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Old 07-28-20, 03:53 PM
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Vintage C. Roberts 15-Speed Touring Bike

Vintage C. Roberts 15-Speed Touring Bike
Original owner, built in 1975
Campagnolo Nuovo Record front derailleur, brakes, small-flange hubs, seat post, pedals, and shift levers
Campagnolo Rally long-arm rear derailleur
TA crank and triple chain ring set
Cinelli bars and stem

I have a Charles Roberts 15-speed touring bike. I'm the original owner. I built it up from the frame 45 years ago. Back then, if you wanted a 15-speed touring bike, there was, if I recall correctly, a Schwinn Paramount P3, a Rene Herse, a Holdsworth, and that was about it. I bought the Reynolds 531 frame at The Bicycle Exchange in Cambridge in 1975 when I was 17, and built it with mostly Campagnolo Nuovo Record components plus a TA crank and triple chain ring set (52-46-28). It's got a Campy Rally long-arm rear derailleur to handle the wide gearing, a Nuovo Record front derailleur, brakes, small-flange hubs, seat post, pedals, and shift levers. It's also got some cool details like a Campy derailleur cable guide and brake cable clamps. The non-Campy stuff includes the TA crank and chain ring set, Cinelli bars and stem, Ambrosio 1" clincher rims, and a Phil Wood bottom bracket. It originally had a Cool Gear "The Seat," but that's been lost to the sands of time.

Ironically, after I built the bike, it wasn't used that much. I built it just after what turned out to be the apogee of my cycling. I did a couple of tours around New England on it in 1976 and 1977, then gradually got out of cycling and became a car guy (vintage BMWs, long story). The bike was never crashed, and has been kept in indoor clean dry storage since 1978 and only rarely used. My son's bike got stolen a few years back, so I pressed the Roberts into service and put new tubes and fresh Kenda tires on it.

The frame height is listed as 23 1/2" on the original receipt, but is 22 1/2" as measured along the seat tube from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top tube. The top tube length is 21 1/2" measured lug-to-lug.

The bike hasn't had a full disassembly, cleaning, and greasing, but it is completely functional and ride-able. The paint on the frame is scuffed. It's currently missing its "Reynolds 531" sticker, as it was dissolved by the penetrating oil I used to help free a stuck seat post. A replacement sticker has been ordered. There is some oxidation on some of the metal components, particularly the spokes and pedals. The rubbers on the Campy brake levers are badly heat-damaged. The recent Kenda tires are now showing a little sidewall cracking. The wheels are true, but the rear wheel has a very slight vertical wobble. That's about it.

I've actually gotten back into light cycling, but as a 62-year-old man with sciatica, I need a more upright hybrid bike. The reach of the CR is too long for me, and I can't ride it without pain. I've kept it all these years for deeply sentimental reasons, but it's time to pass it on to someone who will appreciate it and hopefully give it the big tour it never had. Have it locally on FB Marketplace and CL, trying here before eBay. I have an old TryAll3Sports road case I would ship it in to keep it safe, so shipping would be actual cost of the 35-lb case plus the 24-lb bike from Newton MA 02465.

[UPDATE: The bike is now on eBay.]

Last edited by thehackmechanic; 07-30-20 at 10:39 AM.
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