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Old 04-01-07, 01:57 PM   #1
evwxxx
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Old Bianchi - How old??

Hey there folks, I and Unworthy1 started this conversation in a different thread regarding the age of a Bianchi that I have had since about 1980 when I bought it as a poor stray at a flea market in central Calif. Unfortunately by that time the chrome had become rather pitted, but I have pretty much been able to maintain it as status quo since then. I always thought it was neat because it had the chrome lugs with the integral (means they are part of) bearing races. I also always thought this could have been a problem back in the good old days if your bearing races got pitted, how to replace?? Well, anyway, here are some pics of the subject bike. I would appreciate it if anyone knows anything about the age of this bike. As you may be able to see, the model is marked as "Gran Sport" on the downtube, and the head badge has some mean looking red eyes! When I got the bike it had Sugino "Maxy" 3 arm alloy cranks with drilled, black rings, Campy GS front FD, Suntour VGT RD, steel rims, steel high flange chrome hubs marked "Bianchi" (kind of like Bramptons) old campy GS gear levers (I replaced with NR), and a crappy seat. The bike is pretty heavy and by no means high end, the seat tube diameter is very narrow, maybe 26.0 or even less! Serial # right on the front of the seat lug, 5 digits. Never had a tubing decal that I saw. If anyone knows anything about this bike, I would appreciate the info!! Thanks! Ed

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/evwxxx...cd.jpg&.src=ph

Last edited by evwxxx; 04-02-07 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 04-01-07, 04:11 PM   #2
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Nice bike!, Looks like early 60's to me but could be a 50's bike. The hubs and front der were probably originals, but I'm not sure if you can date them? I think it would still be considered a mid-level model to have the chrome lugs and internal headset. Looks just like a Specialissma until you get to the stamped drop-outs! Still, pretty *****in'! oops, I guess you can't say bichen.

I would post those photos to the CR list for more info.
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Old 04-01-07, 04:53 PM   #3
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I have seen even low end Italian frames with chrome lugs. Sure does look nice, though!
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Old 04-01-07, 06:36 PM   #4
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Although you can not see it well in these pictures your frame looks like the same frame as my Bianchi.Mine uses Huret changers and the model is a Record.Similarities are the chrome section on the seat tube,badge,chrome lugs,integral races,downtube decal,fork,etc.Mine has a campy seat post marked 25. Serial number in the very top of the seat tube is 66628,whats yours?
When I bought mine it was sold to me as a late 60's bike.
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Old 04-01-07, 06:45 PM   #5
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I would say that your frame would have been built in the 60's. The head badge would probably date it to that era. The head tube lugs and fork crown can be dated back to the '50's though (and probably further).

I have a '54/'55 Bianchi with the same chromed fork crown and lugs but the seat cluster is painted like yours. Mine is a Campione Del Mondo model - not top class but pretty good and it was fitted with a Gran Sport set of derailleurs (top of the range in the '50's). My frames rear dropouts are campagnolo and it has a brazed on cable guide/stop for the rear derailleur cable casing.

I think the difference between my frame and your frame is the fact that your frame is labelled 'Gran Sport', aligning it with the Campy. Gran Sport gruppo, and coming from the '60's this would place the original group set below the new top racing campagnolo group set of that era. It has no brazed-on fittings; everything had to be clamped-on (unlike top racing frames). Considering the rear dropouts - they have been stamped not cast like the top quality Bianchi frames and has a clamped on derailleur hanger - I would say that your frame is a mid-range frame.

The chroming, colour, fittings and gruppo of your frame suggests to me a bike that was built for a person not interested in racing but wanted a beautiful looking bike that was quite servicable. Where appearance mattered. It would have been a sparkling head turner of that '60's era. It is beautiful and I love it!

If you want something to do, this is my suggestion: I think you are doing the right thing by maintaining the original finish but I would be looking to fit it out with a Campy. Gran Sport gruppo of the '60's era (get rid of the Nuovo Record - I can't believe I said that!). The parts are often available on ebay and it is also easy to see the Gran Sport gruppo on the web. Perhaps Ambrosio bar and stem. I suggest buying the components bit by bit and you have a good start with the front derailleur and wheels. I think buying components that are a bit worn would suit the overall patina of your frame.

Best of luck with your great project.

Last edited by Gary Fountain; 04-01-07 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 04-01-07, 07:14 PM   #6
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Here is a good article which details the differences between the higher end Specialissima and the Gran Sport integrated headsets.

http://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Par...anchiHeadsets/

Here are pics of my Specialissima (for comaparison) which I picked up a few weeks back.

http://sports.webshots.com/album/558345068xGhVNM

You have a nice bike and as suggested above it would be nice to return to original configuration.

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Old 04-01-07, 08:31 PM   #7
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The lack of an integral derailleur hanger tells me it is not a high-end frame. The badge, decals, integral headset, etc. tell me it's a 1960s frame. The integral headset looks cool, but it was an evolutionary dead end which died a merciful, early and well-deserved death, for the reasons you cited.

In the late 1950s and into the early 1960s, Gran Sport was Campagnolo's top-of-the-line derailleur set. The improved Record derailleurs were introduced circa 1964 (I'll have to verify in Berto's book).

Your original crankset would have been cottered steel by Magistroni, probably branded "Bianchi." At least that's what I had on my low-end 1962 Bianchi. Cottered cranks were common across all price ranges until about 1963 or so, when cotterless aluminum cranksets began to catch on.
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Old 04-02-07, 04:15 AM   #8
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Quote:

Here are pics of my Specialissima (for comaparison) which I picked up a few weeks back.

Pogliaghi.
Thanks for the photo's of the Specialissma.
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Old 04-02-07, 06:27 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replys! I have always assumed that it was probably a 60's bike, but never had any confirmation on that point. In response to Schwinnderella's question, the serial # is 53,xxx (can't remember the last 3 digits). I do have a Campy Gran Sport set, so I will probably be putting that on the bike. I will have to re-build the original wheels, since they were very rusty and I removed them and "de-spoked" them so the hubs are in my parts box and the wheels are sitting in the garage. Something to do next winter maybe. Oh, and I have the original stem/bars, no marks on them but they have that Ambrosio look to them. Thanks again! Ed
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Old 04-02-07, 11:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pogliaghi
... Here are pics of my Specialissima (for comaparison) which I picked up a few weeks back. ...
Bravissimo!
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Old 04-03-07, 06:34 AM   #11
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Thanks John E and Gary,

I am just getting the bike back together after a cleaning, inspection etc. I will post more photos on Webshots when complete. It was interesting to see Ed's (evwxxx) Gran Sport pics, I had heard about them but never seen one. It looks to be in very nice shape.

Michaelissima
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