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Medici for a Modicum - 65cm 1985-87 Pro-Strada

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Medici for a Modicum - 65cm 1985-87 Pro-Strada

Old 02-09-21, 01:46 AM
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RiddleOfSteel
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Medici for a Modicum - 65cm 1985-87 Pro-Strada

We begin this tale with last Saturday's visit to Bike Works for their now-monthly "As-Is" Sale where frames, complete (and complete-ish) bikes, and components are brought outside and hoards of people buy them. I had already stopped by a few days earlier to see if they had anything interesting that was tall tall and didn't find anything...or so I thought. Fast forward to Saturday and I arrive almost an hour into the event, far behind our very own Mr. 66 who had arrived much earlier to scour for gems. I had brought along my inch/metric tape measure to, um, measure a friend/BW employee's bike (presuming he had brought it that day) to build him a custom touring bike in CAD, a follow-up from a conversation from earlier in the week. He's tall like myself and his fit and bike purpose requirements have been honed over the years, riding a number of bikes that weren't quite right. He admitted that he had only given a custom frame a few days' casual thought, but that didn't stop me from enthusiastically asking him a number of questions so that I could get started.

He didn't bring the bike that day.

Oh well! I told him if he could take some measurements, to email me (they have my email from volunteering) and I'll put it into the model. The challenge of making a ~66cm touring frame attractive, especially with saddle and bar/brake hood heights being elevated, is considerable. I tend to not find very many scaffolding-sized frames attractive. Or maybe I should rephrase: An attractive super tall frame can get awkward looking really quickly. Angle and proportion and 'gesture' are critical to a good looking frame. Outside of Koga-Miyata (for 66cm bikes) and Trek (for 65cm bikes), and maybe Lotus and Raleigh, not only are the choices of super tall vintage (and modern) tourers small, but well-executed ones (aesthetically) are even fewer.

So how does a Medici fit into this? Well, Mr. 66 had snagged a few choice bikes, including it. He had hoped it would be smaller, but after showing it to me and my measuring of it, it was very apparent it wouldn't (even if it would have been a fun project regardless). He offered it to me for a sum, and I agreed. [I will not disclose the amount, but let's just say Bike Works had their reasons for wanting it gone, outside of it opening up more space]

Part of that agreement was that anything hanging off it would be his, which I had no problem with. I'm in it for the frameset!

Here's what I brought home, er, to his home to wrestle a stuck stem and seatpost out of:


Kidding!! Near-sighted iPhone camera for the win! (needs a new one, period)

Mr. 66 had to run an errand on the way home, so I got there early and took some close up photos of the, if I'm honest, horrifying surface rust and paint bubbling on this poor frameset. But even then, this large, regal-looking frame had presence.

Mr. 66 with the Goodwill price tag sticker identification on the stem. This bike has quite a story, and the last however many months or years have not been the kindest.


We start the surface rust proceedings with this angle. Time to buckle up!


Pleasant!


I like the rust, er, paint masking...


Yes, that is paint flaking off of the lug on the bottom side of the stop tube. Beautiful spoon-style seat stay cap, in spite of the rust. I do like the paint masking here as its primary purpose seems to be to provide contrast to showcase that cap. Warms my heart.
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Old 02-09-21, 02:10 AM
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I could show a dozen more photos of the sad state of affairs, but I shall refrain. I will be removing the paint in the effected areas to ascertain the extent of the damage. It looks a bit frightening (meaning, I am concerned for this poor thing), but there are reasons to believe it'll be ok!

So what's a RiddleOfSteel thread without a bunch of numbers? Let's get on with it!

