1984 De Rosa Professional

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

Phil Wood Spokes

When I went to Montano Velo to buy some spokes and a rim for a new wheel build, they sold me Phil Wood spokes. I bought double butted spokes, so it took a few minutes to prepare them on the spoke machine. I had always used DT spokes and I really didn’t notice that they weren’t DT spokes until I started threading them through the hub and saw “PHIL” embossed on the butted section near the spoke head. I used Damon Rinard’s free spoke length calculator, which is an Excel spreadsheet with macros, to calculate the length of spokes that I needed. After truing and dishing the wheel, the spoke length calculations proved correct.

I also used a Mavic Open Pro rim. The Mavic Open Pro rims have double eyelets, which hopefully distribute the stresses through the two sections of the rim. I considered the Mavic CXP33, which has more of a V-profile than the Open Pro. I guess I’m a traditionalist. I’m not interested in saving weight – I just need strong wheels that will hold up to someone who weighs 13.8571 stone and occasionally bunny hops on craggy Oakland streets. I have never had any problems with Mavic rims. In the past, I have used the G40, GP3, GP4, MA40 and MA3. On my first ride today, the wheel didn’t pretzel so I guess it’s working.

Camera: Nikon D7000. Lens: Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 (lens gift of Joe McNally)