Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Tin Donkey Restored: A Lucky Friday the 13th

It even has my name on it...

My first hyper-expensive bike (or so it seemed to me at the time) was my magnificent custom-built 1998 Marinoni Ciclo sport-touring bike. This is the Original Tin Donkey and I have written on my blog extensively about the trips I undertook on my British Racing Green bicycle. It was introduced to the blog here and in addition to riding throughout Germany, doing the Tour of Flanders, cycling in Sicily and Mallorca and along the Camino de Santiago, I have done the Swiss Alps, the 11 City Tour of East Friesland in the Netherlands and the legendary Stelvio climb.

At the very end of March I took the bicycle, which was showing some wear and tear from around 25,000 kms of touring, back to the factory to be refinished. It was a bit strange carrying the dented, scratched and stripped frame into the place of its birth, but I knew it would be well taken care of.

A few weeks later, the frame was sent back to me by truck. The people at Marinoni had taken out the headset and removed the fork, repaired the dent in the top tube, repainted the bicycle in close-to-original colours (the BRG is a little bluer than the 1998 version was), put on new Columbus decals and Marinoni lettering, added a headtube badge (previously there had just been a decal), and then reinstalled the headset and fork. It was carefully packed up and shipped back and my total bill was just over C$ 200, which seems like an excellent value to me.

In the meantime I had painstakingly polished all the bright Campagnolo parts, and even used rubbing alcohol on the rims to get out the old brake pad rubber and clean the metal. I reassembled most of the bicycle, taking great pains not to risk scratching the paint, and then I walked it over to Full Cycle, my local bike shop, for reinstallation of the bottom bracket and crankset, new cabling and a new chain. The work was done ahead of schedule and when I picked it up today I was delighted.

Once home, I installed the classic Cinelli white cork tape (nothing else will do!) and set up the Garmin GPS305, which can be used for three different bicycles. I had bought an extra cadence sensor on E-Bay so now both the Tarmac and the Marinoni are set up with the GPS.

After taking the photos you see here, I got on the bike and did a short 12 km ride to see if everything was working. I had to stop and raise the seatpost a bit but otherwise the shakedown ride was great. I love the smooth, comfortable ride of this bicycle. It is nowhere near as responsive as the Tarmac but equally a pleasure to ride. The Campy parts, while not the top end, are really good and still work almost as well as when they were new. The polished parts, particularly the chainrings, look dazzling.

I want to do some multi-day tours with the Marinoni. It has earned the right to do some relaxing miles in the years ahead. So have I, I suppose. And next year I will bring it back to Cirque du Cyclisme, which I passed up this year for the Rideau Lakes Tour and I will be the envy of the crowds.

7 comments:

Groover said...

That's a very good looking bike.

Cycling Phun said...

She sure looks like a beauty man! Here's to many great rides!

Sprocketboy said...

Thank you! Although I get a strange feeling when I ride this bike that perhaps the modern, carbon ultralight bike I ride most of the time is, uh, unnecessary.

Judi said...

Sweet. My b/f would totally drool.

bikingbadger said...

Shiny parts that you took off make me feel better than new parts. I did a super clean of my bike this weekend and I'm sure she was riding much faster this morning. She must enjoy being pampered.

Sprocketboy said...

Le Blaireau,

cleaning your bike is always therapeutic for you and yields results for the bike. The other day I was looking at my Specialized Riders' Club jersey and realized that inside the collar it says:" A clean bike is a happy bike, and a happy bike is a fast bike." This is a deep philosophical truth, I think. I spent some time cleaning and polishing the Campagnolo parts for the Marinoni. Even though there are a few scratches, it all added to the glowing patina of use. New parts, particularly with all those carbon bits, would not have looked the same.

Richard said...

Beautiful M. I have a 22 years old SL that I adore and ride everyday.