Neo Retro: Fondriest X-Status Build Part 1

I’ve always loved neo-retro bike builds. I was looking for one to build for a while and finally, this is my 1996 Fondriest X-Status. If you know your cycling history this particular frame might sound familiar as is the bike French Team Cofidis was riding in 1997 when Lance Armstrong came back from his cancer treatment. Unfortunately Lance got cut from that team, making his relationship with this frame rather short and of course he went on to form the US Postal team and the rest is history.

So here I was, in the hunt for an old frame to build, Colnago, Bianchi, Basso, F. Moser, De Rosa. I came across all these frames, but during my hunt I found this Fondriest X-Status, 58CM and very clean with original threaded polished fork, coming all the way from Austria.

So I bought it, and waited 3 weeks for it to get to my home. Clean and unmolested. It arrived to with no issues. I waited to build the bike for a while, mainly because of time and lack of knowledge about the frame. At one point I was scared it might have been too small for me. The frame incorporates Dedacciai (De duh Chai) Optimal tubing and a completely squared geometry. This frame propelled Bobby Julich to 3rd place on the 1998 Tour de France. The one thing I’ve come to love about it is how it rides, I’ll go into that later.

After a few months, I got sick of having the frame sitting around and I started to build it.

I started racking up the parts, headset, bottom bracket, MRCC co-founder Jason Delgado had a 10 speed Ultegra groupset laying around and let me have it, and the appropriate finishing kit. 3T stem & handlebar, along with the seat post. Selle Italia saddle, and an old Oval crankset that would get the job done, for now.

And the build started.

The 10-speed Ultegra 6700 is a temporary choice, eventually the bike will be full Campagnolo. I’m not a big Shimano guy, but I’m also a purist at heart and an Italian frame should be built with Italian components.

Installing the 10-speed HG500 cassette on some Shimano wheels, again placeholders for now.

Getting the rear der on, along with chain. The crankset and headset I had installed a Bike Nerds, as we didn’t have the appropriate tools to do the job ourselves.

Moving on to the front der. The Oval crankset came with Praxis Works chainrings, which are fantastic btw. The crank is black, but  I might be changing the look of it in the future if I don’t change it to a Campy crank.

Chain/cassette installed.

Moving on to the front cockpit. The bar/stem combo is a threadless option with an Origin 8 adapter. Placeholders again, as in my opinion, threaded forks and quill stems go together. Something I’ll be changing in the near future as well.

Once the bar/stem combo was dialed in, we moved on to the shifters and cables.

Cable install was pretty straight-forward, no internal routing or secret motor compartments here ;).

Once the cables were installed, the finishing touches and adjustments started.

I decided to use the new Rapha Classic Bar tape in white.

Jason’s handlebar wrapping skills are bar none.

“I’m a perfectionist, I can’t help it.” – Jason Delgado.

We started building the bike around 9PM and took our time, talking about bikes, riding, racing. If you’ve never built a bike yourself it’s something we definitely recommend. With this we leave you guys, and will have part 2 of the build coming up so stay tuned!

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