The following story is a testament to, and warning against, spending more time on the forum than on the road - one of the many perils I'm susceptible to as an unabashed fair-weather tarmac tourist. I blame the family and friends who actively encouraged this indulgence over the summer when C19 suddenly made it cool for everyone to ride and came to me, "the bike guy", to hunt for "something not too pricey (like sub 200 quid) but good for getting around town” without travelling in TFL petri dishes.
Ever-loyal friend and brother, I naturally gravitated to our own Classifieds and Wanted threads that cater to such desires and, thanks to sterling fellow-members, earned brownie points among my nearest and dearest and I hope made some pedal pedlars happy in the process. But, it may be that whilst wiling away so selflessly those hours of our first lockdown, I was lead astray…
Indeed, for as my digital perambulations lead me down various fine avenues contained in this magnificent compendium, I struck upon the MGOF goldmine. As if awakening a latent longing for the simple salad days before aero was king and cool was a half-way beer rather than a carb-gel at 300 watts, I was won over by the timeless chic that faced me. The thread read like a refined HHRSB for those with an eye for the finer details: loud monocoque sculptures were trumped by lugs of chrome and slender tubes that would have Kate Moss drooling with jealousy.
Yes, dear confidants, I do confess: I wanted in. Could this be the engineered expression of my amateur athletic endeavours? Might a classic frame explain my inability to hold wheels I once cruised past? Such questions troubled my waking hours and my dreams were visions of rim brakes and fillet brazing. It was only a matter of time before appreciation turned into acquisition.
There was temptation along the way, but as a young Brit seeking sanctuary in the EU with no fixed abode in which to harbour my hobby, I stuck to my ‘one bike to rule them all’ guns. I was particularly taken by a certain Serotta (https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/357431/#comment15689862) but quelled my keenness. I did then take a punt on this very fetching Epic Allez [https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/355811/#comment15747504] but too late!
If I were a tad more prudent, I’d have stopped there and put my fancy on ice until I had the domestic stability and the bunce to pursue this project responsibly. But I’ve come to accept that there’s an emptiness in my existence that can only be plugged with two-wheeled contraptions – and a Segway’s not my style. As it turned out, the hook that finally caught me was not a classic frame but @BigDog 's assortment of campag goodies that had been doing the Classifieds rounds for a couple of weeks.
Now I’m no Campagnolo aficionado and have been more than satisfied by the products of their Japanese competitor. Whether slogging up Pyrenean peaks or navigating urban obstacles, Ultegra and 105 have served me admirably and as far as function is concerned, I have no reason to look any further. And yet… it soon became clear to me that the sleeker tubes typical of pre-aero frames called for more than just practical machinery - propulsion should be provided by aesthetic accoutrements that compliment a leaner frame.
To this end, Shimano’s more recent offerings always seem to me slightly out of place on these classy creatures. Likewise the newer generation of four-arm campag cranks that bring to mind carbon hatchets far too chunky for what I had in mind. No no, it had to be the five-arm campag classic and this was just the ticket:
Great writing. Subbed.
Along with the cranks, I also bagged a very nice Chorus RM, FD, and BB. The problem – and to my inconsolable frustration – is that I am now separated from these goodies by disputed waters and unclear border policy. My misfortune is to be separated from the fruits of my virtual quest until conditions allow for me to return to the isle they once called Great and finally hold this hallowed hardware.
For now, patient readers, you’ll have to exercise your imaginations or, if Bojo’s blunders have lead you to question the frontier between fantasy and fact, scroll through the MGOF thread to get a feel for where I am, laboriously, trying to go.
Of course, I was quick to note the absurdity of my situation – a groupset with no frame is the mechanical equivalent of an invertebrate with no shell. Tasty as some may find them, it’s a hopeless state to be in and I was in bad need of bones to bring this hobby horse to life.
It didn’t take long for me to see that the finest steeds in the MGOF stable were of prestigious – normally Italian – heritage far beyond my paycheck; the kind of jewel that you stumble on in exotic bazaars and have to barter your offspring to obtain. My difficulty here was twofold: the most exotic bazaars of Brussels trade in chickpeas and discount dates (ask for a Coppi and you get vacuum-packed decaf); and progenies remain a twinkle in my eye until I put a ring on my accomplice for a European passport.
The solution came in Marin-form from the very obliging @Foreigner65 who had the immaculate frame below at a very fair price. Now I know that this might be straying slightly from the brief. It’s an alu frame built in 2000. I will leave this up to you to decide whether it can qualify for MGOF or not. But my reasoning was that this will give me mobility and when I do find that Tommasini, I can hopefully transfer parts with minimal fuss.
Major pluses of this option are: Italian pedigree built by Billato Brothers; BSA BB; clearance for 28mm tyres. And it really is a very pretty frame.
See here for more pics of the frame: https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/357252/
Thanks. Nice words. Subbed.
Despite being the wrong side of the Chanel from the bike I couldn't resist scouring the web for worthy components. My pals at Bpost brought these today to complete the groupset:
As for finishing kit, I have a de-logo'd Pro Vibe puzzle stem gathering dust on a retired fixie back in the UK that will do nicely. Like this:
Seatpost would ideally be Thompson inline, black so if anyone has one holla. 27.2 needed. Failing that, this carbon offering on the bay looks just the job and reasonably priced:
If anyone has any horror stories please let me know but I've got no reason to think that for road applications this wouldn't be fine.
Bars are still to be sourced. If anyone has some shallow/compact 40cm drops (31.8 clamp) send them my way. If anyone has something with internal cable routing or/and carbon, I might be interested depending on price but know that I would also be very happy with FSA omega or the like.
I'm interested to see what this could weigh in at fully built. F&F + headset + clamp are said to be about 2.1kg so it could be quite light, though that's not the primary objective. Wheels will obviously play a big part. More on that later...
Very amusing. I agree, Shimano modern 4 bar chainsets simply are ugly and spoil classic/retro frames.
Indeed, although @Dammit 's Serotta wears 9100 cranks very well. But I reckon that frame would probably look good in anything.
Good writing and a Billato-frame! Subed
A friend of mine has a 27.2 inline in his parts bin I think.
I'll ask if he wants to part with it.
I also have an 120mm 10° X2 here if you want to go matchy.
That would be grand, big thanks. I'll see about the stem, the Thompson ones always looked a bit 'blobby' to me - not quite so sleek. But matchy is nice so I'll get back to you on that one.
Don't worry about formatting, just type in the text and we'll take care of making sense of it. We will auto-convert links, and if you put asterisks around words we will make them bold.
For a full reference visit the Markdown syntax.
© LFGSS, powered by microcosm.
Report a problem
London Fixed Gear and Single-Speed is a community of predominantly fixed gear and single-speed cyclists in and around London, UK.
This site is supported almost exclusively by donations. Please consider donating a small amount regularly.