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Clara brand bicycle?

Old 06-08-21, 03:24 PM
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Clara brand bicycle?

Anyone ever heard of the "Clara" brand? Made in Italy, has just enough Campy on it to bait the hook for a prospective buyer. I suspect it was a 70's bike shop house brand, other than having some Campy bits it looks pretty entry level otherwise but I think it will clean up well. Whatever it is, it's mine now, for better or worse. It checked the "obscure" box, the "my size" box, the "I don't have an orange road bike" box and the "price isn't too crazy" box so I took a gamble on it. If nothing else it will look good next to the Gitane Interclub and Nissan Cherry.



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Old 06-08-21, 03:30 PM
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Ouch on that left brake lever cable...and a left handed rider set up?

very cool looking...

Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
Anyone ever heard of the "Clara" brand? Made in Italy, has just enough Campy on it to bait the hook for a prospective buyer. I suspect it was a 70's bike shop house brand, other than having some Campy bits it looks pretty entry level otherwise but I think it will clean up well. Whatever it is, it's mine now, for better or worse. It checked the "obscure" box, the "my size" box, the "I don't have an orange road bike box" and the "price isn't too crazy" box so I took a gamble on it. If nothing else it will look good next to the Gitane Interclub and Nissan Cherry.



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Old 06-08-21, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Ouch on that left brake lever cable...and a left handed rider set up?

very cool looking...
In Italy that is how bikes are set up, brake-wise: left-rear, right-front.

+1 on the cool looks. I like it! Looking forward to seeing it cleaned up.
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Old 06-08-21, 04:31 PM
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Apparently Clara is not a well-known brand or shop, so it may well be a product from one of the larger Italian manufacturers, in which case juvela may be able to help us.
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Old 06-08-21, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Ouch on that left brake lever cable...and a left handed rider set up?

very cool looking...
Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
In Italy that is how bikes are set up, brake-wise: left-rear, right-front.

+1 on the cool looks. I like it! Looking forward to seeing it cleaned up.
Thanks guys, it was another one of those sittin' in the car in the parking lot at work before I went in browsing Marketplace things, I fought off the urge for a full 90 minutes this time though. So far the past few weeks those have paid off in spades but my luck has to be running out, I just hope this one isn't it LOL. It's coming out of NY so I won't lay hands on it until next week sometime. Not diggin' the steel wheels and 3 piece hubs too much, I think it at least deserves some better wheels but otherwise I'm not going to change much other than consumables and that saddle. Might be a good home for the Ambrosio hookless clinchers and RFG hubs that came on Carlton. He's gettin' the 600 high flange hubs and Araya rims that came on the Volkscycle with the full 600 Arabesque group along with the rest of the Arabesque. I think this acquisition is the cork in the bottle on any more bike buying though. I have a lot of bikes to get done!

Trying to figure out that crankset, the closest I could find so far was a Solida but it wasn't quite an exact match.


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Old 06-08-21, 04:48 PM
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While this is pretty typical of a boom era, upper entry level, Italian marque, I can appreciate why the Molteni orange would add some extra appeal. I'm getting a Bianchi-Chiorda vibe but that may just be the seat tube banding and Agrati lugs. Serial number?
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Old 06-08-21, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
In Italy that is how bikes are set up, brake-wise: left-rear, right-front.

+1 on the cool looks. I like it! Looking forward to seeing it cleaned up.
I did not know that. Interesting...! Must only be for centerpull brakes because the only brand I recall offhand with the cable points on the “wrong side” are universal?
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Old 06-08-21, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
I did not know that. Interesting...! Must only be for centerpull brakes because the only brand I recall offhand with the cable points on the “wrong side” are universal?
There were a few exceptions, but if you look at pictures of Italian riders most will have the cables routed like Moser:

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Old 06-08-21, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
While this is pretty typical of a boom era, upper entry level, Italian marque, I can appreciate why the Molteni orange would add some extra appeal. I'm getting a Bianchi-Chiorda vibe but that may just be the seat tube banding and Agrati lugs. Serial number?
I'll ask the seller to send it if he hasn't packed it yet.

