Basso Scout 1990’s Italian steel bicycle frame, lugged

by | Authenticity (↑) | 0 comment | 1 question

An Italian steel touring frame by Basso which I bought about 26 years ago to cycle all over Europe and I have been riding it ever since. Back in the day Italian steel frames were the gold standard of craftsmanship. Using the best tubing, the attention to detail and the finish were a long way above the early aluminium frames or any of the comparatively crude stuff German, French and English manufacturers turned out at the time. I knew that when I bought that bike, and customised it by choosing every single component individually. The frame was pricey at the time and since steel frames have turned into something of a boutique item a comparatively well built specimen now costs a small fortune. Front and rear drop outs(the bits on the frame that hold the wheel) are forged steel, the lugs are beautifully hand-filed and brazed onto the tubing. It is Italian Columbus tubing with double butted ends, high strength steel less than 0.5 mm thick. It has something of a racing geometry but all the attachments of a touring frame and fully kitted it still makes for an incredibly sleek, elegant and minimalist look.

Where and how is it used?

I used to cycle long distance trips across Europe when I was younger. Over the last decade and a half however it's turned into a commuter bike. I also use it for week-ends family rides, but really it wants taking out on a big one again.

What did you or someone else pay for it?

The whole bike set me back 2200 Deutsche Mark which by modern standards probably amounts to around 2000 pounds

Why do you want to add it to the museum?

After 26 years of hard (ab)use the bottom tube snapped. Luckily with that kind of brazed frame individual tubes and lugs can be replaced. I sent this bike to Vernon Barker frame makers for repair and they returned a fully restored little gem at a fraction of the price a similar quality hand build frame would cost new. Now I have my Italian frame back with an addition of skilful English craftsmanship, a bike with a story, to which I am accustomed like a part of my body. Here is what Dave from Vernon Barker wrote about fixing it:

"The frame is in good condition and gritblasting showed that the quality of the brazing looked good. It is an unusual frame in that it was clearly designed for touring which is very unusual for a branded Italian frame. I replaced the down tube by cutting the tube at both ends near the head lug and near the bottom bracket shell. I then carefully placed saw cuts into the head lug and then carefully melted the braze holding it to the head tube and peeled the lug away. I removed the stub of tube left in the bottom bracket shell by carefully making internal saw cuts into the remaining piece of tube, carefully melting the braze holding it into the shell and peeling the piece of tube away. I obtained as similar a head lug as is available and modified it to closely match the other head lug. I then mitred the new tube to fit the lug, cut it so it protruded slightly into the bottom bracket shell and brazed it into place. I then shaped the protruding end of the tube inside the bottom bracket shell using a die grinder. I then checked the alignment of the frame in our jig and stress relieved the tubes to bring them into alignment. Finally I added the braze ones, gritblasted, primed and painted the frame, stoved, lacquered and stoved the frame again."

There is also a wider point to be made: Amongst enthusiasts, frame builders and bike mechanics, it has been widely recognised that pretty much across brands, the quality of bike parts has been declining since the mid nineties. People who are after durable gears and components desperately browse the jumble sales where battered rear derailleurs fetch higher prices that their new equivalents. But also the design has taken an unfortunate turn, becoming ever more convoluted without any of the clear lines that could be found on the old components by Campagnolo and Shimano. The life expectancy of new parts is a fraction of the old ones, a perfect illustration how the needs of customers are failed by marketing strategies aiming at continuous and permanent sales.


How was it made?

Is made in a factory

Is farmed

Is mass-produced

Is produced by local cottage industry

Is made to particular specifications

Is craft / hand-made

Is foraged

Is found

Is colonised

Is a service


Materials & Making

Who made or produced your commodity?

Basso Cycles, Italy, repairs by Vernon Barker Cycles UK

Who was paid to make it?

A bicycle frame builder

What skills does it take to make it?

Probably apprenticeship level skills

Where was it made?

Italy with a skilful UK intervention

What does it cost to make it?

Don't know really, materials aren't too expensive but the attention to detail will cost

What is it made from?

1. Lugs:

cast steel, hand filed to shape

2. Tubes:

Double butted high strength steel tubing by Columbus

3. Brazing:

Silver brazing to connect the tubes to the lugs

Buying & Owning

Who decides how much it costs?

