Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Q&A: How to service Campy Daytona hubs?

Hello Jim:
I have a question regarding Campy hubs. I just got a pair of wheels with
Daytona hubs for winter training and I would like to service the hubs before
I put them on the road. How do I disassemble the hubs to get into the
bearings? I tried putting a 5mm hex wrench on both ends of the skewer hole,
but I broke one of the 5 mm hex keys and I couldn't turn it loose. How do I
do it?


Happy Holidays, Robert. I've attached 2 files from Campagnolo's website tech
pages that should get you
going. One is a pdf doc showing an exploded view of the 2001 Daytona hubs.
The other one is the instructions for working on 2007 Record hubs. I haven't
worked on the Daytona hubs but from comparing the diagrams I believe these
instructions should explain the steps to take those hubs apart because
they're similar in design, not identical but similar enough, I think. It
looks like you were right to use 2 5mm Allen wrenches. Since one broke maybe
the parts have gotten a little frozen. Try again but use Allens that are
higher quality and have longer handles to give you more leverage. The
directions don't say to do this until the next step but maybe try loosening
the screw in the lockring first, too. Maybe that will help.

I'm assuming you have Adobe Reader installed on our computer to read these
but most people do. Or you can download it for free.

I hope this helps,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Q&A: Hub cleaning and repacking

I have just purchased a new set of wheels for one of my road bikes. They are
built on Shimano Ultegra hubs. I ride this bike 6,000 mile/year on clean,
dry and smooth roads. I'm a do-it-yourself mechanic and would like to know
from an expert how many miles I should expect to ride before I clean and
repack these hubs.


Thanks for the email, Rob. Hubs should be cleaned and repacked with fresh
grease about once a year. If you get stuck in a bad rain storm and have to
ride in it for hours, you should check them afterwards by removing the
wheels and turning the axles in your fingers and feeling for grittiness when
you turn them. If they're still silky smooth, there's no need to do
anything. But, if they got gritty from all that rain riding, it would be
good to dismantle them, clean them and regrease them.

But, if you are lucky enough to ride on dry, smooth, clean roads for all the
6,000 miles, once a year will be fine. And, when you take them apart the
first time if you find that the grease is clean and fully packed, covering
all the bearings, that's a great sign that you can repack the hubs even less
often. So, you could bump the interval up to every 18 months and try that.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NEWSWIRE: Head Badge Site

Never seen this one before
Apparently, this Flickr Bicycle Head Badge website has been up for awhile but I just found it so it's news to me. Currently there are about 450 photos of head badges (also called nameplates), with some rare and great ones I've never seen anywhere else, such as this Germann in the photo. (There are some shots of head tube decals, too, which I don't consider badges, yet it's still nice to see the art.) I have about 700 different badges in my collection, which I've been working on for decades so it was fun to stumble onto this nice resource. Another great place to see photos of head badges is where there's always a few interesting ones for sale.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Q&A: Mounting bike in trainer

Hi Jim,
I visited your site to update my knowledge on repairing and maintaining my bike. I recently bought a trainer to use at home in cases of bad weather and discovered I need quick-release levers in order to install it properly. There is a lot of info around on how to use and maintain these levers, but no info about how to fit them, I was hoping you could help me out.


Hmmm... are you sure you need quick releases? Most trainers work fine with any bicycle, one with bolt-on or quick-release wheels. Could you tell me a little more about your trainer? Usually the ends that attach to the rear wheel are hollow so your axle will fit right inside and the ends that clamp on the rear wheel hold just fine.

If you can tell me more, I'll see if I can help,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Q&A: Cold setting a frame to 135mm

Hi Jim,
I have an older fillet-brazed steel MTB frame that has 130mm spacing. I would like to respace it to 135mm. What's the best way to go about this?


Hi Gary,
There are a few ways to go about this. A good way is to take a fine piece of string or strong thread and tie it to the right rear dropout somewhere. Bring the string toward the front of the bike and around the head tube and back to the left rear dropout. Pull the string quite tight and tie it to the exact same spot on the left dropout that you tied it on the right dropout. You now have a reference line to gauge frame alignment.

