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  1. #1
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    90's Vintage De Rosa questions...

    Folks,

    I'm looking for some older Italian steel, and I have a couple of possibilities that I want to consider based on my research on the web... let me tell you what I am looknig for.

    I have a Klein Quantum fram from the early 90's and I feel that I would prefer a bit more relaxed geometry, a little more 'road' and a little less 'crit' in the feel. A bike that will run on rails a bit more. My research seems to indicate that many of the Italian frames of that time are more to that geometry, but there is almost universal support for a more comfortable geometry in a bike like a De Rosa and even moreso probably a Merckx. A Colnago and others less so.

    So... I'm on the hunt for a vintage De Rosa, but I want to unerstand a bit more about what the models were back then so I know what I am looking at.

    It seems that they made a Neo Primato and Nuevo Classico in the late 90's and I'm not sure what other models. Looking at the two in today's catalogue, they appear to have precisely the same geometry specifications, but some of the other build specifications are slighty different. Can anyone tell me if there are any real handling differences among the various models of De Rosa bikes?

    I have a possible lead on a late 90's Nei Primato frame anf fork that is the right size (54) but it has a factory carbon fibre fork. I've seen a few comments by people on the web to get one with a steel fork, so I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what the issue is with the CF fork from the time, other than it doesn't have the classic Italian handbuilt cachet?


    The frame and fork I'm looking at looks a lot like the De Rosa in this posting (just found on the web to show an example of the CF fork):

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/bik...ml#post2024983


    Can anyone hazard a suggestion of the fair market value of a f/f in good condition?


    Many thanks,


    ---Michael

  2. #2
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    Nobody has any experience with De Rosa frames of the past? I was hoping there would be some feedback on the differences in the frams they offered back then.


    ---Michael

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    No De Rosa experince here (couldn't ever afford those anyway). But I do know French bikes and lots of them might have the more "relaxed" geometry you are looking for.
    Check out Peugeots.....not as "fancy" as most Italian bikes, but Peugeots have rides that are highly thought of by cyclists through the generations and they do make high end models that can mingle around hoity toity Italian brands without looking too much out of place.......but don't expect the De Rosa/Italian C&V bike "paparazzi" to gather round it any time.... Anyway, it's all about "the ride".....

    Chombi

  4. #4
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I think its od that a mid day post on De Rosa didn't get more activity. I think perhaps your post is a bit rambly and you don't really ask any questions. Then after saying you want a vintage road bike you refer to something from the '90s which may or may not be vintage.

    Like Chombi I have no personal experience with DeRosa but lots of miles on Bianchis both Japanese entry and top shelf Italian, Fuji, Pinarello, Austro Daimler and early '90s Cdales.

    In general back in the day most manufacturers tried to get a frame with a 73 to 73.5ish parallel frame (seat and headtubes) and adjust from there for different frame sizes and personal ride qualities. Some like DeRosa and Merckxx will use a 72ish seattube but a slightly steeper headtube to get a nice stretched comfortable ride and then adjust hadling with fork rake and trail.

    I think you need to look around a bit more and maybe test ride some bikes. I don't imagine the actual geomentry of the Klien is that much different than a steel but but huge oversize tubes produce a much stiffer ride than steel. Also by simply reading and deciding you want a DeRosa you are backing yourself into a expensive corner. As I am sure you can see DeRosa (as well as Merckxx, Colnago and few others) command high prices. There are lots of great Italian bikes that are available at a lower price. Buying some thing like a Bianchi with their Formula Two tubing, A Geurciotti or Tomasso in a Alle or TreTubi. These are all great machines and will give the C&V experience at a much more affordable price.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  5. #5
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Odds are you will like the ride of pretty much any De Rosa. I have a 1986 Pro, SLX frame. It rides great: stiff but not too stiff to take pn long rides on less-than-perfect roads; responsive but not twitchy; smooth but not whippy. Just about every comment from Forums members talking about their De Rosa says something similar to this.

    So get one. You won't be disappointed. And even if you are, you should be able to sell it and get most or all of your purchase price back.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    I am on the lookout for de rosa (just missed one maybe) and in reading posts over the years, de rosa "models" are not real clear cut. it is less a De Rosa xxxx and more it is a 80's de rosa with SLX tubing. There was a Pro in the 80's and the Primato as specific models.

    The general consensus is all de rosa's have a bit of magic in the total package.

    Many people who have ridden multple de rosas point to the Primato with OS EL tubing as perhaps the best of the best.
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    looking for: De Rosa 58cm ELOS frame and fork internal cable routing

  7. #7
    Senior Member DIMcyclist's Avatar
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    When I was looking for a steel road bike, before I settled on my LeMond, I test-rode several Italian (or Italian styled) bikes, a Colnago, a Bianchi, a Tomassini, a Torelli Corsa Strada, a Merckx Strada; a Basso Gap & a Loto, and a DeRosa. Some were older and some newer, and I rode a few of them with no intention of ever buying them (the Merckx, DeRosa, and Colnago were waaay out of my price range), but more in the interest of getting an overall feel for what to expect out of an Italian frame.

