Michalo info.

xerlex
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Michalo info.

Postby xerlex » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:32 pm

A bunch of years ago I came across a Michalo road bike that had been painted up as a 7/11 Merckx and, thinking it was a cheap merckx, snapped it up. Long story short it ended up getting a full restoration but try as I might I couldn't get much information in who or what Michalo was. Fast forward to about 8 months ago I was selling up a bunch of stuff to help pay for a new ride and was contacted by the grandson of Ron Mitten who was/built Michalo and ended up getting Ron's number. I just got off the phone from him and have a bit of info to share about the marque.

The story goes that Ron had a tool making business in Airport West and was at that time making trays for the biscuit industry and when things started to slow down, rather than put workers off, he turned his hand to frame building after talking with his friend Ken Evans. Between 1979 and 1994 somewhere between 200 and 250 frames were built, the last of which was made of Reynolds 753 and is still in the Mitten family, he also built a frame for Kathy Watt. Ron told me all Michalos were silver brazed and tubes were mitred on his mill. He mostly built road frames and built for veterans and raced as a veteran himself but also built some track frames (I know of 4 personally) and a handfull of touring frames that were produced for a fellow by the name of Ian (unsure of last name). The frames were painted at Mascot Cycles when they were located in Carlton. Some frames were also built for Vern Smith Cycles in Footscray.

Ron said he had to stop building when he broke his back in an accident and could no longer stand for the time needed to build frames and after doing some repair work here and there sold all his equippment to Cecil Walker. He also said that he was not a person to do things by halves and that if he couldn't do it properly then he didn't do it at all.

He sounded like a nice bloke and was happy to talk about his frame building days. I'm glad I pulled my finger out and called him!

xerlex
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby xerlex » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:39 pm

He also said that most of the frames he build were 22 inches.

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cotterpin
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby cotterpin » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:56 am

Thanks xerlex,
Great story, lots of familiar names.
The fellow you refer to as Ian, was probably Ian Christie. Ian had a shop in Hawthorn specializing in touring bikes and tandems.
Mascot Cycles painted close to 90% of all hand built frames made in Melbourne through the 70's and 80's.
Does your Michalo have the Mascot ID cuts under the c/stay and on the steerer? e.g. XIII.

Cheers
This add appeared in the National Cycling mag June-July edition 1982
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xerlex
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby xerlex » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:29 am

Thanks, Cotterpin!

Ron couldn't remember Ian's surname but Ian Christie makes perfect sense. Ill have to keep a closer eye on any Christies that come up in future.

Ill have a look for the Mascot I'd cuts.

The geo of the frame in that advertisement looks very aggressive, thanks for posting the image too:-)

Dow Jones Index
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby Dow Jones Index » Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:34 pm

For reference, the Mascot ID cuts on the BB shell of my Vitesse (built by none other than Cotterpin himself).

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Nice story Erle

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spirito
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby spirito » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:18 pm

this thread needs bigger advert scan .. :wink:

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rhett_racer
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby rhett_racer » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:11 pm

Hey guys - I just wanted to say thanks for this thread!

So I am another of Ron Mitten's grandsons (there are 5 of us, although I'm only a step-grandson if that is such a thing). I've never really known much about the bikes he made, but stumbled across this article and will be printing out the old ad for him.

I'm sure it really made his day talking to you xerlex, thanks.

I can remember back when I was only 4-5 years old in the mid 1980s the workshop he had behind his house in Pascoe Vale, with all the old bike posters on the wall (including one of 100's of topless girls riding bikes in france, which I got embarrassed about but could stop looking at. ;-) I think he'd stopped making many bikes by then, and just did it as a bit of a hobby. He made me my first bike for my 4th(?) birthday, a tiny Michalo. Unfortunately it lasted less than a month - I left it in the driveway at home and my other grandpa reversed over it...

Any other info or memorabilia that anyone has would be appreciated.

cheers,
Rhett

xerlex
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby xerlex » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:19 pm

rhett_racer wrote:Hey guys - I just wanted to say thanks for this thread!

So I am another of Ron Mitten's grandsons (there are 5 of us, although I'm only a step-grandson if that is such a thing). I've never really known much about the bikes he made, but stumbled across this article and will be printing out the old ad for him.

