Sunday, February 23, 2014

Restoration of a 1980's Bianchi Celeste??

I started work on a Bianchi Celeste this week.  Other then wanting a Bianchi when I was a kid and restoring only a few I do not know much about Bianchis.  If anyone can answer a few questions please comment below or if anyone would want to give me a general education on Bianchi's.  My first question is a Celeste a model or refers to any Bianchi painted in the Celeste color?  It also seems to me that a lot of Bianchi's do not have model names, is there a basic Bianchi unmarked model?  I do know there are many stories of other bicycles repainted and have Bianchi decals put on them, that is not a problem here, the fork crown has the Bianchi badge, the seat stays have the Bianchi stamp and the head tube lugs have the Bianchi B cast into it.

This Bianchi is actually in pretty rough shape but does have a really nice Shimano 105 group set.  The paint is rough, the alloy is dull and the rear wheel has a snapped axle.  I am thinking though that there is a beautiful bicycle in there.  The Bianchi will receive a total restoration with a new rear axle, new tubes and Continental Sport Tires, Ne cables and cable housings and new handlebar tape.

I apologize for the photo quality, my camera is failing a bit in this shop environment and I need to do some work to it, which will be this week.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Rear Wheel Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Rear Derailleur - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Rear Brake - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Crank - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Front Derailleur - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bianchi Fork Crown Badge

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Shift Levers - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Front Brake - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Stem - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Handlebars - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Front Wheel Hub - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Wheel Rim - Before

I normally start by tearing the frame down of its components but I had a little time last week before a bicycle that I had to restore at that time so I started with the wheels.  I started with the wheels because I didn't think I would have enough time to restore the components and i did not want the components boxed up and have the chance of anything getting lost, the wheels I could restore and put back on the bicycle.

The wheels are fantastic Shimano 105 hubs laced to some Mavic rims.  The rear wheel axle was snapped so a replacement was found.  The hubs where cleaned and polished very gently because the Shimano 105 decals where in really good shape and I did not want to loose them.  The bearings where packed in new grease and the new tubes and Continental Sport tires where installed.  The satin black rims where cleaned and just very slightly polished, the look of the Continental tires and black rims is stunning and mean looking.  The wheels spin fantastic I am happy.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Rear Wheel - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Freewheel - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Rear Wheel Hub - Old Grease

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Rear Wheel - Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
New Continental Tires

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Rear Wheel - Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Front Wheel - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Front Wheel Hub - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Front Wheel - Old Grease

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Front Wheel Hub - Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Front Wheel - Complete
1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Wheels Compelte
Rest of the Bianchi unrestored.

Later on I picked back up with the Bianchi and tore the frame down.  The frame paint is in rough shape, very dirty, greasy and some scraps and rust.  It also had a black grease or dirty deep into the paint.  I started with a strong paint cleaning paste, that did okay, next I worked with a very coarse compound as far as paint polishing compounds go which cut a layer of paint but really did the trick.  After the course compound I used a very fine compound to bring the shine out and then a protecting wax.  The results are actually very nice, the Bianchi shines very nice, the I think combination of bad camera and the color of the paint doesn't show how nice the shine really is.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Frame - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Frame - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Frame - Before Bottom Bracket

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Frame Before - Bottom Bracket

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Frame Before - eat Stays

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Frame Before - Fork

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Frame Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Frame Polished
 Bottom Bracket

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Frame Polished - Down Tube

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Frame Polished - Fork
While the frame was being polished components of the headset and bottom bracket where in the crock pot.  Not all could be put into the crock pot and had to be hand polished because of paint and plastic parts.  The headset is a nice Shimano 105.  The headset and bottom bracket turned out nice and spins so smooth and almost silently.

The stem is pained a grey, it is a little rough, a Bianchi label is etched into the side of the stem.  If I owned the Bianchi I think I would have polished the paint off and hoped the etching stayed.  The aluminum underneath the paint has a rough surface so maybe it would not have polished perfect, so it would be a risk I would only take if I owned the Bianchi.  The stem paint did clean up nice and polished okay, I am not a fan of painted stems, Trek did this in the early 1990's also, I usually polish the paint of the Trek stems also.

The handlebars are very nice with a Bianchi stamp on both sides of the stem, it is kind of cool!

