• I am due to collect this from deepest Fenlandria on Saturday. I know it's a whole bike right now but it won't be once I get hold of it to confirm that the frame is definitely going to fit me.

    I mean, it's a Dawes. Yes they were once mega but seriously, this is their current range: https://www.tgc.bike/bikes-c10/dawes-m2. It's made of Reynolds 853 but I love how mundane it looks, it's like the Sapphire Cosworth of the bike world (some poetic licence employed here).

    For the build I'm determined to spec it using little more than the proceeds from the sale of the existing components topped up with anything I can find in my existing stash of bits. I want to keep it cheap enough that I don't worry about locking it up, also making it good enough that I want to hammer it a fair bit.

    The 105 groupset is of an age and looks serviceable, but I have some 4700 shifters and mechs which will bring it up to date. I also quite fancy a silver Spa/Sugino XD chainset, feels like square taper would suit the character of the bike. But I have a Rival OCT in a box which I should probably use, although it's 53/39 and black. Not sure, classic silver or modern black? Either way, the 5600 bits should go well right now on eBay, so I reckon I can easily cover any required outlay here.

    The wheels (in particular the Sun MZ-14 rims) look well below par. The seller appears to have run different wheels (Shimano RS80s) on it as he is selling them separately. I've left them with him as I'd rather go in a different direction. I've already hit the button on some black Miche Primato Syntesi hubs in 24/28, a pair of DT R460 rims and silver Sapim Race spokes for the lowest prices I could find. I like building wheels and these seem the like the right kind of four-season mile-munching hoops to suit this. I would have gone Kinlin, probably XR22, but I found the DTs for substantially less on eBay. Again I will look to flog the supplied wheels elsewhere in due course, which together with the finishing kit, saddle etc. will all help cover the cost of the new ones.

    Will post up some more images when I pick it up and find out if the condition really is as good as the seller has promised.

  • Sounds ideal, looking forward to the results.

    Black hides filth better if you fancy ignoring your bike, although silver can also act as timely reminder to scrape the cake of chain lube and shite off your moving parts they disintegrate.

  • Excited to see this, Cosworth comparison is good

  • Looks like a really nice bit of kit. It can't be long before that era paint jobs reach popularity again.
    I am especially fond of the Planet X Kaffenbacks with the blue dragon paint jobs

  • Very interested to see where you go with this, I’ve ripped mine to bits a couple of times and after nearly 5 years of commuting the frame is the only original part. Sure you won’t be disappointed.

  • I've had the chance to have a good look through my parts bin and reckon I will only need the wheels, silver matchy rear mech (already sourced a 5800 one for £10 through the forum) and some new tyres on top of what I have in order to re-build it.

    Tyre-wise I'm thinking Rubino Pro III - cheap as chips and provided you let them age a bit they can stand a lot of abuse. Question over 25mm vs 28mm, am leaning towards 25mm given the Wiggle deal at 2 for £24.99 but 28mm is not much more.

  • Well that was quick.

    430g on the scales.

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  • I thought those DT rims were 18 mm wide internally. At least mine are... :-)
    28 mm tires should fit the bill I guess.

    Oh and nice bike btw. Really understated.

  • Quite right, wasn’t thinking. Maybe 28mm after all then. They’re in the CRC sale so would only be £27 with the code.

    Also just realised the wheels I'm building will basically be identical to these, just with a lower spoke count.


    Can't believe the eventual weight will be the 1665g they quote but we'll see. Big margin there too, they'll cost me less than 50% of that.

  • We're home. We went to the Peaks for a few days so I picked the bike up on the way and it had a nice time in the back of the van whilst we were cycling & walking. Took the kids up Kinder Scout on Tuesday which was excellent as the weather was cold & drizzly which put almost everyone else off.

    In very nice condition, only a bit of cable rub but nothing too serious even then. I'll know more once I've stripped the frame down but initial impressions are very favourable. Also feels a very acceptable weight given the shitty wheels etc.

    Size-wise it is going to be on the cusp but I think ok. A quick yardstick measurement shows that the stem collar on the steerer is higher than the same on my TCR, and the BB seems the same height. I reckon I've got about 1cm of extra steerer on this which is good news.

    The chainset is actually lovely, no idea how he's managed to keep it so shiny and free of marks. I think that rather than replace it I'm going to get some shiny TA 52/38 rings to go on it and keep it.

  • Any progress?

  • Bit slow I'm afraid. All stripped down and I have the shiny new silver chainrings but the wheel build is taking time as I have been busy with work. Laced them last night so hope to get them finished over the next week or so.

    Will get some pics of where we are up to and post up.

  • Love this look of this bike. I think you've nailed the description of it. I had a Dawes Audax with a very similar colour scheme, probably the same era. Kind of miss it, let it go for not much money.

  • Following. Looks good

  • I’ve been watching the Tour of Britain and one of the teams is riding Canyons that are a similar shade of blue, I really liked that but mine was on the tired and scruffy side of things and I really couldn’t get on with the Dawes branding, shame as the deep blue is lovely.

  • Sorry for the long pause here everyone but life got a bit hectic with back to school and work and everything. Been doing little bits to this here & there so here is a progress report with some pics.

    The frame is now stripped down save for the brakes, stem & bars. I am going to re-use the brakes as they are in great condition but I really should take them off and give them a good clean, same for the cranks & BB - next on the list. The bars & stem are probably not going to work for me size/shape-wise but I haven't taken them off yet.

    As I said before the condition is very good. The blue is deep & a nice shade and there are very few marks on the frame. A little cable rub is the worst I can find as shown here.

  • The silver bits really set it off I think. I've stuck with the brakes & cranks as I said before and added the TA rings (52/38) and a 5800 rear mech.

    BB feels smooth enough

    I've cleaned that barrel adjuster since this photo

    Even the pads are in good condition

  • The wheels are now ready to be taped, they've come out really well - not built with these rims before but I was impressed with them, highly recommended.

    Weighed in at 1738g. I'm fine with that. Built them 24h radial front & 28h mixed rear (2x NDS, 3x DS).

  • The hubs are really nice. The older Miche ones had red end caps which would have been less well-suited to this bike so the all-black is perfect.

  • Nice & tight

  • In terms of the overall game plan I'm doing pretty well. After the sale of all the components from the bike (and I still have the seatpost & tyres waiting to go) the bike has so far cost me -£46 (minus £46!) including all eBay fees and shipping costs.

    I have spent £224 on the wheels, chainrings, tyres and rear mech so the net cost of the project so far is £178. I have 4700 shifters, front mech, cassette, chain, seatpost & saddle already in my stash. I am hoping to get £30-40 for the seatpost & tyres but will probably need to be patient. Also need to try and sell the bars & stem but they won't fetch much I don't think. Assume £30 for the lot worst-case, then that I spend £50 on new stem, bars & tape so that would mean I would be in a good position to get this re-built for under £200 outlay including the frame. Boom.

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Dawes Sportif Elite 853 - A wolf in sheep's clothing?

Posted by Avatar for spj7 @spj7