He'll send it in tomorrow along with more pictures, he said he'd really like to know what it's roots are as well.
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Old 06-08-21, 05:17 PM
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I should try that to see how the routing would feel in the braking...Have to trust Moser!

i think I’d probably fly over the bars if I tried it while riding though...

Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
There were a few exceptions, but if you look at pictures of Italian riders most will have the cables routed like Moser:

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Old 06-08-21, 05:24 PM
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I can’t imagine setting up cables that long even when they look new. Who ever set up this bike took the “bunny ears” thing a bit far.
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Old 06-09-21, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
While this is pretty typical of a boom era, upper entry level, Italian marque, I can appreciate why the Molteni orange would add some extra appeal. I'm getting a Bianchi-Chiorda vibe but that may just be the seat tube banding and Agrati lugs. Serial number?
Pulled up pics of 70's Chiordas and I think you called it right out of the gate. Wonder who sold "Clara" branded bikes. It's currently in NY so an East Coast shop I presume.but then I've had some "well traveled" bikes.
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Old 06-09-21, 03:04 PM
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I'm convinced, Clara is a Chiorda in disguise.



Now..... where did she come from? Anyone recognize this?

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Old 06-09-21, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Serial number?
Looks like 1212618.

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Old 06-10-21, 02:48 PM
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Fingers crossed Clara is currently in the custody of Fed Ex.

I found a website for "The Ski Company" in Rochester, NY and sent them a message with a pic of the label to see if it's the same place.
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Old 06-10-21, 07:16 PM
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-----

frame -

constructed with Agrati "AM" pattern lug set nr. 000.8040/E/U

upper head lug item nr. 000.8044

lower head lug item nr. 000.8043

seat lug item nr. 005.8049

bottom bracket shell nr. 022.8307

crown - cannot see clearly eno' for positive id

dropouts - Agrati nr. 000.8002

fork ends - Agrati nr. 000.8010

these features raise frame above the Chiorda base -

a) constructed with true three-piece head rather than bulge-formed

b) tubular seat stay bridge rather than plate style (chain stay bridge does appear to be plate style)

c) half chrome blades and stays

d) chrome crown

---

fittings -

Agrati chainset and headset - not shown clearly enough for model id

3TTT Tourist stem/bar set

economy Balilla centrepull brakeset; note that in this arrangement there is no provision for a quick release

do not recognise pedals; "usually" these come with Sheffield 655 or 665
let us know if you discover a marking on dustcover or barrel

most interesting fitting is the Campag shift lever set; these date from the mid-1960's and were produced in several variations; they appear in no catalogue from the manufacturer suggesting they may have been produced for OEM use only; began a discussion thread on them here: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...a-experts.html

they were superseded with the launch of the Valentino gear ensemble which makes me think the bicycle could date from the late 1960's rather than the early 1970's, although both clear possibilities...

its presence may represent a case of using up old stock

wheel rims may be Maccari

---

​​​​​only spot you might encounter a date marking would be the gear block, the manufacturer usually employed Regina, though there may be some with CAIMI as well

---

like others, would expect marque to turn out to be the creation of an importer or retailer

"dollars to donuts" the Clara name comes from a wife or daughter

---

hope you enjoy lots of good fun with this new pony in the stable!


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Old 06-11-21, 04:58 AM
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Wow, great info juvela ! Thank you!!! An importer or shop brand was my first thought. From the pics the decals look 70's, they're printed on clear adhesive film. I'm guessing applied by the retailer.

I found a pic of a VERY similar bike carrying the brand name "Gloria" in the "bikes no one else has" thread. Maybe Gloria and Clara were an attempt on cashing in on the "Stella" marque? BTW Clara means bright or clear in Latin. Maybe a play on that.

