Last summer, I started riding with a group of guys who have a common interest in collecting, restoring and riding fine old steel frame bikes. Every Saturday there would be a different collection of bikes outside the Calabria - Colnago, Masi, Bianchi, Zeus, Harry Quinn - stunning examples of old school road bikes. And every Saturday, without fail, I would show up on my Talbot, from my collection of one.
Now, my Talbot’s not a dog by any stretch - hand-made in 1981 at Carleton Cycles here in Vancouver with Reynolds 531 double-butted tubing, Campagnolo Nuovo Record components - a real classic. It’s a very pretty bike, and I love riding it.
But the pressure to get another bike was mounting - subtle digs, rolling of eyes - it got to me, and I finally succumbed.
Enter: Gios Torino Super Record.
I bought the frame & forks last October, and then set about acquiring all the bits and pieces you need to have an actual bike that you can ride, like wheels, pedals, handlebars, brakes. Hello eBay, goodbye paycheque.
For the past six months I have been noodling away at it, dipping my toes into the deep and somewhat arcane waters of the vintage bicycle world, where things are not always what they seem.
The frame isn’t perfect - the original brilliant cobalt blue has been painted over with a darker blue, purplish in some lights, and there is a small dent on the down tube, but it’s my size, and it’s very pretty. Best guess is that it’s from the early 1980’s, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.
A lot of dismantling, degreasing, scrubbing, cleaning, buffing, polishing and careful reassembly (am I doing this right? Maybe I should do it again...) has gone on over the past few months. Getting from this:
and eventually to this:
Kind of fun, actually, and very satisfying.
I tried to stick with period correct parts as much as possible, and I think I did okay (thanks to Brian S. for advice & parts). Super Record front and rear derailleurs, crankset, seat post and brakes, Cinelli stem and handlebars, Brooks saddle, Mavic GP4 rims with Campy Record hubs and Servizio Corse tubulars (my first tubulars - a bit of anxiety here!). I found some nice blue bar tape that is a perfect match for the original cobalt paint and some bar end plugs with the Gios crest - just to cap things off.
So, how does it ride, I hear you ask. How about "like a dream". It's a great ride - smooth, quick, responsive, effortless. Shifting is smooth and quiet, the front brakes squealed at first but I shimmed the shoes to give them a little toe-in, and it's all good now. I'm still a little nervous about riding on tubulars and having to deal with flats, but so far, so good.
I've put about 130 km on the Gios, and it gets better every time. I still like my Talbot, but I can kind of see it becoming my utility bike, for rainy day rides. I'll probably ride it on the RTCC - it's comfortable, has good clincher tires, and it's done it before, so it knows the way!
I've been trying to get some decent pictures of the Gios, but without much success. I'll keep trying, but this will have to do for now: