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Old 03-12-08, 08:03 PM   #1
redmist
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What's the consensus on the "new old" Masi frames?

what do you all think of the masi 3V frames that "masiguy" had built up using some "old spares" laying around- the frames made by Ted Kirkbride and Russ Denny a few years back?


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Old 03-12-08, 08:04 PM   #2
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argggh! sorry for misspelling consensus...

doh!
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Old 03-12-08, 09:10 PM   #3
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I think that they are not real Masis. I think that they are very valuable based on the KirkBride and Denny names. I'd be proud to ride one.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:36 PM   #4
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I think the "not Real Masi's" is a question for a more complete review later. I would much rather call them Masi then some stuff made by contractors in Italy, but I digress.

As for the most recent 3V's made by Russ Denny, I am less than excited about the paint scheme...the complete white seat tube screams 80's and was not a Masi thing... a seat tube panel would have been much better, or only a contrasting head tube, someone had paint-itus, I've got a spray gun in my hand, lets USE it.....

The socket style Henry James ends were a big let down, not that they are bad components, they are nice, but just not visually right. Russ is very capable of doing a traditional dropout attachment, but they are very likely to be much more time consuming, I have seen many a Masi raw, and the "blacksmithing" needed on the drive side is not minor.

I also would have wanted a horizontal, a square shouldered crown, but I can live with what they chose.

I do not remember exactly if the seat stay end caps/plugs were internal or external socket type. Internal would be better.

That all said, make a Gran Criteruim reissue, perhaps Nuovo Criterium....or Super Criterium. Just take some of the advice from above, please. Oval chainstay sockets at the BB shell, sure, just details it well, the parts to do one well are around....and chrome the fork crown, because its getting hard to chrome now.

Tim Jackson, are you reading this?
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Old 03-13-08, 11:41 AM   #5
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I think the "not Real Masi's" is a question for a more complete review later. I would much rather call them Masi then some stuff made by contractors in Italy, but I digress.

As for the most recent 3V's made by Russ Denny, I am less than excited about the paint scheme...the complete white seat tube screams 80's and was not a Masi thing... a seat tube panel would have been much better, or only a contrasting head tube, someone had paint-itus, I've got a spray gun in my hand, lets USE it.....

The socket style Henry James ends were a big let down, not that they are bad components, they are nice, but just not visually right. Russ is very capable of doing a traditional dropout attachment, but they are very likely to be much more time consuming, I have seen many a Masi raw, and the "blacksmithing" needed on the drive side is not minor.

I also would have wanted a horizontal, a square shouldered crown, but I can live with what they chose.

I do not remember exactly if the seat stay end caps/plugs were internal or external socket type. Internal would be better.

That all said, make a Gran Criteruim reissue, perhaps Nuovo Criterium....or Super Criterium. Just take some of the advice from above, please. Oval chainstay sockets at the BB shell, sure, just details it well, the parts to do one well are around....and chrome the fork crown, because its getting hard to chrome now.

Tim Jackson, are you reading this?
I'd love to see the Masis made by Mondonico identified as Mondonicos. If a bike is made by Mondonico, it's getting short shrift by being identified as a Masi made by "contractors." It may or may not be a great Masi, but as a Mondonico it's probably a great bike.

Same for other contractors I suppose, but I mainly have experience with a real Masi and a real Mondonico, both great bikes.
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Old 03-13-08, 12:23 PM   #6
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Slight tangent to this thread: I have an early 90s Gran Corsa that is apparently one of the outsourced bikes. Is there any way to tell who made it? Various sources say Billato or Mondonico, but how do they know for sure?

I've also heard that some were brought into the states by Torelli, and mine has a Torelli branded headset that looks like it could be original to the bike. None of the Masi serial number lists deign to include this model, and I've been told a few times that it's "not a Masi" or "not worth asking about" but I am still curious.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-13-08, 12:40 PM   #7
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Does anyone have some pictures of these bikes? They sound interesting and I would like to see the workmanship up close.
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Old 03-13-08, 01:09 PM   #8
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Slight tangent to this thread: I have an early 90s Gran Corsa that is apparently one of the outsourced bikes. Is there any way to tell who made it? Various sources say Billato or Mondonico, but how do they know for sure?

I've also heard that some were brought into the states by Torelli, and mine has a Torelli branded headset that looks like it could be original to the bike. None of the Masi serial number lists deign to include this model, and I've been told a few times that it's "not a Masi" or "not worth asking about" but I am still curious.

Thanks in advance.
You should start your own SN list for those bikes. Seriously. It would be a great service - lot's of folks own and enjoy riding them, and some better info would fill in a piece of the Masi story.
I know, too, that it's not a matter of the Masi SN lists "deigning" or not "deigning" to include the Gran Corsa, etc., but more a matter of Mr. Hovey already having all he can handle with the other models, which, like it or not, do have more of a connection with the outfit Faliero started. He had to draw the line somewhere, which no one ever makes everyone happy by doing.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:48 PM   #9
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A relative of Masi is still building bikes at the Milan Velodrome. I believe his bikes are called Milano 3V in this country.
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Old 03-13-08, 07:41 PM   #10
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A relative of Masi is still building bikes at the Milan Velodrome. I believe his bikes are called Milano 3V in this country.
i believe that is faliero masi's son, alberto masi. http://www.albertomasi.it/Inglese/Index.html

to fan the flames a bit more, are these considered "real" masi's? which is more real- the alberto masi "masi" (branded milano 3V in the usa: http://www.milano3v.com/ ) or these "new" masi's made by Ted Kirkbride and Russ Denny?
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Old 03-13-08, 09:04 PM   #11
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Are you sure they are even building frames at the Vigorelli?
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Old 03-14-08, 06:53 AM   #12
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let's look at the end point. Are the bikes from Asia Masi's? I personally don't think so, as they are as far removed from Faliero's original philosophy as possible, while remaining a two-wheeled vehicle. Don't have anything against 'em; they're nice, but not Masi's.

Faliero had a detailed process by which he produced his bikes. When he came to California, he carried this process with him and taught the apprentice frame builders to do that process. That made a Masi. I assume that Alberto must have originally started from this process, and that with his name allows him to make real Masi's as well. It is a crime that he cannot legally use his own name on the bikes he produces.

An interesting aside: Eisentraut was contracted to build Masis in the 70's. They didn't follow Faliero's process well enough, and can now be identified as Eisentrauts today. Are they Masis? The people that know call 'em Eisentraut Masi's.

I do not have any reservations with anything Denny makes. My Russ Denny will be one of the things my family has to deal with in my estate sale. And the paint on that bike is nothing less than astonishing. But is he making Masis? I'd settle for calling them Denny Masis, I suppose. I think that it was Yamaguchi that had a Masi Speciale in a case in his workshop, and that was the prototype for every bike that he built. But they were Yamaguchis, not Masis.

I'm sure that I could take my Masi to a competent builder today and he or she could reproduce the thing so that you couldn't tell the original from the new one. But it wouldn't be put together the same way that the original was and I believe that would make a difference. A subtle one, probably, but a real one nonetheless.

Bicycling is a collection of the tiniest subtleties, and the more-than-casual rider is able to detect them, if they try. Don't believe me? Let me adjust your front brake so that it rubs in the tiniest way. I'll be so careful that you won't even be able to feel the rim getting warm. After 20 miles you will be able to tell the difference, I can guarantee.
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Old 03-14-08, 07:04 AM   #13
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I assume that Alberto must have originally started from this process, and that with his name allows him to make real Masi's as well. It is a crime that he cannot legally use his own name on the bikes he produces.
He can, and does. Just not in the US. The rights to the name in the US were sold by Faliero for a sum that made it a lot easier for him to retire, and probably helped set Alberto up in business as well. And that's not a crime, that's business.
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Old 03-14-08, 08:02 AM   #14
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Ok, here's a nice little poser (as opposed to poseur) for you.
The 2 Masi's that eRICHIE(trademark thingy here) made are they
real masi's? As much as I respect eRICHIE(trademark thingy here) I don't
think so. Very interesting little project but. . .
then lets talk about my Pogliaghi (I know different marque but what the hell),
built after Sante sold the name to Rossin but before Basso brothers had it. It was made
in the Pog shop in ca. 1983. Is it a Pogliaghi just because it was bought there?
Sante stopped building quite a while before that, maybe Freshci built it, I don't know
but is it a Pog? I think so.
Never the less it's a slippery slope indeed.
for me, I'd say that the Russ Denny Masi is a nice bike, but not a purists Masi,
that would be a Cali Masi.
Does this matter a hill of beans to the ride quality? nope.
Does this matter to anyone other than a bunch of retrogrouchy bike nuts? nope.
Did I just lose my train of thought and where I was going with this? yup

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Old 03-14-08, 08:11 AM   #15
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for me, I'd say that the Russ Denny Masi is a nice bike, but not a purists Masi,
that would be a Cali Masi.
marty
Unless you're talking about a real purist's Masi, which would be an Italian Masi built while Faliero was still at the helm, or an ultra real purist's Masi, which would be one actually built by Faliero.
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Old 03-14-08, 08:21 AM   #16
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Ok, I agree we're getting to splitting hairs.
I should change that to any Masi pre 3V.
(all the prestiges, gran criterium etc.)
and I have no idea who was building when the 3V came out.

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Old 03-14-08, 08:27 AM   #17
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Ok, I agree we're getting to splitting hairs.
I should change that to any Masi pre 3V.
(all the prestiges, gran criterium etc.)
and I have no idea who was building when the 3V came out.

Marty
(I was struck by the fact that you wrote that a "purists" Masi would be a Cali Masi, as the Italian bikes are generally preferred by collectors and as a rule sell for more money.)
The first 3Vs came out of Italy and are beautiful bikes. Later, there were obviously some built in California. Some folks consider the Italian 3Vs to be the last "collectable" Masi's (a term I use so as to avoid the elusive term "real," which quickly takes a turn into philosophy/ontology). That's probably about where I stand, too.
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Old 03-14-08, 08:39 AM   #18
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I've gotten into this conversation before on CR list with
eRICHIE(trademark thingy here), and another person with Denny in his name.
I like your definition, its easy to see the logic of it etc.

But for grins and giggles we can get into such esoterics as
what are the 'best' years for Colnago ( pre 74 imho), who built my Zieleman
Ko the elder or Ko the younger, and who's builds were better?
and a really good chestnut, what are the city codes on Italian Masis,
and who built them?

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Old 03-14-08, 09:37 AM   #19
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that is why I was stressing the process, rather than the actual torch wielder. The infusing of bronze into the joint is a process; it can be done better or worse, but it has more of a workman's touch than, say, wielding a paint brush, putting layers of oil on canvas. But the "bend this this way; cut this at this angle; pin this to this; braze this to this..." That is truly going to make a distinctive product. A 3V won't ride like a GC. They are assembled differently (even though the actual finished products have a pretty similar geometry...).

One of the reasons that we put all of the weight behind Cali Masi's over here is that the operation was seminal to so many of the current stars of the US custom bike world, including even Eisentraut. As well, they made excellent bikes. In Italy, they had several builders that carried that kind of prestige. De Rosa better than Masi? Better than Colnago, Ernesto?

