Tuesday, September 22, 2015

One to Piss Off Purists

There are times when we stumbled upon a bicycle, or frame for that matter, that was the technological leading age of its era. Naturally you'll want to maintain the purity, rebuilding the frame with period-correct parts to recreate the superbike of its age. But since not all of us are blessed with wealth and time in our disposals, what if you want to build a superbike within a budget? What if you want to get the taste of decades-old frame technology combined with modern amenities such as wide-range-but-close-ratio gearing or integrated brake and shifter levers?

We've been building bicycles with frames from bygone era and modern parts for quite a long time. While purists may cringe at the thought of mixing old and new stuffs, this could be the way to go if you want to maintain the familiar ride characteristic of the classic frame but want to implement the technological breakthrough of the recent years. Call it retro-mod if you want. Purists can look elsewhere.

One glance to this 1988 Pinarello TVT 92 and you might recognise something familiar. That's right, the glued-together tubing construction method is exactly the same as what you found on Vitus bicycles of the same era. TVT was a French company specialising in fibreglass composites that went into carbon frame manufacture. Others had used carbon composites before but TVT began larger production and managed to make durable and lightweight aluminium lugged, carbon fiber tubed frames that was often rebadged by another brand, namely Concorde, Bottechia, LeMond, and of course, Pinarello. In fact TVT claimed at least five victories during the 1986-1991 Tour de France, all under other manufacturer's label. A Pinarello-badged TVT 92 like what you've seen here won the 1988's Tour under Spain's Pedro Delgado, weighed only 9,8 kilograms.

After repairing the botched internally routed brake cable mount on the toptube and making sure the lug bonds are in good condition, we cleaned the frame and set to work.

For me, nothing beats the straightforward lines of a classic frame. Combine the small diameter tubes with low-profile rims, then add some polished parts and you can never go wrong. There's an air of lightness showing from said combination, and that's what we did here.
But look closer and hiding under those white hoods are a pair of SRAM Apex shifters and derailer, giving the owner that familiar, crisp shift feel everytime. Apex calipers were polished to complement the polished wheels, crank arms and lugs. Looks like old tech, performs like new tech.

Some of you might say, "Why Apex and other modern components?" We say why not. When you build a historical bicycle to the point that the result was too valuable or risky to enjoy on the roads on a daily basis, you're actually missing half the fun.

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