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  1. #1
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    Benotto 850 -1985? (big photo)

    Hey guys, I'm trying to find out some more information about my girl's new purchase of this mint Benotto. From digging on here I'm learning that its probably a 1985 model. A friend found it new in the box (Mexico was all over that box apparently), was building it up and on a test ride, he rode it 1/2 a block before the mis-adjusted cups tightened up and he walked it home. between all his other bikes, it took him 3 years to get around to tightening the cups, and he never rode it. The bike is mint, runs excellently. It's got the Zeta tubed steel frame, Campy throughout. I'm concerned after reading about some frame failures on this model at the bottom bracket. She's planning on using the bike, not as a commuter, but as a sunday afternoon special, or the bike that she rides when she wants to go for a real ride. I'm hoping that it'll hold up.

    Can anyone tell me a little more about this bike?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    I have read, with interest, that the lower end Benotto's WILL crack around the bottom bracket due to the frame builders in Mexico overheating the metal when brazing.

    The bottom bracket is a high stress area but I wonder why other brazed lug joints are not cracking?

    Mrrabbit seems to have a wealth of Benotto knowledge and has seen Benotto's in his area crack around the BB but i'm wondering just how common was this problem? There does seem to be many Benotto's around as they regularly appear on ebay.

    You wonder what Giacinto Benotto was doing in Mexico. He married a Mexican woman and moved his bike building business to Mexico. Italian Benotto's have a fine reputation and are quite collectable. Yet, when he moved to Mexico he seems to have lost the ability to build frames. Even if he wasn't the tourch man he should have been overseeing the building process and, with his years of frame building experience, should have quickly corrected any overheating technique problems his employees may have had.

    It makes you consider any other factors that could cause this localised (BB) problem. Was it the tubing or BB casting. Perhaps the frame Jig was causing stress? Could the internal frame be less protected and open to deterioration in that region of the frame prior to being built -up into a bike? Is there a quality difference in the silver solder or bronze or could it be the flux that is destroying the metal? Perhaps there were drafts in the workshop causing this joint to cool too quickly?

    What ever is the cause of the problem you would think Benotto would have corrected the conditions causing this regular failure.

    I have noticed that steel frames that do crack don't just fall apart. The frame becomes 'strange' to ride. There is obviously a problem but you're not thrown to the ground as it falls apart under you. If you inspect the frame you find the crack and the reason for the strange feel is determined.

    I would suggest that your girl could ride it with confidence. How much 'weight' would she apply to the BB? If you regularly check the frame - when the bike is cleaned - you can simply check for the start of any cracking.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    It will eventually crack...doesn't matter whether a light rider or heavy rider....easy rider or all-out rider.

    However, won't exactly throw her to the ground as Gary pointed out...she'll just hear a strange clunk sound and low frequency vibration one day - look down - and say, "What the hell?"

    Looks beautiful...great showpiece bike I think...one for putting up on a wall rack under nice lighting and background - or in a museum.

    =8-)

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    Thanks for the info guys. We'll give it a good home and not run it too hard, but If it cracks, I'm sure a little spot weld or three should take care of it. But before it gets to that, I have a feeling that this bike is going to have a pampered life.

    I broke my old hard tail mountain bike a few yars ago, so I have a good idea of what a soggy BB area feels like. I'm sure the thief that tore the door off my old garage to get it knows too.


    Thanks for the info guys
    I've got love for www.superchampionshop.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Is that Vancouver?
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

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    3rd Grade Dropout Erzulis Boat's Avatar
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    I have a Zeta tubed Mexico Benotto.

    The BB is cracked at the seat tube union. A judicious amount of bronze rod fixed it just fine. That was many years ago, and it is now a bar blaster. I weigh close to 200, and it holds up A-Ok.

    I have never heard of the Benotto problem until now, I thought it was an isolated incident!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    Hi Erzulis Boat,

    Thanks for your experience. Nice to read about the repair and the fact that you 'muscled-up' to really give the frame a workout after the repair.

    What model is your bike?

  8. #8
    3rd Grade Dropout Erzulis Boat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fountain View Post
    Hi Erzulis Boat,

    Thanks for your experience. Nice to read about the repair and the fact that you 'muscled-up' to really give the frame a workout after the repair.

    What model is your bike?
    It was a repaint, so I am not sure. It works perfectly though!

