The young woman from my local antique shop tapped on the van window as I was parked nearby – “I think the boss wants to show you a bike” … “Uh oh”, I say to myself , ” Not another bike, I’m flat out re-cycling as it is. ”
“OK, I’ll have a look then, thanks”. It was nice they remembered me at least, though I have purchased a few bikes there previously, including the Malvern Star LA84 and Speedwell Classique 3.
So out the back of the shop I go. He says ” I was going to keep this but don’t think I’ll ever get to ride it so I’m selling – asking $X for it. Thinks “Vectre, Vectre .. doesn’t ring a bell” so I googled it later, but with no result.
“The owner had it up on his wall, it’s from a deceased estate” . I was struck by how clear and clean the rich red paintwork was, surely this bike had hardly seen the Australian sun since the mid-80s when it was new. Well, unless it’s a repaint that is …
Also it’s a 59cm seat tube and 57cm top tube, a pretty good size for me ( meaning that I don’t have to stoop to the drops as with some smaller of my road bikes. So, I succumbed…
The Component List :
Frame and fork : Unidentified frame tubing, Columbus dropouts front and rear.
I haven’t fully dismantled the frame, so it’s hard to gauge it’s actual weight, but the quality of fittings and finish, braze-ons and lugs suggest it’s pretty good tubing. No identifying stickers observed.
Head-set : Shimano – I can’t identify the model on Velobase, plastic covers in grey with no major lettering but definitely Shimano.
Stem and bars : Cinelli XA 80mm alloy quill, Cinelli “Criterium 65” – 42cm c-c alloy drop bars.
The Cinelli Criterium bars are still made, though the current milky anodised finish is slightly more matte looking than these.
Seat post : Unidentified with black fluting and clamp, c. 27.0mm , Zeus seat post clamp pin.
Saddle : Iscaselle Tornado dark brown mottled leather covered. Now replaced by B17 Imperial Narrow due to my personal riding preferences.
Crank set : Shimano FC-S125 ( i.e. 105 ‘Golden Arrow’ ) This early 105 version gives a visual nod to the more decorative 600EX Arabesque group, but is not as obvious by having a simpler motif. Fitted to it are Biopace 52/42T elliptical chainrings. I very much like the look of the “Golden Arrow” group, later named “105” ( which is still Shimano’s current third level down from Dura-Ace and Ultegra (formerly “600” or “Ultegra 600” in the 1980s ). I haven’t been aware of this early 105 group until now.
Hubs : Shimano HB6207 600 series Q.R. They’re running smoothly, though I’m sure a re-greasing will add to their longevity. ( Now done ! )
Rims : Mavic MA40 box section anodised grey, eyeletted, with the red diamond trademark ( pre 1988 ). Strong looking 700C clincher rims, and rather difficult to get tyres onto and off !
Brakes : Campagnolo Veloce side pull callipers, Shimano 600 levers — no Q.R. on either ( curses ! ). A nice looking ‘Campagnolo’ script graces these basic brakes. They have a respectable stopping ability on this bike, even with their original pads.
Front derailleur : Shimano 600EX Arabesque.
Rear derailleur & shifters : Shimano RX100 SIS with Z series freewheel cluster 13-23T – 6-speed SIS ( indexed ). SL-S434 indexed shifters.
The RX100 series is also roughly equivalent in level to Shimano’s 105 group which superseded it.
Pedals : Shimano PD-6207 with toe clips.
Extras : Zefal fpX4 long frame pump ( presta valve ). Neat old school – Park Tool does a similar new version of this full frame pump.
And 2 x Duro IRC “triathlon” high pressure 27 x 1″ cotton gum wall ( ! ) tyres. New old stock. I’m wondering why not 700c ? Maybe the Mavic wheels are more recent ?
The tyres will come in handy for some other wheels I have.
This bike has very little in the way of patina, it looks so new. Cared for and ridden little. Dare I say that it’s lacking in visual character ? Red isn’t my fave colour either … ah, well.
A stored bike that is nearly 30 years old is bound to have dry bearings, and so it was that the steering failed the “no hands” test miserably. A closer look revealed that there was no seal on the fork crown race and tacky dry looking grease in there. A closer inspection showed brinelling of the races. The crown race was ISO 26.4mm so I had to wait for a headset to be ordered.
While waiting for some better tyres and the headset I decided to have a look at the bottom bracket. The slotted shell isn’t something you see on cheap bikes, and requires a seal of some sort be fitted for the vulnerable bearings. The BB is in good shape, a traditional cup and loose bearing with a protective plastic sleeve to counter the open shell.
On any old bike it will pay to service all the main bearings ( steering, BB & hubs ) unless you can be sure they have already been very recently serviced, and, ( at least in my experience } that’s generally something only real enthusiasts will have done.
The new tyres are Challenge Strada Bianca ‘open tubulars’ and they roll beautifully and steer very well. They come packed as flat ribbons much like tubulars.
However, being 30mm tyres they push the very limits of this frame’s clearances. Sadly, I think I will have to change them for 28s or 25s on this bike.
The Veloce brakes have no quick releases and neither do the 600 levers so most of the air needs to go before the wheels can be removed – or by removal and refit of one brake shoe !
I may have to reconsider them too.
The headset is a now a Dia Compe – not my first choice, but the best fitting I could find with its low stack height.
The components seem to come from slightly different eras, and I think the brake callipers are 1990s where the rest are 1980s.
This bike is a definite keeper, and worthy of considered component upgrades .
See Ya !