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Gallery - 1982 Trek 311 - Ivan Feldman

What an incredible transformation - Turning a lowly Trek 311 in to a silk purse.

Ivan writes: "After it met its fate in an ugly confrontation with another bicycle in 1982, I went looking to replace my Raleigh Grand Prix. The folks at Roy’s Sheepshead Cycle in Brooklyn suggested I look at a Trek. For the first time, Trek was offering a model – the 311 – in my limited price range. At $300, the metallic grey Trek was still $50 more than the Raleigh, and I was hesitant. Then I took it for a spin…“Sold!”

"Though the 22½” “sport” frame was really one of touring geometry, Ishiwata Magny-X butted tubing and light Rigida rims made for a responsive, yet comfortable ride, to the likes I hadn’t experienced before. Original componentry was all basic, but of good quality.

"The bike underwent complete modification in 1989-90, when I began increasing my hours in the saddle. Philadelphia’s Stephen Bilenky shortened the stays, brazed on Campagnolo dropouts, added shifter, water bottle and derailleur cable guide bosses, and painted the frame gloss black. I swapped the steel fork for a more stiffly raked aluminum Vitus. These changes chopped 4.8 cm from the wheelbase (to 97.6) and lowered the bottom bracket by ½ cm. Amazingly, I felt little change in comfort and stability, but a great improvement in handling – a testimony to the frame’s design, materials and quality, and to the compliance of the alloy fork.

"Friends at Danny’s Cycle in Scarsdale, NY, helped me acquire most of the replacement components. Wheels built from 120mm/36-hole Campagnolo Chorus hubs, laced with butted DT spokes to 27” Mavic MA-40 rims, are super strong…I have never had to true them. Avocet 27x7/8 slicks make them pretty fast, too. The Mavic SSC headset, friction rear derailleur and brake calipers have all proven to be well made and durable. The SSC brakeset, made by Modolo for Mavic, was poorly received due to its spongy feel and mediocre stopping power. Partnered with Dia-Compe aero levers and Campagnolo cables, however, the calipers work beautifully.

"The front derailleur, crank, bottom bracket, seatpost and shifters are a mix of Campagnolo models and all are excellent. Other goodies include a 3ttt stem, a Regina CX-S 13-21 freewheel, and a Maillard handlebar (the only remaining original component) that has been drilled for internal cable routing. Modern additions are a Terry saddle and Speedplay Zero pedals which, as an added bonus, cured the slight toe overlap caused by the stiffer fork and longer crankarms.

"Was it all worth it? Perhaps not from a standpoint of conventional logic. The 311’s technology was already outdated when I began the modifications. But after 30,000 miles, the old Trek is still solid, still smooth and still sweet. I know it’s good for another 30,000. In my mind, completely worth it."

Click on each picture to see an enlargement.




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