    In the end, while the Merckx & the DeRosa were very, very nice (stunning, actually), I came away from the experience with a personal liking for Torellis and Bassos; it's hard to describe, but I guess they just sort of suited me a little better.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member DIMcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    it is less a De Rosa xxxx and more it is a 80's de rosa with SLX tubing. There was a Pro in the 80's and the Primato as specific models.
    +1. The DeRosa I tested didn't have a model name anywhere on the frame; it was just a red DeRosa with a lot of chrome.
    Trek 820 (650b), Trek 930, Fuji League, Bridgestone RB-2, Bridgestone XO-3, Soma Smoothie ES, LeMond Buenos Aires, Torelli Corsa Strada

  9. #9
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    Thanks all for the comments... I'll try to address them individually.

    Chombi, Thanks for the comment. I had an uncle who rode an anodized Vitus, and described it as a rubberband. He liked it a lot for road fatigue, not so much for racing. I'll look into the other French brands, and I'll admit that I have very little exposure to most of the lines from France, so there is a lot to learn.

    Bianchigirl, I'd like to try out some to ride, but there are precious few to do that with. Ideally, I feel I should ride a bunch and if this were the 80's or even 90's I'd be able to do that quite easily and then make a choice. I feel that I probably need to buy one and build it up and then take it out for a while. If I feel I need something different, I'll sell the frame and swap the components out. I think that's part of the fun of a sport like bicycling, and enjoy the discovery process. I agree that the Klein is probably very similar in handling based on the info I have found online, but as you say, it is much stiffer, and I think that is part of what I'd like to take the edge off somewhat. I was aiming towards something like the De Rosa because it sounds like the kind of ride that I would like, but I'm sure there are others out there that will as well. Thanks for the suggestions on others to consider. I have reading to do...

    Bikingshearer, thanks for the feedback. That's the feeling I got from the various fora, and the reason I think a De Rosa might be good for me!

    Squirtdad, good luck on your search... I'm in Sacramento, and if I see a 58cm De Rosa up here, I'll pass it on to you.

    DIMcyclist, when you say they suited you better, did you feel that you were more comfortable on them, or that they suited your handling style better? Any way to describe what seemed to click for you more? I feel that the stability of a bike (the general willingness of a bike to run a rail on one end of the scale or be twitchy on the other) really affects people's sense of ease with the bike. As a I feel I want a responsive bike, but one that isn't as punishing as the Klein. I'm OK with one that is less responsive, but I don't want a real 'dead' handler either. That takes some of the fun out of the trip.


    Thanks again for the input.


    ---Michael

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    If you want to look into French bikes, you might want to concentrate on the ones with Reynolds 531c tubed frames which would be stiffer/livelier than the Vitus 979 aluminum and maybe the Supervitus 980 CrMo tubed frames.
    The French bike companies (Peugeot, Gitane, Mercier...etc..) also made special "team replica" frames that used Reynolds 753, Columbus SL and SLX tubing, but you'll have to pay much more money for those.....if you can even find them..

    Chombi

  11. #11
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    I'm not really sure what you're after...panache/mystique, show piece, or a rider. If so, what kind of rider. I LOVE how the Lemonds ride...they really hit my sweet spot for traditional spec roadies with a balanced feel. I think, for the money, those Lemonds are a LOT of bang for the buck. I like my De Rosas a lot...they don't have that hyper aggressive Colnago handling and feel a bit more refined. The materials involved probably aren't the most critical factor in picking a bike, but I do think my OS Primato rode very differently from the SLX De Rosa (which I was not wild about). How much of that is the difference between clinchers and tubulars? Probably a lot.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    My take is that rather than pick one bike manufacturer go for the ride characteristics you desire, the field is more wide open. I have a late 80s DeRosa with SLX and love it, rides more like my newer bikes. I also love the sport frame on my R531 AustroDaimler. Have ridden (but never owned) two Bassos that were really nice.
    Regarding early carbon forks, my experience was the design/construction method on my first carbon fork in 1999 was prone to failure. It was a 'sandwich' construction and the 2 pieces began to crack at the steerer tube. After that one was replaced I've had no problems with 3 carbon forks since 2002.
    '81 Austro Daimler Olympian, '87 DeRosa Professional, '91 Gary Fisher SuperCaliber, 1999 Calfee TetraPro, '03(?) Macalu Cirrus, '04 Tallerico, '97 Co-Motion Tandem

  13. #13
    Senior Member DIMcyclist's Avatar
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    One from column A...

    All of the frames I tired were lugged and made of Columbus tubing and accordingly shared some ride qualities for that... The Loto & DeRosa were both SLX; the Colnago & Merckx Strada were both Accaio, (I remember the Strada having its own version of it; am I right that it was specially drawn for Merckx?); the Torelli was Aelle; the Gap was 'Basso concept' which I assumed was probably a blend of Columbus & Deda tubing (which is to say, Mannesmann by any other name), and the Tommasini didn't have a tubeset decal, though I've always assumed it was SL.

