Sunday, February 24, 2019

Rare Tools: Campagnolo Bicycle Assembling Stand

The Holy Grail of Vintage Repair Stands Found!

The following is all true as far as I have been able to determine...

Debuting in their 1967 Catalog #15, Campagnolo's Bicycle Assembling Stand held mythical status in the USA bike shops where I worked. A photo of it was right there in their catalogs, but no one had ever seen one or found one for sale. 

We mechanics assumed it was only available in Europe, or perhaps reserved for race mechanic use and not meant for everyday shop wrenches like us. 

We could buy copies from other companies, such as Cinelli, but even only from the catalog photo, it was obvious that Campy's was a precision, highest quality tool, just like the gorgeous presses, cutters and gauges in their full toolkit.

I mentioned how hard the stands were to find while commenting online about one that turned up back east. And, because of that comment, I finally have a Campy stand  (part #1102) in my collection. I'm so happy to have it that I'm telling you a little more about it and sharing some photos here.

Czech Olympic Coach Jaromir Zak's stand
I purchased the stand from a man in Czechoslovakia, who read my comment online and knew I'd be interested. After agreeing on a price and paying him, I asked if he would be willing to tell me how he came to own it. 

He told me the following somewhat amazing story - this is as he wrote it in his email to me:

"I am glad you interest about story of this stand. I don't know where was this stand purchased. I had it from my neighbor, Mr. Jaromir Zak. This man was the coach of Anton Tkac, Olympic Winner 1976 Montreal and three times the World Champion in sprint. He was too Czechoslovakia state trainer of track representation and at this times he has access to plenty of cycling material. I am cycling enthusiast and I meet very oft this older man as he walking with his dog. 

Once, when I met him on my first self build fixie on old Favorit steel frame, he told me he has maybe something for repairing and setting my bike. Hi took me in his greenhouse and there was the stand. He told me, if I want I can have if for my workshop. 

I took it (I didn't know how rare it is) and enjoyed for repairs on my Favorit bike. One year ago I purchased for my fixie the State Bicycle company frame, tubes of this frame are too thick for it and I haven't use for the stand. I decided to offer it someone, who appreciate it. And the next you know. 

It is very likely on this stand were repaired and adjusted bikes of Anton Tkac and other Czechoslovak cyclists in seventies. It is all I know. This is maybe better story, than something about insignificant workshop in my garage, isn't it?"

To learn more, all I had to do was search for Anton Tkac, which brought me to his racing accomplishments and also mention of his coach Jaromir Zak. Now, every time I look at or use the stand I imagine it in service trackside at the Olympics or World Championships. Incredible.

Cleverly designed and built for hard use
Campy designed the stand to come apart quickly into three pieces, the base, the upright and the tool tray. There are thumbscrews for speedy disassembly. Taken apart, the stand lays nearly flat to fit in a small travel case, or easily in the back of a vehicle. 

The tripod base is stable and the bottom bracket support and down tube clamp hold a bike at exactly the right height for easy repairs. The bottom bracket support and clamp have leather attached to protect the frame when clamped. 

Besides using the stand for working on bicycles, it's an elegant and safe way to support a bike for display, too. It holds it where you can easily see the bike and walk around it. Plus, the stand itself is pleasing to the eye. I sometimes use it this way for my Masi.

There are two swingout arms built in below the clamp that keep the front wheel from swinging side to side. The large tool tray can be positioned at just the right height to clear when you're pedaling for checking adjustments.

 At the bottom of the legs are little welded on feet to provide a little more grip. The entire stand is made of steel. As far as I can tell, everything is original - not repainted or repaired in any way. You can see from the chipped paint and corrosion that it was used a lot. I hope you enjoy the stand and history.

I would appreciate learning more about Campagnolo's Bicycle Assembling Stand. Please get in touch if you have anything to share.

In cycling,
Jim

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