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Old 05-13-06, 10:24 AM   #1
PhattTyre
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souvenir from Italy?

I'm doing a study abroad program in Rome and Istanbul this summer. I'm already thinking about souvenirs. For an avid cyclist an classic, made in Italy, Italian frameset seems perfect, but I don't know much about them.

I plan to just buy a frameset (at least frame and fork, hopefully a headset and bb too) and mail it home. Ideally I want lugged steel that's older than me ('81 or older) with Campy semi-horizontial dropouts and a real headbadge, no sticker. I'm flexible about all of those criteria, but the dropouts. I want a little room. It doesn't have to be the best racing frame out there, just something solid with a decent set of tubes. I'd like something maybe a little more obscure than a Bianchi, but make doesn't matter as much as the budget. Ideally I'd like to get a bike (at least model, if not make) that was never imported to the US, or imported in small numbers. I'm hoping to spend $100-$200 US on the frameset and shipping to get it home.

Is this feasible? If not, what kind of budget should I be looking at? What are some nice Italian makes I should be looking for? What is your advice on buying old frames in general? Am I likely to be duped into thinking a frame is Italian when it's not, or will most of the Italian makes I find be made in Italy?

I feel I should mention my intentions with this frame. Many of you will cringe, but I want to make it a fixedgear. Fear not, I won't do anything to hurt the potential of the frame. All braze-ons will remain and this bike would not be locked up or banged into racks. Paint will stay original until rust became an issue. I plan on keeping the frame for a long time, with the hope of some day returning it to it's period appropriate geared glory. I just couldn't swing the cost of that now.

Any advice or info you have for me would be great. Thank you.

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Old 05-13-06, 12:56 PM   #2
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Colnago, Ciocc, Guerciotti, Masi.
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Old 05-13-06, 01:35 PM   #3
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A frame from some small, unknown builder nobody in the U.S. has ever heard of, would be even cooler.
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Old 05-15-06, 08:35 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by OLDYELLR
A frame from some small, unknown builder nobody in the U.S. has ever heard of, would be even cooler.

That's what I was thinking too. I stand to inherit an '84 Guerciotti sometime in the next 40-ish years, but that's about the only brand I wouldn't want.

It's my understanding that a lot of little Italian bike shops used to also build their own frames, is this true? I know a nice lug and dropout when I see one, is there anything else I should know in judging quality and craft? Generally speaking, is a the use of Campy dropouts a pretty good sign that the frame was made by a decent builder?
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Old 05-15-06, 09:14 AM   #5
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One of my favorite experiences when in Italy last May was happening upon the Mastantuoni shop in the small town of Rotondi in Campania. The entire shop was maybe 20' x 20' and they still produced some frames right there. Bikes were floor to ceiling and the walls were covered with all kinds of stuff from the three generations of Mastantuonis who are/were professional racers. I'm sure that there are similar scenes all over the country - just keep your eyes open for them - we would have blasted right past this place (it looked like a hole in the wall) if I hadn't needed a spare tube.

Enjoy Italia - you're gonna love it!
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Old 05-15-06, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhattTyre
I know a nice lug and dropout when I see one
Depends what you consider "nice" lugs. From what I've seen, Italian frames always had very plain lugs, even back in the fifties. I'm partial to very intricate lugs, which pretty much went out of style in the seventies with most frame builders.
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Old 05-15-06, 10:47 AM   #7
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Hi
I'm italian, exactly where are you going to stay in Italy ?
It's going to be easy only if you're looking for a small or medium size frame (up to 55 cm) since it's almost impossible to find old frames in larger sizes, AND you have some time to do the search.
In Italy there is no interest in "vintage" or "classic" bikes so IF you find the frame probably it will be quite cheap
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Old 05-15-06, 03:11 PM   #8
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Hi
I'm italian, exactly where are you going to stay in Italy ?
It's going to be easy only if you're looking for a small or medium size frame (up to 55 cm) since it's almost impossible to find old frames in larger sizes, AND you have some time to do the search.
In Italy there is no interest in "vintage" or "classic" bikes so IF you find the frame probably it will be quite cheap
I'll be in Rome. I' not sure where exactly, but it sounds like it's in the middle of everything. I know the building itself is medieval on an ancient foundation, not that that narrows it down. I'll be there for 6 weeks, so I'll have time to look around. I'll be looking for about a 55-56cm frame. It's good to hear that if my search is successful, it probably won't break the bank.
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Old 05-15-06, 04:05 PM   #9
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Be careful. The Euro is so high right now... it's scary. I'm going in the fall and keeping my fingers crossed that the euro falls by then.

Have fun! Rome is awesome!

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Old 05-15-06, 04:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by PhattTyre
..... It's good to hear that if my search is successful, it probably won't break the bank.
Dude, you can probably get yours for free if you pick up a few and sell them to us for enough to cover the cost of yours.

I'd like a nice 54cm frame please. Brand is no issue, as long as it is of decent quality and in cosmetically nice condition. Some sort of blue color preferred, but I'll take anything.....
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Old 05-17-06, 02:14 PM   #11
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I'm going to be in Rome in early October for work. What is considered a good price for a vintage frame? Are they easy to come by? Any specific places I should be looking?
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Old 05-17-06, 03:15 PM   #12
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Hi I'm from Italy. I think that first of all you should have a look at this website: http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Italy/Italy.html

Then you should think of billing a ticket to Milan or Bergamo (it's very cheap and quick from Rome-Ciampiano if you fly Ryanair): the best Italian frame builders are from northern Italy, think of names like Bianchi (unfortunately now in Swedish possesion; you can still visit the factory in Treviglio and buy old stuff -NOT VINTAGE- for reasonable prices), ciocc, colnago, legnago, rossini, mondonico (possibly one of the best) ...

If you want to know how much you should pay for a bike take a look at www.ebay.it and search for "bici da corsa".

Don't forget to buy a good Englis-Italian dictionary since almost every frame bilder is an aged guy and doesn't speak English!

Enjoy you staying in Italy (and read something more about Rome before leaving USA, for example: http://www.romaturismo.it/v2/en/main.asp
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Old 05-17-06, 03:40 PM   #13
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Grazi Streu! Classic Rendezvous has a photo and some details on the Torpado Beta, which I have. Will look into ebay.it.
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Old 07-13-06, 10:58 PM   #14
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Hi,

...this is my first post in this forum

I have propably all italian makes listed in the german "Tour-Forum". It contains at the moment 146 italian component-, frame-, accessories- and wear-manufactures. Many of them have a long history and I am pretty sure that this could be a good reference for you to find the right frame for you..

(The list is in german but this should not be a problem ..)
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Old 07-14-06, 12:49 AM   #15
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Wow, Noize, thanks for providing that list! It could be a very handy resource for any of us lucky enough to be traveling over to "the boot". Also fun for those of us who can only surf the internet.
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Old 07-14-06, 04:58 AM   #16
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where is frejus and faggin? just kidding, I know you can't cover them all. or can you?
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