Ferrovelo Randonneur


This bike originated from my desire for a classic styled touring bike, and a 'naked' steel finish.  This '84 Apollo had already clocked up many thousands of miles as a touring bike with its original owner, well used but in good condition, I set about rebuilding it as an every-day randonneur style bike for myself.
Details after the break
For some time I'd had the idea of trying a bare steel finish so work started on stripping back the paint, and as it was going to be left 'naked' the frame was tidied up quite extensively so that all the surfaces and brazing were nice and neat.

A stripped

Tidying up the brazing

And a quick polish for good measure

This process also revealed the frame and fork materials too - Reynolds 531 and Tange respectively.

Although the the 'raw steel' look was the objective from the outset, that fresh steel surface want going to last long so next, some protection.  After the frame prep came up so well, chrome plating was briefly considered, maybe next time.  Powder coat was chosen over other options, with a little gold tint thrown in too for good measure.  After the powder coat I also applied a 2 pack cleat topcoat.  

There's plenty of advise out there that a clear finish over steel is not a good idea and wont last.  This may well turn out to be true, but so far it's holding up OK.  I've use protection and grease in places where parts mount to the frame, and I'm quite prepared for the fact that it may not last long term, in which case I'll either live with it or, more probably, re-finish i another way.  

The clear powder coat had been on about 6 months to date and so far so good, and I do LOVE the look - its been worth it already.

As always - lots of polishing.

Where possible, the original parts were given a clean/grease/polish, including:
   Mavic Module 4 rims
   Suntour Sprint hubs
   Kuwaharra BB and headset
   Diacompe Drilled levers
   A very attractiveNitto quill stem and SR Laprade post
   Suntour Symmetric shifters
   Sugino gt tripple cranks and rings.

Where not possible - (approx) period parts were used:
   Suntour Vx rear, superbe pro front derailleurs and Superbe 5 speed freewheel
   Brooks Champion Saddle
And new components where necessary:
   Gran Compe centrepull brakes
   Electra Ticino hammered fenders
   new brass eyelets and nipples for the rims
   27 x 1&1/8 panaracer pasela tyres
   Diacompe hoods, all cables,
   Stainless bolts for all of the eyelets and nutserts on the frame/fork

Perhaps down the track some racks/bags  will be added - there's an abundance of eyelets and mounting points.  There's even a spare spoke holders on the chainstay.

A name - and a few more pictures.


  1. Hi AJ!

    Love what you've done with your apollo! Do you know what model it was to start with - was it a IV or a V or something else? I've got an Apollo IV and I'm toying with the idea of turning it into a randonneur style bike for daily commuting. I came across your blog during my research - lots of great ideas!



    1. G'day Julian,
      I'm not too sure whether it was a IV or V. I bought it from a bloke who used it as a tourer but it had already had a re-paint by then. He did tell me what I was but I cant recall now. Obviously I should have paid more attention. Glad to hear its given you some ideas. Drop us a pic/link when you finish.

  2. Beautiful work mate!

  3. Hi AJ

    Not sure if you're still responding to your blog, but I'd be interested to know how the protection of the steel turned out, 2 and half years on.... any news? You can email me at casey@thundertone.co.uk