Deserves closer attention and admiration.
One of my favourite bicycles of all time and one that I was searching for when I found it in a friend's shop... when new the 1987 Cascade was over $800.00 Cdn and as it was the top of the line ATB and hand built I believe the production numbers are fairly low. I have seen more of the Shasta (also hand built) which was the model down and was originally fitted with Exage components whereas the Cascade was equipped with Shimano Deore drive components and top of the line Sansin hub laced to Araya RM25 rims.
The Shasta was a $700.00 bicycle in 1988... a friend of mine bought his new and still has it and this was the bike that started me searching.
It is still wearing it's original Deore cold forged crank and has new chain rings, I wore out the stock wheels many years ago and they have been replaced with custom wheels (Arvon hubs laced to CR18 rims)... it is a fabulous all rounder with the set up being specialized for touring.
We were just discussing Olympia a week ago :)
Surely under the radar (and thus underrated) as very, very few were brought into the states via normal distribution due to Olympia's domestic market priorities.
Cambridge Merlins...they ride beautifully and are a LOT of bang for the buck.
Miyata 9xx series...they can range from sports tourer to roadie. The ones I've touched were good value with nice paint.
Lemond Zurich, Poprad (probably others)- they have minimal collector appeal, sell for less than older golden moldies and have a lot of fun in them.
There are hundreds of smaller name Italians and US builders that can be had at attractive pricing.
Had the opportunity to meet him at NAHBS in Austin several years ago and enjoyed the occasion immensely.
I've owned five of these at this point and one is still here.
I thoroughly enjoy the ride of the Sprint I own and your opinion changes nothing!
A very nice occasional rider.
So, once you have ruled out the small percentage of bikes that are simply born badly, one should then go to look at the real bones and structure of the bikes. What separates them from the others. I look at features that differentiate them from other builders and things that can be measured or felt objectively. There is no hocus-pocus here with mythical attributes given to things. Zullo simply does not offer things that set his frames apart. He uses as best as I can tell, standard lugs, fork crown and tubing exactly as it is delivered to him. Apart from the engraving of the fork crown and seat lug (which do not in any way modify any dimensional attributes of these parts), all the parts are identical to those supplied to all other builders using standard products. There are no novel parts which were special made for Tiziano, nor was there any innovation proposed by him. The lugs are also not modified nor do they show any particular handicraft. None of this is necessarily indicative of poor ride characteristics or even intrinsic quality of the frame. It does however shout out that the frame has not received the same injection of craftsmanship and thought that you might find in another frame where the builder has specced and paid for the production of personalized tubing or lugs or whatever you might have. By this, think of the patented chainstays used by Masi and De Rosa, or the first investment cast lugs of Colnago or others, or specially drawn tubing of Colnago, Pegoretti, Cinelli or others, or personalized lugs of Grandis... Or even the added embellishment of lugs or "bikini" lugs used by others. There is nothing to be found of this type on Zullo bikes. They use bog standard mix and match components out of the box. They could just as well be built by some Japanese robot, in many ways it would have been better had they been built by a Japanese robot. Tiziano can thereby produce a frame requiring less input of manpower and flair. As a rule this allowed him to often undercut others prices in the past, so people were able to benefit for this approach. This price then gets carried forward into the vintage world. As a rule this will not have a major affect (if any whatsoever) on the rideability or constructive quality, but you cannot be sure. Just think of Peugeot PX10 or Raleigh Team Pro bikes, neither are to be considered the paragon of "quality" production but they have untold number of admirers because of their ride characteristics and neither is known to fall apart notwithstanding the oft-noted brazing voids and sloppy workmanship. I would rate Tiziano's frames as being among the best of the second tier frames but no more and as such their prices seem to reflect this.
I know that you are familiar with Aaron's Marnati built with Max tubeset. I take that you are also familiar with Zullo's recent production series of Max-tubed bikes. Both builders started with the same lugset but Marnati massaged every lug before using it, cutting it back and adding personal flair to the final result. Zullo on the other hand used the lugs straight as they came out of the box and to my eye they look overly heavy and clunky. The same process also holds true to other frames that he has built.
I just got it love this bike super light and fast
I dont think anything with drop bars is under the radar anymore.
Vintage Cannondales! Aesthetically some hate the fat tubes, but if you find any 1985 Cannondale SR for a good price (under $250) buy it. I can promise, you wont be disappointed. They are stiff, light, and fast. Not to mention the steel forks do a good job and dampening the "rough ride." I feel like people take these bikes down a gravel road and swear them off forever because the "ride is too harsh." Yes certain models are far from underrated like Black Lightning's but I often see these bikes go for much lower then they should.
I do not see that Faggin has bee mm mentioned yet, but rhwy are as good as anything else coming out of northern Italy.
I picked up this RB-2 for $200. All I did was put on the Brooks saddle and some new bar tape. It is the bike I ride the most.
I guess that is the benefit of living in a very wealthy suburb of Kansas City. All I see on the roads around here are modern Cervelos and Specialized. I guess to expand on what I was trying to say for $200 its hard to find something of the same quality. Im not saying that all cannondales are underrated, just the ones from 1985-1992. I feel they are underrated for the value not the amount on the road. Though, I hardly see anything made before 2001 on the roads around here.
I rode a 1989 Cannondale - I can't disagree with you more. They're worth component value and what ever you can get recycling the aluminum.
Definitely consider the upper level Lotus' in the under-appreciated category. Then again, can't *****, as if it had the proper appreciations, I wouldn't have picked up my Elite 600 for $10.00:
Somebody mentioned Dutch bikes? I've been agreeing with that opinion for over 40 years now (and will add Belgian to it), since I worked at that hobby shop that decided to cash in on the bike boom and took on the Batavus and Flandria lie. Mainly because they got to the states late and their distributor was desperate for anyone to start selling the lines. Case in point is my Magneet. Folded in to the Batavus line by 1970, nothing but ordinary gas pipe, but was wonderful enough riding frame to outfit it with components way beyond its original starting point (cottered steel crank, Campy Valentino, and Mavic Racer):
Big agreement regarding the Gitane Interclub, probably one of the better $150.00 bargains (new) out there. And an almost forgotten bike nowadays.
I think SR is an "under the radar" brand with a regional distribution only. But the build quality was second to none. Like someone else mentioned, the Japanese bikes of the '80's are under-rated.
Few under the radar bikes have impressed me as much as the Canadian made Peugeot Course. Carbolite 103, forged drops and nothing fancy in the component department, but what a lovely ride quality..!