I got hold of a Colnago Super (sarroni) of 1982 (Colombus SL tubing). I am thinking of creating a bike with a classic gorgeous frame, with modern equipment(Veloce/Centaur 2009 groupset, carbon wheels,seatpost etc.)

I am doing weekend rides and 200-300 km audaxes.

I was told that the modern equipment maybe too hard as material for the kind of steel 1982 bikes used for frame material and as a result the frame may eventually crack and I should go for vintage series.

IS it true? Is there danger for the frame? Anyone had actually such an experience?

Thank you in advance


TheHatter [770 posts] 2 years ago

I've never heard of that before. I had a colnago master with modern groupset and no probs. I can only guess that they mean the crankset and bb could be an issue as this is the biggest contact with the frame, and if you are that worried you could run a classic sq taper crankset which would work fine with a modern gs and would probably look better too. Personally thinks its nonsense unless anyone else knows better?

mathewshotbolt [90 posts] 2 years ago

They speak tosh. There's nothing wrong with putting modern gear on old frames. The only issue you'll have is the rear hub spacing and maybe calliper fitment.

cat1commuter [1418 posts] 2 years ago

Yes, as stated above, it will be fine. If anything, older steels are softer than modern ones. But steel doesn't crack anyway! The welds might, if they've been badly done, but on a Colnago frame they won't have been.

As the previous poster says, issues will be with fitting the modern equipment.

Is it a 700c (622 ETRTO) wheel sized frame? Older 27" (630 ETRTO) wheel frames are a pain, since there is so little choice of rims and tyres these days.

If the rear hub spacing is 126 mm, it can, on a steel frame, be safely be sprung apart as you put the wheel in to fit a modern 130 mm hub.

Does it have an Italian threaded bottom bracket? These can be a pain because the right hand cup wants to unscrew itself as you pedal.

You probably won't be able to buy a "band on" front mech with a small enough diameter for the seat tube. Instead buy a "braze on" mech and a third party adapter.

The cable stops on some old frames are too small to take cable end ferrules. You can buy "stepped" or "step down" ferrules to fit.

Replacing threaded headsets can be tricky. The new headset has to have a stack height equal to or less than the current headset, or there may not be enough thread at the top of the fork to thread the headset nut onto.

bashthebox [751 posts] 2 years ago

I've got an early 80s steel frame with a modern(ish) early 00s groupset. It's great! Heavy and wobbly compared to my modern things, but great all the same. Gets a lot of admiring looks and comments around town too.

velotech_cycling [78 posts] 2 years ago

Couple of other things to think about ....

Headset: In addition to the stack height considerations mentioned above, the original headset will almost certainly have been ISO dimensions for the frame fitting, and many available now are JIS dimension (unless you go Campag Record 1" threaded) - if you try and fit a JIS headset you'll find the frame cups are 0.1mm too big in diameter for a good interference fit & though they *can* be forced in, you may crack the head lugs - it might not happen straight away, if at all, but not a risk worth taking. In addition, the fork crown race will be to loose a fit - JIS are 27.0mm internal diameter, ISO 26.4mm

BB will be Italian 70mm wide shell, 36 x 1mm thread, right hand both sides - I don't think there were any Supers made with BSC BBs. If you are fitting a modern BB, it will be worthwhile getting the BB chased and faced by someone who knows what they are doing, if it hasn't already been done. The frame is steel and the chrome from the rear triangle extends to the BB shell. If the facing is done by someone who isn't too au fait with crome-plated then painted steel (which is what you have in that area), they may chip and flake the paint around the edges of the BB shell.

Rear stay spacing - don't just spread it. In the 1st place whilst you can spread a 126 to 130 mm it's not generally a great idea on frames with relatively small contact areas at the top eye like the Super, where you don't know what's going on under the paint ... geta frame-builder to do it for you.

A competent frame-builder will spread both sides of the rear triangle equally and should also re-align the dropouts so that they are again parallel to each other - long term this will save you in short-lived rear wheel bearing assemblies and possibly cracking across the web of the dropout - both of these things arise because as you spread the rear triangle, the dropouts go out of parallel - the rear QR then tries to pull the dropouts back into parallel (esp in a Super as you'll have to do it up really quite tight to avoid the back wheel slipping on the chrome dropouts). This loads the dropouts and the rear axle. The long term effect is that the dropouts often fail at the thin web that runs from seatstay to chainstay, and as the rear axle ends up slightly bowed, the rear wheel bearings are unevenly loaded and will fail early.

Use a proper, all metal rear QR, not some wimpy-ass piece of alloy rubbish - Campag or Shimano from the period ... otherwise you'll find constant problems with the rear wheel pulling over - alloy QRs slide on the chrome surface and the alloy (or in some cases plastic) bearing surface that the can rotates against tends to compress, so the QR doesn't hold the wheel as tight as the tension on the lever indicates that it should.

Last, as you'll be doing the QR up tight, don't forget to set the rear hub bearing with a smidge of lateral play so that when the QR is done up & compressing the axle, it puts the bearing into correct, only-just-zero-play adjustment ...

kupepe [29 posts] 2 years ago

Really thanx for all this info...

Now I feel more confident when talking to the mechanic ... Will bring these issues to him and see where it goes...