It was a tough decision because somewhere along the line it had been run into a parked car or curb buckling the top and down tubes. Plus, all the original paint and decals were gone, an awful spray-can finish had been applied and the parts had been removed and dumped in a milk crate to rust away.
I also had heard that that crown was sometimes a sign of a frame built by Masi founder and legendary framebuilder for the pros, Faliero Masi. This is part 2 of that story - which also appeared in my column in RoadBikeRider.
Just a few of the big names include, Eddy Merckx, Tom Simpson, Fausto Coppi, Felice Gimondi, and Jacques Anquetil (note that their Masis were painted to look like the team sponsor bike brand).
That’s all I needed to hear and I boxed up the frameset and sent it off to Joe’s Southern California shop.
I next expected to find out whether it was worth saving and how much it would cost. So, I was surprised when Joe told me that he and Brian had already decided the frame had to be saved and even more surprising, that Brian had already taken it back to his shop and started repairing the crash damage
See Joe's note and sections of the replaced down tube in the photo!
With this news, it was a complete no-brainer for me to send Joe a $1,000 deposit to commence the restoration (with frame repair, paint, chrome, decals, a Silca pump painted to match and Joe's super-careful packing and shipping, the total cost was $1,890).
[A quick aside: yes, I realize that I might have been able to find a rarer or better Masi for the same money. But it wasn't about the money or finding a better one. This Masi found me. I felt the same responsibility to rescue it that Joe and Brian did. There's tremendous satisfaction in resurrecting a survivor like this and that's what I was interested in, rather than trying to buy the ultimate Masi, which would be an entirely different thrill.]
Visit Bob’s site and scroll to see some of his impressive restoration work http://elliottbaybicycles.com/restoration/
There are also two reinforcing tangs on the inside of the blades that also extend through the twin plates (the yellow dots are decorative braze-quality check holes in these tangs).
Even if you've never built a frame, I think you can appreciate the challenge of getting that many pieces assembled, aligned and brazed together correctly. Especially since, on many of the best steel road bikes back then, which had the much more basic crown design, you would see misaligned crowns (very noticeable when you're riding and looking down). The Masi's is perfect.
In fact, sometimes framebuilders choose to paint their frames with see-through clear coats to ensure you can see their brilliant craftsmanship. Joe gets this and gives you the best of both worlds: a stunning finish with all the originality of a new 1974 Masi but the ultimate coat that reveals the framesmith's exquisite detailing, too.
You don't want to just look at this bike, you're drawn in to inspect it closely and end up running your fingers along the joinery marveling at the artistry.
Thanks to my friend and fellow Masi lover Chuck Schmidt of Velo-Retro filling me in, I've rounded up most of the correct parts to build mine close to original.
I'm in need of the right saddle, though, a Cinelli Unicanitor #3 would be good, I believe. If you have one you'd part with please let me know. Maybe I have something you need for one of your projects.
I'll close with a photo of the signature M cutout in the bottom bracket, neatly highlighted by Joe in yellow. When the Campagnolo BB is installed its translucent plastic sleeve should accentuate the cutout nicely. Masi sometimes used similar cutouts in the chainrings, also edged with yellow, and I've seen Masis where the ends of the top-tube cable clip bolts were highlighted with dots of yellow paint and other yellow details, too, to make the bicycle that much more special.
Thanks for reading!