Friday, 1 August 2014



Bought on the London Fixed Gear Single Speed forum the Élan arrived nicely boxed and in 'original' condition. 
The frame is good for its age: one or two rust spots, but with all decals intact. 
The gears and brakes are in need of a clean up but are rust free. Where there is work to be done is in the wheel department. The tyres have perished (as advertised) so they'll be replaced by amber walled Vittoria Open Corsas. The hubs need servicing which is to be expected but the galvanised spokes have gone grungey and the rims are a bit blackened in places. 
I've already started work on cleaning them up using the magic 'rim block' that I was introduced to at The London Cycle Workshop. 
Talk about a trick of the trade! Rub away at the spokes for a few minutes and they start returning to their former glory. 
The same applies to the rims. 
I also have a tube of aluminium reviving cream (I'll add the name at next update) and this really adds a shine to the finish. 

Below is a picture of the two wheels, one with the original tyre, one with a new Open Corsa. I've started cleaning up the former. 

Here are some close ups of the wheels demonstrating the clean-up process. 
Original condition: 

And post some hub cleaning:

Rims, one original (but with new tyre)...

One cleaned up a bit...

I'm quite looking forward to getting stuck in with a tooth brush and some elbow grease. I suspect the spokes will be hard work (tempting to replace them?)

The good news is that the Élan is quoted in the original spec sheet as 10.8 Kgs which although not super light, is at least 3 Kgs lighter than the Koga-Miyata. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Shocking I know, but in the last three weeks I've sold three bike. And I'm going to replace them with two. Agh: N-1 !

Canyon Ultimate AL (summer bike)
Tifosi CK7 (winter bike)
Koga-Miyata 'Gents tourer' (vintage bike)
I'm left with the Surly Cross Check cummuter/bike cam, and I even have plans for that one. 

I managed not to buy a bike last year (winning a small wager at The London Cycle Workshop in the process), and rode all three bikes a reasonable amount. 
But when I analysed how much use each bike was getting I realised that about 70% of the miles I was getting in were on the Tifosi, and while it was a decent winter option I wasn't expecting it to be my main bike. 

The much racier and faster Canyon I kept for special occasions (London-Brighton-London being an example) which wasn't the original idea. 

However the upside of this policy was that it stayed in almost 'as new' condition meaning I was able to sell it for just £300 less than I paid for it (it was bought in the Canyon sale), and once I'd sold the Tifosi I had enough to fund the new project.

I had decided that what I needed was a winter 'super bike' built around a Kinesis Gran Fondo titanium frame (now 'on order').  The search for the perfect bike is still on!

I sourced all the components on 't internet and the whole cost (bearing in mind I kept my upgrade wheels - Mavic SLs) was £1900, just £100 more that the income from bike sales (after eBay took its enormous slice for the sale of the Tifosi - the Canyon sold on Gumtree).

The following is a rough guide to the bike costing and predicted weight:

Frame:    £1116    1400g
Ultegra gs £527    2320
SLs  wheels          1450
Seat post  £100      200
Bar 3T erg £135     200
St 3t Arx      £44     120
Pedals         00       280
Tyres            00       460
Saddle        000      240
               £1922   6620g

I also went for Guards Dia Compe guards.

Now I know the predicted weight is ridiculous. The groupset weight will be increased because I opted for a 12-32 cassette (I'm 57 for crissake) but apart from that it demonstrates how manufacturers tend to underestimate weights. I'm hoping under 8.5 Kgs without pedals and guards. 

As for the Koga-Miyata? Well I bought it very cheaply for L'Eroica Britannia where it showed itself to be a bit of a heavyweight. Around 14kgs with saddle bag and Brooks etc so this is being replaced by a Holdsworth Élan from 1984 (10.8kgs apparently).
It comes with a Campag Groupset and tubs and looks very pretty. It's 531 tubing a big improvement on the 1024 of the Koga. 

Monday, 3 February 2014


Yes! I´m entered into L´Éroica Brittania Festival 55 mile route in June this year.
I shall be riding the Koga-Miyata Gents Tourer 1977


From L´ Eroica website:

Only cyclists with "heroic" bicycles will be permitted to participate. 'Heroic' bicycles are road racing bikes, built before 1987 Gear shift levers on the down tube of the frame (exceptionally, only pre-1980 bar-end gear shifts are allowed)   

Heroic Groupset

The bike was designed for flat Dutch roads, built in Holland using Japanese built frame and groupset and I may have to do something about the gearing. The chainrings are something like 50/48 and the  cassette is around 11-17.

I obviously need some vintage kit, and so far have come up with this jersey which has an early eighties look:

Heroic Jersey

At least if something goes wrong the frame is guaranteed for life apparently.

Heroic Frame