So 6 months ago now, Aaron and I went and raided his Gramps shed for some old frames, and found 3 with great potential. The one I took on, was a very tied and rusty Italian built Bianchi, that needed a lot of work after a rusty shed life for the last 20 years. It was completely stripped, with only fork and frame, hardly any paint left, and a lot of rust.
I think I have dated the frame to 1972, but not certain. If you know what year or model it is please let me know. The plan was to build a new Fixie with it. So after cleaning it up, treating all the rust, it was time for some paint. I struggled to find anyone who could match the Bianchi bicycles traditional colour called Celeste (pronounced che-les-te in Italian, Se-lest in English), a turquoise also known as Bianchi Green. So after a lot of phone calls, I finally decided just to paint it and one day restore the Green, when the budget allows to locate the original parts to restore.
As the frame had a lot of rust and most of the paint had gone, I thought it would be best to remove as much rust as I can without damaging the frame further. I had to be careful, so I used a blue honeycomb disk on a small angle grinder. These work a treat, because they only take away the rusty weak metal and leave the strong good metal behind. 3x $20ish disks later, I had the frame to something suitable to treat. I then used 3M Rust convert, waited over night and sanded back the next day.
Then I sprayed it in etch primer, followed by some coats of 3M High Filler spray primer. Sanded it all back by hand smooth and applied a guide coat to remove the orange peal from the primer. Sanded it till smooth and I was ready to paint it Metallic Blue. I purchased some Automotive Acrylic for the colour and a clear top coat to protect it plus give it a gloss. I did about 5 coast of colour and 5 coast of clear, sanding it smooth with 1500 grit sand paper between the colour and clear coats.
I also had some trouble with the Italian BB, headstem measurements etc. To get the correct chainline for the Italian frame was a nightmare, all the BBs and cranksets were made for modern or jap built frames. I ended up working it out by moving the chain ring to the inside of a cheap crankset.
Components are as follows:
- Funn XC Flat Bar
- Ritchey Comp 4-Axis White Stem
- Profile Quill To Threadless Stem Converter
- 1″ Alloy Threaded Road Bike Headset Sealed
- UNO Road Bike Seatpost 300mm Silver
- White Charge Spoon Saddle with Cromo Rails
- Shimano UN55 Square Taper Bottom Bracket – 70 x 107mm – Italian Thread
- LASCO Track Fixie Crank Crankset 165mm 46T
- Track Bike YBN MK747 Kool Chain Blue
- Reid Deep V J13 Fixie/Singlespeed Wheels Flip Flop
- Vittoria Zaffiro Clincher Tyres
I also had a lot of problems with the seat post size. I bought 3 seat posts before I finally found the correct size. 26.2mm. Even measuring with a digital caliper, the seat post tube was not 100% round, after purchasing a 26.4mm, it would not fit. This blew the build at 2 months alone. It was a pain.
Liking the new modern headsets over the old quill headset, I looked for a way to convert it. I found very easily it can be done with a Quill To Threadless Stem Converter. I bought the brand Profile for around $25 AUD. Nice little unit, easy to fit and worked a treat. This also allowed me to fit the modern flat bar.
The wheelset is from Reid, for $80 AUD with rear sprocket, and free wheel sprocket. I’m running a 46-18 fixed. This is good for roughly 30kph at 90 cadence, which is my average on my TCR. The wheelset is OK for the price, although I do plan to update at a later stage when the budget allows.
The build was very satisfying, and I enjoyed doing it. There was some headache on the way but I am very happy with the result. The total build price for the bike was just under $500 with no brakes, so to those who find a roadside bike, or come across a old frame, I recommend you do it for the hobbie, and the feeling of satisfaction at the end. If you are looking for a fixie just to ride I would look at buying a built one, or the Reid / Cycling Deals complete unit. These come with all the gear, and have brakes.
Time to ace the skid stops.