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Thread: Firenze?

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    Firenze?

    I was looking around my dad's garage and being newly acquainted to vintage bikes I noticed that he has this old road bike. It's a red 12-Speed Deluxe Firenze. I'm just wondering about the history of said bike, can anyone help me out?

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    Senior Member gurry's Avatar
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    That could be a keeper if the paint is in real good condition.

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    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    I know the Firenze around here in CA were given away along with a TV in SF.

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    Here's the story I found on the web. In the late 1970's or early 1980's, the Italian company, Firenze, produced a road bicycle. This bike was outsourced to Taiwan, who built them.
    Thousands of these outsourced Firenze bikes were then imported into the United States. Once they got here, it turned out they were not up to US code. (Much like Japanese cars built for the Japan market cannot be sold in America).
    A loophole allowed stores to give them away as opposed to selling them, so these bikes were turned into promotional gifts for electronics and stereos (purportedly in the Bay Area).
    The Firenze bicycle is of mediocre quality, but few were produced and not many are still in existence, let alone functional. Today, the Firenze is desirable because of its history.

    Last edited by macman58; 04-24-10 at 09:46 PM.

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    Senior Member Gthoro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
    I know the Firenze around here in CA were given away along with a TV in SF.
    +1 Give-away bikes with TVs and appliances around here too.

    I would not consider these bikes desirable, but if you like it as rider enjoy it!

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    Senior Member toytech's Avatar
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    These bikes were so bad some of the local bike shops had "no Firenze's!" signs in their service departments...
    They pop frequently on craigslist in the bay area, often claiming to be Italian :facepalm: .
    Matthew's Top of the Hill in Daly City, buy a stereo and get a bike! They are out of business now, but at one time were the leading bike distributor in the whole Bay Area! They did a mountain bike shaped object too.
    "Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day."--Harry S. Truman

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    I was just wondering ... my dad has been riding it forever lol.

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    BTW I never owned one. This was the info I found one the web and the guy who owned it thought it was ok. After reading you guys comments, it probibly wound not be my thing either. Thanks

  9. #9
    velo-orange
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    Macman- where did you get that story?
    AFAIK, there was never an Italian bike company named Firenze. It was a name made up by a promotions/incentive company (an examples is http://www.cyclefg.com/) that sold container-loads of bikes to appliance retailers throughout the US. PC Richard and Sons in the Northeast gave away thousands of em too. I'm sure there were other elexctronic and appliance giants that did the same all across the US and Canada.

    They were cheap 70's era bike boom bikes produced in the early to mid 80's. Well behind the times in terms of spec, quality, performance, etc. They are not collectibles, or of much value in general.

    This website is mostly wrong:
    http://officeofstrategicinfluence.com/firenze/
    There is no connection between the 'Firenze' model Litespeed produced for a few years. Nor is there a connection with the model 'Pulse' sold by Kettler in the EU.
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see a craigslist ad touting the vintage provenance of Firenze ghetto fixie conversions, or 'restorations' or a 'pro build' with Deep V rims, NJS bar and stem,etc.
    If you are into the bike for whatever reasons, thats cool, but piecing together unrelated random facts to fabricate a completely untrue and misleading story is not doing anyone a favor.
    Last edited by velo-orange; 04-26-10 at 12:50 PM.

  10. #10
    sultan of schwinn EjustE's Avatar
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    what he says:

    Quote Originally Posted by velo-orange View Post
    Macman- where did you get that story?
    AFAIK, there was never an Italian bike company named Firenze. It was a name made up by a promotions/incentive company (an examples is http://www.cyclefg.com/) that sold container-loads of bikes to appliance retailers throughout the US. PC Richard and Sons in the Northeast gave away thousands of em too. I'm sure there were other elexctronic and appliance giants that did the same all across the US and Canada.

    They were cheap 70's era bike boom bikes produced in the early to mid 80's. Well behind the times in terms of spec, quality, performance, etc. They are not collectibles, or of much value in general.

    This website is mostly wrong:
    http://officeofstrategicinfluence.com/firenze/
    There is no connection between the 'Firenze' model Litespeed produced for a few years. Nor is there a connection with the model 'Pulse' sold by Kettler in the EU.
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see a craigslist ad touting the vintage provenance of Firenze ghetto fixie conversions, or 'restorations' or a 'pro build' with Deep V rims, NJS bar and stem,etc.
    If you are into the bike for whatever reasons, thats cool, but piecing together unrelated random facts to fabricate a completely untrue and misleading story is not doing anyone a favor.
    To add to the story, there was absolutely nothing (in ability to function as a bike) wrong with the bikes but the bikes were not meant to be sold in any store but given away as premious. Electronics retail companies imported them directly by Taiwanese manufacturers at the cost of around $60-100 a bike and gave them away as "premiums" with more expensive electronics, pretty much in the same manner that you get rebates from appliances these days. A ton of those were imported from the early 80s to the late 80s and their quality was slightly better than department store bike quality, but they were free. The silly thing about this promotion was the assumption that everyone who wants to buy a TV might want a free bike. Does not work this way and it didn't.

    Edit: here is a testimony from someone who gave away Firenze bikes as an electronics store manager in the 80s.
    -E

    still stuck in the '80s; '70s were good as well, but i severely dislike tubulars.
    I tri...

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    Those things are all over Madison. Because many whiled away the 80s in basements and thus still have clean paint, and because they're technically 'lugged', you see a fair amount with Deep Vs etc rolling around. They also made a 15-speed mountain bike, with bull-moose bars and thumbshifters--a nice source of those parts

  12. #12
    velo-orange
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    I saw a Firenze mtn bike at a goodwill in Ocala last week. Rusted to ****e and with flatted and dry rotted tires, the price tag was $50. Still too expensive to justify buying for the Taiwan Bullmoose stem and Suntour thumbshifters.

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    I thought I was helping with good info, I should of looked a little deeper. Not one of my better moments. Thanks for the info.

  14. #14
    velo-orange
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    macman- it's not your fault. There hasn't really been much info on that bike anywhere.

  15. #15
    velo-orange
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    The Firenze 'bikes' were 'challenging' to assemble and repair, especially for anything more involved than a tire or tube change. Whatever could possibly go wrong would go wrong with them in my experience. They were not up to par as compared to Japanese bikes from the same timespan, and other Taiwan bike factories were producing better quality bikes by then too. The Firenze was made to hit a pricepoint somewheres above $00.00 and it really showed. Ironically, the FOB price cited elsewhere was more than what a US built Huffy or Roadmaster would cost PC Richards. And an 80's era Huffy, while generally derided as low end, was marginally better than a huffy.

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