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Old 07-04-07, 09:30 PM   #1
comradehoser
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Atala find

Biking to my wife's work the other day on the old miyata nine 14, I happened to run across an abandoned bike--(strewn haphazardly on the side of the road not really close to anywhere, rusted chain, flat tires). I put in an ad to craig's list, but in the meantime, I was wondering if anyone knew anything about it.

Here are the specs:

Red metallic paint; chromed fork and chain-side stay, white Atala decals in script on chainstays, downtube, seattube, and rear of seattube. No model name apparent.
"campione del mondo 1982-83, 1984-85" at bottom of downtube
columbus decal on seat tube reading "tubi speciali in acciaio, carbono manganese, tretubi aelle", seattube is 62.5 cm c-t; tt=58 cm c-c.
mid-downtube decal reading "cesare rizzato & c., R, Padova Italia"
nice windowed lugs,
gipiemme rear semi-horizontal dropouts with adjusters
only serial # stampings I could find on BB shell were "63" and then "C" in a circle

6 speed shimano downtube shifters and derailleurs (I'm assuming an aftermarket switch) and brakes
weinmann non-aero brake levers
mavic wheels, simplex skewers, atom hubs
christophe clips
pivo stem, tange levin headset

any ideas on the model hierarchy of this beast and the original components (I'm guessing mid-80s campy)? I know that the aelle wasn't super high in the columbus hierarchy (seamed, rolled, and straight-gauge), but this puppy doesn't feel like straight-gauge; it's pretty light. Pretty nice work on the lugs as well, although sheldon brown claims that junky atalas often had ornate lugs.

the bike is in decent condition, all things considered. A couple of paint flakes and torn decals. So--junk or no? It also came with a great retro bar-mounted water-bottle holder. If anything, I'll hold onto that.
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Old 07-04-07, 09:41 PM   #2
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Hay thats mine, give it back. Not realy but I wish. you could also post a flyer on the nearest pole to whare you found it in case the owner isnt a computer person. Sonds like a great find if nobody claims it.
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Old 07-05-07, 12:33 AM   #3
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Just guessing here but I bet the 6-spd Shimano is original. By the late 80's Shimano was pretty common on mid-range Italian bikes. A mid-level bike of the day. Columbus Aelle is not gaspipe but it ain't top of the line. Cromor, SL or SLX would still sit above Aelle at the time I think. Comparing where a bike fits in the range is difficult - as far as I can tell, even in the 60's and 70's the European manufacturers didn't make really low end "department store" or "Walmart" bikes so even their bottom of the line was mid-range among bikes in general - this sounds like near the bottom of the Atala lineup of the time but still a very nice bike. I'd ride it.
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Old 07-05-07, 04:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kommisar89
Comparing where a bike fits in the range is difficult - as far as I can tell, even in the 60's and 70's the European manufacturers didn't make really low end "department store" or "Walmart" bikes so even their bottom of the line was mid-range among bikes in general - this sounds like near the bottom of the Atala lineup of the time but still a very nice bike. I'd ride it.
Atala was a full range manufacturer. They did produce entry level models and during the 1970's boom these models were barely above department store models. As Sheldon states, these bicycles left a lot to be desired, but they attracted the customers, because the Italians put emphasized the cosmetics with lots of chrome and fancy paint. However, it sounds like the OP has a 1980s, lower mid-range model. Much more respectable. During this period many of the Italian manufacturers simply named the bicycle based on the tubeset and/or group (i.e. Atala Aelle Triomphe). It may have been Triomphe or Gran Sport equipped but more likely it was Campagnolo derailleurs mixed with various Gipiemme, Ofmega, Miche, Modolo and/or Universal components.
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Old 07-05-07, 07:02 AM   #5
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thanks for the info, all!

it might be slightly too big for me, but we'll see once I straighten it out a bit.