Year: 1985 to 1987. 1984, per the catalog, had different cable routing among other large differing details. 1987 is the latest, presuming the Shimano 600 (6207 variant) headset is original, as 1988 saw the 6400 generation of 600 introduced. Mr. 66 says no younger than 1986.
Serial Number: 02600 (this lines up with other mid-'80s Medicis in an online SN database)
Frame Size: 65cm CTT
Top Tube: 60.0cm CTC
Chain Stay: 415mm to the center of the dropout. 410mm in the most forward dropout position.
Head Tube Length: 225mm
Head Tube Angle: 74° (presumed from 1984 catalog carrying over to later years)
Seat Tube Angle: 73° (for same reasons as above)
BB Drop: 73mm (1984 catalog again)
Front Center: 605mm (this is seemingly shorter than normal for such a tall and long-top-tubed frame, and you'll see why below)
Fork Rake (calculated from putting all other dimensions into CAD): 32mm!
Trail (CAD calculated): 64mm!
Frame/Fork/Headset Weight: 3250g (fully chromed fork with crown race: 808g)

I had been quietly hunting for long trail geometry bikes for a little bit now, mostly because I missed the linearity of my long-trail 1988 Trek 560 (ok, 1985 Paramount, too, but it was more subtle). I've done shorter trail on touring bikes and that's fun and all, but now is time for long trail. How this frameset ended up having it (I was expecting 43-45mm of rake, or 48mm per the 1984 catalog) is unknown to me, but it's pretty miraculous! I am PUMPED.

So...next steps?

0) Ask those who have owned and/or ridden their Pro-Stradas to tell me how they felt to ride! Also help me pin down a year of manufacture as best as possible
1) Clean the tubes out and assess internal rust/corrosion situation
2) Clean and polish the (damaged) chrome
3) Clean the frame
4) Remove affected paint where the rust/corrosion/bubbling is

I did #1 and part of #2 today.

Bare frameset. (Please note that the headset top nut is barely threaded onto the steerer--only two keyed washers/spacers were needed, which lends credence to the headset being original, even if I'd never put a 6207 headset on in the first place)


Look at that sweet low offset fork. Delicious bends.


Using spare cable housings to push back out a napkin used to dry/wipe off the cleaned gunk from the inside of the seat tube. Notice also no fancy "M" cutout on the BB shell. Smaller frames have all the fun...


The LED light is a bit blue, but the tube looks good from above.


The head tube also looks good inside.

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Old 02-09-21, 02:20 AM
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Cleaning the tubes was some Purple Power and these long brush products. The blue-bristled one is for refrigerators and the orange one is for sink/shower drains (hair clog removal). They did a stellar job!


There was dirt in the BB shell prior to cleaning, but nothing that looked like rust (and I've seen some). It cleaned up really well. Italian threads for this extremely Italian bike.....


Looking at the inside of the down tube here. Nicely centered photo subject here...


Some friendly low level surface corrosion here. And as you'll notice in all these photos, the tubing is nicely mitered coming into the BB shell.


Base of the inside of the seat tube looks about the same. No tubes exhibited pooling of rust along any parts. Good sign, IMO. You can see the clear coat peeling on the chain stays. That will be addressed.


The inside of this cable guide tube didn't look orange. A little green/blue/white and that was about it. It could be better, but at least it didn't look like rust? Both entry/exit points had their 'rims' in tact, not disintegrating or jagged like my former Davidson Impulse. I take that as a good sign.
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Old 02-09-21, 02:52 AM
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Loving ur assemblage of interior cleaning instruments. I know little of Medici, but see loads of potential here
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Old 02-09-21, 04:07 AM
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I have a 1982 Pro Strada in 60cm size which is on the small end of being comfortable for me but still very rideable. My perfect fit for me is 62-63cm. I like the bike a lot and it feels light and responsive . These bikes are undervalued imho , the frame details and finish work I have seen on mine are all top notch along with the way the bike rides . I got mine in very nice condition with nice components , mostly Campagnolo for a song (or two)!
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Old 02-09-21, 06:58 AM
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Medici suffers from its intrigue of creation and inglorious end. In between those points were a bunch of decent bikes, there were some dead-ends along the way but the core Pro-Strada product was a good one. They did feel responsible enough to actually think about geometry as the sizes changed.

