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Old 02-17-12, 03:06 PM   #1
David Newton
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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!
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Old 02-17-12, 03:23 PM   #2
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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.



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Old 02-17-12, 05:40 PM   #3
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Italian city bikes are still high-end bikes:





http://www.umbertodei.it/index.htm
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Old 02-17-12, 06:45 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 02-17-12, 06:50 PM   #5
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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
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Old 02-17-12, 07:06 PM   #6
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This guy has a bunch of them on his flickr pages:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94628946@N00/
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Old 02-17-12, 07:07 PM   #7
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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
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Old 02-17-12, 07:17 PM   #8
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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".

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Old 02-17-12, 07:26 PM   #9
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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:

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Old 02-17-12, 07:41 PM   #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

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Old 02-17-12, 07:48 PM   #11
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Are those levers integrated with the cool bars? Will you sell them to me?
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Old 02-17-12, 08:18 PM   #12
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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
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Old 02-17-12, 08:26 PM   #13
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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
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Old 02-17-12, 09:26 PM   #14
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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)
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Old 02-18-12, 06:19 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 02-18-12, 10:11 AM   #16
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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!
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Old 02-18-12, 10:29 AM   #17
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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.
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
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Old 02-18-12, 10:38 AM   #18
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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)
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.
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Old 02-18-12, 10:53 AM   #19
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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!
What is something like this worth on eBay ? Or just in general?
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Old 02-18-12, 12:22 PM   #20
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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.
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Old 02-18-12, 12:22 PM   #21
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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
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Old 02-18-12, 12:52 PM   #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.

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Old 02-18-12, 01:05 PM   #23
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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?
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Old 02-18-12, 01:58 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 02-18-12, 02:07 PM   #25
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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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