Restoration Example

The story of one of our restoration projects.

Product Description

This 1963 Cinelli Riviera was almost unrecognisable when I bought it at a bike jumble. The Riviera was a clubman  racer imported by Ron Kitchen, it was unusual in that it only came in one size – medium! It has a single gear lever boss for 5 speed gears and those were not the only unusual details I was to find out the hard way.  This was quite a project to restore, but our frame painter Jim rose to the challenge using his new spray booth and curing oven and we trialled a new chrome finish paint with great results. Fortunately, our decal supplier had some original decals, now you will come to learn that with this project there is always a “but”, the but in this case was the decals had aged and were yellow instead of clear, our supplier kindly corrected the problem and sent a replacement set which Jim applied and laquered. I wanted to use period appropriate appropriate Campag Gran Sport for the build and sourced a rear mech, shifter, brakes and chainset.

One thing I took from this project is you cannot rush old bike restorations and it is not cheap. Here is why:

  1. Problem – Original selection of Campag sprint wheels looked great BUT would not fit Campag GS brakes, turned out frame was built for 27 inch rims. Solution – source another set of high flange Campag 27 x 1 wheels.
  2. Problem – 27 x 1 wheels give the lightweight look BUT tyres are rare as rocking horse manure. Solution – sourced NOS Michelin in a collection bought from a  private seller.
  3. Problem – Front brake fits BUT rear brake drop is different. Solutions – source a Campag rear brake drop bolt from USA.
  4. Problem – The Aztec pattern seatpost clamp is missing, BUT it is a part of the character of the original bike. It is proves to be more rare than the tyres and may have only been used on this model. – Solution – after 12 months of searching a clamp was found in Germany, this cost more than the original frame!

The most satisfying purchase was the headbadge, this is a thing of beauty with the Cinelli crest including the serpent and lily enamelled on a brass plate. This will be the last item to fit and with it a huge sense of satisfaction.


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