Me and Alf Engers

How many current cyclists even know who Alf Engers is and what he did for cycling?

 

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Alf Engers on his Shorter

It’s a name I have heard of over the years and often linked to tales of his epic time trialing skills and  the different ways he used to lighten his racing bike by drilling holes or trimming excess material away . He is often seen riding a “ Shorter “ bike in a lot of the pictures when you do a “google image” search .

 

So when I saw a Shorter & Rochford for sale a few weeks ago locally it was too good an opportunity to miss , an appointment was made to go and view the bike that the original owner had used for time trialing and as far as I was told he was sponsored by Shorter & Rochford , so he must have been quite good at it .

 

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Shorter

 

Once I saw the bike in the flesh I knew it was coming home with me , things like the chrome front forks , shot in rear stays , fantastic colour and the general condition were all plain to see and made the decision for me .

 

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Shorter rear mechanism Hurett Jubille

 

A quick look around and I spotted that most of the components fitted were all from the late 70’s to early 80’s era and were all of the quality you would expect . The gear train is a mixture of Simplex levers ,Suntour front mechanism ,Huret rear Mechanism , Campagnolo chain set that were  all nice and clean with little sign of use .

 

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Shorter Hurett Challange / success Gear levers

 

The brakes are what appear to be first generation black dura ace calipers operated by matching drilled dura ace levers. They even had the original dura ace brake blocks that squealed at the slightest touch, I should think that they have aged over the years, so these have been replaced by more modern Clarkes items .

 

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Shorter Rear Shimano 1st generation Black Dura ace calipers

 

It was fitted with a set of sprint and tubs of mixed origins , sadly the tubs were well perished and a gentle ride around the block soon revealed that these were not safe to use . I decided not to use sprint & tubs so found a nice set of Clinchers wheels in the garage and fitted them , these are made up with Shimano Exage hubs laced on to Wolber GTX rims . This wheelset is slightly more modern than the rest of the bike but I don’t think they look out of place .

 

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Shorter

 

The only other changes I have made have been to suit my set up i.e. swapping the 70mm quill stem for a longer 115mm 3TTT unit , replacing the short and nicely fluted Sr seat post for a longer modern black one and then a swap of pedals . These changes have enabled me to mirror the set up dimensions of a couple of my slightly larger framed bikes I have in my collection that I find so comfortable .

 

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Shorter

 

A couple of short round the block rides confirmed that the set up felt good and the three 10+ mile rides I have covered so far also felt good .

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It’s a lovely looking bike that should be a pleasure to own and keep . I am certainly looking forward to doing some more miles on this as time goes by . As for whether it’s a keeper or not it’s too early to say for sure .

 

Conquest Saddle

I am sure like me you have heard of the Norman Conquest that happened way back in the 11th century when Norman, Breton, and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy invaded England .

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However, I had never heard of the Brook’s Conquest saddle before last Sunday when I collected a second hand mid 90’s Giant Ladago mtb bike that the previous owner had fitted. By the look of the bike and saddle neither had seen a lot of use over the years .

 

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Giant Ladoga

 

Since getting the bike road ready on Monday I have used the bike every day as my main commuting machine racking up 35 miles in total , hardly earth shattering but enough to get an idea if a saddle is comfortable or not . I have found it very comfortable indeed and I intend to fit it on to one of my road bikes to see how it is with narrow road tyres compared to wider and softer all terrain tyres .

 

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Brooks Conquest

 

As with most of the Brook’s saddles its made with a leather seating area on a metal sprung chassis with a front adjuster so you can keep the leather tensioned to suit your requirements . The one thing I did to it straight away was to apply a coating of leather treatment to the upper side and then a day later I applied another coating to the underside as well .

 

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Brooks Conquest

 

It’s got the typical hand hammered rivets and name badge on the rear face that are synominous with the Brook’s range of saddle’s , it’s just a shame it hasn’t got saddle bag loops as well .

 

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Brooks Conquest

 

I am sure there will be loads of cyclist’s out there that swear that Brook’s saddles are the best thing since slice bread , I must admit I am not a great user of their products as I prefer the more modern looking range of Selle smp saddle’s especially the lite 209 model which has the added bonus of being prostate friendly .

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From the land of the rising sun

“You ride a what ?”

