Zach Zupancic

Zach Zupancic

Senior Designer, SolidWorks addict, AutoCAD zealot, Cyclist, Shade Tree Mechanic, & moderately tall. 

Building time! The prequel to ease.

FINALLY!! I have found a 76ish Dawes Galaxy that is mine for the molding! Before I get into the details as to why the Galaxy is fantastic I need to at least mention this; I was going to get a track frame, and not just some eBay frame but a track frame straight off the tuckus of the velodrome. But then I started thinking about it...

Why would I need a track frame? Sure they are pretty damn light, they are sexy slender, and have some of the most beautiful geometry in the world, but the fact of the matter is I don’t go to the velodrome. I ride around the streets of my town, long distance coastal rides, and when the moment arises through city streets. So what is the point? A light frame can only go so far, as the wheels that I have are a bit heavy and the best way to increase your speed is to the lower the rotational mass, and not the weight of the frame. The geometry, while extremely impressive, is built for short distances where aerodynamics is key and comfortability gets thrown out the window. Sure all those cool hipster kids are doing it without brakes, but c'mon there is nothing cool about having a sore bum after an hour of riding (pun intended). This brings me to the 70s Dawes Galaxy.


Dawes Galaxy Juxtaposed
(The bike with the Bullhorn handle bars is my Pop's, and the one with the drops is the one I just bought.)

Badge of awesome
The Dawes Galaxy was built in England as a touring bike, as in long rides with all your gear. It was not built for going to class, like the Schwinn Varsity, but for having class. The detail that Dawes took on this bike was something to love. Granted I am pretty biased. My father's first real bike was a 1972 Dawes Galaxy, bought brand new and still has it today (and thanks to a little elbow grease and some car mechanic's know-how we were able to get it back in running condition; he still takes it for a spin now and then). But I digress... back to the beauty of the Galaxy.

Dawes Galaxy
The frame is made out of Reynolds 531 Cromoly Steel. Right from the get-go the chassis was made out of the same material that the Jaguar used for their 60s E-Type subframes. The chassis is longer than most, giving the rider that lackadaisical feel so that one can be at ease with the bike, rather than just sitting on a bike.

Lug work
Then you have the pieces that hold it all together, the Lugs. The detail work that Dawes had for the bicyclette is pretty staggering. The only way to get this kind of craftsmanship now-a-days is to buy a custom bike

Chrome Fork
I have seen countless bikes with a full chrome fork look gorgeous, but they always look out of place with the rest of the bike. While I am not the biggest fan of chrome I do adore what Dawes has done to fix my dilemma, chrome caps followed by a hint of color leading back to the shine. Not too much chrome, but just enough. (Note: the fork is actually all chrome, Dawes just painted over it in that little splotch)

Handle bar engravings
The engraved handle bars give that touch of class that so many of the vintage cycles out there just don’t have. Granted it is probably going to be covered with some handle bar tape, but it doesn’t matter; it is the same understated and hidden class that makes a bike beautiful and a suit sartorial.

Dawes Handlebar Cap
Sure there are better bikes out there, but in the end none of that really matters. After all you are the engine that is powering the machine; why not make your life a bit more fun?

Beat-up Brooks Saddle

--

So with me finding this awesome bike to start a new project on, what do I do to it? Do I leave the Paint as is, or do I strip it and get her looking like new? If I want to make it look new I would have to get all of the decals made, and powder coat the frame. Do I make it vintage perfect with brooks and all the other tid bits, or do I upgrade with clipless pedals, and a better drive train? Do I convert it to a bougie fixie with campy and cinelli, or leave it as it with some minor modern upgrades?

There was another reason I bought this bike... My dad's bike needs some loving. His original bars were bent way out of whack due to some jerk face hitting him while he was in college (1970s), and his main crank derailleur lever broke while I was shifting it on one of my longer rides. I told him that we could replace all of these with some newer bits, but he wants to keep things original. So the priority right now of the bike is a part bike.

Who knows what the future may bring; I have fallen back into MGS4 Online, and my lady and I had yet another discussion...

Things they are a-changin