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Headset, Stem & Bottom Bracket
Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Handlebars - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Headset & Bottom Bracket
Bearings Packed

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Bottom Bracket - Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Headset, Stem & Handlebars - Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Headset, Stem & Handlebars - Complete
The brake calipers where dirty and dull, I decided to hand polish the brake calipers because I did not want to damage the Shimano 105 decals.  This takes longer to polish but also I do not need to completely disassemble the calipers to get the power polisher into the little parts.  Its hard to believe but I have a system so refined that it takes less time to disassemble the caliper and power polish the components and reassemble then it does to do it the way I did here.  In the end the calipers look fantastic and after flushing and lubricating function fantastic, I have always liked the Shimano 105 calipers from this era.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Brakes - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Brakes Half Exploded

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Brakes - Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Front Brake - Installed

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Rear Brake - Installed
The derailleurs are Shimano 105's, they are from the indexed down tube shift lever era.  I really like 105's from this era, They are not Dura Ace or anything but they work very nice.  Here is a teaser, this set of derailleurs when the Bianchi was complete shift flawlessly, sharp, fast and crisp (I think those might be overlapping descriptions.)  I can't ask for anything better then it is shifting.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Derailleurs - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Derailleur - Exploded

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Derailleur - Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Derailleurs - Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Rear Derailleur - Installed
Shift levers and brake levers are next.  The shift levers did not shine perfectly, one elver has some staining, it was a balance between power polishing it to a perfect shine and loosing the Shimano 105 decal or hand polishing. I kept the decal.  The shift elvers badly needed a flushing and lubricating, they where pretty gritty, now perfect function.

The brake elvers where in okay shape, I power polished the levers around the decal and hand polished the decal area.  The brake lever hoods where pretty bad, they cleaned pretty nice but the rear brake lever hood is rotten and falling apart.  I took final photos with the original white hoods, the white need to be replaced, the owner has new black Shimano 105 hoods and will install them.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Brake Levers - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Brake Levers - After

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Brake Levers - Installed

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Shift Levers - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Shift Levers - Complete
The seat post is surprisingly light and polished very nice.  The new saddle was also installed. The Bianchi is really coming together!

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Seat post and Old Saddle

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Seat Post Polished & New Saddle

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Seat Post & Saddle - Complete
I realized I forgot the crank in the steps above so here goes.  The crank is also a Shimano 105, the chain rings are the Bio Pace chain rings that where on everything in the 80's.  I am one of the few that actually like the Bio Pace chain rings on a road bike, hate them on a Mountain bike which they did in the era.  The 105 crank arms are made out of very nice aluminum so they polished amazingly.  Again I power polished around the 105 decals and hand polished the decal area.  The crank looks amazing installed.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Crank - Before

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Crank - Exploded

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Crank - Polished

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Crank - Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Crank - Installed
That complete the component restoration.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Before Cables
I ran the cables and the cable housings and installed the handlebar tape, I do not have photos of the new bits installed, I must have forgot the photo.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - New Stuff
I actually got a chance to ride the Bianchi this morning.  It was only about 50 yards back and fourth in the dead center of the street on a clear spot about a yard wide where the salt had dried and washed away, the rest of the street is still ice, snow and salt covered.  The Bianchi road beautifully!!  It shifts perfect, fast and crisp.  The brakes seems to work very well, but i was not going fast at all.  I wish I could ride it farther and faster.

Final photos below, again, quality is poor because camera needs a tune up and I took the photos late in the day, exposer times where near five seconds so it shows the lite quality.

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Handlebars

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Bicycle Complete - Front Brake

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration
Bicycle Compelte - Front Half

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete
Fork Crown Badge

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete - Drive Train

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete - Rear Brake

1980's Bianchi Celeste Restoration - Bicycle Complete - Rear Wheel
Thanks for all the interest, business and kind emails from everyone,
John Z.


4 comments:

  1. I believe Celeste green is the color. I have basically that same bike, which I have been riding for about 10 years. I love this bike. Today I noticed one of my shifters got damaged and needs replacing (thus I searched for that and found your post) so if you run into any spare parts for this bike let me know.

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  2. where you get replacement rear wheel axle for the bianchi? you know what size it is? i got a older 80's bianchi like yours. any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jim,

      If I remember right I just ordered a nice Chromoly axel of the internet at Harris Cyclery or Niagra cycle works. I then had to trim about an 1/8" of it.

      Thanks,
      John Z.

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  3. That bike looks ready to fly down the road just sitting there - fantastic job. I love the mix of Italian crafted Columbus tubing frameset with solid Japanese components. I am no expert on Bianchi's but based on the 105 group, areo brake levers and recessed bolt on the brake I would guess this is a late 80s or even early 90s steed. Whatever the case a beautiful bike.

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