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Vintage Serotta - ca. 1980?

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Vintage Serotta - ca. 1980?

Old 08-31-19, 10:24 PM
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Vintage Serotta - ca. 1980?

Recent eBay acquisition I could not resist pulling the trigger on here: a rather 'vintage' Serotta frame set that I'm guessing might be ca. 1980 or so?

No brazed on TT cable guides or shifter bosses; brazed on stop for RD housing at chainstay, brazed on over-the-bb cable guides, fender eyelets, Campy 'long' DOs.

62cm ctc seat tube, 60cm ctc top tube, 218mm head tube, 425mm chain stay.

Paint is of an incredible lustrous blue a co-worker described as 'candy blue'. Photos do not do justice.

Very old-school Serotta decals on DT and HT, 'Serotta' engraved scalloped seat stay caps, twin 'S' Serotta-font fork crown engraving, 'Serotta' stamped or cast into bottom of BB shell.

Clean, simple lugs are exquisitely finished and brazing is impeccable. Dropout treatment is a quasi-'fish mouth' style. 3 dots on inner tangs at fork crown.

No serial I have located so far, though only briefly inspected after pickup ahead of a very full work day at the shop today (where it is still currently stashed).

Columbus decal at top of seat tube is of old style I believe should date approx. 1978-1983 (no tube set designation, single wing dove, dark border).

'Made in USA' crest decal at base of ST.

Came to me with a 4041 Super Record alloy headset (v. smooth!), Campy TT cable guides, Campy pump umbrella, down tube cable guide suggesting it was set up with bar-end shifters. Seller indicated that it had a Super Record seatpost.

Any vintage Serotta experts out there keen to chime in, or could anyone point me in the direction of quality info on early Serotta production?

I realize this pic is a tease, single full-FS shot, low-res, and a cluttered composition, but it's all I have at this moment:
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Old 09-01-19, 03:50 AM
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I'm not an expert, but I love to see the details of early frames by American builders. So I'm salivating here

That's an exceptional find, Mike - don't keep us in suspense too long!

DD
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Old 09-01-19, 04:38 AM
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Very cool! Afraid I can’t help beyond saying you did the right thing in taking that in. Any build plans yet?
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Old 09-01-19, 05:41 AM
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Paceline may be your best bet, used to be the Serotta forum.
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Old 09-01-19, 08:27 AM
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Kind of off topic, but why does the work stand sit behind a "wall" and go through a window?
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Old 09-01-19, 10:10 AM
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Bike is likely prior to 1980. First Serotta I saw with braze on shifters was in 1976. I would be surprised if Ben stuck to clamp ons much after that.
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Old 09-01-19, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
I'm not an expert, but I love to see the details of early frames by American builders. So I'm salivating here

That's an exceptional find, Mike - don't keep us in suspense too long!

DD
Thanks, Jeff. Me and the mechanic on shift when I was unboxing the frame yesterday were drooling a bit ourselves over some of the frame details.

It's the little things! Fork crown lug points so crisply finished, for example...

I'll be picking up the frame from work in the next day or two and will be sure to break out my camera for detail shots to share.

Originally Posted by Sir_Name View Post
Very cool! Afraid I canít help beyond saying you did the right thing in taking that in. Any build plans yet?
Thank you. I'm definitely happy to have snagged this one.

I'm considering my options, build-wise.

I may build up at a single speed with some parts I have laying about just to get it on the road and play with the fit while summer lingers.

It will fit me, but around the upper limit of sizing I can dial in effectively - so I want to sort that out before investing if I do get carried away with a Campy build on this or something.

I'm undecided on a 'proper' build. NR would suit it, but my parts stash runs more towards Suntour or Shimano options...mid-80s Sprint w/Superbe Pro cranks would look pretty, and all parts on hand.

Originally Posted by Vonruden View Post
Paceline may be your best bet, used to be the Serotta forum.
Good thought.

I'll get my image hosting sorted out and post something up there as well.

I used to work with a guy who was one of the OG admins back when a couple of Serotta employees were responsible for running the board!

Originally Posted by mgopack42 View Post
Kind of off topic, but why does the work stand sit behind a "wall" and go through a window?
Quirk of layout at the shop I work at.

