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  1. #1
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    id bike help - benotto

    i bought this frame in 89. it has some interesting oval tubing and it had lots of chrome.

    bayliss restored it in 94 and took off the chrome and painted it ferrari red.

    anyone know more about this frame?

    thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Well, the restoration pretty much destroyed most of the clues and the picture is too small to see any of the details. The fact that all the equipment is non-original does not help.

    However the oval tubes indicate that it's probably from the first aerodynamic era, circa 1982-1985. Also, I note that Bayliss was kind enough to replace the original tubeset stickers or are they Bayliss stickers? If they are tubeset stickers, the info on them will indicate the level of the frame. It may also allow us to corroborate the era and may allow us to pinpoint the model.

    Benotto was originally from Italy, but was producing in Mexico by this time. In addition to high end bicycles, made very low end models with high tensile steel frames.

    Post the info on the tubeset stickers.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the reply. i was told by a bicycle mechanic that he thought it was mostly columbus sp with some other columbus (oval tubing) mixed in.

    bayliss added the sp sticker when he repainted the bicycle.

    hopefully, these extra pics will help.

  4. #4
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    another pic. doesn't like my file size.

  5. #5
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    got it, finally.

  6. #6
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    Sorry, I couldn't find a Benotto specs indicating models with an SP/Aero tubing mix. Also, now that I can see that the rear brake cable is routed internally, I'm wondering if it isn't late 1980's and maybe the tubeset is Max, as opposed to SP/Aero. Which tubes are oval? And can you describe their shapes a bit more?

  7. #7
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    T-Mar: appreciate the reply. I'm learning...

    All the tubing has ovalization and the tube running down from the seatpost is kinda pinched in (hopefully, you can see that in the picture.)

    Before Bayliss redid the frame, all of the cables (brake and shifter) were routed internally inside the frame. It was a tough shift after I converted to shimano, so I asked that he re-route the cables as needed to support index shifting.

    Originally, it was a burgundy color/deep red that had a candy apple effect. I also remember patterns in the candy apple paint. Benotto was written in big white letters. The original paint job had columbus stickers, but they weren't sp.

    It is the only benotto that I have seen with an internal crown on the fork. The front end is as heavy as the back.

    I looked on the bottom bracket to see the serial no's, but the paint obsures most of them. One side sez B3 - 58 and the other looks like the letter B or 6 with 179 after it.

    Again, thanks for information.

  8. #8
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    Sorry I can't help you out with Benotto serial numbers. As for the tubing, I have four tubing scenarios, considering the bicycle is pre-1989, has oval tubes and had Columbus stickers:

    1. Columbus Air tubing - This was the Columbus' true aerodynamic tubeset and was available in the early 1980s. The downtube and seat tube profile were more teardrop shaped than oval. That is the front edge was round and the trailing edge was pointed. I believe the seat stays were also teardrop shaped.

    2. Columbus MS tubing - This tubeset was introduced in the late 1980s and used specially shaped tubes. The top tube was ovalized, while the down tube had a tapered leading edge and the seat tube was flared at the bottom. Perhaps the most distinguishable trait is the mismatched chainstays; the right side has an oval cross-section, while the left has a triangular cross-section. The other trait of an MS frame is a small diameter seat post, typically around 25-25.2 mm.

    3. Columbus MAX tubing - Another late 1980s tubeset, it used slightly over-sized oval tubes and was intended designed for heavier/stronger riders. The top and down tube had vertically orientated ovals at the headtube that changed to horizontal orientation at the seat tube and bottom bracket.The seat tube is a lateral oval at the bottom bracket, but round at the top and uses a standard 27.2mm seat post. The chainstays and seatstays are also oval, while the forkblades are more teardrop shaped.

    4. The final scenario is that Benotto used standard Columbus tubeset and shaped the tubes to their own specifications.

    Regardless of which scenario fits, appears to be a high end frame. A fit with scenario 1 means the frame could be as old as the early 1980s. A fit with 2 or 3 restricts it to the late 1980s. Scenario 4 could fit any time frame. Please advise if any of the scenarios fit. If it is 2 or 3, I may have some Benotto specs for the late 1980s stashed away somewhere. Good luck.

