Classic & Vintage - Bianchi hubs & Fiamme rims: how old?
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Any info about these wheels would be appreciated, such as who made the hubs, how old they are, how old the rims are, e.g.
The hubs are engraved "Bianchi" and have no other identifying marks. Only one cone on each hub has wrench flats. I suspect they are FB hubs, but I've never seen FBs with oil hole covers and such a squared-off look. Did Bianchi ever manufacture their own hubs?
The rims are clearly stamped Fiamme, but the decal (what's left of it) is unfamiliar.
Not being a Bianchi guy, I appeal to you folks who know this stuff. Thanks!
Better pictures would help. But that is some cool stuff. I have never seen that Fiamme decal nor the "Brevetto Longhi SA Fiamme Milano" stamp. Typically it is "Brevetto Longhi Fiamme Italy". Does the valve hole have a ferrule?
With a ferrule, I'd say post-war to the late 50s. Without a ferrule, early 60s. My guess is that these are stamped differently as they were sold in Italy and not for export. But that is only a guess.
Although I am not certain, I do not think Bianchi made there own hubs. They definately stamped Bianchi onto FB hubs for cambio corsa and PR equipped bikes, but thay is likely due to the special needs dictated by the derailleur. FB typically stamped a date code on the cones. Check those. Without the date stamp, I would think Gnutti over FB.
Again, it's hard to tell with the pictures, but those look like 3-piece hubs. Steel barrels with aluminum flanges. I'd never say never, but I have never seen 3-piece hubs prior to the war, they are all steel. So I'd say the hubs are post war up until the mid 50s. At that time, the high flange was much more stylish and was more likely to be used over the low flange.
They are three-piece hubs. What argues for FB is the script "Bianchi" matches the script "Frejus" on a set of FB hubs I have. The hub profiles are substantially different, though. There are no stampings on the cones. The cone arrangement (no lock nut on one side of the rear, and no lock nuts at all on the front) seems early post-war to me. The rear is fixed gear, so derailleurs aren't an issue.
The rims have no ferrules in the valve drilling.
Again, thanks for your help!
Without the ferrule, the rims still could be early. Again, just a guess without a catalog, but maybe they are a second-tier rim that was never availabke for export. No ferrule would have a lower price point and expand Fiamme's local market. Tubular's?
Tubulars, yes. Track rims? Maybe. The sides are convex and not parallel, which suggests track rims. Do you know when Fiamme started making dedicated track rims?
They are definitely track wheels.
I don't know for sure but there is nothing to say Fiamme didn't make track rims as they were making road rims from the start. All the greats of the day rode road and track in the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Also, if a manufacturer like Bianchi came to Fiamme with a large order at a certain price point, you would think Fiamme would jump at the chance. "Special" decals for a "special" bike would make a smart business decision.
Ignoring the "exclusive" details and looking at the others, I'd have no problem advertising these as late 40s, early 50s until someone with better evidense told me otherwise.
Thank you, IAB. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
01-27-12, 11:35 AM
I have a buddy looking for a similar setup to these.
10-25-12, 01:27 AM
Were you able to come up with more info on your hubs? I have what I think is a mid to late 50s track bike that came with only the rear wheel, in very poor condition, with FB 3-piece hubs and the rim stamping precisely matches yours. No decal though, but that's because the bike apparently wasn't well treated.
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