Campagnolo Record Brake Arm

Campagnolo Record Brake Arm

When I bought my De Rosa frame in the early 80’s, I built it with Campagnolo Record and Super Record components. When the new C-Record group came out, I upgraded some of the components piecemeal – cranks, Delta brakes and derailleurs. I’ve been riding the same bike all these years and time has transformed it into a “classic,” according to a guy who rode up next to me.

I had the chain off the other day for its paraffin treatment and when I turned the cranks, I heard grinding. I pulled out my Campagnolo bottom bracket wrenches, removed the bottom bracket and saw that the grease had dried out and one of the cup races and one of the axle races had been scored. Deferred maintenance isn’t good.

Rusty De Rosa fork crown

Instead of buying 20 year-old NOS bottom bracket cups and an axle on eBay, I bought a modern, sealed bearing, Chorus bottom bracket. I just want it to work.

I took a close look at my 28 year old De Rosa, which I had been avoiding for years, and saw the corrosion, rust and scratches that have taken their toll. The chrome on the the drop-outs and the fork crown were now rust. The stainless steel hardware on the brakes and derailleurs had rust. The chrome on the quick release skewers sprouted rust. The braze-on top tube cable guides were rusty.

I disassembled the entire bike and cleaned every part with a wire brush and solvent. I even replaced the bearings in the freewheel. I used Mobil 1 Synthetic Grease in all the ball bearings, because that’s what I had but he viscosity might be a little too high for the freewheel.

Campagnolo Record Brake Caliper Parts

I’m not interested in a restoration, so re-chroming wasn’t an option. I just want to do preservation, so I can ride my bike. I used Eastwood Rust Encapsulator on the large areas of rust. It’s not pretty but as on my Alfa Romeo, it has been effective in stopping rust from spreading. It’s also a little easier to use than POR-15. For the small parts, I’ve been using Boeshield T-9 for rust prevention. I don’t know yet how effectively Boeshield stops the rust (on the small steel parts) and the corrosion on the anodized aluminum – I live less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean.

Update July 7, 2019: I’ve recently switched to Pro Gold ProLink Chain Lube since I no longer live so close to the Pacific Ocean. Either way, I don’t use Boeshield or Pro Gold on my chain, only on the pivot points of brakes, derailleurs, etc.

Campagnolo Quick Release

De Rosa head tube

Somehow over the past 25 years, I’ve gone from riding a modern bicycle to vintage bike.

I bought my current De Rosa in the early 80’s, after I rear ended a cab in Manhattan on Third Avenue and 50th Street with my first De Rosa. I must have just left Conrad’s Bike Shop and was a little too cocky following the cab. I went over the handlebars, landed on the trunk and slid off onto the pavement. There’s a small kink in the top tube and I always thought I’d send it to CyclArt for a tube replacement and paint job. That red frame is hanging in the garage.

This week, the rear axle broke in my freewheel Campagnolo Nuovo Record hub. It’s something that happens to me every couple of years, mainly because I weigh 17.8 stones.

Campagnolo Nuovo Record Quick Release

The chrome on the quick release was full of rust and I thought it had rusted through the chrome like it has on the drop-outs. I used a fine wire wheel and was able to clean off most of the rust.

My local bike shop didn’t have a Campy axle, but they did have 10×26 141mm axle. I used a Dremel to cut off about 5mm and slotted the axle for the washers. Given the great quality of the Campagnolo components of 25 years ago, maybe the quick release will last another 25 years.

Ghosts Bikes

I rode my bike in Manhattan for the 25 years that I lived there and I still have the scars. The first year I lived there, I got knocked off by a Checker cab in Central Park. It seemed like the driver deliberately swerved into me.

Another time, riding home from Conrad’s Bike Shop, I got a little cocky and rear ended a cab on 3rd Avenue. I went over the bars and landed on the trunk, embarrassed but unhurt. My De Rosa‘s wheelbase was shortened by a few millimeters and there’s now a very small kink in the top tube.

Fred Conrad, a photographer for the New York Times, did a series of somber photographs “Ghost Bikes“, that are memorials to bicyclists who have died in collisions with cars and trucks on New York streets.