 

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Panasonic dx6000

“They don’t make bikes do they ?”

 

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Panasonic dx6000

Over the last few months I have been lucky enough to track down a Bridgestone Synergy RB02 and a Panasonic DX6000. Both of the above reactions have been some of the replies I have had from people who have asked me what I was riding at the moment .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

Both the parent companies are better known for products not normally associated with Cycling , although Bridgestone do make tyres and bikes use tyres I am not aware of them making pushbike tyres , Panasonic are better known for electrical products .

 

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Panasonic tv

 

Both of these bikes are built around steel lugged frames , the Bridgestone is made with Ishiwata 4130 cro mo tubing whilst the Panasonic seems to be made with Tange 1 tubing and both provide the very smooth ride you normally get when riding a quality tube set . They both tip the scales at under 11kg so even though they are not the lightest they are far from the heaviest bike out there .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

It would be a tough decision to decide which one is the better of the two bikes as both are very similar. The Panasonic has the slightly better spec out of the pair in my mind with Shimano 600 Tricolour as standard fitment. Although over the years mine has lost the rear wheel and the chain rings are not the normal round rings but Bio space items.  The Rb 02 has Shimano exage equipment and a set of unidentified hubbed wheels that I added to replace the original Wolber rimmed items , which are finding their way on to my Shorter .

 

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Shorter Rochford

 

So far the Bridgestone has covered more miles but then I have only owned the Panasonic less than 5 days and has so far only covered about 25 miles in my ownership whereas the Bridgestone has done nearer to 200 miles . I don’t think either have had an extra hard life prior to them coming under my ownership , they both have a fair degree of age related paint defects and marks on them which I think adds to the character of a bike .

 

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Panasonic dx6000

Neither of them have mudguard or rack mounts which is a real shame as they would both make ideal winter or wet weather bikes never mind touring machines . I am hoping to get a few more miles in this weekend on the Panasonic which I will hopefully enjoy covering . At present the Bridgestone is sat in the garage not being used and has been advertised for sale a couple of times but has so far not found a new owner but then I have not tried too hard to sell it .

 

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Panasonic dx600

Carrera by Podium

You know how some bikes look like they are moving fast even when they are stationary……

 

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Carrera by Podium

 

I think the Podium Carrera is one of those bikes , whether it’s the paint job that does it or the actual appearance of the whole machine, I am  not sure.

 

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Carrera by Podium

 

Please do not mix this Carrera up with same name branded bikes that are sold by Halfords in the Uk as this is made by entirely different company who are based in Calcinato in Italy . They were formed by the ex pro rider Davide Boifava and Luciano Bracchi in 1989 and have gone on to notch up over 500 victories around the world in some very prestigious events .

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From what I can make out my bike dates from around 1998 – 99 and if you look on the hall of history page on the company web page a few pictures show the same colour scheme being ridden by people a shade more famous than me in cycling events around the world .

 

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Carrera by Podium

 

Mine is fitted with an almost full Shimano Ultrega 6700 group set apart from the brake calipers from the same era , so all in all a well specified bike . The crank is an octalink version which combined with Italian threading on the bottom bracket made life fun obtaining a new unit to replace the rather worn one fitted when I purchased the bike but Chain Reaction Cycles came to the rescue . The only other issue I have had with this machine was a rather tight quill stem that took some getting out but Plus gas saved the day but also washed away a lot of the grease in the headset so as a matter of course I have stripped and regreased the headset bearings .

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The rest of this machine has behaved faultlessly over the miles I have covered so far although to date this is less than a 100 , so early days for sure . The only other change has seen the yellow saddle being replaced by one of my Sell smp lite 209 units .

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Apart from a few little marks the paintwork is in fairly good condition and certainly looks presentable enough and a few of these marks might actually disappear with some t cut and elbow grease . The blue bar tape is a bit grubby but again is useable once I have done a few more miles I will have a go at either cleaning it or replacing it .

 

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Carrera by Podium

The frame is made with Oversized aluminum tubing along with what I believe to be alloy fork blades with a steel steerer that have a small degree of rake to them which I feel helps with the damping of the forks . It’s a nice stiff frameset that is not overly heavy and is fairly smooth on the bumpy back roads that most of my miles seem to be over .