I'm sure it really made his day talking to you xerlex, thanks.

I can remember back when I was only 4-5 years old in the mid 1980s the workshop he had behind his house in Pascoe Vale, with all the old bike posters on the wall (including one of 100's of topless girls riding bikes in france, which I got embarrassed about but could stop looking at. ;-) I think he'd stopped making many bikes by then, and just did it as a bit of a hobby. He made me my first bike for my 4th(?) birthday, a tiny Michalo. Unfortunately it lasted less than a month - I left it in the driveway at home and my other grandpa reversed over it...

Any other info or memorabilia that anyone has would be appreciated.

cheers,
Rhett


Glad you've posted here, Rhett, it was great to talk to you grandpa. The one Michalo I have left is one bike I'll be keeping for life, I still owe him a few photos of it too.

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vaeske
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby vaeske » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:31 am

makes me smile reading this thread…another great piece of cycling history in Melbourne!'
thanks everyone!

LG
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby LG » Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:26 pm

Dredging up an old thread, this Michalo popped up on gumtree in Hobart recently. Bit of a mixed bag of parts mostly from the very early 80s which I assume would be about the construction date, but a very nicely built bike in very good condition. The seller had owned it for about 20 years, and had bought it second hand which was when I assume the Tassie Cycles shop sticker was added to it. Reasonably relaxed angles with space for mudguards so would make an excellent randonneur style bike. It's a 55cm bike, so a bit small for me unfortunately, let me know if you're on here and have been looking for one of these for ages.
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LG = Low Gear

Blakeylonger
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby Blakeylonger » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:02 pm

LG wrote:Dredging up an old thread, this Michalo popped up on gumtree in Hobart recently. Bit of a mixed bag of parts


And here it is with a newer mixed bag of parts.

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steelfan
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby steelfan » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:05 pm

Hi Guys,

I know this an old thread but I have just been given a Michalo so I thought I'd research the brand.

The bike I have been given has no wheels, the brake levers are Shimano and the shift levers are Shimano 105. The rest of the components are Campagnolo or Cinelli (bars and stem). It has Reynolds 753 stickers on it and the number 37 stamped on the bottom bracket. It also has Ultra Record stickers on the chain stays.

I was going to use some of the parts off this bike but if someone has a keen interest in the brand and would like to restore this bike I would be willing to let it go, as is.

Thanks for the tread. It was an interesting read.

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P!N20
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby P!N20 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:17 am

^ Can you post up some photos? What size is it?

shiftyg23
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby shiftyg23 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:38 pm

Hi Steelfan

I would love to get my hands on the frame if I could. As discussed above I am one of the builders grandsons and Ron passed away last year and have been hunting for his frames for a while now with no luck. Do you know the size?

Cheers
Spencer
steelfan wrote:Hi Guys,

I know this an old thread but I have just been given a Michalo so I thought I'd research the brand.

The bike I have been given has no wheels, the brake levers are Shimano and the shift levers are Shimano 105. The rest of the components are Campagnolo or Cinelli (bars and stem). It has Reynolds 753 stickers on it and the number 37 stamped on the bottom bracket. It also has Ultra Record stickers on the chain stays.

I was going to use some of the parts off this bike but if someone has a keen interest in the brand and would like to restore this bike I would be willing to let it go, as is.

Thanks for the tread. It was an interesting read.

steelfan
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Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:50 pm

Re: Michalo info.

Postby steelfan » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:14 pm

Hi Spencer,

Sorry I thought I would get a notification of a response so I haven't checked back to this thread. I am not sure of the size but it is smaller than my bikes so I am going to guess and say probably 55/53cm. I also have some photos but I can't figure out how to attach them.

shiftyg23
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby shiftyg23 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:47 pm

Thanks - have you a private message
steelfan wrote:Hi Spencer,

Sorry I thought I would get a notification of a response so I haven't checked back to this thread. I am not sure of the size but it is smaller than my bikes so I am going to guess and say probably 55/53cm. I also have some photos but I can't figure out how to attach them.

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P!N20
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Re: Michalo info.

Postby P!N20 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:53 am

Alleged Michalo tourer for sale in Mentone: https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/mentone ... s_bicycles

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