After a few sessions of debugging, the Italvega has made it's first serious ride today, a 30 miler out past the Airport. For those who would be interested, a few pics are at http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/thomasthomasa/lst?.dir=/italvega
A few points may be of interest to other list members. We discussed TA spindle lengths for triple cranks, and the consensus was that 120 mm was proper. Well, not on this bike. I suppose it's due to the Italian threaded bottom bracket, but the chainring bolts (which protrude inboard on a Cyclotouriste crank) tickled the chainstays under hard pressure, even with a spacer under the fixed cup. Fortunately, Sarah Gibson at Old Town was able to get a 127.5 x 70 spindle, and all is now well. I actually have a bit of extra space on the right even without a spacer, so perhaps the 125mm is the proper fit, but it would be very close. I would bet that a 122mm wouldn't work.
Second, a shot of the English language Columbus sticker is posted, although not totally legible in the pic. As noted before, Dale has a pic of an Italvega on the CR site with a French Columbus sticker. The only Columbus stickers I've ever seen are the Italian ones. Was Italvega the only company with foreign language Columbus stickers? Or the only company that brought them to the US?
Third, the shifting with the Shimano Crane GS is certainly adequate, although a bit slower than more modern stuff (on other bikes I have an XTR and a 105 long cage rear, shifted in friction mode). I guess the proper derailer depends on the karmic purpose of the bike. The Italvega is mostly vintage because it pleases me. I have a Campy NR on my Raleigh Pro, and the aforementioned XTR on my hot rod Raleigh International. The XTR certainly shifts quicker and needs less trimming. But the superiority of the XTR doesn't make me not ride the Pro, and I don't sit there and cuss at it's shifting while riding. Both are fun to ride. The Pro requires a bit more rider interaction, that's all. Some days you want to be vintage, and some days you want to be modern (or at least more modern). (But shifters do need to work minimally well, hence the absence of Simplex push rod shifters from the fleet.) Whatever floats your boat, I say, and your answer is right for you.
Tom Adams, Kansas City