Restoring the Olmo

Spring 2004

I had owned my Olmo for about 10 years, made in the late 60's and setup for British time-trialing with it's single chainring. I had always been meaning to restore it at some time to some of it’s former glory but unfortunately I had no idea what the original colour was due to the fact that it had been roughly shot-blasted and crudely painted white with a spray-can before I bought it, in fact I only bought it as a hack winter bike. I had ridden the Olmo through just about every winter since I bought it. It fitted me so well that I had my custom made Longstaff audax bike base around size and the frame angles on the Olmo.

The time had come and I made the decision to ‘do it up’ and so the search for suitable period parts and a colour scheme was on. I looked at just about every Olmo that I could find over a few months on the ‘Net and came up with a few ideas for a colour scheme. Most Olmos of that period seem to have been painted a single metallic colour, usually blues, reds, and greys. Some of the more exotic models had some chrome detailing. The metallic grey colour with yellow decals took my fancy. I already had the hubs, handlebars, chainset, saddle and seatpin, these components were the only parts that were of any use that had come with the frame and they had been lurking in the cupboard under the kitchen sink since I bought the bike about 10 years ago! The other parts were soon collected due, yet again, to the joys of eBay. Decals, however, are few and far between for an old Olmo but I managed to come up with a slightly more modern set that would do.

Now that I had all the components I had to get the frame stove enamelled so another trip to ‘Argos Racing Cycles’ in Bristol was in order. Argos are experts in making, painting and restoring bike frames. On arriving at Argos Racing Cycles I was met by Mark who guided me through the process of booking the frame in and making sure that they had my specification correct. The workshop seemed to be very busy and quite noisy with lots of activity going on, I looked the frames hanging on the wall awaiting collection and I was amazed at the quality of the paintwork, pin-striping and lug-lining. When I got the frame back I was well pleased with the paint job which was done to Argos' usual high standard. All I had to do now was bolt all the bits on and take it for it's maiden run !

See also Olmo's maiden run

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