The Airborne Zeppelin is probably the most beautiful titanium road bike ever made with is sweeping lines and strong, light frame. I bought my Airborne Zeppelin online in 1999 and probably have over 100,000 miles on it. For people looking for a classic bike at a fraction of what a new bike goes for, I hope to start a Airborne Zeppelin Fan Club! You can get a used Zeppelin for under $500, get a brand new Shimano Ultegra 6800 Groupset for $600 and end up with a $1100 bike that is better equipped than a new $5000 bicycle.
I have six bikes but my most used and most beloved is Zeppie here. I have had to do lots of routine maintenance over the years including replacing my wheels twice because of cracked rims but two weeks ago I broke a crank arm which really scared me. With decades of heavy use, I have really worn out the bike and for safety reasons as well as reliability, its time to replace the fork and entire groupset.
By January 2017 by Airborne Zeppelin retrofit project will be complete and I will give you complete parts lists to turn your old Airborne into a work of art that turns heads at every club ride!
Here is my original order confirmation from late in 1999:
Yes, for 1999 $2298 was a LOT of money for a bike but given that I have 100,000 miles on it, thats only 2.3 cents per mile which is a transportation bargain and a recreational bargain if there ever was one!
New Shimano 6800 Groupset
Below is the groupset I have ordered to make the bike good as new again, I will take lots of pictures and let you know if there are any compatibility issues. Note also that I am changing from a triple chainring in the front to a double chainring. Also note that since 99% of my riding is steep hills and I am a very heavy rider I have opted for a gearing combination optimal for this – your needs will probably be different!
You would expect that the manuals that come with the parts would tell you how to install them but you would be wrong. These documents are just user manuals meant for the purchaser of the bicycle. Shimano expects the component installation to be done by professionals either in a factory or at a bike shop. Fear not, Shimano Dealer Manuals are extremely well written and easy to follow as long as you are patient, detail oriented, and have the right tools. Download them to your laptop and take your laptop out to your workbench to follow along.
Why is it called the Zeppelin?
Take a look at the top tube, its beautiful bulbous shape very reminiscent of the Zeppelin shape.