Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pedal's Anatomy (two)

Step one: unscrew the dustcap. In mid to high quality pedals the dust cap is made from steel or aluminium, it's intended to seal off the inner parts from moist and dust. The thread should provide a good enough labyrinth seal to keep the greased ball bearings clean.
Some makers claim that a specific wrench is needed but if you are a bit handy any pair of pliers will do.  Anyway, I'd just advice you to put a strap of cloth between the plier's jaws and the piece to be removed, it does not improves the grip but prevents damage to the surface of the  cap.
When the dustcap is removed  the pedal's "dark side" is unveiled.
(note: the dumbell is just a support used to take the picture)


Now we can see an hex nut blocking our way . This nut is intended to block the pedal's inner mechanism to the desired adjustment. To remove it we must use a 12mm hex wrench while holding the other end of the axle with a 15mm pedal wrench (the one used to
attach/remove the pedals).
Removing the hex nut exposes a small blocking washer (the type with a lip that run's into a slot cut through the axle's thread) . Pry out the washer with a small flat screwdriver to gain free access to the adjusting cone. Use your fingers to unscrew the cone.  This pic shows the cone, its upper part looks like a second hex nut but its underside is conic (trust me)

Now we can see the ball bearings. There are twelve of them but it looks like there's room for more (probably it is not the first time this pedal's been overhauled and perhaps some bearings rolled away forever  while in it)

Removing the ball bearings without losing one or two of them requires mastery but it allows us to examine the ball race . I use a magnetized screwdriver and then shake off the hanging bearings inside a pot with kerosene (it's a great degreaser that leaves an oily protecting film over metal pieces).
Now comes the most delicate maneuver:  carefully pulling out the axle exposing the inner bearing race (the inner cone is built in the crank's end of the axle's body). Mind that there's a full set of ball bearings (that for any unknown reason tend to roll out and get forever lost). Same cleaning process than with the outer bearings.

It's time to examine the races, they must be uniformly smooth with no pits.

As I mentioned above, when extracting the axle don't forget that the ball bearings of the inner side tend to fall down. Be careful. There were thirteen of them (it supports my theory of the "missing bearing")

 So this is it. You can see the  assembling order all the components of a Rossignol platform pedal.

Assembling process in a next post.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pedal Breakdown (one)

 Let's start with the the toe-clips. These ones are made of steel and show a classic design (no identification mark, sorry).

They get attached to the pedal's body by means of a three bolt-and-nut system (that's nothing new under the sun, either). The most interesting feature is the three slotted adjusting system that gives a full centimetre of fore-aft tuning.
I'd dare to say that these toe-clips are the originals, probably sold as a pack with the pedals. If you look carefully at the middle picture  you will notice a hollow triangular shape that exactly matches the pedals front contour.
The triangular upper piece is obviously intended to sandwich the pedal and....if you look carefully you'll notice an interesting detail: see the two holes in the front of the pedal? Well, if you have small feet you will obviously pull the toe-clip backward and pass the forward fixing bolt through the  second-rear hole (the front one gets covered by the toe-clip itself). All right then, take a close look at the front of the pedal and you will notice a mark in the aluminium around this second hole. My deduction? The former owner took a smaller shoe-size than me and did not like bolts coming loose! (elementary, my dear Watson)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pedal overhaul

This is a Rossignol platform pedal. I rejected them for fixed-gear riding due to a small design flaw: the back tab is not properly angled making it a bit difficult to turn the pedal and slip in one's foot.
This pedals equipped my mid-seventies Olmo till I replaced then for a pair of MKS-track. The body is made from aluminium and the maker's label is clearly visible.
I'll start putting it apart in the next post.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More on graphics

These are down tube decals.
The upper one is the original from my frame. The lower one (not that well preserved) is from a frame allegedly built in the the early eighties. The type and casing are very similar (probably the same) and the ribbon displaying  the World's Champion Colours is quite typical in cycling frames.

As you can see in this lady frame the aforementioned characteristics are also present. This particular bike also dates from the eighties.

I presume that Romani went out of business in the late eighties or early nineties but the transfers in their most modern-looking frames are more stylish so I'd dare to say that the shown bicycles are a bit older, probably from the seventies.
By now I've not been able to collect more data from the web but I'd say that Romani was a small company specialized in mid to high quality frames some of which were labelled under other names. Was Romani a mere "cadreur"? No, I think he made both things: frames and full bicycles.

To finish this post let's have a look to a late Romani frame (circa 1988). See how the graphics are more elaborate?  The casing is different, the headbadge is new but it still retains de "R" in the fork crown. The rounded cable stop and the chainrest are clearly visible and the lugs are also the same. It's a true Romani no doubt

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Still searching...

Searching the web I've found this pic of a Romani decal from the 80's. This must be their last art design before going out of business, I presume.
As you can easily see the the graphic design of the replica transfers on my bike looks older (70's? 60's perhaps?)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Random thoughts on tyre levers

See those tyre levers? They look alike but...
The upper one is a vintage tyre lever made from aluminium. It was presumably made forty or fifty years ago somewhere in Europe (Italy or Spain I presume). The finish is neat with smooth edges and the spoon shaped end was thoughtfully designed.

The lower one is a fake vintage lever made from steel in China. It weighs more than the whole set of three aluminium ones. The finish was crude and required some filing to round up the prickly edges.

Do they work the same? Well, to some extend , they do but... tyre removing is a bit easier and safer with the aluminium one.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Searching for the origins

I'm trying to trace the origin of the frame. There is little information available on the web.  Anyway I've been able to make of a few data:
- it seems that the premises were originally located in Parma (Italy)
- They were probably run by two siblings: Rodolfo & Gaetano
- They produced road and track frames. In the early seventies there was some export trade to Canada and the States.
- There is no business  currently running  in the original address.

And that's nearly all but for one detail: I've found Romani bicycles being still made in Spain but I suspect it's a mere coincidence. Anyway I'm trying to contact those guys