    It sustained a semi-circular crack at the lug union. I did a fillet braze with bronze rod around the entire lug perimeter. It is solid as can be. The frame geometry is classic for it's time, and handles very well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    The major reason I loved Benotto at first sight was because of the geometry...

    During the 80's a lot of entry to mid-range bicycles sold as "racing" bikes were really sports-touring bikes fancied up and such...Peugeot was famous for this with their 501/103 and 501/501 lineup (three bikes total).

    You could tell by the drop, the space between the tire and seatube, the seat angle and the head angle that you weren't getting the tight laid back toe-touching geometry of the higher end stuff.

    The Benotto 800 (Hi-Ten Steel) was guilty of the same, but the moment you went 850 (Zeta) and 1000/1500 (Aelle/Tre-Tubi?) and 2000 (019) you saw right away that you were getting a true racing geometry bicycle - though it might have come with mostly crappy parts.

    My Benotto 2000 (019) had a tight rear triangle, great bb drop, was a toe-toucher with medium/large to clips, and was a kick-ass climbing bike - and could sprint quite well. Was stable as well handling wise.

    A lot of guys I knew would keep the Modolo brakes, but otherwise transtions their bike to an entry level Campy group or Gipiemme group or Suntour group - or later - Shimano 105 which was popular when it came out.

    Just a few upgrades turned a good frame compromised by questionable parts into a solid all around bike.

    But then the whole BB cracking issue came around and spoiled our party...

    I had to emigrate to a Batavus and then later a Lotus.

    Still miss by Benotto 2000 - even have a photo of it today...partial photo.

    =8-)

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    Yah, That's definitely Vancouver. A gorgeous looking bike as well, sounds like she should ride it until it
    breaks get Toby's Cycle Works to fix it up then ride it some more.

  11. #11
    3rd Grade Dropout Erzulis Boat's Avatar
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    I have the pantographed stem (manufacturer unknown) and the Benotto marked Campy GS crankset.

    Brakes are Universal, front and rear d. are Nuovo Record. Hubs are GS, headset NR (I think) bottom bracket GS (I think) bars are Cinelli and freewheel is Regina.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    The major reason I loved Benotto at first sight was because of the geometry...

    During the 80's a lot of entry to mid-range bicycles sold as "racing" bikes were really sports-touring bikes fancied up and such...Peugeot was famous for this with their 501/103 and 501/501 lineup (three bikes total).

    You could tell by the drop, the space between the tire and seatube, the seat angle and the head angle that you weren't getting the tight laid back toe-touching geometry of the higher end stuff.

    The Benotto 800 (Hi-Ten Steel) was guilty of the same, but the moment you went 850 (Zeta) and 1000/1500 (Aelle/Tre-Tubi?) and 2000 (019) you saw right away that you were getting a true racing geometry bicycle - though it might have come with mostly crappy parts.

    My Benotto 2000 (019) had a tight rear triangle, great bb drop, was a toe-toucher with medium/large to clips, and was a kick-ass climbing bike - and could sprint quite well. Was stable as well handling wise.

    A lot of guys I knew would keep the Modolo brakes, but otherwise transtions their bike to an entry level Campy group or Gipiemme group or Suntour group - or later - Shimano 105 which was popular when it came out.

    Just a few upgrades turned a good frame compromised by questionable parts into a solid all around bike.

    But then the whole BB cracking issue came around and spoiled our party...

    I had to emigrate to a Batavus and then later a Lotus.

    Still miss by Benotto 2000 - even have a photo of it today...partial photo.

    =8-)
    I took it for a rip, its a 52, a little small for me, but that geometry is amazing. I've got a 99 Pinarello Monviso, and the bike has very very similar ride characteristics- that sort of aggressive yet telepathic handling; light, stable yet direct steering. The components on the Benotto are mostly campy.... here's some more pics:






    I've got love for www.superchampionshop.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpentsthrone View Post
    Yah, That's definitely Vancouver. A gorgeous looking bike as well, sounds like she should ride it until it
    breaks get Toby's Cycle Works to fix it up then ride it some more.
    Thanks for the info about Toby's, with all the riding we're planning this summer we'll put it to the test. Give us a wave if you see us roll by. She used to ride Drunk Bike, and I had to wait for her on the hills. Now with this bike she sits on my rear wheel. Yikes.
    I've got love for www.superchampionshop.com

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mansram01's Avatar
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    Wow, I had one that looked very similar to this. I had bought it in Mexico City back in '82 and brought it with me to LA. I wasn't much into the parts of the bike probably since I was only 13 with no $$$. Mine had the blue Benotto tape with a matching blue seat. The components were all Suntour. I (regrettably) got rid of it earlier this year without giving it much thought. I had a situation with my ex and yada.. yada.

