Wednesday, March 17, 2010
circa 1975 AD Puch Super Leicht NOS!
I am like many other bicycle nuts, in that, justifying the next project takes little mental coaxing. That said, I have, actually, been in a bit of a contraction and even purging mode. Perhaps, it is the most reasonable mode given the current economic conditions. Over the past couple of seasons I have sold off numerous parts and two framesets. One, a workhorse Nishiki International which I used primarily as a winter bike. The other a lovely, early model Waterford dedicated to organized club rides and fast training rides. In all cases, I have tried to be more efficient and have funneled the capital into optimizing other bikes in my collection.
I realized years ago that there is no one "ultimate" bicycle. Instead, one may need different bikes suited to specific purposes. For example, one may need an all-around commuting bike that is appropriately outfitted for runs around town, to the store, riding with the kids and maybe even riding to work. In my case I own a 1971 Raleigh International.
A bike that has gone through a number of transformations over the past few years. This past fall The money from the sale of the Nishiki went into the purchase of the SA drum brake / dyno hub. And additionally the BM headlight. This is now the bike I ride most frequently, in all seasons, including the Northern winter. The addition of studded tires seemed to inspire confidence with each outing. And there were few places I would not ride with this machine.
The Saluki in its touring setup
Rando setup sans H-bar bag
I also own a first generation of the now discontinued Saluki by Rivendell. After a number of years building this bicycle it reached its resolution last season as a supremely able brevet / touring machine. I imagine it will continue to serve those purposes for the foreseeable future. Its completion was made possible by the sale of the Waterford and some other misc. parts associated with that bike.
Though, I am more of a road rider these days, I do like to take advantage of some wonderful trails in my locale and around the state of Wisconsin. In my younger years, a fine Mt. bike was what I desired most, so when I decided to build a bike strictly for off-road frolicking I leaned on the aesthetics I recalled from the late 80's and early 90's. the period when it seemed that these bikes were taking over the industry. So, to this end I found a series 3o PDG Paramount that was neglected and transformed it into an able "hard-tail" mud plugger.
Arguably, I don't "need" another bike, but I have felt that ever since the Waterford was decommissioned, there has been this hole in the "completeness" of my herd. The one element that I have been missing has been a fine ultralight. A machine that is perfectly streamlined,...one that would be fast, fun & classy...like a fine vintage sports car on a summer day with top down. I have been sitting on a Reynolds tubeset with the idea that I would myself build into a framset for this very purpose. The fact is that life moves fast and I already have too many other things that absorb my time. So, on a recent evening while browsing the vintage bike section in ebay, you might imagine my excitement when I noticed a very lovely frameset due to end within hours. I had a bit of wheel money in the coffers and had recently won an award for some prints that are on exhibit at a local art museum. So you might imagine that it all became easy math....I watched the action on this frameset for the next couple hours, which to my surprise was very light....hell maybe everyone else is as broke as I?
What I was looking at was a veritable time capsule. The frameset was a mid 70's Austro-Daimler Puch made in Austria. It is constructed from the venerable Reynolds 531 and has a full complement of Campagnolo dropouts. It is also outfitted with a NOS Shimano Dura-Ace headset. Now, I am normally no real fan of Shimano, but in this case, Shimano made a very nice copy of the Campagnolo headset that may otherwise have been installed. The sizing of the set was a perfect fit and the thing that sealed the deal for me, was that it was a new old stock item....and as you can see from the lead image, it came shipped from the Netherlands in the original box. Needless to say, I did manage to drop a bid in the final moments and acquire this fine frameset. Regarding the build and justifying the purchase, it helps that I do have a number of parts that I have held for just this situation. And as I procure the final items and put this bike together I will be sure to follow up with images and commentary on the build and how this beauty rides.