and T-Mar, I believe I still owe you pictures of my nine 14. I'll see if I can do so today.
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Old 07-05-07, 07:11 AM   #6
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Old 07-05-07, 07:23 AM   #7
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Old 07-05-07, 08:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Mar
Atala was a full range manufacturer. They did produce entry level models and during the 1970's boom these models were barely above department store models. As Sheldon states, these bicycles left a lot to be desired, but they attracted the customers, because the Italians put emphasized the cosmetics with lots of chrome and fancy paint. However, it sounds like the OP has a 1980s, lower mid-range model. Much more respectable. During this period many of the Italian manufacturers simply named the bicycle based on the tubeset and/or group (i.e. Atala Aelle Triomphe). It may have been Triomphe or Gran Sport equipped but more likely it was Campagnolo derailleurs mixed with various Gipiemme, Ofmega, Miche, Modolo and/or Universal components.
Not that I'd ever want to disagree with T-Mar but I rode the department store bikes and an "entry-level" Italian bike back then as it was all I could afford and I'd have to say there was a huge difference between a Huffy, Murray, or Free Spirit and an entry level Atala or Bottecchia or the like. I think a lugged hi-ten steel frame with Simplex or Valentino components that weighed about 26-lbs was a far better ride than a welded steel tank with Shimano Eagle or whatever it was back then (I forget) that weighed 30+ lbs. OK T-Mar, you can tell me I'm all wet now But otherwise I agree it's a midrange Atala from the 80's. When did they start using Shimano? I know I've seen late 80's Italian bikes with Shimano stuff on them.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:46 AM   #9
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I agree with whatever Sammyboy said!
I am slacking! Just wait until tolfan notices that I fell asleep on the job .

Where are those photos?

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Old 07-05-07, 10:09 AM   #10
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I think that model is one of the lower end ones. I have an Atala 1982 Campione d'Italia, a mid-level bike with Tullio tubing, lower end Campy, Ofmega, 3T, and Mafac Racer brakes. Mine is fairly light at 23-24 lbs, snappy racing geometry. I've put over 1K miles on it in the last couple of years, but now I think it's time for someone else to enjoy it. Any other BF'ers like Atalas?
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Old 07-05-07, 01:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kommisar89
... I rode the department store bikes and an "entry-level" Italian bike back then as it was all I could afford and I'd have to say there was a huge difference between a Huffy, Murray, or Free Spirit and an entry level Atala or Bottecchia or the like. I think a lugged hi-ten steel frame with Simplex or Valentino components that weighed about 26-lbs was a far better ride than a welded steel tank with Shimano Eagle or whatever it was back then (I forget) that weighed 30+ lbs. ...
I concur completely, having owned both a bottom-of-the-line 1962 Bianchi and a ca. 1980 "Mur/fy" Sears Free Spirt boat anchor. I'll put a stock Peugeot UO-8 class European bike, let alone mine with aluminum cranks and rims, up against any of its welded gaspipe, Ashtabula-cranked contemporaries -- the difference is very noticeable.
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Old 07-05-07, 02:22 PM   #12
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I concur completely, having owned both a bottom-of-the-line 1962 Bianchi and a ca. 1980 "Mur/fy" Sears Free Spirt boat anchor. I'll put a stock Peugeot UO-8 class European bike, let alone mine with aluminum cranks and rims, up against any of its welded gaspipe, Ashtabula-cranked contemporaries -- the difference is very noticeable.
Yeah, my Bottecchia Special had Fiamme alloy clincher rims, alloy handlebars and stem, Campy Tipo hubs, and even alloy rings on its steel, cotter-pin Ofmega crank. Cost me $175 in 1974 when I think department store bikes cost around $75. T-Mar and I exchanged posts about it previously and I believe he thought it might be a later model than 74 but I pulled the lockring off the rear hub (the rear wheel and the pedals are the only pieces of it I still have) and it is stamped CAM73 so I'm pretty sure 74 is correct despite its seeming variation from spec. A Bottecchia deLuxe was bottom of the line ($140-ish?) and would have had steel rims and chainrings and would not have had the chrome that mine had but otherwise was a nice bike. Much better than the department store models and most of the heavy Schwinns of the day.
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Old 07-05-07, 02:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vinfix
I think that model is one of the lower end ones. I have an Atala 1982 Campione d'Italia, a mid-level bike with Tullio tubing, lower end Campy, Ofmega, 3T, and Mafac Racer brakes. Mine is fairly light at 23-24 lbs, snappy racing geometry. I've put over 1K miles on it in the last couple of years, but now I think it's time for someone else to enjoy it. Any other BF'ers like Atalas?
I can't believe those bikes weighed that. I have a 62m faggin full SPX (yes heavy) with super record and mavic hubs, tubulars, cinelli syem and bars turbo saddle and it weights just shy of 23lbs!!!
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Old 07-05-07, 02:42 PM   #14
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I can't believe those bikes weighed that. I have a 62m faggin full SPX (yes heavy) with super record and mavic hubs, tubulars, cinelli syem and bars turbo saddle and it weights just shy of 23lbs!!!
My 72 Bottechia Giro d'Italia 58.5cm, Columbus db crmo, weighs 23.5 with modern Look pedals, bottle cage, and spare tubular under the seat. My 74 Bottecchia Special 58.5cm, straight guage hi-ten steel weighed 24.5 without pedals and a later Campy Xenon crankset in place of the original Ofmega.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:59 PM   #15
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for those who are interested...