I have one, bought cheap, will probably sell cheap. It will be a long time before this brand’s day will come.
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Old 02-09-21, 07:24 AM
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IMO, no body ever mated the chain stays to the bottom bracket with such style. Paint this Medici Red and you can frame your custom CAD for a wall hanger.
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Old 02-09-21, 07:46 AM
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I remember seeing their ads in Bicycling magazine and requesting a catalog from them. Received in it the mail and dreamed about having one for years following. I had a thing for fully chromed rear triangles. They still hold a place in my heart. RiddleOFSteel your original pictures made me shutter. :-) As a tall frame rider, 63 or 64 I look forward to your progress.
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Old 02-09-21, 08:04 AM
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My boss in the early 2000s had a Medici. The steep frame geometry and the stiff factory gearing (52-42/13-19) shouted "criterium bike."
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Old 02-09-21, 08:24 AM
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I sold this 63cm Medici 2 years ago for $100 on CL. I had it up here for awhile with no takers. Great bike with fantastic lugs but ultimately had 2 strikes against it, too small and only took a 28mm tire.





With the fluted seat post and all the rust I thought for sure your post was going to be stuck. I can't wait to see it built up.
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Old 02-09-21, 08:44 AM
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I can't hoard all the fun, but I try. Yes I bought the Medici as part of my now monthly binge buys. Saturday was not the first time I trying to get the frame. Said frame was at the University of Washington and was advertised on Craigslist as one of seven bike frames, no prices, about a month ago. I contacted to buy the one and volunteered to take the rest to Bikeworks, nogo to slow.

I did pull the Medici from the heap of frames amassed, along with a Bottechia, with the sole intent of being a placeholder for the humble RoS.

Well, we knew the the stem rusted stuck and with a clamp a tad of effort we go the stem to shift, no hack saw on the Cinelli. No evil saw, Which I generously volunteered to extract if muscle did not.

For stem removal I do have some resource. The local Road Warrior (I kid you not) has a deep throat vise available. Being the Road Warrior I was hesitant to bring frame and company. He has quite the hobble mostly Fords, a Chevy, various motorcycles and a countless number of Schwinn and Ralieghs.

The RoS was the brute of brutes that have ever bruted. The stem was dispatched, all I can say better him than I. Our host was impressed was laughing the whole time. OMG we trashed the vise mount.
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Old 02-09-21, 12:07 PM
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Best of luck with the renovation RiddleOfSteel. You can add a record to the Medici spreadsheet if you are so inclined.
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Old 02-09-21, 12:51 PM
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Thank you all for your replies, guys! @smontanaro I did come across that database, which helped narrow down possible years. I took copious notes of the frame and decals when I got home, in case I would be able to input my Pro-Strada's information. Do any of us know Medici's approximate yearly output?

I did read the sordid tale of Medici from CR and several others. What a time, and what characters to that story did (and still do) exist! I would say the frame detailing and construction look very nicely done to me. No dents and wheels line right up in their dropouts. Bike Works + Goodwill + condition usually mean there's some sort of frame compromise (outside of paint), but this frameset has threaded that needle and is now in a good home. I would say the paint was well done, even if the previous owner(s) sweated all over it on a trainer and ruined it. It probably spent some time outside as well. No cobwebs or surprise wasp nests, thankfully.