    The components were Campy for the most part, but all over the map- Chorus, Daytona/ Centaur, Veloce... some mixed; the Torelli actually had an original Sachs Rival gruppo.

    In terms of the ride, I found the Merckx and the DeRosa to be a lot alike, responsive yet smooth (both gave a distinct sense of competence in the build); the Colnago wasn't appreciably better but the guy who was selling it wanted almost twice as much for it (like $2300; to its credit however, it was a very pretty bike). The Loto was late '80s model and a maybe tad heavy for a sport bike, but seemed to ride more smoothly for it; the Gap was a '94 or '95, light & responsive (and beautiful shade of deep blue). The Torelli turned out to be a really nice middle ground (I very nearly bought it), and the Tommasini was so-so compared to the others (but then it was also the oldest of the bunch- late '70s/ early '80s; it had kind of a gaudy paint job and gave the overall impression of an aging hooker).

    Bear in mind, these are just my impressions of the particular bikes I rode; "your experience may vary," as the ads say on TV.

    Btw, the ultimate reasons I didn't buy either the Torelli or the Gap: I suspected the Torelli might have been hot (stolen), but by the time I'd decided to pass on it, someone else had bought the Basso; my Buenos Aires turned up the following week and I haven't regretted my choice.
    Last edited by DIMcyclist; 01-16-13 at 04:12 PM. Reason: added an addendum
    Trek 820 (650b), Trek 930, Fuji League, Bridgestone RB-2, Bridgestone XO-3, Soma Smoothie ES, LeMond Buenos Aires, Torelli Corsa Strada

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjm6 View Post
    Nobody has any experience with De Rosa frames of the past? I was hoping there would be some feedback on the differences in the frams they offered back then.


    ---Michael
    I think you need to go quite a bit farther back to get more "classic" geometry on a DeRosa, late 70's at the youngest.

    Or an Eddy Merckx from the 80's. Or a Masi from the 70's or to about 1980's and not the subordinate models like the Nouva Strada or Gran Corsa.

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    Weren't 80's Merckx Professionals and De Rosa Professionals through the 80's pretty much identical?

  16. #16
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadrunner2012 View Post
    Weren't 80's Merckx Professionals and De Rosa Professionals through the 80's pretty much identical?
    For some reason, maybe the importer, I always thought they came from the same factory or atleast factories next to each other.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
    My take is that rather than pick one bike manufacturer go for the ride characteristics you desire, the field is more wide open. I have a late 80s DeRosa with SLX and love it, rides more like my newer bikes. I also love the sport frame on my R531 AustroDaimler. Have ridden (but never owned) two Bassos that were really nice.
    Regarding early carbon forks, my experience was the design/construction method on my first carbon fork in 1999 was prone to failure. It was a 'sandwich' construction and the 2 pieces began to crack at the steerer tube. After that one was replaced I've had no problems with 3 carbon forks since 2002.
    Thanks Wildwood. I have a vague recollection of hearing reports on CF failures back in the day, but I don't really recall any details. I think that the recommendation I saw was more about the feel rather then the performance, but who knows. I'll do a little more research on that.

    ---Michael

  18. #18
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    Excellent further comments all... I appreciate the discussion as it does help me understand a bit more than I did before.

    I am still on the lookout for a good frame, but maybe will broaden my search parameters somewhat to find a good suitable one. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to ride before I buy, but I suspect I'll have to jump in and get one to start out.

    ---Michael

  19. #19
    Senior Member geezerwheels's Avatar
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    For some reason, maybe the importer, I always thought they came from the same factory or atleast factories next to each other.
    Nope, just similar geometry. Merckx = Belgium, De Rosa = Italy

  21. #21
    Senior Member jet sanchEz's Avatar
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    My understanding is that until the start of the '90s there were only two De Rosa models, a road frame and a pista frame. You ordered one either off the peg or with custom measurements and you built it up however you wanted. Then, yeah, I guess Ugo and his sons expanded their operation and we began to see Primatos and Casanovas and Nuovo Classicos plus lots of aluminium frames too. Then came carbon fibre and a bunch of aluminium bikes and the company began to only offer three steel models, the Primato and the Nuovo Classico and the Primato pista. I have no idea when the Primato became the Neo Primato though.

    I believe the Neo Primato with the carbon fork was from 2001 and 2002, they went back to steel around 2003. The carbon fork was made by Mizuno. De Rosa makes all their steel frames in Italy, they are even painted there.

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    I think the newer models are Deda tubing, as well. Not sure when they changed.

    A Primato will be Columbus EL OS, a Neo Primato will be Deda tubing, not that there is anything wrong with that. Diamante stays and flat fork crowns not withstanding.

  23. #23
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    Yeah,

    I decided to pass on the De Rosa because of the CF fork primarily. It sure was a pretty bike notwithstanding.

    I've gotten feedback from a few people who greatly preferred the ride of steel forks over CF, and that swayed me. Then, I spotted a nice Merckx on the 'Bay with a decent BIN price, and that made the decision for me.


    Thanks for all the feedback everyone.


    ---Michael

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