite a bike nerd himself (has over 50 bikes) dates this bike somewhere around mid to late 60s. So I think that mine is probably from the same here late 60s early 70s.

  • I'm a lucky bastard, I know. Still can't believe this has worked out, the package will probably get lost on the way here ;)

  • Regarding components I know the following:

    • Hubs are Record Pista 36h with an 17t cog.
    • The seatpost is a Nuovo Record.
    • Stem Looks like a Cinelli 1a, might be a 2a if I'm lucky.
    • Bars look like Cinelli Criterium pista (?)
    • Unfortunately the NDS crank arm & pedal on it are missing, so I'm forced to get a pair of cranks and pedals.

    Plan for the build is to get it up and running while not spending too much Money. That means that I will have to settle for some non-pista cranks. I could either spend around 60€ for a pair of super record strada cranks or I could get a pair of SR Apex cranks for 20€. I found some mks sylvan track pedals with Cages for 35€ and I think I'll probably get them.

    The cranks lead me to the following question: in how far is it possible to use a strada crank on a track bike. How much of a difference is there as regards dishing, will it fuck up the chainline? Do I Need a new BB? Is it a stupid idea in the first place? Any advice would be appreciated!

  • Also, it remains to be seen whether the fork is drilled for a brake. The fact that there's a brake Lever on the handlebar Points in that direction. If that is not the case, I probably have to get a separate drilled fork as I don't want to kill/drill any puppies in their foreheads. Also, it seems like the rims don't have a breaking surface (why should they). So I'll polish these up and probably use an old mavic 700e with a pelissier high flange hub as a front wheel. Only Problem is that the latter is still in the Netherlands at my old place so it might take some time till I get it from there to Germany. In Addition, I think I have an old Luxe Titan steel stem at my old place in the Netherlands. I imagine that it could look really nice on this one, however, I'm not sure if it makes sense to disturb the whole cinelli campagnolo italian match/matchy theme for a French (or Benelux?) stem.

  • Fork is drilled or not original. Lugs seem to be the earlier horn-style nervex pro lugs. Which points in the direction of it being a 60s rather than a 70s bike...

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  • Got a pair of campy SR cranks & pedals from the same Gentleman for a very reasonable price. Not sure if they are rare in this size, so if anybody wants to swap for 170mm SR cranks (or pista cranks + cash), get in touch with me!

  • Also, it seems like the rims don't have a breaking surface (why should they).

    Can't quite tell from the photo, but it looks as though the front wheel has seen a brake ?
    Judging by the front brake and strap hanging from the saddle (for a spare tub) I'd imagine it's seen a fair bit of road use.

    Great find anyway, looking forward to seeing it built up

  • Yap, I'm pretty sure the front wheel has seen a brake, which would make sense given that the fork is drilled) but I don't think the rim had a breaking surface. So before I give it the rest I'd rather polish it up and use another front wheel for road use. I did some Research and found out that the crank is a very rare TA specialities Track crank from the second generation which fits a square taper bottom bracket. Unfortunately the NDS side got lost somewhen. So I either have to find a NDS arm or mount and adapt the Campy strada cranks. Judging from the TA cranks, I'm now fairly sure it's a 60s bike and not from the 70s. But I guess I have to wait till the package arrives, doing the Research on the basis of the crappy photos that I have so far is a bit of a waste of time.


  • Yes, there was a brake for the front wheel. While I rode it during the late 70s, early 80s I only rode it outside. Mostly in Vancouver BC in winter for spin training and because it was constantly damp/wet and it was easy to wash down afterwards. I handbuilt the wheels with Rigida clinchers replacing the original tubular rims simply because fixing tubular flats was a real pain. The front rim has seen a brake pad, no problem. Of course less wear than on a road bike because normally riding a fixed gear you only use the front brake for emergency stops. The right crank arm fractured at some point so I tossed it. I dont know why I didnt keep the pedal! Enjoy the bike. I'm moving where I never have to worry about winter anymore.

  • Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to sign up here to provide me with this information! I really appreciate it and I am grateful to get some background information on the bike's history as it adds to its character. Sounds like the bike made quite a journey during its life so far. Would you mind sharing where you purchased the bike? Was it already in BC or did you get it from the old continent? Good to know about the crank, in that case I'll probably just use the campy cranks rather than going through the hassle of finding a matching NDS crank arm if they're somewhat prone to failure. I wish you all the best for the relocation and the new home. I'm really exited for this project and I promise to keep it in good Hands :)

  • I got the bike when I was living in the Bay area. Mostly used in BC. The bike traveled all over but was never ridden in other places - maybe the weather was too good.

  • Thanks! Following that logic, it'll get proper riding time here in Germany or even more so when I end up in rainy Brussels as a result of my study choices :)

  • Would love one of these perfect match both in terms of colour and the Manufacturers.
    In other news, the SR cranks turned out to be 170mm instead of 172,5 which is great :)

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  • Oh lovely project, did see this on retrobike and looking forward to how it develops.

  • The bike is now finally on its way to Germany and I collected a couple of parts while waiting for it to arrive so I thought I might as well write a little update.

    I bought a set of battered Super Record cranks for cheap. Unfortunately they have a little hairline fracture at the intersection between the crank arm and the spider, it's a well-known problem of super record cranks so I wasn't particularly surprised or disappointed when I saw the little crack. I bought the cranks together with some other parts and all in all it was still a very good deal :) In fact, the hairline fracture made it easier for me to justify the puppy killing that is a diy strada to pista crank conversion (if you wanna call it that).

    Now I have the 170mm SR cranks but I'm not a houndred percent sure whether I'll be using these or the TA Specialites crankset that comes with the bike (only problem is that the NDS crank arm is missing). I also bought a 48t Sugino Mighty competition Chainring which leaves me with a 48/17 set-up.

    I also found a campa front brake courtesy of @walkmanman who made the effort to post it to germany. Thanks again!

    As for pedals I have a set of MKS Sylvan Track pedals or a pair of Campagnolo Record Strada pedals. I'll probably use the MKS Track pedals.

    Now all that's left to do is wait for the rest of the bike to arrive :)

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  • So much win. This is going to be a lovely bike. Those Nervex lugs, I was under the impression that the early ones had very fine horns on them and were dropped in favour of the fish tail because they were too delicate. Are these ones later ones hence the more substantial horns?

  • Any more photographs of the frame?

  • Yes, loads in fact . The frame arrived last thursday and I've been working on it but I was a bit forum lazy the last couple of days ;)

    @Jonny69 Cheers, my frame has the older style nervex lugs with the 'fragile' horns. The fishtail version seems to be more common from what I found on the interwebz...

    Here are some photos of the frame when it arrived - as you can see, it looks rather tired and rusty in some spots but overall it's in good condition and doesn't have any dents or dings.

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  • The head set was completely rusted and the fork wouldn't move a inch. So I took it apart and started working on the frame and the forks. First up was the good ol' aluminium foil coke treatment which removed the surface rust and revealed the beautifully chromed lugs. The chrome on the frame itself is completely intact, unfortunately there's a part of the forks where the chrome has already come off. I removed the deeper rust on the fork and rubbed it with an oily rag so as to prevent further worsening for the time being. In the long-term I might get the forks re-chromed or will apply some clear nail varnish or sth. Remains to be seen.
    Here are the lugs after the tin-foil treatment:

    p.s. soapy water was the first treatment obvs

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  • Next up was the paint. The blue part on the headtube seems to be some kind of chromovelato paint and is really prone to chipping. Eventually I might use some blue nail varnish to touch up the paint chips but for the time being I left it as is, since I wanted to get it build so I could ride it while it's still warm and sunny outside. The candy red colour of the frame has faded a bit in the sun in some spots but I quite like the look of it especially since the surface of the paint is still smooth and not roughed up. I treated the frame to some carnauba wax and I'm really happy with the result:

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  • Next up were a couple technical issues that needed to be resolved:
    First, I took apart and cleaned the headset: I was amazed that the bearings were still fully intact. The second photo sums up the theme of the build - The british italien Job :)

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1960s Falcon Track Bike - The British Italian Job

Posted by Avatar for Sig_Arlecchino @Sig_Arlecchino