1980 G.A.C. Akimoto Monoshock
Spanish made G.A.C. Akimoto BMX monoshocker restored during may-june 2009. Special thanks to COASTY for the #plate!
G.A.C. = Garate, Anitua y Cia (Garate, Anitua & Co.)
I bought this bike (or more likely, what was left of it) from a french seller for about $60 + shipping to Finland. As this was going to be my first ever monoshock i was obviously very excited about it and anxious to get the project going! The frame and fork rocks, but the components were so and so, quality wise mostly just mediocre to lower end stuff.
Most of the components were branded G.A.C. but were of low quality so i chose not to use all of them. I was aware that the bike had seen it's better days too by the time i made the purchase but i wasn't going to build it back to factory specs anyway. The steel 3pc G.A.C. cranks were bent, the stem had been broken in two (!), the italian plastic seat was also cracked in two and put together with packing tape. The bike came with wimsy set of steel 28-spoke G.A.C. wheels which seemed like they would bend the minute someone would get on and ride them, mismatch tires, useless levers and seized G.A.C. branded steel front brake etc. etc.
I had never heard of G.A.C. before but that didn't stop me from getting on with the build and find out some more info about the company. At first i thought it was french only to find out i was wrong. Turned this was yet another old manufacturter with hundred-year-old history. For some reason i keep finding the big brands that have ancient roots, but that's only cool. I know that much that there used to be two G.A.C Akimoto models; this one, with the monoshock and one without it but that's about as far as my knowledge about these bikes go. Beyond the Akimoto models, i have no idea if there were other models made for BMX by G.A.C.
Like i said, the company has impressively long roots, all the way back to late 1800's within spanish metal industry makers of firearms and from there progressing into bicycles and mopeds not to forget organizing local bicycle races (on road bikes). The fact that this is spanish made makes it even more interesting even though this isn't a high end frame, or maybe exactly because of it. The frame is made of mild steel, it is heavy and has the cool monoshock rear which uses approx. 275mm-280mm eye-to-eye shock absorbers typically found in various mopeds and whatnot. The shock has seen its better days too but it still functions fine, although it's getting a bit too flexy i must say. I might get a fresh one that's slightly longer and for heavier load, we'll see.
So, the bike came with steel 3pc G.A.C. cranks which were bent from parallel which is ofcourse "9:15" in time scale to about "9:20". Shame really, because they were nice looking chromed steel cranks so i began looking for some new ones, period correct ofcourse. I came across with abandoned ladies 5-speed thrown at the metal recycling dumpster with beautiful SR SilStar 170mm aluminum 3pc cranks on it from 1981 and salvaged them immediately. The crank spindle however, was too narrow for the GAC bottom bracket shell width so i had to modify the shell it in oder to fit the cranks and the spindle. It was a success although i was slightly nervous narowing it down. The bottom bracket is standard euro-size but with unusual thread pitch but fortunately the spindles and these type of bottom brackets are interchangeable. The cranks came with a whopping 48T chainwheel attached to them but it is no problem with the right gearing. Currently i have a 16T on the back but will switch to 17T as soon as i find one.
The seatpost is a standard 1" steel post stamped as G.A.C and so is the steel seatpost clamp. The seat is german made Wittkop BMX/touring seat with the popular and "correct" diamond pattern imprint on top of it. The stem and the v-bars are off a Takara Outlaw with original vinyl pads and the grips are finned and branded as Finish Line. Another brand i have never heard of but they look and feel very good. Extra special thanks to Glenn Casey for his custom made number plate he sent me! Finally i have a bike here worthy of such a cool custom plate. Cheers mate! Much appreciated.
This kind of bike screams for some 2.125 wide, dimpled heavy duty chrome plated rims instead of 1.75, 28-spoke rims this bike came with originally. Not to forget a coaster brake and beefy knobby tires. The rims are italian made Beretta BMX 20 x 2.125 with large flange german made Union front hub and japanese Shimano D-Type coaster on the back. Thanks to Justin aka Porkchopzz for the nice set of IRC BMX Racer 80X knobby tires. They sure are fine! The spokes are another story. They were covered with years of dull patina on them so i had to rub each one of them with steel wool and polish each one individually for that nice shine hopefully for many years to come. It was a lot work but in the end, worth every minute or let's say each hour of the three i spent. The rims went thru the usual oxalic acid bath to get rid of rust and came out of the sink shinier than ever. The frame was also soaked in OA to get rid of the usual rusty marks on the paintjob, which by the way, is original. It's kind of a cool pale yellow with a twist of pearly effect,
which is basicly imossible to capture in camera. You have to see it in person. The forks have cool shape pressed drop outs unlike i have seen and it uses the smaller sized headset very typical in euro bikes. The bike came with white box type bars and with white leatherette pads which read G.A.C. and Akimoto but since they were the "wrong" colour i decided not to use them for now but who knows i might repair them and put them back on one day. There were no other frame graphics than a G.A.C. decal on the headtube and a couple tasteless odd neon-splatter stickers. For now the headtube decal will be enough decoration.
In all, i would say this is a rare piece of euro-BMX history and bike manufacturing. "Rare" as in i have never seen another these days, but these might aswell be very common in spain who knows. The bike rides great for what i've had the chance to test ride it a few times. The bike's heavy like a barrel of bricks but that's not the point, the point is monoshocks rule and more importantly, they are great fun! I am very pleased how this project turned out.
Parts and Specs:
- Frame: 1980 G.A.C. Akimoto w/275mm eye-to-eye open coil monoshock/swing rear suspension
- Fork: G.A.C. ..with quite a bit of rake
- Serial#: BI-0057 GAC
- Frame Material: Mild steel
- Headset: caged bearings
- Stem: Takara double clamp (off a Takara Outlaw), steel
- Stem Pad: generic snap-on double stem pad, black vinyl
- Handlebars: Takara v-bars (off a Takara Outlaw)
- Handlebar Pad: vinyl v-bar pad with 6 snap-ons with the "Takara Outlaw" print
- Grips: Finish Line 7/8" excellent quality and comfortable finned grips, not the usual boring A'mes, Ourys or Oakleys
- Seatpost: G.A.C. 1" with capped top end to keep the dirt outside
- Seatpost clamp: G.A.C. steel 1.1/8" polished with clear PVC tube fitted around the bolt for rust proof protection
- Seat: Wittkop with the popular "diamond" pattern, made in Germany
- Cranks: aluminum SR Sakae SilStar 170mm 3pc stamped april '81 with stock 48T chainwheel
- Crank Spindle: SR Sakae 3SS stamped aug '81
- Chainwheel/Sprocket: SR Sakae 48T, steel
- Bottom Bracket: G.A.C. euro looseball with odd thread pitch, modified and fitted with SR spindle
- Pedals: HTI rat traps 9/16"
- Rims: Beretta BMX 20x2.125 made in italy, chrome plated steel w/dimpled nipple holes. Heavy duty.
- Rim strips: plastic, originals from way back still in one piece though
- Front hub: Union 36H high flange steel looseball, made in W. Germany
- Rear hub: Shimano 36H D-Type coaster brake w/17T cog
- Spokes: 105g / 2.5mm dia.
- Tires: IRC BMX Racer 80X 20" x 2.125"
- Tubes: 20 x 2.125 w/Dunlop valve
- Chain: KMC 410 single speed Â½ x 1/8
- Numberplate: number 94x custom made, THANKS COASTY!!
Submitted by 2Fresh
- Company: G.A.C.
- Wheel Size: 20"
- Headtube angle: 72
- Seattube angle: 72
- Toptube length: 18
- Headtube size: 1"