I’m so happy to have completed the full nut & bolt restoration of Rita after working on this rare Portugese bike over the past three months, for my customer Joao to commemorate its original owner – his father.
Rita remains as original as possible; the restored drivetrain is mostly Japanese with Suntour derailleurs, friction downtube shifters and 5 speed freewheel, plus ‘proto-compact’ 110bcd Sugino chainset. French components include Maillard high flange 36 hole hubs, rare Lusito brakes, Belleri stem and RFG bottom bracket along with Ambrosio rims from Italy. This Japanese ‘encroachment’ into the spec’ing of European components makes it very much a bike of its time; other technical points of interest include the Spirt front derailleur’s reverse cable pull – explaining how in the photos both the shifters are level with the downtube in top gear – and the supple condition of the original rubber brake lever hoods.
These components compliment gleaming new paintwork & custom reproduced decals, new retro Clement skinwall tyres, new cabling with original Continental brake routing and the obvious addition of Zéfal Christophe chromed toe clips & leather straps fitted to a pair of period correct alloy SR quill pedals which I sourced online – as the bike came without. The wheels have been rebuilt with new double butted DT Swiss stainless steel spokes, laced in the original 4 cross pattern for strength and a compliant ride. The original saddle is recovered in recycled suede and the ‘bars are re-wrapped in the original, washed & ironed, 35 year old Velox cloth tape that Joao’s father held onto back in the day.
It was quite something to be the first person for over three decades years to whizz this unusual, treasured machine at speed (around the suburban streets close to my Chorlton workshop) admiring the delicious Suntour Perfect freewheeling sound and stopping to fine-tune the brakes. Rita will be hung as artwork on a wall in the owner’s home, but after several miles of testing I can testify that it’s fast and 100% usable for those sunny afternoon rides that Joao’s been looking forward to for a long time! Unfortunately today was overcast, so the bike isn’t sparkling as much as it can!
View the full restoration to see the original condition of the bike and the cleaning, wheelbuilding, saddle recovery, decal reproduction and respray in detail.
Frame & Fork: 1982 Sangal Champion (56cm) brazed Tubagem 401 steel
– stripped & resprayed, with Framesaver treatment plus new custom repro decals & lacquer applied
Headset: unknown (original)
Stem: Belleri (original)
Handlebar: unknown (original)
Bar Tape: Velox Tressorex cloth (original)
Brake Levers: Lusito (original)
Brake Lever Hoods: Lusito (original)
Brake Calipers: Lusito M-81 (original)
Brake Cables: new (original Continental routing)
Shifters: Suntour friction (original)
Front Derailleur: Suntour Spirt – reverse pull (NOS)
Rear Derailleur: Suntour Honor (original)
Derailleur Cables: new
Freewheel: Suntour Perfect 5 speed 14-24 (original)
Chain: TM (original)
Cranks: Sugino Super Maxy 110bcd (original)
Chainrings: Sugino 52/42 (original)
Dust Caps: Sugino (original)
Bottom Bracket: RFG (original)
Pedals: SR Japan SP-100AL (period correct)
Toe Clips & Straps: Zéfal Christophe (new)
Rims: Ambrosio 19 Extra 700c (original)
Hubs: Maillard high flange 1982 36 hole (original)
Quick Release Skewers: Maillard Spidel (original)
Nipples: DT Swiss 2.0mm nickel plated brass (new)
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition double butted (new)
Tyres: Clement Strada LGG folding, 700 x 25c (new)
Saddle: unknown (original, recovered in recycled suede)
Seatpost: unknown (original)
Seatpost Binder: new chrome