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  1. #1
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    Palo Alto brand, did it ever exist?

    Ever since before I was born my dad had this road bike he used. I grew up with the thing, and rode on the back in a little seat attached above the rear wheel when I was small enough. Now that I'm much older and going to college he gave me the bicycle in order to get around town and go to and from school, all saving me much needed money that would otherwise be spent on gas.

    Now I'm trying to figure out what brand of bike I have. My mother, who comes from a bicycle racing background. She raced when she was younger and my uncle runs a racing league in the Chicago area (ABR) and raced when he was younger as well. My mother said that the brand, Palo Alto (I think I spelled that right) has been around for a while. After spending quite a bit of time searching the internet for more information on the brand all I've been able to bring up is the Palo Alto bike shop in California which sells various brands of bikes. Did the brand ever exist?

    I'm out of town right now so I can't exactly take a picture of the bike. But the best I can describe it is having a blue frame with the letters Palo Alto written in green with yellow outlines and an emblem that has a picture of a tree...I think, I can't picture the bike perfectly in my head. The wrapping on the handle bars is white and the seat was a brown suede...I think it was suede, it was really chewed up, and I ended up replacing it. But anyways, its really bugging me that I can't find anything on the brand of bike, and the only search result being for a bike store in California. So anyone have any idea or picture of what I might be talking about?

  2. #2
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Search for Palo Alto threads by bigbossman

    Here's a good one
    72 special CNC ___________ 72 Frejus (ala Legnano) __73 Holdsworth Record
    78 Raleigh Professional_____ 80 Ranson_____________ 80 unknown French (SS)
    82 Peugeot PXN10_________83 Trek 620 (nee 600)____ 85 Gianni Motta
    85 Trek 560______________88 Guerciotti GLX
    90 Miele Gara_____________02 Casati Dardo (g/blue)__02 Casati Dardo (y/blk)
    03 Casati Dardo___________08 BF IRO (fixed)________10 Vassago Fisticuff (IGH)

  3. #3
    Senior Member buddyp's Avatar
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    Info needed - 80's Italian frames made for Palo Alto Bikes?

    and

    Palo Alto Catalogs

    should get you started. suffice it to say what you have there is a good bike.

    None of those threads really begin to touch on what an important part Palo Alto bikes played in development of modern american cycling, for example, they sponsored some kid named Greg Lemond for a while.

    The store still exists. Its no longer one of the centers of american cycling like it once was, but its still a very nice high end shop

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    That sorta helped. But I still have a couple questions about it. Whats the deal with the bike? Was it an Italian made frame, made just for the Palo Alto Bike Shop? Are they considered any good? Were they expensive? Were they sold anywhere other than the Palo Alto bike shop?

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    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Squid View Post
    ....Was it an Italian made frame, made just for the Palo Alto Bike Shop? Are they considered any good? Were they expensive? Were they sold anywhere other than the Palo Alto bike shop?
    Yes, yes, yes, sort of, no.

    Contract built by Biemezetta of Italy for Palo Alto bike shop. Built from Columbus SL tubing, they were more than good but not considered "top tier" like Cinelli or De Rosa. They had a very loyal following in their day, and many folks still seek them out. Only sold by Palo Alto bike shop, they were the "house brand". Check the catalog link - IIRC a frameset cost about $350.

    I'm lucky enough to own a decent example, and I as am happy to ride it as I am my Cinelli Super Corsa. They ride differently to be sure, but the Palo Alto doesn't give up much in build or ride quality to the more expensive Cinelli.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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    hmm, I have no idea how my dad got a hold of it then. Since I know he never went to Palo Alto just to buy it, I can only assume he got it used somewhere. Is there any way to figure out the exact year of the bike? Or what parts it was originally equipped with so I know if whats on it now is original. As far as I know my dad never changed the parts on it since he was never huge in to bicycle racing/riding and only really got it so he could go riding with my mom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Squid View Post
    hmm, I have no idea how my dad got a hold of it then. Since I know he never went to Palo Alto just to buy it, I can only assume he got it used somewhere. Is there any way to figure out the exact year of the bike? Or what parts it was originally equipped with so I know if whats on it now is original. As far as I know my dad never changed the parts on it since he was never huge in to bicycle racing/riding and only really got it so he could go riding with my mom.
    He probably bought it through the Palo Alto catalog. You can probably roughly figure out the year through the component date codes. It may have been sold as a frameset, or may have been sold as a complete bike.

    Since you're bringing it to college, you might as well know that colleges are bike theft hotbeds. If you don't buy the best u-lock on the market, and use it properly every single time, it will be stolen. If you keep it locked outside at night, it will be stolen. If you ever slip up on security while you're drunk or tired or just feeling lazy, you will one day in the future be talking about the Palo Alto bike that was stolen from you when you were in college.

