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Eclipse Carbon 7 Carbon-fiber Bicycle By Tvt 55cm 1986 | Vintage Rare Unique For Sale
Arguably the first "mass-produced" carbon-fiber bicycle available in America, the Eclipse Carbon 7 was imported and branded by Eclipse, who at the time were beter known for bicycle panniers. The bike was engineered and manufactured by TVT, a French aerospace company using a seven-layer carbon kevlar tubing designed for guided missiles and rocket propelled anti-tank weapons. Aluminum lugs were bonded to the carbon fiber tubing with heat-set epoxy. TVT is marked on the serial number under the bottom bracket and on the rear dropouts (see photos). As a techie, carbon-fiber appealed to me and I bought my Eclipse Carbon 7 (serial number 08128500) in June 1986 and rode it along with a 1985 Pinarello SLX steel bike well into the 21st Century, when I bought a modern carbon fiber bike. The Eclipse had a magic carpet ride in comparison with the harshness of the aluminum bikes favored by weight weenies of the day. As sold, the fork is a Vitus 979 Dural (aluminum) and not carbon. Machining (early CNC?) of the aluminum lugs gave the bike a decided industrial look unlike the rest of the pack. Just how rare is rare? I have never seen another Eclipse Carbon 7. Back in the late 80s I met a guy in Tucson who said he had one, but by the time I moved here a few years later, he had sold it. A Google turns up some interesting hits of information, but one must sift through the chaff. Components are primarily Campagnolo Neuvo Record. I, however, chose a Suntour Superbe Pro (53-42 teeth, 175 mm length) crank as I preferred its apppearance. The seat post is an American Classic and the headset is a Stronglight. 3ttt bars and stem (length, 110mm) complete the package. A couple of years after buying it, the Campy brake levers were replaced with black aero levers (brand TBD — see photo — the hoods are Dia Comp) for their trick look and superior feel. If you would like to preserve the vintage, I can include a set of Campy Super Record (drilled, without hoods) brake levers. (Sorry I do not have a Campy NR crank to kit it out Campagnolo.) The bike is sized 55 cm (c-c), with the following dimensions: seat tube 56 cm (c-t, 57 cm to top of seat lug), top tube 56 cm (c-c), head tube 15 cm, wheel base 98.5 cm. Rear axel spacing, 126 mm. The rear brake cable housing runs through the top tube. The down tube has braze-on shift lever bosses and bottle cage bosses, with a second set of cage bosses on the seat tube. Original light water bottle cages of the era are still mounted and a black Silca pump with Campy head will be included. No pedals (although the first generation Time pedals I bought around that time could be yours for the asking). Clear-coat over the "fiber" and decals are in excellent condition. The aluminum bits — lugs and cranks — show the usual light burnishing of use, but not abuse. The Dia Comp brake hoods are still nice and supple. Return springs on the brake levers remain strong. The 3ttt bars are scratched on one side by a poorly mounted cycle computer (see photo). The plastic cable guide under the bottom bracket shell only lasted a few years and grooves were filed in the shell to route the shifter cables (see photo). The Eclipse Carbon 7 will be professionally packed and shipped by FedEx. Please let me know if you would like insurance added. Additional cost must be added for shipping to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. HISTORICAL NOTES: The TVT carbon fiber bikes were designed at TVT by Jean Marc Gueugneaud (check his numerous patents), now at Time, and were sold under several different marques, including Look and Vitus. With a frame weight of a bit over three lbs., it was much lighter than any steel frame of the mid-80s and had a much sweeter ride than any aluminum frame of comparable weight. Use of the TVT frames by professional racers is poorly documented. It is rumored that TVT carbon fiber bikes were ridden in the mountains of the 1985 Tour de France by Peugeot team-member Robert Millar — to his best finish ever and a King of the Mountain jersey — and by the La Vie Clair team (Hinault, Lemond, et al.) starting in 1986. Look released their version of this carbon frame to La Vie Clair in 1989. And Greg LeMond won the Tour de France that year on a Look-branded TVT bike in a come-from-behind victory on the Champs-Élysée over Laurent Fignon. It was LeMond's championing of technology that gave him the advantage to overcome a fifty second deficit and win by eight seconds in the final time trial. Drop me a line if you have any questions! I'll be happy to answer them for you. More photos are available! Enjoy!