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Old 09-01-11, 07:02 PM   #1
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Rate The Italians...

As fall and winter approaches, I'm thinking of finally buying my vintage Italian dream machine. I'm just not quite sure which one I should look at. I'm leaning towards a Colnago or Bottechia, but there are many Italian brands out there.

So in your opinions, which are the top Italian bike manufacturers that I should look at. Maybe you can list your top 5 Italian bike makers and give a quick reason why they are the best and what I should look for.

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-11, 07:12 PM   #2
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I narrow it down to just the Firenze's built in the 80's in Ferrari red. Those things were built by Zeus and rode down Mt Olympus to awed upon us mere mortals.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:14 PM   #3
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A Ducati, or maybe a MV Agusta.

...what?
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Old 09-01-11, 07:23 PM   #4
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Just the thoughts of an amateur...

1. Colnago - I'm sort of obliged to list this one, now...

(in no particular order)

2. Guerciotti - I've always thought that this mark was underrated.
2. Cinelli - I've never owned one nor even ridden one, but I doubt their reputation comes from nothing
2. Somec - Among the most beautiful of the Italians, in my opinion. Very understated. I saw one in matte gray, once... one of the most beautiful bicycles I've ever seen.
2. Ciocc - The San Cristobal is real neat.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:26 PM   #5
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Rate the Italians? Easy.

Bikes - Sexy and dangerous.
Women - Ditto.
Cars - Pretty damn trick.
Tanks - Not so much.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:30 PM   #6
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Bikes? pretty good...Colnago , Country? usually broke and looking for a hand out.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:30 PM   #7
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There was a poll in 41 a while back asking essentially the same question as a poll. Responses mostly were Italian, but some others thrown in.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...lli-or-Derosa?
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Old 09-01-11, 07:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baroudeur View Post
Just the thoughts of an amateur...

1. Colnago - I'm sort of obliged to list this one, now...
Understandable, your a Colnago owner now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baroudeur View Post
(in no particular order)

2. Guerciotti - I've always thought that this mark was underrated.
2. Cinelli - I've never owned one nor even ridden one, but I doubt their reputation comes from nothing
2. Somec - Among the most beautiful of the Italians, in my opinion. Very understated. I saw one in matte gray, once... one of the most beautiful bicycles I've ever seen.
2. Ciocc - The San Cristobal is real neat.
I have definetly seen some nice Ciocc's, although I have no idea how they pronounce the name!

Cinelli's are expensive!

I will look into the Somecs.

As for Guerciottis, I have no idea, but I will check them out to!

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-11, 07:38 PM   #9
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There are a gajillion high end Italian steel bikes in the USofA
at this point in time, many gathering dust in someone's garage
or attic and needing new ridership.

The best one is the one that comes up on CL in your size with
relatively good tubing (probably Columbus) and with reasonable
group equippage that is local to you and passes your inspection.

Don't get all caught up in brand names or makers, because most
if not all have offered various quality levels of bike over the years.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:47 PM   #10
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Just the thoughts of an amateur...

Ciocc - The San Cristobal is real neat.
Yes, indeed it is!

Edit: The San Cristobal, Pelizzoli's "signature frame", was patterned after the frame he built for Claudio Corti, winner of the 1977 World Championship Road Race in San Cristobal, Venezuela.

Last edited by ciocc_cat; 09-01-11 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:51 PM   #11
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It all depends on the vintage and model. Most Colnagos are boring to me, ditto most Bottechias (tho' I have a 1960s Pro that I like), but find a pre-1973 Colnago Super in Molteni Orange in my size, in mint condition, and I would be very, very interested. Ernesto started building in 1954, apparently.

How far back in time do you want to go? Most famous Italian builders just wanted to make a living at it. They were not nearly as obsessed with the 'passion' as we crazy Americans were/are. As soon as they could become large enough to contract out their framebuilding, and just make money from marketing their brand, that's what they did.

That said, if you go back far enough, then someone like an Ugo De Rosa was doing all of his own work. Same for Ernesto Colnago, Faliero Masi, Sante Pogliaghi, etc. Those guys often learned framebuilding at large companies like Gloria or Bianchi, way back when, and then went out on their own to try to make a few (million) more Lire.

Most of the rabid Italophiles seem to revere Cinelli, Masi, Pogliaghi, De Rosa, maybe Colnago, and few others. I wouldn't argue with that. Don't forget Mario Confente, of course! How about a Confente-built Masi GC?

Personally, in 'production' Italian frames from the 1970s, I always liked the Gios Super Record. A very high level of finish quality compared to their peers at the time, in my opinion. Plus, I dig that blue, and it doesn't hurt that those frames were ridden to tons of victories by Roger DeVlaemick (sp?) and others.

