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My dream bike... 20 years ago

by Anthony Little |

It’s times like this that I wish I’d had paid more attention in my English/Lit and writing classes. Not sure if I can really put into words the feelings that I had as I unpacked this bike from the box it came in this morning. Being able to explain just how many good memories this bike has invoked in just one afternoon of staring at it.

I forget which catalog it was that I saw this bike in, but I do remember that I was 17 years old and built it up thousands of times in my head in what I thought would be the perfect bike. And now, 20 years later it’s sitting on the shop floor.

This one may not be built up 100% the exact way I dreamed it back then, but it’s pretty damned close. I would have had Mavic GL330 rims instead of the Araya hoops that are on it now and I would have for sure had 32 spokes instead of 36. I wasn’t cool enough to even know about the Dura-Ace stem and am blown away right now just looking at it so that’s a nice change! Of course the Deda tires did not exist so it would have been Vittoria CG on the rear and a CX on the front. Also, the San Marco Regal saddle would have been perforated and lastly, white Benotto bar tape would have rounded out the look instead of the cloth tape.

And without further ado, may I introduce my dream bike from 20 years ago…


The San Rensho road bike


Built as follows:


  • 1987 Shimano Dura-Ace 7400 (I think!) 7spd groupset
  • 170mm cranks 53X42
  • 12X21 7spd FREEWHEEL
  • 36 spoke (wheelsmith) Dura-Ace hubs laced to Araya rims
  • Dura-Ace Seatpost
  • Dura-Ace Stem!
  • Nitto bars, classic shallow drop
  • San Marco Regal saddle
  • Cat Eye cloth tape
  • 19.92 lbs (no bottle cages or pedals)


The Dura-Ace parts were incredibly durable and I remember them lasting forever.


AND, they were incredibly shiny! These are tied with Campagnolo C-Record, Suntour Superbe Pro and the Mavic SSC crank as the most beautiful cranks I’ve ever seen on a bicycle.

The 7spd rear derailleur. I’ll make the cable longer, but wonder if shorter housing worked better on these bikes? Hard to remember…

Closer look at the Dura-Ace rear derailleur

The freewheel. The 21 combined with a 42 chainring was my climbing gear. Learned a bit about cadence since then…

Beautiful Dura-ace rear brake w/ some pretty stiff springs. State of the art pad compound as well I’m sure…

Yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm! LOVED this post! Satin finish and a nice little tilt adjust screw near the top of the mast…

…and the matching Dura-Ace stem! I had all but forgotten about this!

All the adjustments take place underneath this cap. Such attention to detail that we don’t see as often today.

Such clean lines, absolutely perfect from where I’m sitting…

Dura-Ace headset and a chromed fork crown…

Front brake…

Rear Dura-Ace hub with the 7spd freewheel.

Square taper bottom bracket.

Best down tube shifters ever…

Attention to detail…

And more attention to detail. See the Dura-Ace on the wheel guides?

Nice quick releases…

Come back later this week for a check up with Team Sky’s Pinarello Dogma and a closer look at Shimano Dura-Ace twenty years later…


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