Thursday, 14 August 2014


Having sold the Koga-Miyata touring bike that I rode at L'Eroica Britannia my search for a replacement began here:

          1980's Holdsworth Élan


Bought for a decent price on the London Fixed Gear Single Speed forum the Élan arrived boxed and in 'original' condition. 
The frame is good for its age: There are one or two rust spots, but all decals are intact. 
The Campag 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 (oxidised?) 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. It's hard work though. 
I also have a tube of aluminium reviving cream (Autosol) and this really gets rid of marks and 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. Cleaning the spokes will be hard work. I was tempted to replace them, but hopefully that won't be necessary. 

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. 
After my holiday I'll get back to work on the wheels and when they're done will take the bike into the London Cycle Workshop for a full service and new bartape. 

Rim block, used and unused. 


Rust removed with Autosol and my secret tool. A fingernail. 

With low expectation I set about the rusty headset with some Autosol which brought about a nice shine but didn't get rid of the rust spots. 
I had a little scrape at the rust with a fingernail and was really surprised when the rust spots came off quite quickly. 

Seatpost made by 'Strong' of Japan pre clean up

After 10 minutes of rubbing with Autosol. 

I'm not sure if I'll keep the seatpost which is a bit basic and heavy.

The stem is interesting in that it's a size 45mm. To be honest, I'd never heard of such a short stem. The bars are GB so I'm assuming the stem is GB too?

The stem has also cleaned up quite well although the scuffs on the top will need some work. Again, I'm tempted to replace the bars and stem. I have a couple of suitable bars but would need to source a stem. 

The big decision concerns the groupset. 
The rear dérailleur is a Campag 980 or Victory. It's not the finest Campag ever made. 

I have a very nice Suntour Vx (GT) gearset that would look great on the Holdsworth. 

The Wiemann brakes seem ok and I've started cleaning them up:

After a couple of wipes one side of the brakes looking better already. 

The chainset is made by SR and seems good to me:

The frame has quite a few small rust patches, but I'm not going down the respray route. 


Nick at The London Workshop did his usual sterling job with the rebuild. There were, as expected, quite a few issues. The bottom bracket shell needed reaming, brakes needed removing and reseating, hubs needed servicing etc etc 

The Suntour Vx groupset looks great and works well, and the new Campag seatpost/Turbo saddle combo looks nice.
The Weinmann brakes function well, but I still need to polish them up.  
Rounded off with new bartape and Continental 'Classic' tyres (keeping the Open Corsas for the Vitus) I think the results have made all the work scratching away at the spokes and polishing the rims worthwhile. 

SR Apex chainset

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