pics of the atala in as-found condition. Sorry about the clutter in the pics--I was in a hurry and it was starting to rain:



rear seat cluster:



dropout:



downtube lug detail:



headtube and fork crown:



[edit: if someone could tell me how to edit my code so the images appear in the text, that would be nice.]

[edit edit: T-Mar, I've posted pics of the nine 14 up in my original thread on the nine 14 for you. let me know if you want close-ups of anything.]

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Old 07-05-07, 10:31 PM   #16
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Just use [img] and [/img] tags around the url. What a find! It looks awesome.









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Old 07-05-07, 11:03 PM   #17
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thanks, jet. I tried that with the handy little tool in the compose function, but nada but links show up for me.

any ideas on what the "Cesare Rizzato" "R" decal is all about? The bike shop, maybe?
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Old 07-06-07, 07:53 AM   #18
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Yeah, I would guess that this "R" decal is for the bike shop as well. I think that the bike is great and if it fits you, ride it. I have a Colnago Sport that is made from Aelle tubing and I like the ride a lot.

If it doesn't fit you, depending on your area, you could easily sell that frame on CL to the fixie crowd; lugged Columbus steel + an older Italian brand = big bucks.
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Old 07-06-07, 08:17 AM   #19
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Wow, that's a sweet bike. Tall though. Have you tried cleaning up the chrome yet?
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Old 07-06-07, 08:59 AM   #20
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no, I just found it--I'm currently trying experiments in de-rustification (oxalic acid), and the frame looks like a good candidate.

I'll try and post some time next week after I've had some time to work on it.

yeah, it's a pretty snug standover for me--what they call an old-school fit, I guess--but I have long legs. I'm going to stick some tires on it and see what gives.
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Old 07-06-07, 10:18 AM   #21
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This bike is a nice find, although when I sold them the parts were all European.
They were imported by a family out of New York who also owned a large store in
the City.
Atala is a name that goes back into the anals of cycling history in manufacturing
and sponsorship.
In the mid-eighties my daughter was sponsored by Mr. Corso riding the stripes of
Atala taking it to a bronze metal at the nationals.
A lot of Atalas were sold during the early seventies during the bike boom along with
the Peugeots, Raleighs and Paris Sports. In all the varius levels. et al.
By the time Aelle tubing was papular it reached the "sport level" bikes which pretty
fits todays 105> level bikes.
Have fun making this into any kind of toy.
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Old 07-06-07, 03:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comradehoser
thanks, jet. I tried that with the handy little tool in the compose function, but nada but links show up for me.

