1984 De Rosa Professional

1984 De Rosa Professional

In 1984, I was riding my red De Rosa up 3rd Avenue in New York, after visiting Conrad’s Bike Shop. I got a little cocky and rear ended a cab. I went over the bars, landed on the trunk of the cab and then slipped off onto the pavement. It was more embarrassing than anything. The the downtube on the frame kinked enough to shorten the wheelbase about 1 cm. Shortly afterwards, I bought this blue De Rosa Professional frame made with Columbus SL tubing. It’s probably close to its 30th Anniversary.

I originally built it up with Campagnolo Super Record components and Mavic GP-4 rims. Now I ride clincher rims, mostly Mavic Open Pro.

Through the years I have switched to other more modern components. In November 2013, I finally switched from downtube shifters (Campagnolo Syncro II 8 Speed C Record downtube shifters) to 8 Speed Campagnolo Chorus Carbon Ergo Shifters. I had previously used Campagnolo Record downtube shifters, Simplex Retrofriciton shifters and every version on Campagnolo Syncro downtube shifters.

The cranks went from Super Record, to C-Record, to Centaur Power Torque Carbon to Athena Power Torque Carbon. I suppose Power-Torque is an improvement over a square taper bottom bracket until you want to remove the cranks (AMHIK).

Last year I also switched from Campagnolo Record freewheel hubs to an 8 speed Chorus freehub. I still use an 8 speed chain and it shifts fine with the 11 speed Athena carbon crankset.

The brakes started out with Campagnolo Record, then C Record Delta, back to Record and presently Chorus dual pivot calipers. My daily rides include ~2700 ft (~823 m) of climbing and descending and there is a significant difference in control and stopping power of the dual pivot brakes compared to the older brakesets – that translates to greater confidence in fast descents.

The rear derailleur started out with a Campagnolo Super Record, then C Record, Croce d’Aune to the present 1990’s Record derailleur. I’ve never had any problems with indexed shifting, mostly using a 7 speed ShimaNO Dura Ace freewheel until I switched to a freehub.

The front deraileur started out with Campagnolo Super Record, then C Record to the present Athena 11 speed. The cages usually cracked where they mounted to the pivot arm.

The frame is 55 cm C-to-C which is about 1 cm too small for me. For years, I used a Super Record seatpost with about 8mm extended past the minimum insertion line with no ill effect. This year I switched to a slightly longer Campagnolo Chorus carbon seatpost that is safely mounted.

The chrome on the flat crown fork has since disappeared, replaced with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator, the same stuff I use on my Alfa Romeo. The chrome on the drop-outs is pretty well gone, also replaced with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. The chrome on the right chain stay survived remarkably well, as did the De Rosa decal on the chain stay. The rest of the paint and decals also have held up remarkably well except where I carelessly scratched the Trophee Super Prestige decal that commemorates Eddy Merckx’s victories on a De Rosa built frame. The frame might do OK in Pebble Beach’s Preservation Class.

The Cinelli stem and Cinelli Campione del Mondo bars have survived, though I check for cracks in the bars every week. On my new old bike, I have switched to Deda Elementi Piega handlebars and the flatter ramp to the shifters is much more comfortable. They are on the mañana list for the De Rosa.

Last year, I rode this bike about 4600 miles (~7400 km). It seems to have a lot more life left in it.

Eddy Merckx Professional – Molteni Team colors

Eddy Merckx Professional - Molteni Team colors

  • 1985 Eddy Merckx Professional Frameset, Columbus SL tubing, Molteni Team colors
  • 2012 Campagnolo Chorus 11-speed groupset
  • Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque BB outboard cups
  • Campagnolo Record headset
  • Selle Italia Turbo saddle
  • Campagnolo Chorus Carbon seat post
  • Cinelli XA stem
  • Deda Elementi Piega Handlebars
  • Fizik Bar:Tape Performance
  • Campagnolo Record hubs
  • Mavic Open Pro CD rims
  • DT Competition Spokes
  • DT standard brass nipples
  • Zipp 16mm rim tape
  • Continental Grand Prix 4000 SII tires
  • Shimano Ultegra PD-6700 pedals
  • Profile Design Fuse Cage
  • (respray by CyclArt, Vista, CA)

    Campagnolo Chorus Carbon Ergo Shifters

    Campagnolo Chorus Carbon Ergo Shifters

    Though it is nearly 2014, I just installed “modern” shifters on my De Rosa – 8 speed Campagnolo Chorus Carbon Ergo Shifters that were first released in the mid-90’s. I am catching up. At this rate, I should be fitting a Campagnolo 11 speed setup on my De Rosa around 2028.

    I bought these shifters on eBay and when I took them apart to rebuild them, I saw that the right spring carrier was broken into two pieces. I bought the current version of the spring carrier at my local bike shop and with a Dremel cut-off wheel, modded them to fit.

    I had previously been using Campagnolo Record SL-01RE CG downtube shifters. With my last rear wheel build, I graduated from a 7 speed freewheel to an 8 speed Campagnolo Chorus freehub. My Campagnolo Syncro shifters only had a 7 speed insert and with CT cranks (50-34), I was spinning out of gears at about 30 mph. I wasn’t using the smallest rear cog because I needed the largest cog to get up hills. Now I can use all the gears in the freehub and don’t start spinning out until I reach 35 mph.

    On my first ride, I only reached for the no-longer-there downtube shifters three times.

    Modifying a Campagnolo Cog

    Grinding the splines on a Campagnolo 10 speed compatible cog

    After building a new wheel and acquiring a new 13-26 Campagnolo Record 8 Speed Ultra Drive cassette, I needed to change the cog in the final position from a 26 tooth to something larger so I could have a lower gear for hills. My normal ride has a Category 3 climb, according to the Tour of California’s rating of bike climbs. There is also a short 9.5% grade that I dread every time I get there, so the extra 2.6 gear-inches makes a difference.

    I couldn’t find an 8 speed Campagnolo cog larger than a 26 tooth but there seemed to be Miche (Campagnolo 10 speed compatible) cogs with 27, 28 and 29 teeth for sale on eBay. According to every source I found, Campagnolo 10 speed cogs would not work on an 8 speed hub, mainly because the splines are deeper and there is a stepped-ridge on one of the splines. That’s where the Dremel cut-off wheels come in. After a few minutes with the cut-off wheel and some chamfering of the splines with a file, the 10 speed cog was now 8 speed compatible.