I wouldn't kick any of 'em outta bed for eating crackers.
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Old 03-14-08, 09:45 AM   #20
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One of the reasons that we put all of the weight behind Cali Masi's over here is that the operation was seminal to so many of the current stars of the US custom bike world, including even Eisentraut. As well, they made excellent bikes. In Italy, they had several builders that carried that kind of prestige. De Rosa better than Masi? Better than Colnago, Ernesto?
While I agree with much of what you say, this statement about CaliMasis leaves me scratching my head. It's at best an overstatement. I know quite a number of serious Masiphiles/collectors and communicate with a number of them, and most of them value the Italian bikes above the California ones. I think a lot of folks read Mike Kone's now rather out-of-date assessment on Sheldon's site and take it as gospel. To that extent, there's some self-fulfilling prophecy going on, but again, most of those who go on to really explore the Masi lineage come to see the Italian Masis as more desirable, IMO.
I also think the idea that Carlsbad was seminal to "so many of the current stars of the U.S. custom bike world" is an oft-repeated exaggeration also stemming from Mike's blurb. It certainly wasn't "seminal" to Eisentraut, who was well established as a builder by the time he was under subcontract to build Masis circa 1975-76. Starck and Tesch were Masi builders, but well after the early period when the most desirable CaliMasis were built. I think it's a stretch to call Starck a current custom "star," and of course Tesch is sadly deceased (and surely Trek was more seminal for him than Masi in any case). I don't think Keith Lippy is building anymore. I know Dave Moulton isn't. Both were in any case contract builders rather than in-house employees. That leaves us with Baylis, unless I'm missing something. He was really the only top name American builder to emerge from the original Carlsbad operation, when the most desired and discussed CaliMasis were made. While a lot of fine craftsman did build Masis, and that does contribute to their notoriety in the US, there's little correspondence between those folks and the prices commanded by the Masis they built -- more the opposite in fact, as the earlier, pressed lugged CaliMasis are most coveted. And of the folks I've named, only Baylis was involved with those early bikes (and not necessarily as a framebuilder). Certainly, the Confente legend contributes to CaliMasi lore perhaps more heavily than anything else, and indeed the (few) bikes that can be directly linked to him are the ones that compete best with Italian Masis price-wise (and of course he built Italian Masis too). Throw in the early twin-plate jobs, and you've about accounted for the CaliMasis that are as sought-after as Italian GCs and Specials. Again, I think some of the Masi stuff that keeps making the rounds under its own momentum doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

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Old 03-14-08, 02:09 PM   #21
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okay, star is (was?) an exaggeration, although seminal is probably still the right word. When you list Eisentraut, Starck, Tesch, Lippy, Moulton, Confente, and Baylis together in one breath, and then consider that they had assistants and apprentices, you start to see that this one operation was very important to the craft of fine frame-building in America.

And I was being US-Centric when I said "we put...". I don't doubt that the Italian bikes will always be worth more than the American bikes; but I was specifically referring to American collectors. I apologize; this forum is, of course, read world-wide.
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Old 03-14-08, 02:21 PM   #22
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okay, star is (was?) an exaggeration, although seminal is probably still the right word. When you list Eisentraut, Starck, Tesch, Lippy, Moulton, Confente, and Baylis together in one breath, and then consider that they had assistants and apprentices, you start to see that this one operation was very important to the craft of fine frame-building in America.

And I was being US-Centric when I said "we put...". I don't doubt that the Italian bikes will always be worth more than the American bikes; but I was specifically referring to American collectors. I apologize; this forum is, of course, read world-wide.
1) I still take issue with "seminal," as it implies that Masi launched those builders careers or formed their talents in some important way. Most of the folks you listed -- or that I originally listed -- were subcontractors, meaning they were already established as craftsmen and were approached about taking on some additional work. Their association with Masi had little to do with their own framebuilding concepts - they were given a template and asked to reproduce it (this I heard Moulton say himself). They didn't work at Carlsbad or with Confente. Confente himself was already a high-level craftsman when he came to California, and his influence was far greater after he set out on his own. That leaves Baylis - one guy. (If you want to stretch you could conceivably include Simonetti of Medici, and maybe Mike Howard, who's not exactly a household name). Cali Masis contribution to framebuilding in America was a good deal less than many people seem to think, except to put food on their tables for a period of time, for which I'm sure they were grateful.
2) I am also referring to American collectors. They generally will pay more for Italian Masis than Cali Masis (with a few exceptions, which is why I say "generally"). The idea that Cali Masis are more desirable to US collectors is an urban myth, IMO. (The real exception I've run across is folks who collect primarily bikes by US builders, who would like a Cali Masi for obvious reasons but may have little interest in an Italian one.)

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Old 03-14-08, 11:14 PM   #23
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1) ... That leaves Baylis - one guy. (If you want to stretch you could conceivably include Simonetti of Medici, and maybe Mike Howard, who's not exactly a household name). Cali Masis contribution to framebuilding in America was a good deal less than many people seem to think, except to put food on their tables for a period of time, for which I'm sure they were grateful.
2) I am also referring to American collectors. They generally will pay more for Italian Masis than Cali Masis (with a few exceptions, which is why I say "generally"). The idea that Cali Masis are more desirable to US collectors is an urban myth, IMO. (The real exception I've run across is folks who collect primarily bikes by US builders, who would like a Cali Masi for obvious reasons but may have little interest in an Italian one.)
From Brian's own published (web posts) descriptions of events at Carlsbad for which he was away for a while, he has made mention of his filing there, and painting, building wheels, and assembling. He might have been a keen observer of brazing and build techniques, but I have not read him claiming to have brazed there. But he did depart to start Wizard with Mike Howard, who DID braze there. I would place Mr. Howard as the most easily identifiable builder produced from the Carlsbad operation. I would not want Gian to even attach braze-ons, he was a PR guy and interpreter at Carlsbad basically.

