Friday, June 30, 2006

Bikes I Love: Bianchi Rekord 1979

The cheapest bike in the Dalton fleet by far – costing slightly more than one of Backie’s race tyres ($275) on TradeMe in NZ. Indulged over a twelve month period with 100 hours of searching for parts and information around the world on vintage bike sites, eBay and Trademe, plus a handcrafted paintwork restoration by the best in the business.

For all intents and purposes, it’s a new bike – most of the parts came in boxes older than some of the staff at R+R. And at a modest hourly chargeout rate, quite possibly the most expensive bike in the fleet.

And we won't even count the Creative Director's time spent researching the correctness of vintage parts and stickers for the build...

The Back Story to This Bike

It was the year America went to the movies and saw an amazing film – Breaking Away. The story of four friends finishing high school in Midwest USA in the 1970s, one of whom has an inexplicable passion for cycling Italian style. When the heroic Italian Cinzano team visit the region for a race, Stoller is forced to face down the demons of parental expectations, community intolerance of anything outside the norm and just growing up. But, like most of us, he turns out to be crappily average on the bike. But not so crap that he and his misfit buddies can’t enjoy the sweet taste of winning in their own world.

Bruce Springsteen must have been watching the movie when he wrote ‘The River’ a year later. No bikes in that song though.

Generations of young people like me identified with the movie’s vibe. The youthful rebellion, the inevitability of repeating our parent’s lives, taking a win where you can. And lusting after Italian bikes like the Masi Dave Stoller rode, Olmo and Bianchi. It was my second to last year of high school, and I now knew what cool looked like. It would be as long time before I had it.

Restored across 12 months in 2005 and 2006, the original frame was found languishing on TradeMe in NZ as a complete bike, one listing away from being sent to the Salvation Army by the guy’s wife. He’d been to America with his family in 1979, was mad about cycling and had saved up for years to buy something European and cool.

The so called ‘Auckland’ listing turned out to be in Albany, creating a logistics nightmare for recovering the bike. Eventually picked up by Andrew Venter and dropped off in Auckland for collection later. Upgrades over 25 years of using the bike for commuting meant not much was salvageable. Condition would be best described as worn. Only a mother could love it would be more precise.

The ragged condition made the decision about the restoration easy. It was so bad that there was little point in leaving it ‘original’.

In the 1990s I had sourced some random old Campy Super Record parts (pedals with ti spindles, 26.8mm seat post – no idea why other than they were beautiful) and these became the seeds of the rebuild.

To cut the costs of production, Bianchi took a single frame and made several bikes by fitting cheaper or more expensive parts. The remnants of mine were a bunch of Fiamme, Campagnolo, and Bianchi branded parts.

Combing the internet, I found gold – the original catalogue of models from that year from the USA, posted online by some kind hearted Bianchista.


Franco said...

Please can u tell me which paint did u use for repainting it?
did u use turquoise Pantone?
I need to do the same restoring to mine Rekord 838
Please email me at

Thank You

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