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Thread: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

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    Default Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    This was not the bike build I intended to do during the 4 month long Covid 19 lock down we experienced where I live. However, 4+ months gave me time enough to both think some more and become 'restless' in the bike shed department.

    I had purchased another frame in March but it's still with my favourite paint repairer getting the 21 or so paint chips mended. So, 2 weeks ago this bike flashed past my sunken internet eyes and they came to life!

    Colnago Arabesque size 55 with the RAWH paint scheme. This is a re-issue of a frame Colnago offered for only one year circa 1982. Apparently a stash of the highly ornate Arabesque lugs were found in the bowels of the Colnago factory and a money making scheme was hatched. Rumour has it that there are enough lugs to build 600 odd framesets.

    Back in March when I purchased the other frame I intended to build up during C19 lock down I scrounged together an 11speed Campagnolo Potenza groupset. I wanted the silver version (didn't everyone else too?) so the parts came from 4 different sources and I had to settle for black anodised brakes and a black rear derailleur.

    These parts were sent to a living genuis Chris Howard of Cyclo Retro in Melbourne Australia (3hrs drive from where I live) to be polished and pantographed in a style of my own choosing. Chris had the parts for a couple of months before returning them to me in full stunning shining glory!

    Ok enough description and time for some pics.

    This below is the bike built up as I purchased it. Near perfect frame set fitted with a 2017 Campagnolo Record 11 mechanical gruppo and the limited edition Campagnolo Shamal Ultra Gold edition wheelset. The vendor was a delightful guy, a serious bicycle collector/ restorer, honest and very accommodating, he even drove half distance to seal the deal and save me a couple of hours of city driving which I usually avoid at all costs.

    Arabesque-original-build-email.jpg

    My idea for this frame was to make best of the gorgeous, highly ornate chrome plated lug work on the frame. Although this colour Arab frame often attracts a lot of gold coloured bling I wanted my bling to be silver and as much polished silver as I can add. Hence using the polished pantographed Potenza gruppo I intended for use on another frame. I've owned a Colnago Master X light in the past and appreciated the straight Precisa fork but on this frame I considered finding a curved fork on whim for looks if nothing else. As it happened the vendor had a genuine Columbus steel Colnago curved fork he had prepared for himself to offer me so I purchased it without hesitation. Just a quick change over of the lower crown race, re-packing the bearings with grease and hey presto the curved fork is installed. The thread on the curved fork is a tad too long so I have a pair of spacers fitted until I can get a new blade to saw a trio of threads off and make that headset sit flush. I also fitted a white Romin saddle which I'll use until something more classic in white appears.

    Arabesque-curved-fork-fitted-email.jpg

    First item on the groupset is the front derailleur. I had a silver chain catcher polished and Campagnolo pantographed but the standard braze on clamp bolt/curved washer does not allow me to fit the chain catcher. I have plenty of spare Ti bike bolts so I cut the curved washer off the original bolt and used a longer Ti bolt to fit them all onto the frame. Hopefully this is the only curly obstacle I discover on this build.

    Front-derailleur-fitted-email.jpg

    Next up is the rear derailleur, no problems here, just some grease on the threads and a T25 and on it goes.

    Rear-Derailleur-fitted-email.jpg

    I'll continue to update this thread as I get further into the build............

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Looks great so far. May I ask what the tire clearance is on these bikes? I've been thinking about getting one myself.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Since you posted that polished Potenza group in the mail thread, I've been curious what you were building.

    That my friend, will be a class act!
    Rick Stubblefield

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Beautiful bike.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Quote Originally Posted by prototoast View Post
    May I ask what the tire clearance is on these bikes?
    'Generous' is accurate and may be somewhat of an understatement for a road bike.

    I've taken the following photos with a pair of clincher wheels which are intended for the other frame I'm still waiting on. The front tyre is a Vittoria Corsa G2 25mm and the rear is a Vittoria Corsa G2 28mm. The photos illustrate that there is ample clearance for a 30mm and probably safe to fit a 32mm or a 33mm at a pinch.