  9. #9
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    T-Mar: Wow! You really know your Benotto.

    Based on your description, it looks like scenario 3 fits best. It has a 27.2 seatpost with a latteral oval at the bottom.

    Your description of vertical tubing is spot on for the head tube and down tube. The tubing almost comes to a point which was really visible when it was the original burgundy color, but gets lost with the red.

    The late 80's make sense. The chainstays and seatstays seem ovalized, but not as dramtically as the other tubes.

    The guy who sold it to me said it was a criterium bicycle that was raced for a year in Belgium. But the bull**** meter went off when it didn't make sense that a frame raced in B would end up in San Jose, California, where I orignally bought it. He also mentioned that it was part of a tradeshow exhibition, but again I don't what significance that means.

    It just seemed like a cool frame that was ultra stable on the downhills. Slow going up, (probably was the rider?), fast coming down is my motto.

    Again, ultra thanks for your information. Over the years, this bicycle has been the lenght of California, most of Western Europe and some Israel.

    Again, ultra thanks for the reply.

  10. #10
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    Thank-you for the compliment, but it has more to do with knowing Columbus tubing than Benotto bicycles. Assuming Columbus MAX tubing, a criterium bicycle makes sense. The frame would be incredibly stiff for the constant jumps out of the turns. It would be very stable and respond instantly to any pedal input. However, you may find it fatiguing on long rides, unless you weigh around the 200lb mark. It also makes sense that the bicycle would only have been about a year old when you bought it, as that is about the time MAX came out. Since the age and use make sense, maybe the Belgium is not just BS!

    Assuming 1988, I went back through my files, but could find no reference to Bentto models for the era. Most of my Benotto references are from 1983-1986, which would have been prior to MAX. FYI, the top line Benotto for 1983-1986 was the model 3000. It used Campagnolo Super Record components. The 1983 frame was made from Columbus SL/SP while the late frames were Columbus SLX/SPX. I supect your frame probably was originally equipped with Campgnolo C Record.

  11. #11
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    Wow. Great stuff.

    When I purchased the frame, it had campy parts all around, and tubulars. I remember a lessor campy groupo with maybe C record brakes.

    I'm embarassed to say, but at the time of purchase I had the shop install shimano components and mavic rims right away. It even had scott tri bars on it.

    Now, I would of done it differently.

    Again, thanks for the information.

  12. #12
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    No reason to be embarassed about installing Shimano, particularly during the late 1980s. Campagnolo's Syncro indexed system just did not cut it! Shimano's SIS was leagues ahead. I know it's hard for the diehard Campagnolo lovers to admit, but let's face it, 1984-1991 were the dark ages for Campagnolo and they really did not start recovering until the introduction of Ergopower in 1992.

    I have two 1991 Marinoni built frames, one with Record and the other with Dura-Ace. The Record equipped bicycle is still in like new condition, while the Dura-Ace equipped bicycle looks like it has been through a war (I guess it has been if you consider road racing and triathlons/duathlons to be war). That should tell you which component group I preferred.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    I own a very similar Benotto. Mine is in original condition. I saw it 6 years ago in a bike shop. The tubing drew me to it. Ovalised main tubes, tear drop front forks, crimping on seat tube to 'fit' rear wheel, diamond shaped rear forks, internal cabling plus a full Campy SR gruppo with Campy braised on fitting for down tube internally routed gear cabling. White in colour fading to mid-blue at the lugs and head tube (very 80's). Chrome forks and rear stays plus RHS rear fork. Engraved B's everywhere plus BENOTTO at top of stays plus pantographed stem. No tube sticker but Columbus SL stickers on front forks. The BB is quite low. It measures 58 C to C but sits an inch lower than my other bikes. I had to have it!