@Classtime the CS-to-BB-shell mating is very nice indeed. The plan is to paint it/powder coat it red--either candy apple metallic or a deeper metallic red akin to Schwinn Paramounts' Garnett Red--and perhaps swing a few 7400 Dura-Ace pieces from my Trek 620 (wheels, crankset) and put on some other remaining components of mine (7900 DT shifters, 7402 brake calipers) since I've sold everything else off. I've been compiling reference or inspiration images and will be showing them. The Garnett Red Paramounts looked devastating with dark grey anodized rims and tan wall tires (usually with 6400-era Shimano 600). It's probably my favorite look, and one that has alluded me. Firstly, though, I need to see the condition of the steel under the bad parts of paint (all 73 areas...) and go from there. I will assess the chrome and see how much of it can be masked off when it comes time for color. I am fine painting most of the fork. Don't know if I'll go the more traditional '70s "chrome socks" look or not, but it is an option I'm kicking around.
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Old 02-09-21, 01:39 PM
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A lot of bike for $335! on Craigslist
Here it is in orange and all its glory! Running 700 x 25 tires with plenty of clearance. I have since found and changed the bar and stem to pantographed Medici . I have only owned it about a year and already have gotten my $ worth. On the small side but very nice to ride so I will keep this one.
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Old 02-09-21, 02:33 PM
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So many different chrome/paint combinations for Pro-Stradas out there. Not that other bike companies were any different, but the variations are nice for year differentiation. Now if only there were catalog scans from 1985 onward...
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Old 02-09-21, 06:05 PM
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I cleaned the fork last night and did some touch-up cleaning today. In the world of chrome, there is chrome and then there is chrome. The fork falls into the former category. It is chromed, technically, but it is tired, micro-scratched, and glazed (to say nothing of some corrosion). It still looks a lot better than it did originally, but it makes me think how I'd go about paint/powder coating it. I have several options in my mind.


I do like the fork crown's design quite a bit. Fully sloping and long points. Very elegant. Towards the bottom of the photo, you can see the glazing and the scratches. Bummer..


Same scratches and indifferent (or thin) chrome on the crown. I'm 50/50 as to leaving it or paint/powder coating it. That will depend on the other chrome and "socks" or no socks decision.


More inner crown/fork blade detail shots. I know the upper blades are at least getting covered. Also: Surprise SLX/SPX steerer??? Very rifled.
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Old 02-09-21, 06:10 PM
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I worked on the frame's chrome today. After I doing a general spray and wipe down of the painted section, I set about to find the Reynolds 53-, er, aluminum foil to get at the chrome stays (with their flaking clear coat). After a lot of looking, it was in the correct drawer...I swear my IQ is over 100, folks.

Thankfully my efforts were rewarded with a chrome finish that mimics my '88 Masi Nuova Strada, '85 and '74 Paramount.


Great looking dropouts and lovely concave stay-to-dropout transitions.


As you can see here, this is lustrous chrome. Very nice. The tired "Pro-Strada" decals were scraped off intentionally. I did this with my all-chrome '77 Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2. I am thankful for that 'character building' experience as I knew how to go about getting the best out of this frameset. The corrosion and deterioration of the chrome at the BB shell still exists and will need to be dealt with, but it's not the end of the world.


I love the bridge-to-stay "lugs" (or connection) as that sort of thing always classes up a frame. Unfortunately the rust gods took some chrome for a sacrifice here, so this will need to be covered in color.


I gave some polishing effort to the spoons, just for kicks.


So this is the frame's composition post-cleaning and chrome polishing. Certainly better, but a long ways off.

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Old 02-09-21, 06:27 PM
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The next step for me, before getting into the rust-affected paint, is doing a "mapping out" of where I'd be willing to start paint / show chrome on the bike. The clean edge of the tape closest to the dropouts is that point. Some very small imperfections or corrosion specks I have allowed, at least at this point. I'd like to show as much chrome as possible, within my aesthetic standards and goals, so I am starting at this point to give myself options, and can "shrink" the chrome "window" if need be. Note that there is no symmetry at this point. That will come later.

Obviously my thoughts on the fork lend themselves to basically leaving the dropouts chrome and painting the entirety of the blades. That could include the crown as well, making the fork having the most (chrome) to "lose" in this restorative effort.


I may be favoring the drive side chain stay's chrome a touch, but it's a justified position. I'd like to keep it for tradition's sake. Thankfully the non-drive side has good chrome, so I can do symmetrical "socks" if I want.