Place used to be a cavernous commercial/industrial space occupied by a business selling windows. During renovations, a half-height wall topped with these old windowpanes was constructed to divide the front of shop from the giant half-pipe skateboard ramp, repair bike storage, and frame shop/mechanic shop in back. The stand is deliberately mounted as far back as possible to keep a low profile, as it is our repair check-in stand and occupies a small nook behind the check-in desk on the way to the stairs at the passage between front and rear of the shop.

Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni View Post
Bike is likely prior to 1980. First Serotta I saw with braze on shifters was in 1976. I would be surprised if Ben stuck to clamp ons much after that.
Interesting.

The bike must have been set up with bar-end shifters, as it came supplied with a DT cable guide at the shifter location.

It certainly wouldn't surprise me if the frame was mid-late 1970s or thereabouts. Ben Serotta would have been pretty young at the time if this was the case, I think? Started building 1972ish?

I'm really not at all confident on the timelines in terms of his frame building career or features that might help with identification - I've actually found some contradictory info regarding his age during brief research (a 2018 Road Bike action article tells me he was 14 in 1972, but I've also seen info suggesting he was born in 1954).

All I was (and am) really sure about with this one is that it's pretty darned 'vintage' for a Serotta, it's very nicely put together, and it's a rideable size for a 6' 2 1/2" fella such as myself.

Any pertinent background or speculation based on knowledge of early-days Serotta would be much appreciated!


Thanks for all of the the responses, folks.
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Old 09-01-19, 12:24 PM
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Tthat's a special bike in very good condition. Many people think Serotta had the most evolved front end geometry, with responsive handling yet "glued to the road" feeling at high speed.

I have a similar bike, also original paint, and have ridden it many happy miles. I'm thinking yours is a late 70s / early 80 build. This model was the "club sport" or if custom measurements, Club Special. It'll be Columbus tubing. Agree, probably set up for bar ends.

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Bainbridge Island, WA USA
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Old 09-01-19, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mpetry912 View Post
Tthat's a special bike in very good condition. Many people think Serotta had the most evolved front end geometry, with responsive handling yet "glued to the road" feeling at high speed.

I have a similar bike, also original paint, and have ridden it many happy miles. I'm thinking yours is a late 70s / early 80 build. This model was the "club sport" or if custom measurements, Club Special. It'll be Columbus tubing. Agree, probably set up for bar ends.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA
Thanks for the reply, Mark.

I can't wait to ride it!

Definitely Columbus, per decal at top of ST (which I believe would confirm approx. 1977-83 window, though I'm not an expert on the Columbus decal timeline).

Sold to me as a 'Club Special' and mostly-gone decal on NDS of TT confirms.

I'd love to see yours - do you have a thread or images you could share?
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Old 09-01-19, 01:51 PM
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Here are my two Serottas, a red Club Special like yours and a later Ottrott which is a carbon / titanium hybrid frame. these are truly fantastic bikes.

Interestingly the Ottrott is 18 years old now (2001) and the red bike 38 years old (1982) yet they do not feel dated. I've ridden and owned many bikes but I do not feel the frame geometry has been bettered.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA

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Old 09-01-19, 02:26 PM
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As far as Ben’s age, he was running his bike shop, and building frames upstairs, when I was in HS in the mid ‘70s. He was also district rep for the USCF about the same time, so 14 in ‘72 ? Not too likely.
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Old 09-01-19, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni View Post
As far as Benís age, he was running his bike shop, and building frames upstairs, when I was in HS in the mid Ď70s. He was also district rep for the USCF about the same time, so 14 in Ď72 ? Not too likely.
That's what I thought...though that claim is in print in Road Bike Action magazine, April 2018! Didn't make much sense to me.
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Old 09-01-19, 04:58 PM
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obviously fake news. Ben is "our age" and still at it (serottadesignstudio.com) and still fitting and designing bikes, altho it he's partnered with someone who does the actual frame fabrication and painting. Presumeably he's still using all his secrets ! He's pretty clear that he does not support the legacy Serotta bikes (legal issues). I do not know if he has access to the "tapered" tubes that made the late model Serottas so special.

He's a master of fit and has developed a custom frame, fork and wheel system for smaller riders.

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Old 09-02-19, 02:38 PM
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More pics to come, including images of frame details - as soon as I have the chance to upload to my PC.

