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Vintage C. Roberts 15-Speed Touring Bike

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Vintage C. Roberts 15-Speed Touring Bike

Old 07-28-20, 03:53 PM
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thehackmechanic
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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
$750


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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Old 07-30-20, 08:51 AM
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tricky
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thehackmechanic Very cool bike. I recommend cross posting this to the Classic and Vintage Sales forum. That forum is very active and not everyone looks in both places. https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage-sales/
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Old 07-30-20, 10:38 AM
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thehackmechanic
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Got it, thanks!
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Old 08-09-20, 10:59 PM
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That is lovely!
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Old 08-10-20, 11:22 AM
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Billhpeloton
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You could, almost certainly, adapt that bike, with a different stem, handlebars and seat, to fit your aging body. Nothing new will be as.nice. You have room for fatter tires too.
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Old 02-16-21, 06:58 AM
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Londonsworld 
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Sweet ride!
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Old 02-19-21, 09:53 PM
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50PlusCycling
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I’d love to have it, but I’m in Japan, and shipping options are rather limited recently.
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Old 02-19-21, 10:17 PM
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Takes me back. No, I never had A Charles Roberts and don't remember knowing anyone who did but I grew up just south of Boston, bought my Peugeot UO-8 in 1967 from the Bicycle Exchange, raced out of Cambridge 1977 and 78 and worked at the Bi-Ex in '78. Picked up a TA crankset there to put on my post-racing days bike but first closed out my racing climbing Mt Washington on that crank, a cut down old outer ring and a singe 28 tooth! The Peter Mooney of my namesake then got the TA as a 52-42-28. (Retired racer. Gotta have the 52-42.)

I'm guessing you remember the Bi-Ex owner, Ben Olken (sp) and that larger than life French guy. (Struggling with my old nemesis, names.)
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Old 02-22-21, 03:58 PM
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tricky
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Originally Posted by thehackmechanic View Post
Got it, thanks!
Just realized that you are that Hack Mechanic. Just read Resurrecting Bertha after buying my first 2002, a
76. Loved the book!

Bump for a nice bike and notable member of the vintage BMW community
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Old 02-28-21, 02:19 AM
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Dkirk
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Lovely bike
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Old 02-28-21, 03:32 PM
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montagna_lunga
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Hey Rob what a surprise to see you here....well, at least that you "were" here....that looks like it was a nice Roberts dare I say you'll miss it sooner or later? Well I hope you still have that Bavaria you were playing with, I still have my yellow one and maybe able to get out this year if some track sessions open later this spring. best regards, dp CCA#70678
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