Coney Island Love Child
This bicycle is a French (Handlebars) and Italian (Frame) love child. It started as a bare frame I’ve had hanging up in the basement for five years. I purchased it up in Toronto from a used bike dealer back when Yellow Haus was still in a yellow house and doing vintage-only. Bottecchia has been around since about 1924, known mostly for their high-end road bikes. This Mixte frame departs from that charge. I think they were taking a swipe at some of the bike-boom market during the late sixties/early seventies. Still around today, Bottecchia is producing everything from high end road to fat bikes to electric city bikes.
Brakes, hubs, crankset, derailleur, stem and cable bits all came from our vintage parts bins. The wheels are vintage high flange, rebuilt and laced to a modern polished SUN CR-18 rim. The hubs rebuilt super nice and spin for days…
Originally designed around a 27” wheel, this frame provides some nice tire clearance for the 38mm Schwalbe Little Big Ben’s. They’ll be nice in the potholes and help protect against urban debris. I just so happened to have an Italian threaded bottom bracket that I had mistakenly ordered a couple years back. Other new parts that rounded out the build: Velo Orange Belleville bars, MKS pedals, Diacompe friction shifter, Diacompe inverse brake levers, salmon brake pads, 6 speed freewheel, take-off Linus saddle, standard seatpost. I love the way this fairly rare stem, with the integrated shifter braze-ons, fits the build.
At one point I was a little stumped with finding the right cable hanger for the rear brake. The hangers for mixte frames are somewhat specific and may only be available used or NOS at this point? I couldn’t find any through my usual host of distributors and typically I can find just about anything. Long story short we re-shaped one of the tab ends to fit this brake, gave the cable a twist and improvised a stop with 12 gauge copper wire. This gave everything the right shape and compatibility. All said and done, I was delighted to have it work with parts I had on hand (and I think it looks rather nice).
I had one charge on creating the build; try to keep excess weight to a minimum. Ivy and Ben (this is Ivy’s bike) have a second story walk-up in Coney Island so I did my best to stay true to her idea of a reasonable bike to lug up and down stairs. I had to fight off urges for a porteur rack, Brooks saddle, kickstand and fenders. We also wanted to make an attempt at sneaking in under-the-radar for thievery (a valid goal in NYC). She’s transitioning off an old Schwinn boat anchor, so this bike is meant to be a breath of fresh air. Complete it weighs just north of 25 pounds…. respectable considering the platform.
The ride is plush and smooth on the 38mm tires, and everything built up super solid. This will be a surprise for Ivy when she returns from visiting family on the left coast. I think she’ll be pleased.