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  1. #1
    Wood David Newton's Avatar
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    Italian city bikes

    A week or so ago, in a thread about some Italian bike or other, a prominent member here who is an expert at this, said (not quoting) most vintage bike enthusiasts don't understand that the Italian builders City Bikes were their "high end" bikes, in comparison to their racing bikes.
    I don't see many Italian city bikes to speak of, one small website specializing in them is here:

    http://www.myoldbicycle.com/

    but other than that, not much.
    Are there so few of them that they just don't come up for inspection?

    Show Italian city bikes if you have them!
    http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/

  2. #2
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    I was in Turin in '10 and saw this lovely Leri mixte outside of the Olympic stadium...Columbus tubes, Campy group and lightweight to boot.The owner was wearing the coolest cycling shoes even though she had city-style platform pedals. Note the unusual join of the top tubes and seat stays.




  3. #3
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Italian city bikes are still high-end bikes:





    http://www.umbertodei.it/index.htm

  4. #4
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Most here won't consider it highend but Bianchi tried to market something like this back in the early '90s. I loved it but most dealers turned their noses up. perhaps Bianchi was just too ahead of the curve on the city bike thing.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SS, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  5. #5
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=clubman;13865172]I was in Turin in '10 and saw this lovely Leri mixte outside of the Olympic stadium...Columbus tubes, Campy group and lightweight to boot.The owner was wearing the coolest cycling shoes even though she had city-style platform pedals. Note the unusual join of the top tubes and seat stays.

    Speaking of Italian shoes...

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2853489286.html

  6. #6
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    This guy has a bunch of them on his flickr pages:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/94628946@N00/

  7. #7
    iab
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    I don't own one, yet. But I am a big fan so I'll post the following just because.

    Taurus



    Bianchi



    Ganna



    Olympia



    Maino



    Wolsit



    Umberto Dei

  8. #8
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Here's an Italian bike that was set up for "city" when I found it, but the conversion was done here when the original owner bought it, at his request. Since been converted back to "road".


  9. #9
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Lovely_Bicycle owns a modern interpretation of the classic Italian city bike, a Bella Ciao:



    She collaborated with the company to make a handful of them to her specs and sold by Harris Cyclery here in Boston:

    Riding the Catskills blog

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    1971 Mercian Olympic | 1972 Jeunet 630 | 1982 Jack Taylor Tour of Britain | 1984 Shogun 1500 650B | 2013 Rawland Stag | 2014 Jeff Lyon L'Avecaise

  10. #10
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    Woo Hoo! Second time this week I get to post my Bianchi Milano Sport. I call it my Italian 'English' 3 speed because it is running a Sturmey Archer drivetrain. I have a hard time believing this was ever 'high end' though - even in '59 when I'm guessing it was built. I take this bike when I don't feel like lugging a lock with me. I found one with a similar paint scheme. Love the gold pinstripe on the black paint.








    Bianchi 50's bike restoration by Pelizzoli by rentalbikeitaly, on Flickr
    Last edited by blilrat; 02-17-12 at 07:46 PM.

  11. #11
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    Are those levers integrated with the cool bars? Will you sell them to me?

  12. #12
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clubman View Post
    Are those levers integrated with the cool bars? Will you sell them to me?
    Yes, they are. They even say "Frejus" on the inside surface of the levers. They are cool, eh? Seen the same shape and configuration on other Italian bikes so I figure they must have been farmed out by many makers. And, no, I won't send them to you, sorry. At my age, I may need them again some day

  13. #13
    iab
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    Yes, they are. They even say "Frejus" on the inside surface of the levers. They are cool, eh? Seen the same shape and configuration on other Italian bikes so I figure they must have been farmed out by many makers. And, no, I won't send them to you, sorry. At my age, I may need them again some day
    I believe a company called Varese was the OEM for those bars. They made them Frejus, Bianchi, Learco Guerra and other Sport bikes that were very popular in the 50s/60s. They are pretty common on ebay. See them most every week.

    http://www.ebay.it/itm/MANUBRIO-HAND...item2c62f4b9ea

  14. #14
    Senior Member Citoyen du Monde's Avatar
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    iab has posted a photo of one Taurus bike. Go check out this website: http://biciclette-taurus.blogspot.com/ and you can see a large selection of other Taurus bikes. My dream is to eventually own a Mod. 25 (check out the integrated internal brakes)

  15. #15
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Some very cool bikes on that site. You fellows who can read Italian have the advantage of us. And thanks Iab. I had seen those bars illustrated in The Data Book, but never knew who made them. Wish I could find a pair of the little adjusters that came, I think, on the original levers.

