Worn Chain

worn chain

Old SRAM PC-870 chain (top); new SRAM PC-870 chain (bottom).

The chain on my De Rosa started skipping on the lower gears on the Campagnolo 8 speed cassette. Unfortunately, by the time the chain was skipping, the lower cogs on the cassette were worn out.

Measuring from the center of one rivet to the rivet 23 away on a new chain is 12 inches (~30.48 cm). My chain was over 1/4 inch longer. Park Tool recommends replacing the chain when it is 1/16 inch too long.

Replacing the 8 speed cassette is a problem because of the dearth of parts, considering I need a ≥28 tooth lowest cog. I’ve found Miche 13-28 Campagnolo compatible cassettes on eBay in the UK and Italy, but then I start to wonder whether I should keep trying to support shifting components that were last produced in 1997.

I’ve also found on Branford Bike that a Campagnolo 9 speed hub could be used by dropping one sprocket and using a Wheels Manufacturing 8 speed spacer kit, but that spacer kit is also no longer available.

Park Tool Derailleur Alignment Gauge

Park Tool DAG-2.2 Derailleur Hanger Alignment GaugeTwo of my steel bikes, a De Rosa and an Eddy Merckx, have been crashed at some time in their lives – resulting in a bent derailleur hanger.

The last time I crashed the Merckx, I was going to have the shop straighten the derailleur hanger, but since this wasn’t the first time I’ve bent one, I thought I might as well invest in a Park Tool DAG-2.2 Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge

Using the tool is straight forward. One end of the tool threads into the the derailleur mounting hole. Using the tool as a lever allows the hanger to be bent back into alignment. There is an adjustable indicator that measures the run-out from the braking surface of the rim. When that distance is equal at four points (measured at 90 and 270 degrees for horizontal alignment and 0 and 180 degrees for vertical alignment), the derailleur hanger is in alignment.

Park Tool’s video on How to Align a Derailleur Hanger Using the DAG-2.2:

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.