Knowledge is power – The basics of classic bikes by Gianluca Zaghi

Wissen ist Macht – Das Einmaleins der klassischen Räder von Gianluca Zaghi

Even though we've never just felt "vintage" or "retro" - without the enthusiasm for old classic steel racers the hat would certainly never have come into being. And we know where our roots lie. We still remember the first racing bike we repaired ourselves, the dirty fingernails and the big grin after the dusty classic was first dismantled into individual parts in the maintenance backlog and then cleaned, polished and reassembled after the first small failed attempts carried around the corners of Düsseldorf as quickly as on the first day. We are therefore extremely pleased that a German translation of a book is now available that summarizes the knowledge we have collected on the subject of classic bikes in a compact form. “Vintage bikes – how to track down and restore old bicycle treasures” will in future be on many worn-out workbenches of interested newcomers and competent aficionados.

Author Gianluca Zaghi, artist, self-taught, bicycle enthusiast and globetrotter with a past in London and New York, has dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the restoration of classic steel bikes for several years. In his Swiss home of Mendrisio, in order to escape the misery of unemployment, he has restored more than 450 bicycles in recent years, thus creating the basis for his richly illustrated standard work “Vintage Wheels”. The book makes you want and courage to delve into the collecting matter and it seriously conveys the necessary basic knowledge to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Whether conservative restoration "hard on the original" or the free, creative way of reinterpretation - Gianluca takes inhibitions, explains differences and presents the many different ways to happiness.

The importance of Gianluca's work can be seen in the guest contributions, which deal with bikes and cycling in the past from different perspectives: whether L'Eroica initiator Giancarlo Brocci or the legendary face of L'Eroica, Luciano Berruti, New York, who died in 2017 Helio Ascari, L'Eroica-California organizer Wesley Hatakeyama or Cyclomondo boss and "master of the world of decals" Greg Softley - luminaries of the bike collector and rider scene are represented here with short interjections, who with their enthusiasm in recent years countless have inspired collectors of all ages.

"Vintage-Räder" analyzes the various possibilities of restoration using concrete examples, without getting lost in details. Such a book can of course only give an insight into the endless cosmos of classic bikes, but Gianluca also arouses the reader's ambition to increase their own knowledge thanks to his own story and many small anecdotes. After all, the community of bike collectors is constantly growing, causing demand and prices to rise, but in contrast to the exploding vintage car scene, high-quality racers are still available at affordable prices with a pinch of know-how, a dash of luck and a good deal of persistence. And there are now enough shops that are competent contact points for the procurement of spare parts. Quite in contrast to the situation a few years ago, when the mere question of a tire with a beige side caused amused shaking of the head.

It is to be hoped that the German version of “Vintage Wheels” will be found under so many Christmas trees that, in the interest of everyone involved, errors in restorations will be minimized in the future. So that we never have to see “restored” Glorias with the spray can again and that the number of seat posts and stems in historic Rickerts that cross our path that have been sawn off flush and disposed of is significantly reduced.

We confess, we are a little proud that Rainer from the great Covadonga -Verlag asked us in the run-up to the German edition if we would read the German translation. Which we did with a lot of joy and curiosity. Now we wish all old and new lovers of classic racers a lot of fun with the instructive and beautifully illustrated reading. When everything goes well, an unstoppable passion begins that enriches lives. Believe us, we know what we're talking about.

Gianluca Zaghi:
VINTAGE WHEELS - How to track down and restore old bicycle treasures

Covadonga Publishers, 2018
ISBN 978-3-95726-033-8

hard cover; 208 pages in the format 24 cm x 16.5 cm; with numerous Illustrations entirely in colour

Retail price: EUR 29.80 [D]

Now available from us in the hat. And in bookstores. Or in the Covadonga shop .

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