Frame and fork all together, which will help the brainstorming process. I will create a few inspiration/reference image collages later tonight so you can get an idea of what I'm considering, but for now, feel free to weigh in with past Medicis as precedent, chrome treatment of frames of this era, etc.
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Old 02-09-21, 06:38 PM
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Always fun to see a project unfold, and an artiste who is enthusiastic about the work.
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Old 02-10-21, 03:23 AM
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Ok, as promised, inspirational or reference bicycle compositional images. Image searches brought up some good stuff, even if I wish some of it was much higher resolution. So without further ado, and hopefully not getting ahead of myself here, I present these four panels.

1) Traditional red, silver/polished rims, silver/polished stem and seat post. Looking good, chrome stripes here and there, nothing wrong. Not a ton of visual "oomph" either, IMO. Especially if the red is 'right down the middle.' Certainly can be/is beautiful, but I'm looking for a little more intrigue. Still, one could have worse fall back plans.


2) Deeper reds and (really) dark anodized grey rims. These are the Garnett Red '80s Paramounts with Shimano 600 (6400) I've been on about, and certainly what has been etched in my mind since seeing one with full Superbe Pro (you east side guys know him, and I've met him as well). Generally with traditional silver/polished stems and seatposts (though sometimes not). Moodier, sultrier. More depth and intrigue both in color and composition. Certainly less chrome and more than alright with it. I'll say right here that this is my preferred composition. A darker red allows for dark grey wheels as well as contrasting polished silver ones. It allows for a black stem and seatpost as well as contrasting polished silver ones. It allows a "darker" overall composition to be offset by glittering silver componentry, like stars in front of the backdrop of the expanse of space. I would have to be judicious in my "use" of chrome, so some thinking will have to be done.


3) "Lighten up, Francis." More aggressive or modern components with (generally) white saddle and/or bar tape. Still a bit of a medley here, but you get the idea. Black stem + seatpost contrasting with white saddle + bar tape. I am a fan of the look for sure. The 70th Anniversary Paramount has long been a favorite of mine in this grouping.


4) Crimson & Black. Fierce reds combine with stealth blacks to make the most visually compelling compositions. Passion and weapons-grade speed. The most modern of the groupings. This would be fun to do, but I'd need to buy literally all modern components and wheels to make it work. Not really chomping at the bit to do so, but one never knows. Even for someone as heretically-inclined as me, finding the right modern pieces to put on a Medici is difficult. And expensive, if I'm honest...

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Old 02-10-21, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Ok, as promised, inspirational or reference bicycle compositional images. Image searches brought up some good stuff, even if I wish some of it was much higher resolution. So without further ado, and hopefully not getting ahead of myself here, I present these four panels.

3) "Lighten up, Francis." More aggressive or modern components with (generally) white saddle and/or bar tape. Still a bit of a medley here, but you get the idea. Black stem + seatpost contrasting with white saddle + bar tape. I am a fan of the look for sure. The 70th Anniversary Paramount has long been a favorite of mine in this grouping.
The top right and middle left have my vote.

I'm kind of surprised how much I like the silver rim + black spokes.
But a medium aero dark grey rim with a nice and contrasting skinwall would work too.

As for the red, I like the one on the Basso, Schwinn Paramount and Colnago.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:16 AM
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It seems rechroming is out of the question and if you want Project Red Bike to include chrome, that will be required if that Medici is to retain its Medici-ness. I vote solid Candy Apple Red. Keep only the chrome where the wheels will take the paint off anyway. AND I vote wet paint. Preserve, touch up and ride while you search for the right volunteer to spray it.


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Old 02-10-21, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
The top right and middle left have my vote.

I'm kind of surprised how much I like the silver rim + black spokes.
But a medium aero dark grey rim with a nice and contrasting skinwall would work too.

