Tuesday, October 14, 2014

1986 Cunningham Racer

This bike is hardly news to anyone, but at least it finally got a proper set of photos. This is my personal 1986 Cunningham, aka. Kirby (named after it's previous owner). 

For those of you following along you might remember what Kirby looked liked when I picked him up just about a year ago.

Overall the bike was very complete with spare parts to boot and in overall very good shape. It had been sitting around for a few years and was a little neglected, but the foundation was there. It didn't take much more than a toothbrush and some patience to get it back up and running.

The build is for the most part the same as when I received it. Gone are the Shimano 6206 cranks (180s and showing minor cracks), Dia Compe brake levers, Avocet touring saddle along with the bar ends and rack. I decided to keep the Shimano M730 grouppo as the previous owner performed that upgrade while he had it, so I felt it was fitting to keep it that way. The build is as follows

Cunningham Racer frame 
Potts Type 2 fork
Cunningham - stem, bars, modified Hi-e hubs, roller cam brakes, oversize seatpost with Campagnolo adjustable head, steering angle limiter
Dura Ace freewheel with 600ex cogs
Specialized flag cranks with Specialized chainrings
Shimano M730 shifters, brake levers and derailleurs
Chris King headset
Unicanitor saddle and machined down Magura grips

In my opinion the end result looks great, while maintaing a nice level of original patina.

I should have photographed with the yellow label GCEs, but this is the rider set and I didn't feel like taking them off one more time. I'm still learning how to properly dial in the Roller Cams and these earlier versions are a bit tougher. I may have to go back to using vintage brake cables as the 1.6mm modern cable slips through the cam.

The bike came with two sets of wheels. The previous owner was using the Grease Guard version when I got it, but the rims had some cracked eyelets and the hubs were in worse shape. Among the spare parts I found some replacement bearings from Charlie, so I cleaned up the original wheels used them instead.

While working on this bike I have really come to appreciate all the special touches that make these bikes so unique. The amount of work that went into creating each one of these machines is truly remarkable, and really stands in a class of its own.

Vintage Scott Mathauser brak pads front and rear, still do the trick! I may go all gradnma on this bike and put the roller cam boot back on in the rear. I end up doing a lot of creek crossings out here and it just kicks too much sand in there causing the brake to get a bit crunchy.

Custom Hi-e rear hub with large inner flange. Modified by CC of course, and I'm glad as changing bearings in those hubs is a huge PITA without these mods.

Beautiful work on the top tube gusset. I never get tired of looking at that.

I bit I still have to track down is an original CC made QR lever. The previous owner didn't like it and asked CC to replace it with the garish (by comparison) Suntour made lever.

Grease Guard bottom bracket, rear RC dirt shield, custom made cable routing... it's all so freaking cool!!

It's all in the details; beautifully filed down welds on the top tube gusset.

The business end. I still need to switch the brake levers around (I run moto routing on most of my bikes), adjust the reach and find a nicer cap for the stem. The Velox cap is not quite elegant enough for this bike, but it's better than nothing.

Custom made oversize seatpost utilizing a Campagnolo adjustable seat post head. CC had designed a very sleek fixed angle seatpost which was common on many Cunninghams in that time. The original owner wanted a little more flexibility so he requested that the bike come with an adjustable head post.

The bike came with a nice pile of receipts documenting its maintenance history at Pt. Reyes. It's not very common that owner keep all of that paperwork, which makes finding a bike like this all the more special in my book.

Water bottle mounts that appear to serve  double duty as brake cable guides, or at the very least ensure that the brake cable doesn't get pinched by a water bottle cage.

According to the letters that accompanied the bike (between CC and the previous owner), CC made up this steering limiter based off a sketch made by previous owner after an accident resulting in the brakes hitting the frame. Perhaps it's not the first time CC made this, but still a neat piece of history.

1 comment:

  1. It's very nice I'd I'd kill to own one but failing that I'll have to fake a lookalike .
    Is anyone making reproduction frame or parts ?
    I particularly like the curved headstem and the drops had a nove outward curve to them .
    Would have been great if you outlined what parts CC used to manufacture his art .