 

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Carrera by Podium

The flightdeck sti units have a fair degree of wear on the blades but function as smooth as any other set I have tried before . The miles that have been covered so far has certainly impressed me and I am looking forward to getting a few miles in on this fine machine as to whether it being a keeper or not is very hard at the moment as there have been a couple of great recent arrivals since this one .

 

Holdsworth Professional Sl

Sometimes when you look at a picture of a bike, no matter how good or bad the picture is, you get a sense that hopefully the bike is a good one and worth chasing .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

This happened to me a few weeks ago when I was looking through Gumtree ads and spotted an advert for a Holdsworth bike leant up against a hedge. Some of the bike in the question was lost in the hedge , but from what I could see and from some of the other pictures showed this was a quality bike waiting to be ridden again .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

 

Contact was made with the seller and all was going well , then communication stopped . In the meantime I had mentioned said bike to a fellow bike enthusiast who agreed with my thoughts . A few days later he messaged me saying that he had been in contact with the seller and had made arrangements to view the bike a couple of days later. If I was still interested he would pick it up on my behalf and then we would arrange to get it to me . We arranged a meet up and the bike was duly swapped over to my ownership , my first look at it confirmed my initial thoughts .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

The frame was very light and lived up to its Reynolds 531 Super Light stickering and had that certain ring when tapped with your fingernail , the bottom bracket was also drilled for lightness and the seat cluster included a very nicely done set of fastback stays and with no lower stay bridge it was most certainly a classy frame indeed . From what I can make out this model of the Holdsworth Professional Sl only existed in 1992 before it went to normal rear stays , solid bottom bracket and non-drilled rear dropouts .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

 

It arrived with a very rough looking set of tubs and sprint wheels complete with a racing 7 speed block and some aero bars that had some weird twist grip gear shifters mounted and wired up although these were not functioning. All of these were removed and consigned to my parts storage and at the same time I fitted a nice set of six speed Campagnola hubbed and Mavic rimmed wheels which duly slotted in and fitted the chromed and drilled rear dropouts nicely . The next change was to fit some sleek aero style down tube shifters and some new brake & gear cables to see what worked or not . The first thing I found out was that the Mavic rear mechanism would foul against the biggest rear cog when I tried to select it . Upon investigation it was apparent the rear mech had some issues so was duly swapped to make room for a less pretty Shimano 105 unit and hey presto all 12 gears were selectable .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

Now that was sorted test miles could continue and a couple more days of commuting were done without any issues . A couple of days of damp weather delayed its inaugural double figure ride . But I can happily say a nice gentle 24 miles were completed around the local lanes last weekend and the bike impressed me a lot with its quality of ride and the way it picked up speed so easily and it even climbed the couple of gentle hills with ease .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

 

All in all I am more than impressed with this bike , and soon as time allows I will start giving it a better clean rather than just the wipe down with a wet wipe that it has had so far .

Italian Beauty

You quite often hear people say how Italian made products have a lot more flair than many other European products.

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I have had limited experience of Italian cars over the years and have always found them either to be built for people with small feet or clients buy them to look at rather than drive . This experience is from working at a combined Alfa Romeo and Fiat dealership approximately 13 years ago , so things might have changed since then .

 

My experience of Italian  made bikes has previously been based on a couple of Olmo’s that I have owned over the years. I found them very lively to ride and they always seem to bring the hooligan out of you in your style of riding .

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About 18 months ago I managed to get hold of a Simoncini road bike that looked like it had led a relatively easy life . After using it quite a bit straight after I purchased it , it has been tucked up in our garage awaiting its turn to get back out and play on the asphalt which happened on Bank Holiday Monday. It also received a different set of wheels from the set it was stored with as I felt that the set it came with never really fitted with the rest of the running gear , so they have been swapped for a set of Rigida shallow vee rims laced to a set of small flange miche hubs that has a 7 speed cassette fitted to match the Shimano 7 speed indexed gear leavers . I was tempted to upgrade the whole running gear for a much more modern 2 x 10 system but the jury are still out on that for one reason or another .

