1985 Trek 770 Review

Today, we speak of a new offering from Trek, with state of the art technology.

  • Double-butted Reynolds 531 tubing
  • Campagnolo Super Record drivetrain, with 12 forward speeds!
  • Campagnolo Super Record brakes.
  • Campagnolo Super Record downtube shifters.
  • Campagnolo Super Record seatpost.
  • Cinelli stem and one-piece aluminum bars.
  • Flat-top fork with Tange C-14 cast crown.
  • Investment-cast dropouts and lugs.
  • Concor saddle.
  • Factory-advertised weight of 19 pounds.
  • If we could do color photos, you’d see the eye-searing Pink finish…

Ok, ok.  So it isn’t 1985.  If it was 1985, I would not be able to straddle a 56cm bike.  It’s 2014.  Let’s revert back to color.

This is the top-of-the-line Trek road bike from 1985.  This is the Madone 7 of 1985.  It is a recently acquired ride for me, and the reason for the acquisition is simple: I’m incredibly spoiled.  I’ve spent my riding “career” on the dreamiest bikes around.  I’ve never had a road bike with fewer than 20 speeds, nor have I had a road bike that lacked integrated shifting.  Ever.  I’ve never had a drop-bar bike that wasn’t either carbon-fiber or titanium.  I have no historical basis to judge what a bike rides like in comparison to the greats of yesterday.  I watch old Tour footage and old Giro footage, and I wonder–desperately wonder–what those bikes felt like.  And thus, the 770 has made its way home.

This bike is all original (zoinks!) except for the bar tape, cables and housing, the hoods on the brake levers and the wheels.  Yes–original saddle, yes original drivetrain, yes original paint.  Yes.  Original.

Amazingly, it weighs 22 pounds.  More than 8 of those 22 pounds are the portly 36h cheapo Shimano hubs, Wolber rims, SS spokes, cheap tubes, and 25c Specialized tires.

So what are my plans?  Sandblast and powder coat?  New decals?  Update to Di2?

No.  The plans are simple.  It has a few small maintenance items needed (new brake pads, new derailleur pulley wheels, new cables) and it really needs some different wheels (as these are not original, are super-heavy as noted above and are a bit sketchy).  Last night, I did the derailleur pulleys, brake pads, and a new seat post clamp bolt.  Next, the plan is to ride it.  That’s it.  No restoration.  No fixing the paint chips.  Just ride it.  (At least for now).  It’s running 25c tires at present, with heavy wheels, so it’s a bit difficult to compare it to ‘modern’ bikes that I have ridden…but that will come.  I am amazed by how responsive it is, and how spot-on the geometry is for a road bike.  I’m also amazed at how skinny the handlebars are (both in width and girth), and how narrow the bike feels overall.  She’s got a few scars, but they’re signs of character.  This is an amazing bike.  Amazing.  Fun is in store.


There IS a future in the past.

As I haven’t yet devised a way of taking blogging full-time, it comes last after a long line of other things I get to do, and things I have to do.  Family, friends, work, actually riding bikes…these all take precedence over blogging.  Nonetheless, I do like to check in from time to time and drop some thoughts.

Today, we’ll talk about bikes of the past, and for good reason.

My first bike was a hand-me-down.  I never had a tiny bike–my first bike was a 20″ Schwinn.  It was a dark green, with rusty chrome handlebars and hard, orange plastic grips.  It was decades old when I inherited it, and it had previously served as the chariot of my older brothers and sisters, and before them, my aunts and uncles.  I distinctly remember my first ride without training wheels…getting a good firm push down the gravel driveway, pedaling pedaling pedaling pedaling, and experiencing the exhilaration of two wheels…until I realized I didn’t know how to stop.  The gravel pile that we kept on the farm loomed ahead, and thus I plowed into it full speed, coming to a rather precipitous stop.  Helmets?  Nah.  We didn’t wear helmets.  We wore Toughskins.

At the time, my brother and sister had some really sweet bikes.  They were Raleigh Rampar R-7s, like this one:

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 12.28.23 PM

My brother had a black one, with white decals, knobby BMX tires, and these great, soft-rubber black grips.  My sister had a blue one–the blue shown in the picture, with fenders, a banana seat, and this crazy slick rear tire that had squared-off shoulders, instead of rounded shoulders.  I lusted after those R-7s for years, until my sister outgrew hers, and I inherited a baby-blue bike with a banana seat and a slick rear tire.  Those parts gave way to a traditional saddle and knobby tires.  Soon thereafter, the bike sprouted a front basket and this PA/Alarm/Siren system on the handlebars.  My brother and I would spend countless hours riding all over the farm, chasing each other, being the police, being the bad guys, and generally riding ourselves into the ground.  We rode those bikes into the ground, until bikes stopped having as much importance in our lives.  We got an ATV, and spent more time riding on four wheels than we did on two.  When last I saw the Rampar, it was rusting away in a shed on the farm.

For a period of quite a few years thereafter, I don’t remember really riding bikes, or spending a lot of time on them.  We spent a ton of time outside, but not really on bikes.  I never had a “10 speed” or anything like that–though I did steal a few rides on my brother’s Raleigh.  I’d spend the occasional hour or two bombing around on the Rampar, or riding my parents’ Diamondback hybrids, but it wasn’t for several years that I had a bike of my own again.