    The original straight blade Precisa Fork bridge with 25mm tyre

    Precisa-fork-clearance-Vittoria-Corsa-25mm-text-email.jpg

    The Columbus curved fork bridge with same 25mm tyre

    Colnago-Columbus-curved-fork-clearance-Vittoria-Corsa-25mm-text-email.jpg

    The seat stay bridge with a 28mm Vittoria Corsa

    Arabesque-seat-stay-bridge-clearance-text-email.jpg

    The chain stay side clearance with same 28mm tyre

    Arabesque-chain-stay-clearance-text-email.jpg

    Seat tube clearance with rear tyre - again same 28mm Vittoria tyre

    Arabesque-seat-tube-rear-tyre-clearance-text-email.jpg

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Thank you. I hope it rides as great as it looks.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    If Class was a bike, this is what it would like!!!
    Milton "Proparc" Graham

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Beautiful project. Keep the pics coming :-)

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Did I see clinchers ? All that polishing thing only to mount clinchers on it ?
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Remarkable - the pantograph on the components is exquisite. Puts my new build to shame!

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    She's a beaut! I've always wanted an Arabesque, but will live vicariously through your photos.
    steve cortez

    FNG

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Is the saddle the same in the first and second photo? Because the second pic the saddle looks spot on. When I see a level top tube it jives with a flat saddle but the first pic the saddle looks like an Aliante and the lines don't look as good. So chapeau on what I believe is a better saddle in the second pic.

    When I first saw these I thought this is a homerun with a chrome groupset. If you're going that direction this will be so clean. Put a black water bottle at the end but right now white + chrome is killing it. The key to design is to get everything dialed and then fuck it up a little bit at the end.

    Maybe consider gumwalls but not important right now.

    I want a Colnago mtb though I would take a Sachs 29er too.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    Did I see clinchers ? All that polishing thing only to mount clinchers on it ?
    I love tubulars, I have three sets of tubulars but for this build it's form over function foremost. I insist upon the rims being :-

    1) highly polished silver (and no - I'm not paying for them to be polished aftermarket)
    2) must have eyelets - non negotiable even just from a style viewpoint
    3) must have machined brake tracks. I have a couple of pairs of Campagnolo non machines rims - look great, ride great but braking performance - even for a complete Fred like me is not up to spec, esp. if the rim gets wet.

    The wheel set you see in the photos is for another build - I just used it as a scale measure for clearance illustration purposes. I'm going with a box section rim in the way of the H+Son TB14 laced with DT Swiss Comps onto my Daytona hubs.
    I've had a pair of Velocity Major Tom tubulars in polished steel before but the brake track dented in two places which considering it's a CX rim and I coddled those wheels I'm not going back to them.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    More bits added to the frame, today it's BB cup and cranks.

    I had a used pair of IT thread cups polished up by Chris Howard - glad I did, they work better than black or bronze. Despite masking the BB cup tool with a latex had glove I still managed to burr off a pair of tiny sections on the tooth lugs. I've fitted Campagnolo UT cups maybe 20 times now to various frames and am yet to master how to do it without scraping the cup finish. Either way they look good and I adore the Ultra Torque system, so simple, so reliable.

    BB-Cups-fitted-email.jpg

    Following this it's time for the cranks and perhaps the centre piece of the gruppo. Again a standard Potenza 11speed crank polished and pantographed to perfection by Chris Howard of Cyclo Retro. No problem fitting these, a little grease on the outside of the bearings, wavy washer on the non drive crank, clip into the holder on the drive side and a rubber mallet and cloth to tap them together. A touch of grease on the hirth join bolt threads and torque it up!

    Cranks-fitted-email.jpg

    CRanksfitted-02-email.jpg

    Also fitted up the brakes the other day - here's some photos

    Front-Brake-fitted-email.jpg

    Rear-brake-caliper-fitted-email.jpg

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    What BB tool are you using?
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Abbey Tools makes one of the best. I like the aluminum sockets as softer metal requires better machining, so fewer marks and the fit is better than steel, imho.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Abbey Tools makes one of the best. I like the aluminum sockets as softer metal requires better machining, so fewer marks and the fit is better than steel, imho.
    Maybe this is where I'm going wrong. I have the genuine Campagnolo Ultra Torque BB tool, it surprisingly has too much freeplay for an AU$40 piece of steel.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    I have the Abbey one too and can recommend it.

    If it's hard to come by in Oz, perhaps Wolf Tooth Component might be a worthy option. I have not used theirs, but other things that I have from them are consistently excellent.

    One trick that works SOMETIMES is to cover the BB cup with masking tape before. It can work only if there isn't too much play.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    The ally tool will be the way to go. Hertzian contact theory says that the steel tool, having three times the modulus, will force deformation on the ally part.

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    Default Re: Colnago Arabesque - building up a neo retro classic.............

    Do you guys really bother looking at that area for marks ? One stupid chain drop while removing a wheel and there are marks anyway.
    --
    T h o m a s

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