Manufacturer, retailer, customer

Who or what assesses its quality?

Manufacturer, retailer customer

Where is it sold?

Good bike shops in the 90s

Who or what sells it?

dto

How did this thing arrive from where it was made to where you got it?

Truck

Where is it used?

On the road, for leasure and commuting

Where is it kept?

In a secret spot

How and by whom is it cared for?

Myself

How long will it last?

With repairs virtually indefinitely

Where will it go when it's finished with?

Recycling

What is it worth?

Probably quite a bit of money for a bike


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See the values contributed by visitors and those of the donor. And add your own values to this commodity.

Total times valued2
Positive (↑)Authenticity
Negative (↓)-
Overall Positive297
Overall Negative0
Controversy76.75 (0 = most controversial)
  

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This data that we have collected over time in our database means nothing without interpretation. A relational database, which we are using here, is technology that enables designers of websites and software to compare, contrast, interrogate and infer relations within data. The act of designing a database is not objective but driven by the agency of its creators and owners.

Within the MoCC Collection data is used to help think through the relations between values, commodities and data. Can we describe our values using sliders and numbers? How do we infer meaning such as controversy from data?

Below is a brief explanation of the some calculations and how these help make decisions about what is shown on the site.

  • Controversy Score:
    (Total Positive Values) + (Total Negative Values)

    The closer the value is to zero the more controversial it is in relation to other commodities. Used to infer that values associated with one commodity divide opinion more than another.

  • Average Value Score (used in the sliders):
    (Total Positive for Value + Total Negative for Value) ÷ Total Times Valued

    Used to infer a collective value associated with a commodity.

How do you value this commodity?

To add your own values click VALUE THIS COMMODITY and move the sliders left and right to add your own values - then click SUBMIT
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Questions and answers

Help to reveal unknown quantities, properties and uses of this commodity by answering this MoCC curator's questions.

Question: Does anybody remember the good old days of Shimano Ultegra 600?

Answers:

Sadly, I missed this glorious looking bike first time round- but I can certainly see its appeal!

As a very novice cyclist (i.e.- preferably only on flat surfaces!), I may not be appreciating the true wonder of this ‘good old days’ specimen. However, according to cycling forums, more expert users have said the Shimano Ultegra 600 is likely to still be in working condition today- provided it wasn’t neglected or worn out over many miles of cycling. Now that IS well made!

Intrigued by the bike, I’ve done some reading and the Shimano Ultegra was introduced in the early 1980’s as an alternative to more expensive recreational bicycle accessories. It even grew in popularity with competition cycling enthusiasts, particularly with its gear options.

Panic not though- it’s still possible to purchase the this bad-boy today, bringing the good old days back! There’s a ‘build-your-own’ option here; http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-SHIMANO-600-TRI-COLOR-GROUP-GROUPPO-COMPLETE-BUILD-KIT-2x8-SPEED-DOUBLE-/263108957442. And there’s some helpful instruction videos on youtube if you did fancy a new DIY project- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfBiXgf8JxI.

Best of luck!!
Gabrielle

by MoCCconsultantGabrielle on August 25th at 3:02pm

Sadly, I missed this glorious looking bike first time round- but I can certainly see its appeal!

As a very novice cyclist (i.e.- preferably only on flat surfaces!), I may not be appreciating the true wonder of this ‘good old days’ specimen. However, according to cycling forums, more expert users have said the Shimano Ultegra 600 is likely to still be in working condition today- provided it wasn’t neglected or worn out over many miles of cycling. Now that IS well made!

Intrigued by the bike, I’ve done some reading and the Shimano Ultegra was introduced in the early 1980’s as an alternative to more expensive recreational bicycle accessories. It even grew in popularity with competition cycling enthusiasts, particularly with its gear options.

Panic not though- it’s still possible to purchase the this bad-boy today, bringing the good old days back! There’s a ‘build-your-own’ option here; http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-SHIMANO-600-TRI-COLOR-GROUP-GROUPPO-COMPLETE-BUILD-KIT-2x8-SPEED-DOUBLE-/263108957442. And there’s some helpful instruction videos on youtube if you did fancy a new DIY project- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfBiXgf8JxI.

Best of luck!!
Gabrielle

by MoCCconsultantGabrielle on August 26th at 9:20am

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