April 01, 2009
Some of you will recognize this distinctive track bike:
Hard to imagine the scale and profile of 6-Day racing throughout the 1920's and 30's. No other professional sport rivaled the 6-Day scene. Bikes like the Paramount convey much so more than meets the eye -- a bit like Edmund Hillary's ice axe. You have to visualize him reaching Everest's summit to appreciate what you're holding.
Some of you more astute mechanics will also notice the repair stand. This is an early Desimone's stand built at the famous San Jose, CA shop of the same name. San Jose once boasted 6 velodromes and Desimone's was a big shop in then-rough and tumble downtown district. I still have one that lived at Wheelsmith in Palo Alto for 25 yrs. There's a good story there, for another day.
What's most apparent to me about this bike are the wheels. They're not wood! No surprise, hardly any of the bikes of that era are today wearing wheels authentic to the period. This Paramount probably rolled on wood rims from Lobdell-Emory, the legendary rim maker from Alma, MI.
Our Ghisallo Corsa rim is a near replica of one of Lobdell's most seen models. The Corse is made from beech (the Mediterranean hardwood) rather than hard rock maple, but the sleek shape is the same:
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if earlier generations of Ghisallo rim makers consciously copied the Lobdell shape. After all, the World's best wood rims (and 6-Day bikes) were American. If any of you have insight into this particular Paramount, please share it. After all, we're enjoying the 70th anniversary of this proud brand in 2009.
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