Status: In Progress
Frame and Fork: Columbus tubing (Tubi Rinforzati Garantiti Columbus Acciaio Speciale) with Campagnolo dropouts. Made in Italy by an unknown builder who put the initials DES on the seat stays
Groupset: Shimano 600 Arabesque
Wheelset: Araya rims with Suntour Cyclone 7000 hubs and Michelin Dynamic Classic 700x25c tires
I bought this mess of a bike because I saw the Columbus tubing decal in the ad. I had no idea about the rest and could tell that it was a mess but I thought that it must have good bones. It was in Vancouver so my nephew picked it up for me and took it to his mom's who stored it for me. Her brother-in-law was visiting in the city so he picked it up for me and brought it to his house, about an hour from mine. I'm guessing it was made in 1971 based on the Columbus decal which is one of the very early foil decals with the gold dove. It has "DES" pantographed on the seat stays but there are no other identifying marks as the maker's decals had been removed. There is no serial number that I can find but it has "57" on the bottom bracket which is the size. It has nice lugwork with Campagnolo dropouts on the frame and fork. The fork was originally chromed but I can't tell for sure if the rear dropouts were chromed or not. There are no braze ons for water bottles, rear brake housing or shifters. There are above-the-BB braze ons for the shifter cable guides. There is a button braze on for the rear derailleur cable stop. It came with a complete dog's breakfast of parts: Suntour Superbe Road headset, Cinelli stem and bars, Dura-Ace cranks and brake levers, Campagnolo Nuovo Record front derailleur and seat post (27.2), Shimano Crane rear derailleur, Shimano 600 Arabesque shifters, Campagnolo rear brake and unknown front, Campagnolo hubs of two different styles with Nisi and Mavic hoops and a beat up Selle San Marco Rolls saddle. Wow, what a mess!
There was a man's name and social insurance number engraved on the stem and I happened to find him on FaceBook. It turns out that they had been on a Nishiki that he sold, which definitely isn't this bike! Too bad, as I was hoping he'd have an answer to the frame mystery. So, I'm going to strip it down and repaint it and rebuild it with a nice groupset. I only hope that by the time I paint it, I've figured out who made it so I can pay them tribute.
The maker of this bike is still a mystery. The frame was obviously very well made but there were a couple issues that I couldn't repair so at first I thought it was ruined. The non-drive side rear dropout adjustment screw was broken off and seized inside the dropout. I wasn't able to remove it, so I used an external adjustment device in its place. More seriously, the threads in the frame's bottom bracket were completely destroyed. Fortunately, I found a Mavic 610 bottom bracket that was made for damaged BBs and it is buttery smooth. It solved the problem perfectly. Despite those two issues, the frame turned out really nice and I don't think I could be happier.