The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The other day Rick the Receiver approached me with a "check this out" look on his face and said "Check this out." He set down a box that looked just like this:

"Reverent hush" and "bike shop" go together about as well as "sauerkraut" and "Pop Tart," but here, recently excavated from the cavernous depths of Rick's private stash, was some classic old Italian bike-soul. "Superleggeri..." I murmured, passing each syllable as though it were a masterwork at the Louvre. Back then, marketing was a simple task: you wrote "SUPERLEGGERI" in red on the box and the customer knew if he was in or out. The other words could be a recipe, meaningless jargon, a cryptic love-poem, or off-color roguish jesting: pay no attention to them (especially because it actually IS off-color roguish jesting). "SUPERLEGGERI" is all you needed to know in order to make an informed decision.

But you can't just have a set of track pedals boasting "SUPERLEGGERI," you need the matching toeclips or your bike will attract scorpions and vermin to infest your living space, and your milk will always spoil three days before the stamped date. It's just not right. Rick concurred. Rick then showed me what was behind door #2:

If you've never seen one of these gems in person, they are impossibly light and dreamy (which is a good translation of "SUPERLEGGERI," incidentally). We set them on the scale and the scale laughed and said "OK, I'm ready." All Rick needs now is a set of Alfredo Binda toe straps and a pair of Brancale or Rivat shoes (maybe some Bata Bikers, but they don't accept the no-exit death-cleats which were popular on the track) and he's ready to rumble! Or perhaps these immaculate gems could stay in his museum and declare "SUPERLEGGERI" at passers-by from within their still-clean cardboard cases. Nothing wrong with that.