One thing you can state is that many talented builders have been associated with the Masi California operation, I find it interesting that a number of talented guys were willing to build for another brand.

From my watching, I think the halcyon days of Masi Carlsbad were up until Mario's departure. With the twinplate crown bikes getting more attention, aside from the few Mario only built bikes, of which there are too few to consider rationally. The prime time Carlsbad bikes have been getting more and more attention. They are consistent in quality. There is one on ebay right now doing quite well with three days to go, it will be interesting to see where it finishes.

I think the market is discounting the Italian bikes after Falerio retired from active building. There might be a premium on the Columbus tubed bikes.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:31 AM   #24
Picchio Special
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From Brian's own published (web posts) descriptions of events at Carlsbad for which he was away for a while, he has made mention of his filing there, and painting, building wheels, and assembling. He might have been a keen observer of brazing and build techniques, but I have not read him claiming to have brazed there. But he did depart to start Wizard with Mike Howard, who DID braze there. I would place Mr. Howard as the most easily identifiable builder produced from the Carlsbad operation. I would not want Gian to even attach braze-ons, he was a PR guy and interpreter at Carlsbad basically.

One thing you can state is that many talented builders have been associated with the Masi California operation, I find it interesting that a number of talented guys were willing to build for another brand.

From my watching, I think the halcyon days of Masi Carlsbad were up until Mario's departure. With the twinplate crown bikes getting more attention, aside from the few Mario only built bikes, of which there are too few to consider rationally. The prime time Carlsbad bikes have been getting more and more attention. They are consistent in quality. There is one on ebay right now doing quite well with three days to go, it will be interesting to see where it finishes.

I think the market is discounting the Italian bikes after Falerio retired from active building. There might be a premium on the Columbus tubed bikes.
I certainly won't argue with the evidence that the "prime-time" Carlsbad bikes are beginning to close ground with the Faliero-era Italian bikes, or that they're not beautiful bikes and more consistent than the Italian ones. Heck, I'm the current high bidder on the ebay example I think you're referring to. I think the market has become more discerning regarding the California Masis, and that's partly driving the prices for the (relatively small) segment of really good ones. I also think the Italian ones are likely to remain top-of-the-heap as things shake out long-term, but of course that's hard to predict.

Also agree on the point about the post-Faliero Italian bikes - assuming by "retired from active building" you're referring to the point when Alberto started slapping his own name on the top tubes. The Prestiges often do very well at auction, especially the earlier ones - witness the stunning orange one on ebay not long ago. I almost bought that bike at one point. And there was a lovely 3V on ebay that fetched big money within the past six months or so, although I believe that auction was corrupted and the bike had to be relisted. I think the Prestiges will stay strong and the early Italian production 3Vs in particular could gain some ground market-wise as folks are better able to sort through the many flavors of 3V out there. Lord knows my equities aren't gaining any.
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Old 03-15-08, 08:18 AM   #25
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Heck, I'm the current high bidder on the ebay example I think you're referring to. I think the market has become more discerning regarding the California Masis, and that's partly driving the prices for the (relatively small) segment of really good ones. I also think the Italian ones are likely to remain top-of-the-heap as things shake out long-term, but of course that's hard to predict.
The auction for #515 currently is in pretty sound original shape, too bad it is with a poor seller from my direct experience. Vince has expectations for that bike, $2,500 buy it now, and what looks like a steep reserve. I bet he has the pump but will auction it later.

Nevertheless, I think the auction for #515 will end with buy it now. The deal of the decade was the orange-red one with Columbus tubes, built by Mario, yellow head tube, milled ends and all, that went for under 2k, but that was some time ago. I am sure Mr. Phelps would not sell it unless stupid money was offered.
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