Another bike project ready to be ridden: The Pescarolo. I bought this one by mistake last winter and parked it at my parents house for occasional rides. Finally I had the time to fix it.
Henri Pescarolo is the name of a French racer.You never heard of him? Well, that is because he used to be a car racer – attending 24 hours of LeMans a record 33 times – and not a bicycle racer. For some reason a bike in the early nineties was named after him. And for some other reasons I thought that this would be a fabulous Italian steel bike.
Well after having now some experience with bikes I have to confess that this isn’t a very good bike. Well it is size 54 cm which doesn’t fit me at all. The frame is made out of Vitus 999 tubing, quality wise two notches up the standard of water pipes (say: Reynolds 501 or Columbus Aelle). Non butted, plain gauge. So the bike is pretty heavy with 11.1 kg. The components are mostly Shimano Exage 300; this is the Nineties equivalent to Sora and Tiagra. From the stamping one can see that the bike was built in 1991. But I like the Biopace chain rings, as I had them on my first Panasonic racing bike and also the old, shining Alesa 913 rims are good looking things. The handle bar is from a now defunct German company called Friko.
I completely de-assembled the bike with the exception of the headset and the bottom bracket as they were still in good shape, in order to clean the frame. That was one messy and filthy piece of heavy steel and it took me quite some time and massive amounts of brake cleaner to get the job done. The amount of brake cleaner used today has destroyed more of the ozone layers I would guess, that one can ever use this bike to make up for automotive traffic. Never mind. However, below all the filth was rust and it wasn’t possible to get rid of that, neither to repaint the frame, so I left it as it was. Now I think that it has some nice patina which resembles the general state of affairs in the city of Bremen.
I then started working on a new handle bar tape (I ran out of orange bar tapes), new brake and shift wires (Jagwire) and replaced the aging brake pads with good Shimano new ones.
I worked on the drive system and spend another spray can trying to clean the chain but it was impossible. In the end I threw it away and bought a new one. Then I worked on the drive system.
After cleaning the rims and greasing the bearings and trueing, I assembled everything without tires and started to adjust brakes and derailleurs. To give the bike some nice and individual touch, I added red end caps to all wires and one red chain ring screw.
I had to make some additional purchases at Stadler bike shop in Bremen so I drove there and discovered some cheap tires and a cheap chain or replacement. I also found some nice toe clip straps, originally I had planned to use simple and plain platform pedals, but the original Shimano 600 pedals were still in good shape and with new white straps they look well.
After more cleaning and adjustments the bike was ready at 6 PM today and after making a short test ride, I invited my son to ride around the block.
Both of us are very pleased with the result. Henri however prefers his Giant bike with rapid fire shifters, mainly because he isn’t used to use downtube shifters. I told him how to shift but he cannot remove his right hand from the handle bar for fear of falling, so he tried to shift the rear derailleur by using his left hand – which looked incredibly dangerous.
Today I had thousand more important things to do than to fix this bike. I also spend about 90 Euro on the original bike purchase plus another 90 Euro on components plus about 8 hours of time and it is rather unlikely that somebody will buy the bike for more than a 100 Euro in Bremen. But I immensely enjoyed the day, concentrating only on one task, working with my hands and my brain and having a perfect result of a day’s work ready in the evening. Within half a year Iearned all this bike mechanic stuff and that is much more than I expected.
If you want to buy it: 200 Euro may be much but you will get a very solid bike with all consumables newly installed. There are also fixation points at the rear and in the front for mudguards, so the bike will bring you through bad weather as well.
It’s now a nice bike. But with two Olmos coming back from the paintshop soon, I need some space in the garage to built up the next projects.