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.

Campagnolo Record Hub

Cracked Campagnolo Record Hub with hairline crack

Mavic Open Pro CD rim with Campagnolo 8 Speed Hub
Mavic Open Pro CD rim with Campagnolo 8 Speed Hub

I have been using Campagnolo Record hubs since the I started buying Campagnolo components in the early 80’s. When cassette hubs were introduced, I stayed with freewheel hubs because of the 126mm drop out spacing on my De Rosa.

I’ve also been using a Shimano Dura Ace (Hyperglide) freewheel because of its good availability. The center to center spacing (5.0mm) and the thickness of the cogs are very similar to the early Campagnolo 8 speed according to Sheldon Brown’s Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet. The Shimano freewheel also works very well with the Campagnolo Record Syncro downtube shift levers that I use with a 7 speed insert.

This was all fine until the rear hub developed a hairline crack at one of the spoke holes. Instead of buying a used Campagnolo freewheel hub, I decided to find a used Campagnolo 8 speed hub. This seemed the most economical route as opposed to buying new Campagnolo Ergopower controls, a new rear wheel with a Campagnolo Record hub, new 10 or 11 speed sprockets and a new derailleur.

The 8 speed hub I bought on eBay had clean bearings and races when I disassembled it so I just cleaned everything up and added new grease. I bought a Mavic Open Pro (CD) rim and laced it up this afternoon. I managed to buy a new Campagnolo Record 8 Speed Ultra Drive cassette on eBay so my 30 year old De Rosa is back in business with a 20 year-old shifting system.