Next you need a decent metric ruler. Use it to measure the distance between the inside surfaces of the rear dropouts. If they're perfect, they'll measure 130mm inside to inside. Continue checking the alignment by measuring from your string to the seat tube on both sides. These measurements should be exactly the same, too. If all the measurements check out you know that the dropouts are the correct width and the rear end of the bike is aligned dead-center with the frame.

It's your choice how you want to spread the dropouts to 135mm. You're only adding 2.5mm to each side, which isn't a lot so you might be able to simply stand behind the bike, grab one dropout in each hand and pull outward to achieve this. It really depends on your strength and the type of tubing, but I'd say about 75% of the time that's all it takes. You can check your progress by measuring with the ruler to see if the 130 is now 135. If you can't do it yourself, you could have a friend help with each of you standing across from each other with one hand on one dropout for pulling and the other hand on the opposite chainstay for bracing. With 2 people you will want to start with easy pressure, check progress and pull a bit harder. But, be careful not to pull too hard and overdo it. Ideally you'll only bend it once to just about 135 and then fine-tune from there.

If you go over, you can squeeze the dropouts together to bring it back. In most cases it should only take a couple of tries to get it right. Then you'll check to ensure that both sides moved an equal amount by measuring the distances to the seat tube from the string. If they don't match, you pulled too hard on one side and you'll need to move the rear end again to center it and maintain the 135mm spacing.

Other ways to bend/align the rear end include using a turnbuckle that fits between the dropouts. You may need to add blocks of wood to the turnbuckle, but once it fits in there and will stay put you can turn the center of the turnbuckle and it will put pressure on the dropouts and spread them and that's a way to do it evenly and carefully. Just check frequently to see how you're doing. You'll have to go past the 135 because the frame will "spring" back.

If the bicycle is stripped down to the frame you could also clamp the frame by the bottom bracket in a sturdy bench vise. Supported this way, you could use a long lever like an oar to pull first one side over and then the other. Just be sure not to rest the end of the oar on anything that can dent or get damaged when you start pulling on the oar. You could put a block of wood between that end of the oar and the bike if you're pushing against the frame.

One thing to keep in mind. The dropouts need to be exactly parallel to each other too. There's a special tool for checking this that shops carry. When you're resetting the rear end be careful not to exert too much pressure on the dropouts themselves. None of the techniques I described would do this, but if you got creative you might bend the dropouts out of alignment with each other and you'd then want to visit a shop and have them realign them, and probably check your cold setting, too, since if the dropouts are crooked, the spacing is probably not as exact as it should be.

Happy frame aligning!

Q&A: Calculating the hour record distance

Hey Jim,
I was watching a movie the other night about the riders trying for the 1
hour record, and it posed a question. How do they so accurately calculate
the exact distance traveled when the 1 hour is up. The distance is
calculated down to 1/1000th of a mile. The riders are on a circular track,
and obviously complete the 1 hour at someplace other than the exact
completion of a lap. Can you help me out here.

Hi Jack,
You might have been watching The Flying Scotsman. If so, I enjoyed that
movie though they didn't capture how amazing Obree's accomplishments were in
my opinion.

In any case, I'm definitely not a track expert or a cycling official, the
guys who are charged with measuring records, however, I believe official
racing tracks are usually 250 meters long so since they know the exact
distance of the track they just need to know where the rider is on the track
when the hour ends and it should be a relatively simple matter to calculate
the distance ridden.

The track is essentially a 250-meter yardstick and when the hour ends the
rider's position is marked on the track and they can then count laps, add
them up and then add whatever additional distance he/she did on the last
lap. I believe the track is probably marked with gradations for accuracy,
too, though I don't know this for a fact. It's possible they use one of
those little walking wheel measuring devices to calculate the distance on
the last lap, too. It's probably something like this.

Perhaps you'll find an explanation on Wikipedia's page on hour records here:


Monday, November 5, 2007

Q&A: Great book

Where can I obtain a copy of the book, The Golden Age of Hand-Built
Bicycles, mentioned on your site.

Kind regards,

Hi Bill,
That's a fantastic book. I'm sure you'll love it. You can order it at this

I didn't check but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find it at, too, and you might even find used ones there with a little


Q&A: Old wooden rims

I am having an 1897 Punnett Companion double bike restored and need two 28-inch wooden rims or as close I can get. Can you help?