    This was a great bike and I never had any issues with the bottom bracket. Now that I'm really looking into vintage road bikes, I regret getting rid of this bike. It was very responsive but definitely not the best of components. Thanks for the memories... Well, now I have an 1983 Masi to substitute...

  15. #15
    Newbie jfinan's Avatar
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    Benotto road bike

    I acquired my Benotto 850 through a friend and have not learned too much about it, though I have tried. There isn't much information, or the little that exists is kind of cloudy.
    I did take it into Bicycle Therapy in Philadelphia once for a tune-up, and one of the techs there showed me a heart cut-out shape underneath the frame in between the pedals. I believe I was told that the heart cut-out supposedly means it was made in Italy. Or another shape means it was made in Mexico. Does anyone know anything about this? I can't find a S/N either. Apart from the frame, the gears and brakes are by the brand Suntour. I still have the toe-clips, but I took them off and haven't used them in awhile, but those have a leather strap that is embossed with "Benotto."
    I'd like to get it restored because it's awfully banged up, but I don't know where to take it for that because I'd like to keep the decals and get it painted true to it's original metallic, light-green color. So if anyone has any suggestions, please email me!

  16. #16
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    The label is the key my friend...if there isn't one that says, "Made In Italy"...then you are in the dark start wise as to where it was really made...

    ...unless it's a Modelo 5000 SL Turbo in Columbus Gilco/MS...

    or

    ...without a doubt a seventies or ealier model.

    =8-)

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mansram01's Avatar
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    jfinan, any pics to share?

  18. #18
    Newbie jfinan's Avatar
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    my bike

    Here are some camera phone pics. She's a little dirty from a ride this morning
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #19
    80's bikes FTW
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    Bringing this thread back from the dead because I finally got my Benotto Modelo 850 Single Speed up and running. Been riding it to work lately which is 7 miles or so, love this geometry on the bike like the others in this thread have mentioned. Pretty sure its a 73/74 Headtube/Seattube geometry which is what most of the racing bikes in the 80s and early 90s ran. Handles very nicely, very stable as well, fast on sprinting and the bike is weighing in at 20.6 lbs with everything on it that you see here.

    When I recieved this frame it was in horrible shape...I repainted it and put all different parts on it except for the stock Benotto Pantographed headset and the Stock SR bottom bracket. I have read the reports of the bottom bracket lug cracking but this frame shows no stress in that area and it is the heart shaped cutout BB shell. I will keep and eye on it but Im just gonna ride the crap out of the bike. Here are a couple pics for you all to enjoy...







    1988 Schwinn Prologue ,1985 Benotto Modelo 850 SS/Fixed , 1994 Univega Alpina 5.5 , 2011 Diamondback Response, 1997 Giant ATX 970, 1995 Specialized FSR , 2007 Litespeed Niota AL

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    My first road bike was a 84 Benotto 800, I upgraded to a 3000 which I still have.

  21. #21
    80's bikes FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by olds cool View Post
    My first road bike was a 84 Benotto 800, I upgraded to a 3000 which I still have.

    Any pics of your 3000? I really do love the ride of my 850, it might not be the best double butted cromoly but its geometry is just perrrrfect.
    1988 Schwinn Prologue ,1985 Benotto Modelo 850 SS/Fixed , 1994 Univega Alpina 5.5 , 2011 Diamondback Response, 1997 Giant ATX 970, 1995 Specialized FSR , 2007 Litespeed Niota AL

  22. #22
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    Spin Forest! Spin! WNG's Avatar
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    My latest is a refurbished 88 Benotto Triathlon....and yes, ride is sublime. I really like it a lot. And mine is supposedly hi-tensile steel.
    “You meet the nicest people on two wheels!"
    I'd rather add more life to my years, than years to my life.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Mansram01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfinan View Post
    Here are some camera phone pics. She's a little dirty from a ride this morning
    Very nice.. Just seeing this post 4 years later! Oh well. Never seen that color before on a Benotto.

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