    I have been searching for a number of years but have not been able to find any information about the bike. My guess is that it was made in Mexico in the late 80's (Campy SR gruppo is a late model, probably '86). I think the tubing is Columbus SL or perhaps SLX and shaped by BENOTTO as the ovalisation is in the centre section of the tube. The tubes are braised into round lugs. I have about 20 bikes from this era but this is my most interesting.

    I would love to find out more about my bike as you would.
    Last edited by Gary Fountain; 07-04-07 at 07:15 AM.

  14. #14
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    Gary:

    I found someone who knew a little about Benotto bicycles and he mentioned a few that were done for a trade show in the 80's that had the internal routings, stease on the rear wheel, etc.. His take on it was that there was a total of 6-8 made, but he didn't think mine was one of them.

    On the bottom of the BB there are letters and numbers. The key will be finding a source that can figure them out.

    good luck with your benotto.

  15. #15
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    Wow! Glad to find this thread. I got an oval-tubed Benotto, via ebay a few years ago, came from Holland. Seller didn't know much about it and there was a language barrier. I guessed it to be early to mid 80's. Top, down, and seat tubes are all oval, brazed into round lugs. Seatstays are oval, chainstays are diamond-shaped. Cables are internal routed, including rear brake cable. The fork looks very conventional, Benotto engraved on top of semi-sloping crown, fork is all chrome, chainstays and dropouts are chromed. Other than chrome and blue Benotto name stickers the color is light pearl-ish off-white. There is the previously described indentation in the seat tube to allow a tight fit for the rear wheel, wheelbase is quite short. There are Columbus tube decals and a sticker with "Mod 5000" on the top tube. Kinda hard to describe the exact shape of the tubes, there seems to be a distinct edge fore and aft as I run my hand along the tubes, just enough to indicate they aren't round. There are some #'s and the letter "I" stamped on the bb shell. I know Benottos are made in Mexico, but thought perhaps the "I" indicated Italian origin. I'm considering restoring mine pretty close to original, overall in good shape except for finish, some rust and lots of scratches. I would certainly be interested in learing more about this strain of Benottos.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ******
    Wow! Glad to find this thread. I got an oval-tubed Benotto, via ebay a few years ago, came from Holland. Seller didn't know much about it and there was a language barrier. I guessed it to be early to mid 80's. Top, down, and seat tubes are all oval, brazed into round lugs. Seatstays are oval, chainstays are diamond-shaped. Cables are internal routed, including rear brake cable. The fork looks very conventional, Benotto engraved on top of semi-sloping crown, fork is all chrome, chainstays and dropouts are chromed. Other than chrome and blue Benotto name stickers the color is light pearl-ish off-white. There is the previously described indentation in the seat tube to allow a tight fit for the rear wheel, wheelbase is quite short. There are Columbus tube decals and a sticker with "Mod 5000" on the top tube. Kinda hard to describe the exact shape of the tubes, there seems to be a distinct edge fore and aft as I run my hand along the tubes, just enough to indicate they aren't round. There are some #'s and the letter "I" stamped on the bb shell. I know Benottos are made in Mexico, but thought perhaps the "I" indicated Italian origin. I'm considering restoring mine pretty close to original, overall in good shape except for finish, some rust and lots of scratches. I would certainly be interested in learing more about this strain of Benottos.
    Benotto models typically increase in stature with an increasing model number. The 3000 was Columbus SL with Campagnolo NR/SR, so a model 5000 should be a very good bicycle. The tube shapes don't seem to fit any of the recognized, special shaped Columbus tubesets (see post #8), so unless there is some special designation on the Columbus decal, I'd assume the tubes were shaped by Benotto.

  17. #17
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    Thanks T, I'll examine the Columbus decal a little closer. Odd thing is it came with mostly Campy Gran Sport Group. The brakes have non-recessed bolts, but the frame was made for recessed, so I suspect components were swapped. Anyway I'm in the process of putting more $ into its restoration that I paid for it, wasn't sure if that was justified but maybe it is.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    ******,

    Your Benotto's description sounds very similar to my Benotto. I purchased my Benotto from a bicycle retailer in Melbourne, Australia. It was his personal property; not a 'shop bike'. He had two Benotto's but the one I purchased was quite special as yours is (tube shapes). I didn't get the opportunity to talk to the previous owner 'face to face' but I did have a brief talk over the phone. All he could recall about the bike was that it was a 'Superleggaro' model.