any ideas on what the "Cesare Rizzato" "R" decal is all about? The bike shop, maybe?
Cesare Rizzato bought the Atala brand/company in the late 1930s. Not quite sure if Rizzato is the parent company and Atala exists as it's own company or Atala is only a brand produced by the Rizzato factory. Having the company bear the founder's name was fairly common is Italy, with other noteable examples being the (Teodoro) Carnielli company which manufactured the Bottechia brand and the Emilio Bozzi company which manufactured the Legnano brand.

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Old 07-06-07, 04:27 PM   #23
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Have just being going through some old literature and found out that Atala had additional World championships in 1985 and 1986, so based on your decals stating 1984-1985, would probably make yours a 1985. The 1987 tretubi Aelle frame with non-pantographed forks and stays was called the Atala GS, so maybe your is too?
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Old 07-06-07, 05:27 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Kommisar89
Not that I'd ever want to disagree with T-Mar but I rode the department store bikes and an "entry-level" Italian bike back then as it was all I could afford and I'd have to say there was a huge difference between a Huffy, Murray, or Free Spirit and an entry level Atala or Bottecchia or the like. I think a lugged hi-ten steel frame with Simplex or Valentino components that weighed about 26-lbs was a far better ride than a welded steel tank with Shimano Eagle or whatever it was back then (I forget) that weighed 30+ lbs. OK T-Mar, you can tell me I'm all wet now But otherwise I agree it's a midrange Atala from the 80's. When did they start using Shimano? I know I've seen late 80's Italian bikes with Shimano stuff on them.

I welcome the disagreement. One function of the forum is to promote discussion. It's just opinion and everybody is entitled to their own.

However, having wrenched literally hundreds of boom era, entry level, Italian bicycles, I'll stand by my statement and state some of my reasons. They were better than the department store models, but I wouldn't say the difference was huge. And I'd say that, in general, they were worse than the French models and far below the Japanese. The fit and function of the the frame and components was usually poor. I can't recall receiving a shipment that I did not have to rework. But they did look nice, unless you looked real close. The French and British had far less rework, but the Japanese were noticeably better than them all.

I'd much rather have a Lark, Eagle or Honor than a Prestige or Valentino. The Prestige flexed like a wet noodle and wore out quickly, if something didn't break first. The Valentino was reliable, but was stiff and did not hold adjustments well. And don't get me going on their cursed front derailleurs, which required 1/2 step chainrings that were inadequate for the marketplace. I'd much rather have the Japanese components than their European counterparts. The Japanese components were basic and heavier, but worked well and were reliable.

The area I will concede to the Europeans is the frame ride characteristics, though not the frame workmanship or reliability. Those early Japanese frames had a terribly dead ride. The French were the most resilient, probably due to the smaller diameter tubing, but it was a little too flexy for me. I preferred the English or Italian frames, but for your typical customer, the Japanese frame was perfectly adequate and much better constructed and more reliable.

Your Special was somewhat of an abberation for the era, probably the beneficary of parts shortages. Getting aluminum rims in place of steel makes a big difference, probably the most significant upgrade you could make. Those hubs are a upgrade over spec too, given that they have Campagnolo hardware. What you ended up with is a bicycle that closer to mid-range than entry level and a couple of pounds lighter than your tyical entry level model.

Don't get me wrong, I love old bicycles, almost all of them. And I wouldn't turn down a properly fitting, good condition, entry level, Italian model, but overall, I'd rate them the worst value. Now the high end, Italian models from that era are a completely different story.
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Old 07-06-07, 05:32 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
The French were the most resilient, probably due to the smaller diameter tubing, but it was a little too flexy for me.
Probably designed for commuting over rougher French roads, and didn't translate well for American racers on smoother American roads...
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