Nob’s take on a Legend’s Championship winning machine …
Nobby took five whole years to complete his gorgeous Giger Shiv build then suddenly found he had an awful lot of time on his hands. He could either buckle down and get on with his life or turn to something new. So … (in the words of Nobby himself) …
Turn back the clock to 1978. During this year, a 30 mile record was broken by an icon of British Time Trialing. The same man also took his only national championship, the 50 mile championship crown on a very bleak A38 course in the West Country on an extremely blustery and difficult day.
I’m talking of course of “The late great Roger Queen”, such a powerhouse during the late 70’s and early 80’s yet a gentle giant off the bike. So what could be more fitting than to build a replica of his beautiful all chromed Dave Russell? Sadly Dave himself is also no longer with us but the quality of his frames is clearly evident if you’re lucky enough to still own one of his little gems.
I desperately wanted to build something that Roger and his family would be proud of. The bike would have to have some very unique twists that would do Roger, his family and Dave Russell himself proud.
So the journey began!
It started logically with photographs and asking those who knew him and the
components he used on his machine that year. Mr McCammish has kindly let me
publish this ‘War and Peace’ epic on his site. Over a few crates of beer and several
cart-loads of Kettle crisps we banged our heads together to come up with ideas. A
couple of others pitched in … and if any of you are reading this I thank you very much
(you know who you are).
Plans were made, and first on the agenda was the frame. Someone, a long time ago,
had told me the original frame was trashed probably because the chrome had eaten
away the frame tubes which often happens over the years.
The man for the frame-building job was Gary Needham of Argos Racing Cycles. He has
excellent pedigree in building quality frames. His father handed the reigns of the
Company over to him so I knew I would be in good hands. Thankfully Gary was more
than willing to help bearing in mind Roger was such an icon in the time trialing world.
Unfortunately we only had the photos of Roger on the bike during his 50 mile
championships to work from. However, from word of mouth and intricate use of the
‘angles of dangle’ formula ;-) we were able to quite accurately guesstimate that frame
angles of 74/74 would be the order of the day with a 37” wheelbase and around 15mm
of fork rake (which might not seem an awful lot but that’s all Roger’s original bike had
and we wanted to replicate it as best we could). We were aware that it would probably
result in a twitchy ride with that short a wheelbase which, in those days, was relatively
long (honest!) but we wanted to replicate Roger’s bike as best we could … so ran with it.
Track ends were used (same as the original) so we could at least get the wheel in and
out comfortably whilst allowing for fag paper clearances. Size-wise we went for a 23½”
frame as I would want to ride it when built.
Hub spacing for the rear wheel was 126mm so a traditional 6 speed 12-17 freewheel
could be fitted. Standard 100mm spacing was used for the forks. A Campagnolo Nuovo
Record Headset was fitted … the same as Roger’s.
Reynolds 725 tubing was the tubing of choice, as with the frame being fully chromed we
did not want the tubes corroding away in just a couple of years. Gear lever boss was
installed along with rear brake cable guides on the top tube and gear cable guide on the
chainstay. The machine was built to run a single 57 t ring … the same as Roger used
on that day.
The replica built by Gary Needham of Argos fresh back from chroming with decals
With Gary beavering away building the frame, the hunt was on for the rest of the items.
My main source was Ebay which involved a lot of searching, patience, haggling and
background checks to ensure all was ‘cushtie’. I had parts coming from different parts
of the world like the US, Italy, Australia, Hungry and, of course, the UK. It was great
fun locating the items and waiting for them to turn up at the post office. I had lots of
ups and downs waiting to find out if I’d got a good deal or not … and whether the
items’ condition were as described on the auction site.
First item to get hold of was Campagnolo Record brakes.
Then along came the pedals … Campagnolo Pistas. Originally I ‘cocked up’ (highly technical term for made a ‘faux pas’) as I’d managed to acquire a set of the chromed ones whereas Roger’s were the black Super Records! Not to worry (I like spending money) … I got a pair of those too later. Anyone want to buy a set of these below?
Next came brake levers … Campagnolo Nuovo Records. These had cut-outs just like Roger’s originals then polished (bloody hard work)
The seatpost, which was a Campagnolo Nuovo Record, was also highly polished.
Then to the cranks … once again Campagnolo Record, but the ‘rare to get hold of’ 177.5’s These were again highly polished (shares in Mr Sheen are at an all time high as a consequence!) but would also undergo a major transformation. A standard Campagnolo Record chainring (drilled out … as you used to do in the 70s) was used as no one could help me with Roger’s original chainring.
Below is the transformation of the above cranks with ring drilled out (spot the difference)
The natty handywork was carried out by a friend of mine who devoted most of Christmas 2014 to the project. A lot of metal had to be removed from the standard cranks before converting them into a Pista version (as only a single ring was going to be used).
Next was a Campagnolo Mk 1 Super Record Rear Mech. This took a lot of time to get hold of one in good condition. It was also going to be heavily worked on and transformed as one of my further twists on this build.
After - the rear mech has new life breathed into it as Roger’s version had a slot milled out on the main pivot body but I went a few steps further as I normally do ...
Next big ‘find’ was a very rare Campagnolo ergal freewheel. In fact I managed to source two of them for very good prices and between them I managed to create a ‘proper’ 12-17 straight through block as used by big Roger.
To match that was a nice slotted Everest Gold Oro chain which was all the rage in those days. This was brand new.
For the wheels we used Campagnolo Nuovo Record Large flange 28/28 hubs. Rims were the very lightweight Super Champion Medaille D' Or with each rim only weighing 275gms. Again they were highly polished. Here are ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots.
The next job was finding a competent wheel builder. I sought the help of Mr McCammish once again who pointed me in the direction of Mark Minting who had built many a wheel for him over the years. McCammish had won national titles and broke national records on Mark’s wheels so, again, I knew I was in good hands.
What a beautiful job he did too!
Tied and soldered as was the fashion in the 70’s. This gave a stiffer wheel with less flexing.
So what tubulars would I need to fit to do the wheels justice? Well the next best thing to Clement No.3’s were a set of Dugast Piste Diamond Silk Tubulars. McCammish was able to source a pair in the 22mm wide version and after a few pints of Jaegermeister had been downed by the good man he was able to offer me a deal I couldn’t refuse.
Next up was something for the posterior to rest on. We had no real idea what Roger used but I decided to go with a rather rare ‘new old stock’ 3TTT Torino Chamois/Suede Saddle. This one apparently was for the track but ideal for this build.
The smaller things were next on the lists such as toestraps … no brainer! Binda.
Roger used handlebar tape on the lower part of the bars so some white Tressorex cloth tape was purchased … although Benotto tape is still something I have in mind if I can magic some up from somewhere at a good price. Black end plugs would seal the deal based on the photographs I had to go by although red cannot be discounted. Gear Lever … again Campagnolo Record of the era which will need to be slotted before the end product can be released to the world ;-)
That’s not it though. Go HERE to see the real 'trick' parts to the build. I hope Roger would have approved.