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Old 09-29-07, 11:36 PM   #1
ga_mueller
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Ambrosio 19 Extra Super Elite.. any good??

I bought a "new" wheelset for my Miyata 912 today. I'd purchased the bike at the start of this summer; it's in terrific shape (except for the wheels). After around 2K miles of riding, the rear wheel was out of true again. After trueing it, I saw that a bunch of the spokes were pulling out of the rim, on the drive-side only. Like, almost a circle of Al around the spoke was completely punched out and loose. Whoops... maybe (definately) not so safe... crappy thing only lasted 20yrs!! So I went to my local "retro" shop (Sloughs) this morning to see if they had a cheapy used rear wheel I could buy. After scrounging in their back storeroom for a while, they came out with a new, unused, front/rear wheelset from the late 80's, with Ultegra/600 hubs, almost exactly what was on the Miyata, but brand new. Apparently taken off a Bianchi, and sitting in the storeroom since then. I HAD to buy it, and so I did. So much for my budget.... but oh, so cool.

Is this a good wheelset? I'd never heard of Ambrosio, but they were so beautiful.... Any idea what they might be worth? To get a price, they looked in their catalogs, added up the retail cost of Tiagra hubs, rims @ $25 per, spokes, zero labor, and came up with $150 for the pair. A ripoff???

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Old 09-30-07, 06:30 AM   #2
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I have the same set, off a Bianchi, with Shimano 600 hubs. Mine are anodized a dark grey, and I like them quite a lot. Only downside is when I bought them used they had a fair amount of wear on the braking surface, but they work fine and ride very nicely. I think I paid $100-120 CAD used with Chen Shin 700x25 tires.

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Old 10-01-07, 07:43 AM   #3
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Ambrosio is a fine old Italian rim company. Elite "19's" are cool rims.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:49 AM   #4
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Ambrosio is a fine old Italian rim company. Elite "19's" are cool rims.
Yes, but these have been sitting in the LBS for how long? They were probably written off 15 years ago. I would have tried to talk them down to $100.00.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:50 AM   #5
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Absolutely! Never pay "book prices" for stuff coming out of the attic (or basement) at the LBS!
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Old 10-01-07, 07:40 PM   #6
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I would have tried to talk them down to $100.00.... Never pay "book prices" for stuff coming out of the attic (or basement) at the LBS!
You are both correct, of course. I am a doofus. I didn't even bargain; I'm really really bad at that .

But I'd looked on eBay and used wheelsets were around $100 in good shape, so I didn't think it was a total ripoff. This shop is very unusual. Super messy, but a virtual treasure trove of old components. They never know what they have because they never inventory anything. Anyway, I went on a long ride today, and I loved the wheelset. Bottom line is I'm satisfied with them at the price.

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Old 10-02-07, 11:53 PM   #7
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I have a couple of sets of Ambrosios. Nice, but certain models are bigger than most, making them practically impossible to put tires on. Ambrosios are known for that - not sure what models.
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Old 10-03-07, 02:25 AM   #8
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I've been using Ambrosio rims for 30 years now and prefer them for their trueness, roundness, consistancy and reliability.I have never encountered issues with difficulty in mounting any of their rims myself and have never even heard of this before- You say you own several sets of Ambrosio shod wheelsets,yet you can't identify any of the reputed "oversized" models involved , so apparently you haven't encountered this issue yourself. Do you have any corroboration to back up this claim/rumour ?
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Old 07-16-09, 10:47 AM   #9
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Can anyone let me know what size rim tape I should buy for these rims? I'm planning on putting some new Vittoria open tubulars on my Ambrosio 19 Extra Elites, they size at 700 x 24 is this going to be a problem?
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Old 07-16-09, 11:59 AM   #10
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I have a pair of Ambrosio rims on one of my favorite bikes. I bought the rims and built them and started riding them in 1984. They have served me very well. The damage you see may be from some sort of abuse.

Ambrosio rims are very good, nearly top notch, but I wouldn't place them on a par with the French-made rims of that era. In my mind, Mavic was on top, then Super Champion (aka Wolber), then Rigida. Below those three brands were the Italian rims. This is before Campagnolo started making rims.

Nothing built up as eagerly as a Mavic rim. It was as if the rim would read my mind and fingers.
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Old 07-16-09, 12:25 PM   #11
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Noglider, can you enlighten me as to what size rim tape you use on those ambrosio's?
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Old 07-16-09, 01:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ga_mueller View Post
Is this a good wheelset? I'd never heard of Ambrosio, but they were so beautiful.... Any idea what they might be worth? To get a price, they looked in their catalogs, added up the retail cost of Tiagra hubs, rims @ $25 per, spokes, zero labor, and came up with $150 for the pair. A ripoff???
No ripoff. Shimano 600 hubs can be cleaned and packed so they'll spin if the barometer changes. Good spokes are $1 each, and good rims easily that. And you have piece of mind. Now, before you mess them up, double-check the spoke tensioning.

Some may say you should have bargained. With my LBS, if the price is fair, I pay it. I get a lot of free stuff that way, as it's C&V and he has no use for it. It usually works both ways, and I'm sure it will with you...
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Old 07-16-09, 01:41 PM   #13
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I took a set of similar wheels, except with Italian hubs, off my son's Bianchi when we turned it into a fixie. I'm going to put them on my Trek 560, and give him the Trek's matrix wheels for his Peugeot (whose wheels were run into the ground!).

I like the Ambrosio rims a lot, and you've got good hubs on yours. I wouldn't worry too much about slightly overpaying. It's hard to find good wheels in that old spacing (126mm, I assume). And anyway, modern designs don't look right, imo, on the old bikes.

Btw, I bought that Bianchi at Slough's 20+ years ago! Yeah, he's a character, if I remember right, but he sold us a hellavu bike for $500. Good to hear he's still in business. I think it's worth it to support guys like that. I occassionally make a "donation" (i.e. pay list) at the one LBS in my area that knows old bikes (Off-Ramp in Mt.View).

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Old 07-16-09, 05:23 PM   #14
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Noglider, can you enlighten me as to what size rim tape you use on those ambrosio's?
It's been 25 years, so I don't remember. I think I used whatever is normally sold, i.e. nothing special.
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