Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finally: My Richard Sachs S&S Bike

Finally! The build of my Richard Sachs S&S bike is complete. And, WOW, it rides beautifully! When you start these projects there is always some uncertainty about what the result will be. I'm happy!

The build is a mix of old and new as I intend to take the bike to granfondo events, often traveling by bus and train. The gruppo is 2007 Campagnolo Centaur compact 50-34 with 12-26 in the rear; the wheels are strong, but lightweight, built around 2006 Campagnolo 36 spoke Record hubs, with DT Swiss black spokes and silver Mavic Open Pro SUP rims; the saddle is a titanium railed Regal with silver rivets; Cinelli stem with Cinelli Giro d'Italia handlebars; and a no-name seatpost to be replaced with a Campy one as soon as I find what I'm looking for. Pedals are the white and black LOOK A3.1 model. Also, Richard Sachs handlebar tape (a Christmas gift from my daughter, along with a RS t-shirt) which matches the yellow Richard Sachs lettering. I think the combination of black and alloy look very nice (keeping in mind I was not trying to build a retro bike). Still need to put on a water bottle cage.

How I came to own this frame/fork (size "57.5") is a story in itself. Before coming to Italy I was considering purchasing an S&S coupled bike and had done considerable research. One evening while looking through ebay (!!) I came across a listing for this frame. I thought, "Well, that would be pretty interesting to have a Richard Sachs in Italy." Not only could I be a retro-grouch, I could be a reverse retro-grouch. I contacted Richard Sachs and he was gracious enough to confirm that he was familiar with the frame (the seller lived in CT) and that he himself had done the stainless steel S&S install and the frame was painted by Joe Bell. He advised me to, "Go for it." Ms. E used her considerable ebay buying skills to win the auction. Considering that the wait time is about 4 years+ for a RS frame and that prices now start at $3,000+ it was great to have bought this for $1,200. Through another set of strange circumstances I was able to pick it up 3 days later in CT where I had to be at a party...only a few miles from the seller.

The frame exhibits the beautiful lugwork for which Sachs is renowned. The S&S couplings may distract a bit from the classic lines of the thin tubes but they do add a bit of mystique to the bike. The fork, which is graceful, is of the flat crown type with the RS logo engraved. The foam green paint with white panels by Joe Bell is gorgeous. Sachs recently told me that the frame was originally built in 1985/6, most likely with True Temper RC tubing.

The Italian shop that did the build told me that they had quite a number of customers inspecting the bike while it was there. The notion I had, to ride an exceptional example of American craftsmanship here in Italy, I think will lead to some interesting discussions on the roads.

The next step is to learn all the tricks on disassembling, packing and reassembling. That will have to wait until I return from France.

Photos: you can click on photos to expand them

From the Richard Sachs website, December, 12, 2007: With the number of orders currently in the queue, the estimated time for delivery of new commissions is nearly six years.

The Man at work:

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