alaska craigslist > bicycles

Bikes I used to have:
'83 Colnago Superissimo road racer, 58cm. $600

(Anchorage until May 24 2008, then Fairbanks.)

[The story: I bought this bike at the Fairbanks bike swap spring of 2005 for $125! I was there at the very start, went right over to it and immediately dragged it, flat tires and all, to the pay-table. Another guy at the bike swap said he knew the guy who used to race it, back then. It looked as though it had maybe sat in a sometimes humid shed for the last 30 years, but aside from a little surface rust in a few areas, was in great shape. Little 'wear' on it.

I spent a few months completely disassembling everything (except the spokes!), replacing a few things, polishing, etc. I had the wheels rebuilt with new clincher rims (by Joel Buth of Goldstream Sports in Fairbanks, and these were the best wheels I've ever had built - perfectly true, all spokes tensioned properly and in tune! - Although he, too, couldn't quite understand why I wasn't switching to some shimano freehub 28-spoke black anodized nonsense.)

This was the bike I didn't even dare to dream about when it was new (but I did anyway).

After a few years (living in Denali National Park in Alaska, where the roads are too full of motorhomes; tour buses; and transport trucks in the summer to make it fun, and later Anchorage for a few months where there's too much big city traffic in addition to the previously mentioned hazards), I decided I was too old for this bike (having had my 'Italian sportscar phase' already when for a while I had a Maserati Biturbo, so I didn't feel like it was such a shame to miss this excitement) and sold it.

Actually, I traded $300 and a 1986 Schwinn High Sierra and a 1986 Fuji Sundance for it. (I got a lot of use out of the Sundance until it was disassembled to make part of another bike, and the High Sierra is intact and in storage awaiting future missions.)
The guy who bought it was also about my age, and said he used to race these back then, so it went, I hope, to a good home.

The rest of this page is the original for sale listing, and tells the the story well enough. It was/is a beautiful bike!

I added the 3 better photos for this web page - an rjl.us exclusive!]


Reply to: (don't reply! sorry, this is just a 'historical' ad for a bike I sold years ago!)
Date: 2008-05-16, 2:01PM AKDT

Ca. 1983 Colnago Superissimo, 58cm! I figure late '83 or early '84 based on the derailleur date code and other clues.

Hand built lugged Columbus double-butted steel tubing, sparkly red translucent paint with chrome highlights. Campagnolo super record group, Cinelli bars and stem, etc...

Partially restored. I completely disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt every part of the bike (including derailleur rebuild; hubs, pedals, headset, & bottom bracket bearings, etc.) a couple winters back after these pix were taken. Put on new old stock brake hoods, CLE cables, Sedisport chain, Regina (? - maybe it was a Suntour new winner; can't recall right now) freewheel; 12-26 as I recall, and 42-52 front. Had a new wheelset built on the original Campy hubs with Mavic 700c clincher rims. The Look pedals shown in the pix were just what i was using at the time; it has the original Campy pedals with new Christophe toeclips and ALE toestraps. I also added a set of those super-short Zefal fenders - won't protect you from mud, but will keep it out of the headset and brakes. Other small details also restored - new dropout adjusters, bar ends, shifter hardware, etc. Right now it's got some Taiwan-brand cork tape, but I have a new roll of Cinelli cork tape (not period-correct, but nice), or a NOS roll of Benotto cello tape. For a bit more I could add stuff like a Rivendell "red hoop" mini-rack, a few extra tires (France-made Michelins, purple because that was the cheaper ones), one or more NOS freewheels, etc.

If you're really interested, I have a NOS pair of size 45 cheap but decent India-made old style cycling shoes with cleats for cage pedals... you could use the cleats on a shoe of your size... Or you could just add whatever newfangled 'clipless' pedals (I admit I did use those looks for a while, but only because I didn't have the replacement toe straps yet... but it looks a lot better with the original pedals!). I can give you sources for other NOS and new items for future maintenance.

Frame has small areas of surface/paint rust; probably was stored for long time in shed or garage. The insides of the tubes are fine and rust-free, and I sprayed the insides with Boeshield (rustproofer). Small ships/scratches here and there. No dents, cracks, holes, gunshot wounds, hacksaw notches, or termite mounds. There are a couple scratches on the brake levers, though minor, and the derailleurs and pedals are in pretty clean. The seat leather is a bit old, though not cracked or hard. Works fine, but you could track down a good old-style Italian or English seat for good effect. Some yahoo previous owner didn't loosen up the seatpost clamp enough, and twisted the %$@!! thing back and forth, so I sanded and polished the seatpost to try and hide that. Looks fine; again you could dig up a NOS or old replacement if you wanted.