    My bike was equipped with a complete Super Record Gruppo of post 1984 vintage. The gruppo seems to be the original gruppo fitted to the bike. There is no frame sticker.

    I am most interested in your description as being a Model 5000.

    My Benotto is most interesting; I would like to discover more about my bike, as you would about yours.

    Gary Fountain

  19. #19
    SMWhitmore SMWhitmore's Avatar
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    Your Benotto sounds very compelling. Giacinto Benotto married a wealthy Mexican woman and moved the bulk of his operation to Mexico. He did, however, continue to produce small quantities of bikes in Italy for quite a while. I am betting these bikes are one-ofs, and really close to special production bikes. They also could be experiments from the builders in Mexico City, It is difficult to say. The institutional knowlege of the Benotto concern is not as deep as one would hope, especially if one takes into consideration the cutting edge ideas of Mr. Benotto.

    Think of it, one basic geometry for the frames. A tried and true configuration based on decades of race experience. The price of the frame was determined by the quality of the tubing and the braze ons. All frames were Champaigne color and markings were classic Benotto ovals. Each respective frame had a special badge on the seat tube identifying it, but from 50 feet, all bikes looked just like Moser or De Vlaeminks. Mexican builders were trained in low temp silver brazing and were less expensive than the Italian craftsmen. That was the basic idea, then something (I am not sure what) happened. New colors, new graphics, and a bad reputation for some of the Mexican frames.

    It gets real confusing because Benotto started to get real goofy with the graphics and the colors, which makes ID more difficult. Alot of really great names raced Benotto's, and Cino Cinelli learned his art from appreticing at the Benotto factory prior to WW2.

    Sounds like you have great bikes, enjoy them.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    Thanks SMWhitmore, You've given me very interesting and valuable information. My Benotto must be from the "goofy' period although it's well built. Thanks once again.

  21. #21
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    This is how it looks as new. White and blue with lots of chrome.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #22
    Senior Member localtalent's Avatar
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    I have a black and gray one, no tubing stickers, oval tubes. I think it's a 'Triathlon' model - anyone know anything about it? Most of the components have been replaced by the previous owner (who converted it and ground off the cable stops). Not super heavy, but might be hi-ten. Rusty and paint-chipped as hell, but it makes a lovely rain/commuter bike, and I've been riding it around the dirt roads by my parents' house in Westchester.



  23. #23
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    I had a Bianchi with ovalized tubing. Ovalized at each end and circular in the middle with the ovalized portions in opposite directions. It also had blade chain stays and a blade fork. It was columbus MAX tubing when tig welded (as my bianchi was) and Columbus MX when used with lugs. I can't tell from the pictures if it is the same tubing but it may have been a variation. This tube set was described as "professional use only" (whatever that means) in a columbus catalogue, and also described as the stiffest steel tube set ever made. It was a bone crusher but super fast and fun on hills. I sold mine to a guy who was collecting bikes with this tubeset. Mercks also use this tubeset, as well as Bianchi on a MTB frame.
    Maybe this helps.
    "You didn't see him on the road did you?
    "I passed the felly of it on a bike...going like flames."
    'We'll pass him before he gets to the main road" said Sholto.
    But Sholto had underestimated the speed of his man, who was safe in Taylor's public-house in Swords, drinking in a way that Mr Taylor did not like...
    --Samuel Beckett

  24. #24
    Senior Member Gary Fountain's Avatar
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    It's good to see that this thread is still of interest since its origin in '04.

  25. #25
    Newbie Baltim0re's Avatar
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    Benotto Question

    I found an early 80's Benotto Model 3000... For Free

    And am converting it to track bike.

    Anyone know if i can fit a Sugino 68 BB on there?

    Otherwise I'll just go campy.

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