Happy Friday! And welcome to our first installment of our very own advice column- Ask CycleZine. It’s how we will teach you things in the guise of dumb questions with really witty retorts. So without further ado:

Dear Cyclzine

I often find myself in situations where I wish to compliment female cyclists on their beautiful Campagnolo Nuovo and Super Record components. But as I begin to, I find myself fumbling for the right words.

For example, last week I approached a woman on a very nice vintage Cinelli SuperCorsa. I said, “Wow, that is a really pristine set of 60’s Super Record Cranks you got there”. She looked at me in disgust, as though I were little more than a sadly converted Colnago “fixie”,  and walked away. Turns out they were from 1984.

Please help.

Signed:

Dating for Dating
San Francisco, California

Pat. 81 means 1981

Image courtesy of Velo-Retro

Dear Dating for Dating.

Since you did not provide a photo of yourself, my hunch that you scared her off on account of your sneaker and flat-brimmed cap choice cannot be confirmed.  Thusly, I can safely say that you made two fatal errors in your attempt to woo the opposite sex (aside from any potentially unsavory wardrobe choices.) First and foremost, Campagnolo did not introduce Super Record until 1973 in Catalog #17. You would have known this had you visited CampyOnly’s comprehensive Campagnolo timeline. However, the death knell was dealt when you decided to not use the clues right in front of you- but rather hazarded a vague and groping guess as to the date of manufacture.

You see, Tullio was no fool in the ways of courting the ladies. He devised a super secret code for virile males to decipher the exact date of his components. One that could easily be employed whenever making an attempt to garner attention from the ladies. There are two things that Italians know how to do, one is how to make bicycles, the other is how to whistle loudly at foreign blonde-haired women walking outside of their train stations. But I digress.

campagnolo-tullio

Tulio, just prior to his little known stint on the Bachelor

Let’s start with her lovely cranks…

Beginning in 1973 Campagnolo began placing a stamp on the reverse of their crankarms.  Note: social graces demand some tact when identifying this part – ask her first before you go looking underneath her bottom bracket.  If you have her approval, take a gander and you will find a shape with a number in the middle.

1988

<8> Means 1988

Then Head over to Chuck Schmidt’s Velo Retro where you will find this useful information:

Starting in 1973 the crank arms have a code consisting of a diamond (1970′s), circle (1980′s), square (late Super Record), with a number in the center denoting the last digit of the year of manufacture (some exceptions:11=1985, 22=1986, 33=1987 plus others).

Unlike most women in most men’s lives, Rear derailleurs are also quite easy to date. If you look near the derailleur hanger bolt on both Nuovo and Super Record derailleur you will find either “Pat XX” or “Patent XX”, where “XX” is the last two digits of the year of manufacture.  If you see “XXX” it’s best you move on unless you are into that sort of thing.

Pat. 81 means 1981

Pat. 81 means 1981

Hubs are where it gets a bit tricky. The word “Record” wasn’t even added to the barrel until 1963, hubs prior to that year are referred to as “No Record”.  Also familiarize yourself with the various logos that Campagnolo used – the Globe, the Shield.  The only other way to date a hub is to remove the cones. There you will find the stamp “CAM XX”, where “XX” is their birthday year. I understand that approaching a woman with a set of cone wrenches and asking her “Uh, gee, do you mind if I manually remove those nuts of yours?” just to deliver a compliment is and awkward and confusing thing to most women, so perhaps use your best judgment when exercising this tip.

Another way to date campy components is by the shape of the “C”, but this is much too advanced and left for professional lady-killers such as Mystery. However, if you must, velostuf has amazing examples of the different types of typography campy used over the years.

Open C

Notice the different "C"s in the examples above

Now go get ‘em tiger.

XO

Cyclezine