Hi Frank,
I recommend placing a wanted ad in The Wheelmen newsletter, which goes out to the members about 4 times a year. The Wheelmen is an international group of antique bike collectors and usually you can find someone who has what you need or knows where you can get it. You can find out more about The Wheelmen, how to join, etc. at this link:

Have fun fixing up that cool bike,

Q&A: Classic Legnano

I was wondering if you could help me? I have a Legnano "Gran Premio" model that I believe we bought in Rome around late 1959 or 1960 (serial #EH2957.) The frame is Legnano's yellow/green with chrome fork-ends and thin red pin striping. It is a 10 speed (5+2) with a Campagnolo "Gran Sport" gearset with cable-style gear levers (for both front and rear) on a screw-tightened clip on the sloping front frame tube. The brakes are "Universal Extra" side-pulls with what appear to be natural rubber covers over the mechanisms. The handlebars are low racing-type and originally had red cloth tape around them, but this was changed to white (which was available to me at the time) when the red got dirty.

The original aluminum plugs at the ends of the handlebars are still there. The wheels are thin racing type quick removables (lever marked "Campagnolo") with tubeless tires and appear to be about 28". The pedals have toe-clips with leather covers and straps. There are original clip on aluminum fenders...front and rear...which are painted and badged the same as the bike (yellow/green with a bare aluminum strip down the center and a legnano decal on the front of the front fender and at the rear of the rear fender.) The long, narrow leather seat is marked "Italia" and there is a Legnano "lug" at the base of it's support tube. There is a matching air-pump released by a small spring-loaded pin at the top (this is all clipped onto the frame and can be moved or removed).

The front badge appears to be cast metal pinned on and there is a "Bozzi" decal at the top of the downtube under the seat, and below that there is a decal that states: "Campione del Mondo 1958-59". There are other decals and white rings (5) on the frame as well and on the sloping front tube near the steering head there is another that states: Legnano Gran Premio.

The bike is completely original, in good condition (needs some clean-up and touch-up) and I am the only owner from new. In fact, I still have the little "Legnano" pennant that came with the bike. For many years, it has hung by its frame on nylon cords from the ceiling of an air-conditioned garage. I am trying to determine a) its value (both as-is and restored) b) approx. what it would cost to restore it and who, if anyone, specializes in Legnano, and c) anything else I can find out about that bike, or the marque in that generation bike. I haven't yet decided what I am going to do with it.... whether to restore it and save it for one of my grandsons when he is old enough to appreciate it or to sell it.

I would greatly appreciate any help or direction you could give me. Pictures can be made available if that would help.


Thanks for the email, Steve. That sounds like a very nice bike. I'd enjoy seeing some pictures if you take some. You can learn more about Legnanos and maybe even find a picture of a bike like yours at this link on the Classic Rendezvous website:

In terms of value, it's hard to put an exact price on any old bicycle, but from how you described your bike, and assuming it's a reasonable frame size that many people would fit (not too huge or too tiny), I would suspect it would sell on today's market for from $1,000 to $2,500. But, this really depends on exactly what you have. If you had a rare Legnano model with all original parts with good paint, decals and chrome, there's a chance it might go for upwards of $3,000. This is just an educated guess, though. Like any collectible, value is in the eye of the buyer and if you have the right bike and can find the right buyer it's possible it might go for even more. But, this gives you a ballpark idea based on what other classic Italian road bikes like yours have sold for.

I would advise you not to do anything to it until you find out more about it. In most cases you'll significantly decrease the value if you do any kind of restoration. In most cases collectors want the bike to be all original. As they say, you can't restore originality. Once you strip the paint, original decals, etc. you essentially have taken a classic and made it new, and the serious collectors don't want a new bike, they want the original old bike with all of its blemishes.. the same way a furniture collector wants the original finish on the Shaker chest of drawers.

One thing you could do to find out more about your bike and have some fun talking about it and showing it off would be to sign up for the email list. Every day collectors and cyclists interested in vintage 10-speeds like yours add to the ongoing conversation. It's free to sign up and once you do you start receiving the daily postings and can put in your comments. If you did that and posted links to pictures of your bike I'm sure you'd hear from a lot of Legnano lovers who would really appreciate hearing about yours.

Hope this is helpful and I look forward to seeing your Legnano pictures at
some point,