I heard that the bike used to be raced in Fairbanks back in the day. Other than a probably lonely couple of decades in someone's shed or garage, it looks like it was well cared-for and not ridden all that much, judging by the lack of much wear on the chainrings, derailleurs, pedals, etc.

This bike would take a bit of work (like repainting) to make it into a perfect museum piece, but it should be ridden and enjoyed, not displayed. It's perfect the way it is, really.

The bike is fantastic to ride, by the way. I guess I wouldn't be totally disappointed if it didn't sell, but I'm moving back to Fairbanks and would like to see someone get this bike who would get full use and appreciation out of this fine machine - I think I'll build up an early '80s mountain bike to ride there.

If you are going to ask "does it have index shifting?", "does it have a carbon fiber blablabla?", or "how easy would it be to 'upgrade' to the latest Shimano blablabla?", then this isn't the bike for you. If you don't know how to shift gears with friction derailleurs or can't find the shifters if they're not attached to the brake levers, you wouldn't dig this bike. I really wouldn't sell it to someone who wanted to change it like that - what's the point?

If, on the other hand, you'd like to ride a bike that was made in the days before marketing and planned obsolescence took all the fun out of bikes, when the frames were still hand-brazed and the components were hand-polished in Italy in old workshops by guys with names like Luigi or Alfredo, before Tulio Campagnolo died and his idiot sons ruined 75 years' reputation of unsurpassed quality, and before Colnago ever dreamed of making the dystrophic, garish, and ugly abominations it markets today - you may be interested.

The bike has friction shifters, a 126mm rear hub spacing with a 6-cog freewheel, and pedals that you can use with normal shoes. Nothing titanium, fiber, CAD, or Chinese. You'd have to find an old guy at the bike shop (maybe a cool youngster) to get any decent service or even respect over this bike (and to avoid the 'you should upgrade...' nonsense). This bike is from the final heyday of industrial art and design in bicycles, when they gave a damn about craftsmanship, tradition, functionality, and reputation.

And, I'm only trying to milk you out of $600 for this beauty, which I think is a great price. I believe the new price back in the good old days was about $1400. Try finding one like this on ebay for any price - good luck. Compared to those crazy yuppie bikes they sell for $4000 these days that's nothing.

How handy - $600 - you can use that "freedom money" or whatever the Gov calls that payoff we're all getting to make us forget the political state of affairs. Don't spend it at wal/mart like they want you to (this, after all, is really just a big gift to the retail lobbyists and another infantile "dont worry, go shopping, everything's OK!!" command from the regime) - give it to me and get this beautiful bike. Then caress the bike next winter, check the current Government deficit, polish the bike some more, and send all those idiot politicians well-structured letters scolding them for sending you the $600 you paid for this bike - after all, you'll be paying interest on that debt, in the form of taxes, for years to come! Maybe the bike's value will appreciate more, though... And this bike is very fun to ride, unlike the Government roller coaster of fiscal irresponsibility!

Call me at (don't call me - this is an old ad!) if interested, or reply via email (but won't be on email much on the weekend). In los anchorage, near Spenard/Minnesota; I'm in process of moving to Fairbanks, so if you're there the bike and I will be the week after next, too.

Can email a few higher res pix if needed; best to come over and take a look (don't forget the money of course!).




edition: 2012.08.23 [original 2008.04.12] | © robert liebermann
url: http://rjl.us/velo/83Colnago.htm
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1983Colnago Superissimo view 1, May 2008
Olympus Stylus Zoom | fuji reala cs-7 c41, scanned with Nikon CS5000
© 2009 Robert Liebermann


1983Colnago Superissimo view 2, May 2008
Olympus Stylus Zoom | fuji reala cs-7 c41, scanned with Nikon CS5000
© 2009 Robert Liebermann


1983Colnago Superissimo view 3, May 2008
Olympus Stylus Zoom | fuji reala cs-7 c41, scanned with Nikon CS5000
© 2009 Robert Liebermann