In the meantime, some interesting updates following close inspection this AM:

For one, the model designation decal (on NDS of TT near HT) reads 'Club Series', not 'Club Special'. Most of the decal is gone, but upon close inspection in good light the second part clearly reads 'Series'. A member on the Paceline Forum has informed me that this should designate a bike with fender eyelets, stop for a DT cable guide to allow alternative shifter configuration, and possibly longer chainstays than the (presumably racier) 'Special'. All of those features appear to be present here (stays are ~425mm).

Close inspection revealed no serial marking on BB, where I'd been told to expect one - but there is a number stamped on the inside face of the DS dropout:

Looks like XX203. First two figures are obscured. Second obscured figure could be a zero, eight, or nine - or a letter ('S'?). First obscured figure is pretty much beyond legibility.

There is a (much longer) serial stamped along the fork steerer:

BS 81280 BT 64203

Based on what I have read, I believe the 'BS' preceding the numerical portion may indicate that this particular frame was built by Ben Serotta?
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Old 09-02-19, 07:27 PM
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Detailed Pics!

Some shots of frame details. Didn't want to keep @Drillium Dude waiting too long!


DSC01211 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr


DSC01213 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr


DSC01215 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr


DSC01217 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr


DSC01219 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

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Old 09-02-19, 07:29 PM
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More pics...

DSC01226 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

DSC01229 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

DSC01233 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr

DSC01234 by Mike Mowbz, on Flickr
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Old 09-03-19, 10:45 PM
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****, how did this drop down halfway to the bottom of page 2 so fast? The thread birth-rate around here lately is going spastic!

Anyhoo, nice details! If you didn't already know, I think those are Henry James lugs. Also, the number stampings seem funny. If BS is for Ben Serotta, did BT mean the initials of another dude? I can totally see two guys building one frame - maybe one builds the frame and one builds the fork, you know? Or other combinations of sharing the labor.

It's interesting that the numbers that match up are the "203" on the dropout and the fork. Since I don't know - if there is any - what Serotta's serial number history, I can't help. But the original, long Campy 1010a dropouts point to 70s production in my mind. Btw, the finish work done to that cast BB shell is fantastic.

This is going be be one beautiful (and big) bike

DD
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Old 09-04-19, 05:41 AM
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A lot of numbers stamped on there. I've voting for a 1980 build. Pretty sure Ben built these himself, he may have had a helper but I cannot explain the "T". The red one I have (pic above) is an 81. it's a very nice bike and has details almost identical to yours. However, yours has eyelets !

If I recall the difference betw. the "club sport" and "Club Special" was whether you got the stock measurements or custom.

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Old 09-04-19, 07:37 AM
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I had a Serotta Club Special frame that I bought at the Bicycle Exchange in Cambridge, MA in 1980. I don't know how long they had it. The decals and and braze-ons differed from the blue one pictured. It did not have the oval around Serotta on the seat tube and it had brazons for the cable guide on the top tube, and down tube shifters. So, based on mostly the decal, I think your bike is a bit older.

Man, that was a nice frame. Others in my club would ride it and comment on how nice it rode. It didn't beat you up like a Gios, but it handled and accelerated nicely.

I was told that the paint that was used was DuPont Imron. A high end automotive paint. The paint job and finish were perfect.
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Old 09-04-19, 07:45 AM
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If you go Ben's new site and then click on "Legacy bikes" you'll find the following:

Serotta (Serotta Competition Bicycles) owners

Hi, Ben here.

Regarding your Serotta branded bikes: While we are very proud of our past company and the estimated 50,000 bicycles that were crafted across the company’s 40-year run, we do not have access to old company records nor do we have legal ties to the old company. While we love hearing about your older Serotta, we are not in a position to provide service or support for it. In time we hope that we can help you out, but until that time please take a look at the following, and hopefully this can help you.

Most of the requests that come through fall into 1 of 4 categories.
1. Specific Frame/Geometry information, which unfortunately we have no records available.
2. Frame Repairs
3. Paint and/or Refinishing
4. Fork replacements.

There are some legal issues in play here related to the earlier company. I don't think you'll get much info from Ben regarding your bike. Sorry.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA
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Old 09-04-19, 10:31 AM
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Love it Mike...that is spectacular.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:11 PM
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I can't offer any new information, but between an '80-ish Serotta and a 50th-anniversary Paramount, you're doing alright!
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Old 09-04-19, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Love it Mike...that is spectacular.
plus one.

I'd email Dave Kirk at Kirk Frameworks.

He built both of my CSI's and could be an additional source of info.
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