As for the red, I like the one on the Basso, Schwinn Paramount and Colnago.
It's that slightly darker than "regular" red that really seems to help component choice, IMO. I've had a few "regular" red bikes, and they've looked great, but sometimes I found myself going "It's nice, but I can't 'do anything' with it." Then again, I seem to have done quite a lot with my bikes, though that was several years ago and skill, sentiment, and reality seem to have a way of not lining things up. Maybe it's a "I can't get the exact look I want because I want the bike to be a different color." Who knows. Thanks, brain!

I should probably post them for reference as well. Here are various incarnations of my former '85 Schwinn Peloton:







1985 Specialized Allez SE:


1989 Cannondale SR800 (66cm):
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Old 02-10-21, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
The next step for me, before getting into the rust-affected paint, is doing a "mapping out" of where I'd be willing to start paint / show chrome on the bike. The clean edge of the tape closest to the dropouts is that point. Some very small imperfections or corrosion specks I have allowed, at least at this point. I'd like to show as much chrome as possible, within my aesthetic standards and goals, so I am starting at this point to give myself options, and can "shrink" the chrome "window" if need be. Note that there is no symmetry at this point. That will come later.

Obviously my thoughts on the fork lend themselves to basically leaving the dropouts chrome and painting the entirety of the blades. That could include the crown as well, making the fork having the most (chrome) to "lose" in this restorative effort.


I may be favoring the drive side chain stay's chrome a touch, but it's a justified position. I'd like to keep it for tradition's sake. Thankfully the non-drive side has good chrome, so I can do symmetrical "socks" if I want.


Frame and fork all together, which will help the brainstorming process. I will create a few inspiration/reference image collages later tonight so you can get an idea of what I'm considering, but for now, feel free to weigh in with past Medicis as precedent, chrome treatment of frames of this era, etc.
Suggest overlay a drive side crank to point the chainring overlap. the chrome termination behind the big ring might be best.
I would retain the drive side chainstay chrome. Retain the dropout faces in chrome. Have to think about where to begin paint at the end of the chrome.
I have a Masi Prestige with a chrome chainstay, will have to double chech how they did the transition to paint.

I also would retain the crown chrome if good enough, paint to the dropout faces.
Or, having a fork redone is not as traumatic a deal.
Medici went to full chrome forks pretty early on, easier to inventory... follow the Colnago leader...

I would introduce primer / sealer to the top tube cable ports with a brush before starting to spray.

decide on the utility of the pump peg. Secure a pump before you spray, so it can be color matched if desired. Test fit.
that pump peg is my least favorite looking feature, there are other nibs that look more attractive.
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Old 02-10-21, 04:24 PM
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@Classtime I am glad that earlier Medicis weren't as chromed (if any at all) as that precedent helps me, in a way, not feel as bad for moving away from originality (as if the rust didn't already take that away in the first place). And as my reference image groupings showed, plenty of mid-'80s bikes in all red with minimal or no chrome, and they look great. I'd still like to paint the lug windows, so that is a consideration for a wet paint job, or I can carefully do it post-powder coat if I decide to go that route.
@repechage I can measure the radius of my 53T ring on my Trek 620 and see how that lines up with where I have the blue tape. Like you, I'd be looking to keep the drive side chrome, much like many bikes do and have done. I think at this point, that is a minimum, along with the rear dropouts. They're in great shape, visually. The chrome on the fork crown is imperfect, but a chance to have a chrome crown contrasting with the color of the blades. The inside of the crown (the tangs) are rougher in texture, which sucks. I'd, at minimum, like to keep the dropouts chrome as they're in great shape.

I know the pump peg is not pretty, but it works decently with my Zefal pump as the pump's recess (for the peg) is not too deep (at least in the frame-angle-matching orientation) and thus needs the handle flipped 180° to stay hooked in over inevitable bumps on a ride. I suppose I can always have the 'stem' of it shortened to look like the essentially stem-less (and prettier) pegs seen on other bikes.
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