Maybe I’m a bit too obsessed with order, but I can’t help being a little shaken by the variety of names on the parts of my latest machine (Sora, Tiagra, Tektro, ITM, 2200 etc). Another trip down memory lane, then: a racing bike that I bought in the 1980s. It hasn’t had a lot of use and I haven’t had to modify it much (a 24T rear sprocket to replace the 21T original); it is almost entirely assembled from Shimano 600 components. A sprinkling of rust and a few scratches. My Raleigh Road Ace:
Friction gear levers mounted on the downtube. I think when I bought the bike in 1987 it was the previous year’s model. Not long after I got it Raleigh upgraded the Road Ace to Shimano 600EX with SIS gearing.
Older front derailleurs could cope with larger chainring differences, I believe.
The rear derailleur took a rear sprocket up to 28T. This one has a scratch from when I fell off in a multi-storey car park in Lincoln. I was racing some fellow youngsters.
The classic racing chainrings of 52 and 42. The big ring hasn’t got much wear.
I changed the brake blocks to Aztecs. They chewed up the rims. After I hit a kerb on a cycle path and flattened both rims I put the Shimano blocks back on for the replacement wheels. Note the Shimano 600 headset.
You knew where you were with brake levers in the 1980s. They were happy enough being used for braking only.
The steel clips rusted early on. A review at the time lamented the fact that the only British-made components on the bike were the Sturmey Archer toe straps. These are the originals.
Shimano 600 front hub. Note the Campagnolo chromed dropouts. My touring bike from the same period rusted quickly around this area: the first time the wheel is replaced the paintwork on bikes without chromed dropouts is compromised.
The stem was unusual in that the owner was presented with an extra long allen key wrench that came with its own metal sleeve (about 5” long) that you slipped over the shortest length of the wrench to get extra torque. It’s still in my cycling toolkit.
The stem is Shimano 600, of course. Gasp! Dura Ace handlebars. Oh, well…
… here’s the bike. It needs a little attention, obviously. The frame was too big for me and it is over-geared. And although I probably don’t need to keep it anymore, I don’t think I could part with it after all these years.