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  1. #1
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    Question for Italian Bike lovers

    I'm going to spend a couple weeks in Tuscany next month poking around the countryside. I always travel light, never checking any baggage. I was thinking that if I came across an interesting C & V find that I could box it up and take it back as checked baggage. I'm assuming I would have to declare it for customs (bicycle parts). Has anyone had any experience bringing a bike back home that was purchased in Europe? Also, and this question is for the Italian bike lovers: What would you look for in Italy that isn't readily available in the US?

  2. #2
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Anyhing! The stuff they sell in Europe is generally completely different than what we get here.

    Are you going to stop by Ottavio's marker?



    Monument to Bottecchia at Trasaghis by the Tagliamento river
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo SOLd, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis SOLD, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti SOLD, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    I was in the Tuscany region, Venice and Rome and all over Spain this last X-mas and tried to keep my eyes open for shops or any C&V bike activity on the streets. The weather was pretty mild back then before the later big freeze, but I was surprised not to find any at all, Sure there were lots of old and mostly obscure (to us) town/commuter bikes all over the pllace, but nothing really racy/nice, for some reason. Only impressive stuff roling around were modern CF bikes on training rides by local teams. I was starting to think that maybe most of Europe might regard C&V bikes as just old fogey rides?? Maybe you'll have better luck with the warmer weather now.
    BTW, Be sure to check out shipping costs before buying one out there as I've heard lot of complaints lately on how expensive it is to ship bikes from other countries into the US.

    Chombi

  4. #4
    car guy, recovering aixaix's Avatar
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    You should know that a lot of Italian brands with cachet over here make (or made) many lesser bikes which aren't what their reputation is built on. Be careful about jumping on an old Frejus, Bianchi, etc. just for the name.

    I'd be looking for local framebuilders, checking out their products and snatching up one whose paint, lugwork & geometry turned me on and whose name was unknown to me.
    Michael Shiffer
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  5. #5
    Senior Member iab's Avatar
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    You are looking for a "scambio" or swap. Tend to have more car and motorcycle parts than bike parts, but what you find can be great.

    A friend just got back from Holland and Italy, here is some of what he found (nothing cheap).






  6. #6
    Senior Member iab's Avatar
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    Here is one list, http://www.marcoleonardi.org/m_sc.htm

    Google mostra scambio ricambi cicli (adding month and year can help)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Oldairhead's Avatar
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    My experience on market day in Lucca last October, where there were many vendors, is that I saw few items that would interest me. Old and beat Campy parts from the late 80's were priced at twice or more what they could be gotten for on eBay. The bikes I saw were either "market bikes" or CF racers. No old classics to be seen anywhere! Maybe there is a network or underground market for C&V type stuff but it is not apparent. Good Luck! I hope you find something you like.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    Anyhing! The stuff they sell in Europe is generally completely different than what we get here.

    Are you going to stop by Ottavio's marker?





    Monument to Bottecchia at Trasaghis by the Tagliamento river
    I will now. Thanks for the tip.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
    I was in the Tuscany region, Venice and Rome and all over Spain this last X-mas and tried to keep my eyes open for shops or any C&V bike activity on the streets. The weather was pretty mild back then before the later big freeze, but I was surprised not to find any at all, Sure there were lots of old and mostly obscure (to us) town/commuter bikes all over the pllace, but nothing really racy/nice, for some reason. Only impressive stuff roling around were modern CF bikes on training rides by local teams. I was starting to think that maybe most of Europe might regard C&V bikes as just old fogey rides?? Maybe you'll have better luck with the warmer weather now.
    BTW, Be sure to check out shipping costs before buying one out there as I've heard lot of complaints lately on how expensive it is to ship bikes from other countries into the US.

    Chombi
    Thanks for the note. I also would avoid shipping anything. Although I'm not taking my bike this time, when I do fly with it, it goes as checked baggage. My thinking is that if I were to find anything in Italy, I would box it up and bring it back on the plane as checked baggage.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    Here is one list, http://www.marcoleonardi.org/m_sc.htm

    Google mostra scambio ricambi cicli (adding month and year can help)
    Just got off the site. This looks like a great resource. Now to brush up on my Italian. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
    My experience on market day in Lucca last October, where there were many vendors, is that I saw few items that would interest me. Old and beat Campy parts from the late 80's were priced at twice or more what they could be gotten for on eBay. The bikes I saw were either "market bikes" or CF racers. No old classics to be seen anywhere! Maybe there is a network or underground market for C&V type stuff but it is not apparent. Good Luck! I hope you find something you like.
    Armed with an ebay price list for common components seems like a good idea.

  12. #12
    Steel is real, baby! frpax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeb814 View Post
    Armed with an ebay price list for common components seems like a good idea.
    Armed with a laptop/tablet/i-net phone to check instantly & on the spot seemes like a better idea!


    Best of luck to you, though.

  13. #13
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    You're going to find that the average Italian rides cheaper bikes than we do and that much of the "good stuff" goes elsewhere. You're also going to find that new bike prices are quite high...even without the shipping on the way back. If you are planning on just finding vintage bikes over there while running around, I'd prepare to be disappointed; I see better Italian bikes on a daily basis in Philadelphia than I did in Italy.

    IMO if you're looking to come home with a beautiful souvenir, start talking to a custom frame maker and have them make you a frame - mine was significantly less expensive than most custom builders in the US. Otherwise...maybe check Italian eBay and have it paid for ahead of time.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Maybe you should consult with "DaveYate"s (English expatriot?), a C&V froum member who lives in France and seems to have very good luck digging up very interesting old French bikes in the French countryside.....
    He might have some tips on how to properly search for nice C&V bikes in Europe in general.

    Chombi

  15. #15
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I would do a search of miamijim's thread on his find last year in Italy. He picked up a really nice vintage bike.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    I would do a search of miamijim's thread on his find last year in Italy. He picked up a really nice vintage bike.
    Thanks for the tip. There are a number of his threads that are helpful.

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