  16. #16
    Senior Member social suicide's Avatar
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    My Italian city bike:

    EVERYTHING on this bike is stamped or labeled Legnano, the hubs, rims, cranks, brake levers, even the bell!

  17. #17
    iab
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    Some very cool bikes on that site. You fellows who can read Italian have the advantage of us. And thanks Iab. I had seen those bars illustrated in The Data Book, but never knew who made them. Wish I could find a pair of the little adjusters that came, I think, on the original levers.
    I think your best bet is to machine custom adjusters. Or find an old parts bin in a shop in Italy. I have a thing for those Sport bikes. I don't know what it is, they are the Varsity of Italy and typically go for 100-200 euro. It costs more to ship back here than the cost of the bike. Although there is this Bianchi Sport for 1500. Looks NOS from the 50s. It is exactly what I want but way more than I would ever spend. Unless of course I hit the powerball.

    http://annunci.ebay.it/annunci/bicic...lusso/22674002

  18. #18
    iab
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    iab has posted a photo of one Taurus bike. Go check out this website: http://biciclette-taurus.blogspot.com/ and you can see a large selection of other Taurus bikes. My dream is to eventually own a Mod. 25 (check out the integrated internal brakes)
    Those brakes are really cool. I'll assume they probably work like crap but still cool nonetheless.

    I'd love to see picturse on how they route the brake rods through the stem, head tube to the down tube. There is a contest call the Oregon Manifest about designing a utilitarian bike and I have an idea I want to design. Everything is completely integrated yet it has the theme of "what is old is new". The brakes on the Mod 25 are perfect for that.

  19. #19
    Senior Member mapleleafs-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by social suicide View Post
    My Italian city bike:

    EVERYTHING on this bike is stamped or labeled Legnano, the hubs, rims, cranks, brake levers, even the bell!
    What is something like this worth on eBay ? Or just in general?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Citoyen du Monde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    Those brakes are really cool. I'll assume they probably work like crap but still cool nonetheless.

    I'd love to see picturse on how they route the brake rods through the stem, head tube to the down tube. There is a contest call the Oregon Manifest about designing a utilitarian bike and I have an idea I want to design. Everything is completely integrated yet it has the theme of "what is old is new". The brakes on the Mod 25 are perfect for that.


    The brakes actually work very well, at least as well as any other rod brake.

  21. #21
    Senior Member social suicide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mapleleafs-13 View Post
    What is something like this worth on eBay ? Or just in general?
    I bought that bike on eBay about 3 years ago for around $150 including shipping. I cleaned about 8 lbs of dirt off it and rode away

  22. #22
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    I have a bunch of photos of low-endish bikes that I shot on the street in Roma and Terni. An unexpectedly large number of city bikes in Terni. I'll post them when wifey gets off the Mac.
    Last edited by Roll-Monroe-Co; 02-18-12 at 12:56 PM.

  23. #23
    iab
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    The brakes actually work very well, at least as well as any other rod brake.
    Unfortunately the picture doesn't show how the rear brake rod transitions from the stem to the down tube. Is there a joint of some type so you can move the handlebars?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Citoyen du Monde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    Unfortunately the picture doesn't show how the rear brake rod transitions from the stem to the down tube. Is there a joint of some type so you can move the handlebars?


    This hand-made drawing shows how it works. There was a Bianchi model called "Super Bianchi" in the 20's that also had full internal from brakes but nothing quite as sophisticated as the system in the Taurus.

  25. #25
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    Yes, they are. They even say "Frejus" on the inside surface of the levers. They are cool, eh? Seen the same shape and configuration on other Italian bikes so I figure they must have been farmed out by many makers. And, no, I won't send them to you, sorry. At my age, I may need them again some day
    I had a set of those bars/levers on a city bike I gave to my son while he was in college. Unfortunately, the bike was stolen and the bars went with them. My son says he saw the frame some time later as part of a "tall bike" but the rest is gone...

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