 

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Simoncini

Its first ride out in 2017 happened in the afternoon of 1st May, initially it was only going to be a gentle 6 mile ride to make sure no other work was required but as it seemed to be going so well I pressed on and ended up covering 20 miles in total , ok I know it’s not far, but its far enough to get a feel of a bike and to check out how its running .

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Simoncini

 

The most amazing thing is that my average speed for the first part of the journey from the top side of Wellingborough across to Wollaston via Mears Ashby and Grendon was a whopping 17+ mph , I normally only see those kind of speeds descending hills . The return journey was marginally slower as I came home via Wellingborough town centre and the main A509 .

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The Deddaiciai Zero Uno tube set is fantastic for ironing out the bumps and lumps of British roads and has all the stiffness I will ever need , it also makes a nice change from the more normal Reynolds or Columbus tube sets offered by many top bike makers . The Simoncini original paintwork is still in fantastic condition and I still like the mainly white and red colour scheme a lot more than I expected to do when I first picked it up .

 

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Simoncini

My aim is to do quite a few miles on this fantastic Italian stallion during 2017 as it seems such a shame not to use and enjoy the experience of riding such a nice bike more . At some point I might upgrade the gearing to a 2 x 10 set up but at the moment the 2 x 7 set up is fine although a slightly ratio set wouldn’t go amiss on the rear cassette . And some better tyres will find their way on to the Rigida rims as well once I make a decision re the gearing .

2 Bikes for sale

PLEASE NOTE THESE BIKE’S ARE IS IN WELLINGBOROUGH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

First up is

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Turn of the century Terry Dolan 7005 triple butted Kinesis alloy framed road racing bike

56cm or 22″ square so suitable for 5ft 9″ upwards aprox with a standover height of 78cm of 30″

Nice condition wine red paintwork with lovely beefy chromed forks just a few storage related marks but no dents or cracks .

Mixed Shimano group set ie Ultrega sti units and rear mech whilst i believe fr mech is also an ultrega unit i cant be sure , rx 100 crank with mixed rings and RSX calipers . Gipiemme t-quattro 30s rims that really spin nice and freely , new Vittorio Rubino 700 x 23 tyres.

2 x bottle cage mounts but no cages or bottles , 45mm riser stem as forks were cut low , 90mm black angled stem with itm bars fitted. Acor seat ost that is free to move and adjust . Sell bossano saddle that is worn but comfy .

A good looking bike that is a treat to ride and own .

Asking £225 collected from NN8 Wellingborough post code or could be sent via a 2 – 3 day parcel force delivery for an extra £25

Next is

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Ribble alloy framed bike that gets good reviews no matter where you look , this was sold to me as a 56cm frame , although when measured from centre of crank to top of seat tube is 58 cm or 23″ and is 57 cm or 22 1/2″ along the top tube with a standover height of 81 cm or 32 ” and a head tube of 150 mm , so roughly ideal for around the 5ft 9″ and upwards area in the pictures its set for me at 5ft 10″

alloy 7005 frame with itm spider carbon bladed forks , red in colour with some age related marks but no dents or cracks . One previous owner who used it as his winter bike for the first couple of years then it got demoted to his spare winter bike and got hardly used for the last 8 years . I have covered aprox 125+ miles in the few weeks i have had it and its riding a lot better due to new 8 speed cassette and chain along with new gear cables and some tlc .

Gearing is all shimano components with yellow ” 105 ” flightdeck sti units with some crazing on the blades , sora chainset 52/39 with 170 mm arms and a sora front mechanism with a yellow “105” rear mechanism . Calipers are Tiagra units with half worn pads .

Wheels are unbranded shallow vee rims laced on to quando black hubs and spokes which run true enough ftted with a pr of continental duraskin tyres . Full length sks guards fitted the rear one looks to have had a repair and is fitted with a built in rear dynamo fed light unit (although no dynamo fitted ).

Std frame feature such as 2 sets of cage mounts , guard mounts fr & rr along with upper rear rack mounts , takes a 27.2 post which is free to move and adjust ok . stem is a 85mm at present with oversize bars .

Please note saddle , pedals , lights , garmin , waterproofs and under saddle bag are not included in sale . Pedals and a saddle will be included just not the ones in the pictures . And seat post will be a different one .

Asking £195 collected from NN8 Wellingborough postcode or could be sent via a 2 day parcel courier for an extra £25