UPDATE: After very brief investigation it appears my theory about "Gloria" bikes is grossly incorrect LOL. It was it's own brand and several levels above poor Clara.

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Old 06-11-21, 05:37 AM
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chainset note -

when you have Clara to hand one check you can make is the bottom bracket spindle

its centre section may carry a marking

some of the possibilities include:

a) "57" - indicating the distance in mm between the bearing shoulders

b) "C" - indicating "corsa", i.e. designed to be used with a two plateau drive train

c) "OMG" in an oval recess for Of.Me.Ga./OFMEGA - Officine Meccaniche Giostra

d) "AGRATI" in a small block letter font

---

wrt transfers -

keep in mind the possibility they may have been applied here

not suggesting this is the case, just a possibility

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Old 06-11-21, 07:01 AM
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Those shift levers were being spec'd as late as 1974. The metal hex nut is a replacement for the OEM plastic wingnuts that looked like Mickey Mouse beanies. The friction plate did not hold it's setting well, causing the lever to slip and resulting in unexpected shifts. Tightening down the wingnuts more only caused them to crack.

We got these shift levers on our 1974 Chiorda shipments. We only carried Chiorda for that one year and I refused to stock them when I took over as manager at the end of the season. Also, the subject bicycle appears to have the Extra version of the Valentino rear derailleur, suggesting it is no older than 1969. Based on the serial number, I suspect it is 1971-1972.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:12 AM
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T-Mar and juvela thank you both SO much!!!! That is an insane amount of detailed information.

Not that the old girl is valuable but I've decided since she's so complete I'll keep her as original as possible and just do a mechanical restoration and cosmetic preservation. Other than consumables and the saddle I won't change a thing.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:42 AM
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once you have her to hand, see if you can post images of headset and crown

may be able to identify specific models...


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Old 06-11-21, 04:42 PM
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Somehow, juvela you made me laugh... OMG on a bottom bracket is funny! It should be stamped on all of my “saved” bikes!

and I have been trying to place the orange...it is creamsickle! Clara Creamsickle!
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Old 06-11-21, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
UPDATE: After very brief investigation it appears my theory about "Gloria" bikes is grossly incorrect LOL. It was it's own brand and several levels above poor Clara.
You could say that Though these days probably only known to longtime racing fans and Colnagophiles -- Ernesto Colnago's first job (at 13 years old!) was at Gloria.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:23 PM
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MM -

in case you have not previously had occasion to work with Balilla centrepull brakes they have a feature which permits them to be dual reach, i.e. they can be mounted to give two different reaches

the hole in the backing plate to accept the mounting bolt is a vertical oval rather than the usual circle

the head of the mounting bolt is asymmetrical with a lobe on one side

the head can be mounted such that the lobe is either upward or downward

searched for years to locate good images of the arrangement an just found these posted by member Skip Montanaro last fall...




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Old 06-12-21, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
................ I have been trying to place the orange...it is creamsickle! Clara Creamsickle!
" Clara Creamcycle " Yeah, now that you say that it does remind me of an orange cream popcicle, LOVED those when I was a kid.

To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, "I don't want a pickle. just wanna ride my Clara Cream sickle!" (Sorry, had to do it LOL.)

Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

MM -

in case you have not previously had occasion to work with Balilla centrepull brakes they have a feature which permits them to be dual reach, i.e. they can be mounted to give two different reaches.............


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I hadn't even heard of Ballila before being introduced to Carla! Pretty neat feature.

You mentioned earlier it appeared that she had a plate type chain stay bridge, I found a better picture showing that area and it appears to be tubular also. I hope they didn't get crazy tightening up the kickstand. That will be the one other change, the kickstand not going back on when she goes back together. I'm getting quite a collection of kickstands I have removed.........




I imagine this frame is probably straight gauge high tensile steel, correct? The shipping weight with all the packing material was 36 lbs. IIRC so I'll guess she tips the scales on the North side of 25 lbs. in riding trim.
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