If you're a regular to the AVT Blog you'll know that we're big fans of a nice steel bike build, and when that's a classic retro one it's a bonus! One of the great things about the parts we specialize in is their ability to fit all sorts of old or unusual frames. The blend of old and new components is something that, if done right can look great and prolong the life of older, classic frames when paired with high quality parts from Chris King, White Industries or others that will go on for years themselves.
Inspiration Part 1:
The idea for this build really all started a few weeks back with Astral doing a very limited edition run of sliver polished Radiant rims, reminiscent of the classic Campagnolo Shamal rims from the 90's. So that got us thinking, wouldn't it be an awesome retro rebuild to lace up a pair of these wheels on a classic looking frame from the past. The idea took hold in my mind and I started building up a mental picture of what I wanted, some classic Italian steel combined with modern parts that look retro but work great. No disrespect to some of the older parts from the 90's but bearing performance in particular has come a long, long way since then. The other modern rim that works great in this sort of application is the HPLUS SON TB14 which is a new box section rim that looks very similar to the classic Ambrosio Roubaix rim.
Inspiration Part 2:
A quick search on eBay showed up a vintage GIOS frame that I recognized from at least 6 months earlier indicating it had been on the market a while, so sent the seller a speculative offer and was pleasantly surprised when it was accepted right away. I've always been a huge fan of these GIOS frames and remember racing against a guy who had one when I was an under-18. You know the type of guy.. the one who had ALL the gear at age 16, Delta brakes, Italian frame with lots of chrome.. I could only look on enviously as my paper round couldn't stretch to the level of bike bling back then!
Anyway, back to the present day... The frame showed up and it looks great, functionally 100%, no dents or major scratches, but clearly some cosmetic wear and tear. After closer inspection I did consider whether to go for a full renovation and have the frame repainted, but honestly there's something I quite like about the older frame that shows some use. Bikes are meant to be ridden, not hung up on the wall and admired from afar, so a few bumps and scratches which give away the frames age are fine with me. I want to be able to ride this bike regularly.. in the summer at least!
Right now the plan is to clean up and polish the frame as best as possible, which will include removing some of the non-GIOS graphics on the seat stays. The build will start with a Chris King silver GripNut headset and some Chris King Silver R45 hubs laced to those shiny Astral Radiant rims. As for the rest, stayed tuned for more details on this build over the coming months. It's going to be a stunning mix of old and new that respects the retro heritage of this special frame!
When looking for a low-profile aero rim that's tubeless compatible, light-weight, and made-in-USA, there aren't a whole lot of options, but luckily Velocity USA has a very good one: the Aileron. That's the rim that's featured on this week's Wheel Build of the Week, so check it out!