Other Italian brands that I really like are Picchio, as well as Grandis. There are / have been probably something like a thousand framebuilders come and go in Italy over the decades. Some of the contract builders did darn nice work too, like BMZ (Biemmezeta), for example....

It's all good, I guess.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baroudeur View Post
Just the thoughts of an amateur...

1. Colnago - I'm sort of obliged to list this one, now...

(in no particular order)

2. Guerciotti - I've always thought that this mark was underrated.
2. Cinelli - I've never owned one nor even ridden one, but I doubt their reputation comes from nothing
2. Somec - Among the most beautiful of the Italians, in my opinion. Very understated. I saw one in matte gray, once... one of the most beautiful bicycles I've ever seen.
2. Ciocc - The San Cristobal is real neat.
Mondinico
Rossin
Basso
Tommasini
Pinarello

There are tons of options other than the big two, and the frames are just as nice, just more affordable.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:55 PM   #13
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Tough, but I'll go,

Coppi
Bartali
Gimondi
Moser
Binda
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Old 09-01-11, 07:58 PM   #14
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If you are going to buy a used classic, there are many Italian makes equal in quality to the big names that go for a lot less money. I'm riding a Viner.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:58 PM   #15
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Understandable, your a Colnago owner now!



I have definetly seen some nice Ciocc's, although I have no idea how they pronounce the name!

Cinelli's are expensive!

I will look into the Somecs.

As for Guerciottis, I have no idea, but I will check them out to!

Thanks!
It is pronounced 'choach' afaik. I dig them too. Pellizolli was the builder. 'Poker face.'

Guerciottis ('Gwerchott-ee') are OK too - my wife has one, but they are very basic Italian frames, quality-wise. Hers has rather large metal shavings under the paint on the top of the BB shell (but she loves it, nonetheless, maybe more than me?).

Certain Somecs are very, very nice as well.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:07 PM   #16
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Ernesto started building in 1954, apparently.

That said, if you go back far enough, then someone like an Ugo De Rosa was doing all of his own work. Same for Ernesto Colnago,
Just to let you know, it is most likely Colnago never raised a torch in his life. While he got his start at Gloria, he was likely an assembler and not a frame builder.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:21 PM   #17
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A Ducati, or maybe a MV Agusta.

...what?
Yeah! A Ducati Monster, please, in rosso.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:23 PM   #18
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Rate the Italians? Easy.

Bikes - Sexy and dangerous.
Women - Ditto.
Cars - Pretty damn trick.
Tanks - Not so much.
You left out beer (with good reason).
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Old 09-01-11, 08:25 PM   #19
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Just to let you know, it is most likely Colnago never raised a torch in his life. While he got his start at Gloria, he was likely an assembler and not a frame builder.
So he was only a brand marketer from Day One? I would believe that. Like I said....
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Old 09-01-11, 08:26 PM   #20
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Tough, but I'll go,

Coppi
Bartali
Gimondi
Moser
Binda
Did any of those five raise a torch?

Seeing Il Campionissimo's name reminds me that we watched The Triplets of Belleville again recently. Folks should check it out if they haven't already - a pretty, uh, different animated French film.

Last edited by 753proguy; 09-01-11 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Added last sentence about Coppi.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:27 PM   #21
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The best Italians aren't the ones who can afford to sponsor pro teams. If I had to chose, I'd look at grandis, marnati, pogliaghi, de rosa and tomassini. Cassatis are awfully nice and I like gios.

Those freschis on eBay recently looked great.

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Old 09-01-11, 08:32 PM   #22
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Great info guys, your giving me alot to look at - and appreciate!
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Old 09-01-11, 08:36 PM   #23
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The best Italians aren't the ones who can afford to sponsor pro teams. If I had to chose, I'd look at grandis, marnati, pogliaghi, de rosa and tomassini. Cassatis are awfully nice and I like gios.

Those freschis on eBay recently looked great.
Agree regarding Freschi.

Your collection has an enormous hole in it between 1949 and 1983, fwiw. That's when all the good stuff occurred!

(From the intro. of the 49D crankset to the intro of mass-marketed index shifting...).
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Old 09-01-11, 08:39 PM   #24
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It is pronounced 'choach' afaik. I dig them too. Pellizolli was the builder. 'Poker face.'
Proper pronunciation may be heard at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJHwPqn2jY0 (plus you get to see frame maestro Signore Giovanni "Ciocc" Pelizzoli restoring a frame and handling the torch).

Signore Pelizzoli's racing nickname indeed was "Poker Face", but that doesn't translate to Ciocc. Ciocc (apparently) is slang for "drunk" or "drunkard" (at least in certain dialects).

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Old 09-01-11, 08:41 PM   #25
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Honestly, my passion is for newer steel. The sachs is the only older steel tubeset I've ever really liked. The touring sachs is a 79' btw.

The 60s/early 70s stuff is beautiful, but I'd rather ride nivachrome.
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