book review - bikie | september 03
book review - inside the peloton | november 03

decisions, decisions

i, fortunately, find myself in the position of having an amount of pennies to spend on a new bike. as my regular reader will know, i have ridden a colnago (steel superissimo) for the past five years, and it is now starting to show signs of age (along with its owner), and then there is the problem of the stuck bottom bracket. colnagos, being of italian origin, have the bottom bracket shell threaded for an italian bottom bracket (no surprises there) which has a standard right hand thread on the drive side. english bottom brackets, conversely, have a left hand thread on the drive side. this latter feature of english bbs prevents the cup unscrewing while the bike is in motion.
unfortunately, the italians seem not to have sussed this and when the colnago was new, the drive side cup, predictably enough, started to remove itself from the frame in an outward manner, rendering the outer ring out of bounds and necessitating mechanical intervention on return to base (the bke shed). this outward movement was tempered by a spot of loctite, only this product did its job just too well and when the frame was being stripped for despatch prior to a seat tube reaming session (can't do everything myself!), the bottom bracket was immoveable, and has remained so ever since.
due to bottom brackets being in the firing line of everything (even though it rains very rarely on islay), sooner or later, this modest component is going to need replacing, though it has survived a lot longer than i had imagined it would. apparently, the only way to remove the offending article is to melt it out of the frame. but in so doing, the paint will be 'compromised' and the frame will need to be resprayed.
since ernesto does not allow legitimate colnago transfers to find their way into the hands of people who are not colnago, the only way i can have the bb removed and the frame resprayed as a colnago, is to return the frame to the factory in italy. now, i have found a way to do this, but, as you can imagine, it's hardly a cheap option, particularly since the frame is five years old and no longer a spring chicken. so i figured, what the heck, upgrade the colnago to a new one.
i know that some will think that i view bicycles with blinkers on, and that there are other fine bicycles out there that would fill my limited needs just as well as a colnago for less money, but they will be the people who do not own or ride a colnago. even the washing machine post's hero, the great robert millar, when asked in cycle sport many moons ago as to his favoured bike in the peloton, concurred with the post and recommended a colnago.
i admit, i did consider the pinarello opera, mainly because i still favour a steel frame, and it has the contemporary solution of a carbon fibre tail, steel main tubes and carbon fork. it's a bit pricey but, hopefully, i will not need to be replacing this one for another five or so years and i'd rather purchase something of quality. why then, are you not opting for a master x-lite from colnago, i hear you cry?
it has been considered, but it is slightly heavier than i would like, (my own ancient frame could do with fewer grams to lug up islay's mountains) and the rear stays and lugs are chromed. i like the look of chrome, but the salty air round here disagrees, as the drive-side chainstay and lugs on the superissimo will currently testify. the dream is an option but i have my reservations about aluminium and don't have the opportunity to try one out before throwing masses of moolah at the cycle store of choice.
so we narrow the problem (and what a wonderful problem it is) down to the ct1 or the c40. now normally, the latter choice would be a no-brainer but let's be clear about two things. firstly, i will probably be crucified if i spend that much money on a frame ("you mean you don't even get wheels with it?") and secondly, if i do spend that much money on a frame, i'm going to have to spend even more money to buy a suitable campagnolo groupset with which to outfit said unbelievably expensive frame.
the ct1 is a three tube titanium colnago bicycle with a carbon b-stay (beasty - get it?) rear triangle and a carbon fork. i do like the idea of a titanium frame (beautifully purveyed by litespeed, seven, airplane, merlin et al) and the carbon rear triangle just adds to the allure.
naturally, there are ways. bikedock ( offer vouchers to the value of 20% of the cost of a colnago (and other) frame, which, at these kind of prices, would go a long way to covering the cost of either a chorus or record groupset. wheels aren't a problem, since i have two pairs of record/mavic wheels and a few sets of mavic rims lying about. mind you hyperons would be nice but would take this whole diatribe well into the realms of fantasy, so i think we'll leave things settling around a replacement frame and groupset for the time being.
so where do i go from here? well, i don't suppose anyone really cares, nor should they. those of you who can't (or wont) afford such ludicrous amounts on a bicycle will be harbouring serious doubts about my sanity (and i'm almost inclined to agree with you) and those who bought a colnago ferrari when it appeared because they liked the colour, will wonder why i'm even bothering to scribble all this. i mean, how difficult can it be?
i'll keep you posted.
i'd also like you to remember that i am undertaking the second annual washing machine post century ride on sunday 4 august, round the mountains and valleys of islay. if anyone fancies joining in for even part of the distance, drop me a line to, or, if you're feeling generous, you can sponsor me for the ride. this year i'm raising funds for islay pipe band

Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here

any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from or

as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.

this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.

on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, ibook and imac computers, using adobe golive 5 and adobe photoshop 7. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.