 That next bike was a Raleigh Eclipse CX…basically a flat bar cross bike.  A representative picture is shown below:

 photo NancyBbikes0732_zps96586340.jpg3×7 drivetrain, v-brakes, flat bars, 35c tires.  Essentially, an early, flat-bar version of what I spend a lot of time on now.  That bike lives on, at my brother’s house.

The Raleigh was a nice bike.  Reasonably fast on pavement or the local limestone paths, and easy to shift and ride, it was my first ‘modern’ bike.  And yet, the riding bug really didn’t hit me.  I had it for years, and eventually passed it on to my bro, predominantly because I wasn’t riding it.  That, and because I replaced it with a full suspension mountain bike.

I have no idea who made the mountain bike.  I do remember it was an aluminum Y frame, single-pivot, rim-brake 26″ “mountain bike”.  I picked it off the rack at Target, largely because it had a sticker saying, “Shimano Equipped”, and I had a vague recollection that Shimano made bike stuff.  It too had a 3×7 drivetrain.  The front fork was coil-sprung with no dampening and no adjustment.  The rear shock was coil-sprung, again with no apparent dampening.  I ended up adjusting the shock’s coil to basically eliminate any travel from it, because otherwise, it would bob incessantly.  My very brief ‘in the Target’ test-ride did not reveal that flaw.

This bike was heavy, shifted poorly, would barely stop, bobbed incessantly under pedaling, and was not very comfortable to ride.  In retrospect, it was probably built wrong, never properly adjusted, comprised of amazingly cheap components, and the wrong size.  (Target offered one size: adult).  I then entered another component of my life without a bike, as I couldn’t stand the dang thing, and sold it (on Craigslist, for what I paid for it).

The next time bikes entered my life was a few years ago, starting with a Trek Fuel EX 5.5, then a Trek FX, then a Scattante road bike, then the Ridley, the Vaya and so on.  But there’s a part of my riding experience that I’ve always felt was missing…the 10 speed experience.  Other than the Big Dummy, I haven’t spent any substantial time on a steel bike…and never on a lugged frame.  I haven’t really experienced down tube shifters, or 1″ steerer tubes, or the feeling of an older bike.  This–this will change.


Man, you’d look great in our (Night Bison) T-shirt.

On August 31, 2014, at Civil Twilight, the Night Bison will depart from North Central Cyclery in DeKalb, Illinois.  You should be there.

You should prepare for the ride by pre-ordering a Night-Bison t-shirt (printed with this wonderful logo):

And by ordering an awesome Jake Early limited edition Night Bison print.

Full details on pre-order are available on the Axletree site here.  Pre-orders for the t-shirt are available here.  Pre-orders for the Print are available here.  Click, buy, come, ride.

Pre-ordering is kind of a big deal.  This is the first time we’ve tried pre-orders.  Usually, we order a batch of shirts based upon anticipated turnout, and then people show up, buy us out of shirts, and complain that we don’t have enough.  This year, we’re trying the pre-order option to give people a chance to buy what they want…and we’ll print what people order.  This also gives people outside of Northern Illinois the opportunity to get in on the awesome gear if they’d like, as well.

Note: buying a shirt or poster does put you in the running for door prizes, as well.  It’s a pretty sweet deal all around.

Ridley Noah for Sale

My beloved brother decided he wanted to get into cycling.  I did what any devoted brother would do, and worked to put together for him the nicest bike I could find.  It turned out to be a bike that had nicer parts than any bikes I owned at the time.  It’s this bike:

Here’s the deets:

  • 2012 Ridley Noah, with all of the aero enhancements (split fork and seatstays, aero frame shape, aero texture strips on leading edges)
  • 56cm frame (measured from center of steerer tube to center of seat mast.
  • Currently at 78cm from center of cranks to top of saddle.  Will go up 2cm, or down as far as you want.
  • Campagnolo Record drivetrain.  53/39 chainrings on Campy hollow carbon 172.5mm cranks.  (Pedals not included).  Campy 11 speed Record Carbon rear derailleur, 12-25 11 speed cassette.  Campy Record 11 speed chain.
  • Campagnolo Record brakes and brifters.
  • New bar tape on Deda RHM02 handlebars with Bontrager 100mm x 7d stem.
  • Fizik Pave Sport saddle
  • Bontrager RL bottle cages and wireless computer.
  • Fulcrum Racing 3 wheelset with Hutchinson Carbon Comp tires.

After two rides and thirty miles, my brother had the indecency to get promoted to Captain on the fire department, get married, have a baby, and otherwise engage in conduct that precluded him from giving this bike the love and attention that it required.  Bad news for him.  The good news (for you) is that this bike is now for sale, in the format as described above, with just 30 miles on it.  This is a bike that has a $2,000 drivetrain on it.  The wheels are $550.  I’ll throw in everything else for free.  That’s right.  Buy this bike for $2,500.00.  I’ll ship to the CONUS for actual cost (professional packaging and shipping by a reputable bike shop).

Seriously, it’s a fantastic bike, and needs a good home.  Your home.  This is the bike that prompted Eleanor Roosevelt to say, “America is all about speed.  Hot, Nasty, Badass Speed.”  You need this bike, this bike needs you.  Synergy.

The bike is super-clean.  There is one little imperfection in the clear plastic chain stay protector (shown).  Otherwise, super clean.

Super fantastic internal cable routing.

Super amazing bike.  For you.