The Silver Leaf Serotta Part 1 – Inspired by Hartley Bicycles

Someday, when the plague has ended and my comedy films and live shows bring me the success I deserve, I will mark the occasion by purchasing a Hartley bicycle. These things are absolutely gorgeous and I want one very, very badly.

Just look at this:

The framebuilder is also a jeweler and an artist, which means all the little fine details of the bike are just that much more fine. I love how Hartley bikes look — for lack of a better word — normal from a distance, but up close, to someone who loves bikes, the little detail bits make all the difference. I highly recommend you tour the Hartley site to look at more of the bikes.

So, yes. Someday I will order a Hartley. But until that day comes, maybe I can try to emulate some of what they’re doing, in a much shittier and less professional way, right here at home.

Say hello to my Serotta

The above is my 1984 (probably) Serotta Nova (probably). It’s hard to know exactly what year/model and it doesn’t matter. I saw it on Craigslist for $450 back in 2012 and snapped it up fast as I could. I was so eager, in fact, that the man I bought it from seemed very glad when I paid him and left. A common sentiment to be sure.

Nevertheless, I have enjoyed the bike for many years now, but it has suffered a repaint at some point in its life. It could be sanded down and repainted to look a little nicer. And maybe, just maybe, I could add some of those touches Hartley uses to dress it up.

Or I’ll fail miserably and the whole thing will look completely shit.

Step 1 – Teardown

Here’s the frame with most of the bits removed. I say most because you’d normally want to remove the bottom bracket as well, but unfortunately, my bottom bracket was installed by Hercules himself with a little help from the Greek god Hephaestus, whose predilection for fire and metalworking welded it in place.

As you can see, it is a Shimano square taper bottom bracket rather than a Campagnolo square taper bottom bracket to match the crankset, meaning the cranks are slightly wider than you’d normally want.

Don’t think for a second that the mismatch doesn’t bother the fuck out of me.

I am by no means a real bike mechanic or machinist, but I do have the tools to put a whole lot of lubricant and a whole lot of rotational force on a bottom bracket and this son of a bitch is going nowhere.

In order to try any harder I’d have to heat the bottom bracket with a brazing torch and I don’t want to.

The head tube just has a cheapo Serrotta “S” decal on it. Obviously not up to my standards.

The brake bridge, however, has a nice “S” stamped into it which I like a lot. I will do my best to highlight little touches like these in the final paint work.

You can probably guess from the title, but my plan is to use real silver leaf to make the bike stand out. For example, I intend to use it on the seat tube lug here, but not the seat stays.

The bottom bracket will get the silver leaf treatment as well. At least, I think it will. We shall see.

The Buildy Bits

I had been looking for one of these Serotta branded 1″ quill stems for a while, and finally found this one on eBay. The bike came to me with a 3T “Status” quill stem and 3T Anatomica bars which I found incongruent.

Instead, we’ll use this Serotta stem and a set of Nitto bars.

While the old school brake levers with the cable sticking up out of the lever would be more period correct, I think it looks dumb. So I’m going to use these nice sort of resto-mod looking TRP brake levers and modern cables under the bar tape to dress things up to my liking.

The venerable Brooks B17 will be on butt support duty. Hard to think of a more appropriate saddle for the intended look of the finished bike, although brown leather might match just a touch more. This black version wins, however, because I already own it.

I’m not sure yet what to do for the seatpost, but probably a Thomson even though it would be an era mismatch. I just like Thomson components.

Last but far from least, we’ll be using the Campagnolo groupset that came on the bike with friction downtube shifters. I already replaced the old cracked derailleur jockey wheels with new uncracked versions.

So that’s my plan! Jump on the mailing list to be notified when I post updates to this and my other bike projects, not to mention the actual work I do.

And if you have the means, do buy a Hartley. I want them to be fully in business when I can finally afford one.

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