    If you want to minimize the risk of theft, save the Palo Alto for those days when you want to ride a nice bike, and use a less desirable beater bike for your "oops, I forgot to lock my bike" or "oops, I left my bike outside when I was drunk" campus bike. Seriously. At a minimum, bring it in to your room with you (and lock it to something solid in your room). Every. Single. Night.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 07-04-08 at 12:44 AM.

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    I agee with Blue Order. I rode three bikes in college. A Schwinn Varsity, a Peugeot U08, and a Raleigh Record. The first two were stolen. The Raleigh is at a relatives house because I graduated before it could be stolen.

    Recently I went to a nearby campus to buy some Peugeot parts from a student. I noticed no quality bikes in any bike rack.

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    Well, I'm already off at college. This fall will me my 4th year. And I do realize that bike thefts are a problem around colleges, but I'm not sure about mine. I go to a small 1,700 student college where only 2 bikes were stolen the entire year (and not by students). I do have a lock for it, its this one right here. And since school isn't in session right now, but I do keep it at my house, which is off campus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    If you want to minimize the risk of theft, save the Palo Alto for those days when you want to ride a nice bike, and use a less desirable beater bike for your "oops, I forgot to lock my bike" or "oops, I left my bike outside when I was drunk" campus bike
    Funny you should say that, my dad gave it to me because he thought it was a junker bike. He told me "I can give you this bike, its nothing special but it'll get you from point A to point B. And you know whats even better, its free". Those were pretty much his exact words.

  12. #12
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    When locking this bike up, keep something in mind - the paint is relatively fragile, and it does not suffer bumps, lean-ups, and other slight abuses very well.

    What size is the bike? Have any pictures?
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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  13. #13
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    we here at C&V don't think it's a beater bike, and Blue Order's advice pertaining to locking-up is spot on. Your campus might be *relatively* less risky than average, BUT...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Squid View Post
    Well, I'm already off at college. This fall will me my 4th year. And I do realize that bike thefts are a problem around colleges, but I'm not sure about mine. I go to a small 1,700 student college where only 2 bikes were stolen the entire year (and not by students).
    Students stealing bikes aren't the problem. Professional bike thieves and drug addicts target colleges because that's where there are lots of poorly locked bikes. But it sounds like bike theft isn't a huge problem at your college. At some colleges, it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Squid View Post
    I do have a lock for it, its this one right here.
    This is exactly what I'm talking about. That is not a lock. That is a "steal this bike" sign for bike thieves. That cable lock will only keep "honest people" from walking off with your bike. It will not even slow down a bike thief. A thief will cut that in a few seconds, and be off with your bike before anybody even notices that it's being stolen. That cable wouldn't keep your bike safe for even one day in a town like Portland, where I live, or NYC, or Boston, or Chicago....

    (I should mention that I have the same lock-- I use it to keep somebody from stealing my front wheel while my bike is locked up).

    The only saving grace is that you're at a college where there were only two bike thefts last year. Still, I wouldn't want my Palo Alto-- if I had a Palo Alto-- to be one of the two bikes stolen in the coming year.

    So, no, that is not a bike lock. THIS is a bike lock. THIS is a bike lock. Unless my bike is locked with one of those, it isn't locked. And I still wouldn't leave it outside overnight in a town or on a campus where bike theft is a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Squid View Post
    And since school isn't in session right now, but I do keep it at my house, which is off campus.
    You should still get into the security habit. It would be a real shame to have somebody take a bike that nice, and with that much family history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Squid View Post
    Funny you should say that, my dad gave it to me because he thought it was a junker bike. He told me "I can give you this bike, its nothing special but it'll get you from point A to point B. And you know whats even better, its free". Those were pretty much his exact words.
    That's pretty funny!
    Last edited by Blue Order; 07-04-08 at 01:00 PM.

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    When I lived in the SF Bay area, I used to take the Caltrain to grad school classes in San Jose and would leave beater bikes locked up at the train station. Given that they were complete beaters, I thought I'd be okay locking them up with really cheap locks, but at least three times before I learned my lesson, those were stolen. Seems that bike thieves saw it far too inviting to get past those locks, even if the bikes were junk.

    Neal

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman
    What size is the bike? Have any pictures?
    I'm not sure of the size. According to my mom it was a bit big for my dad. And me being 5'9"/5'10" its a bit of a stretch to get my legs over the frame. Like I said, I'm out of town right now and can't perfectly picture the bike in my head.

    I get home on the 10th, so sometime shortly after that I can take a closer look at it and get all the details and post pictures. The most I can say right now is that its blue with white handle bar tape.

    I'll also look at getting a different lock.

  17. #17
    Senior Member buddyp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    IIRC a frameset cost about $350.
    just to give you a frame of reference, the same catalog also offered an Eddy Merckx (which just about everyone would consider a top tier frame) for about $200 more.

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