Archive for the ‘GEAR & EQUIPMENT’ Category
Long overdue, here is the official introduction to the companion to my Guerciotti. Heavily influenced by the designed of French cyclotouring machines of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, I commissioned this 59cm bike from Jitensha Studio in Berkeley.
I told Hiroshi, the proprietor, I wanted a versatile bike for light touring and brevets; I wanted the option of carrying 10-20 lbs. upfront on low-riding front racks; and, I wanted the frame based around the 650B wheel size (and 38mm tire width).
The build included both new and vintage parts including a SON front generator hub powering the headlight, integrated front and rear racks (including detachable low-rider pannier racks) and Honjo fenders, Brooks Team Pro TI saddle, Simplex retrofriction downtube shifters, TA cyclotouriste cranks, and Shimano Ultegra derailers. A Berthoud decaleur is used with the front handlebar bag, which was custom ordered from the Guu-Watanabe in Tokyo. I believe I was their first customer from outside Japan (more on that story here).
Now that I’ve been riding the bike for some time there are inevitably small tweaks I would consider: slightly more geometric trail so it handles better unloaded thereby making it more of an all-around bike (this would require a new fork), indexed shifters (to go with the 8-speed Shimano cassette) or a 6-speed freewheel (to go with the current Simplex shifters), and maybe some slight changes to the gear ratios (currently 47×34 front and 13-27 rear). I’m also eagerly awaiting a true 38mm wide tire from Grand Bois as a replacement for the Panaracer Col de la Via which actually measure 2mm less than 38mm.
Here’s my early 80’s Guerciotti (59 cm). I bought this as a junior in high school when I was into the idea of bike racing. Top riders in the Tour de France rode bikes like this. It’s still a wonderful bike and I use it for most many of my Friday excursions. It’s been modified from it’s original condition in the following ways: I’ve put wider, more comfortable tires on clincher rims (sew-ups originally), re-tapped the handlebars with hemp-twine and three coats of shellac, added a Brooks saddle, and attached a front rack. She’s relatively light, fast, and can hold extra clothes, food, a camera, or whatever in the old TA bag.