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Quattro Assi mystery frame

Old 08-10-22, 10:35 AM
  #1  
greenteei
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Quattro Assi mystery frame (Tommasini? Zullo? Another maker?)

Trying to learn more about where this frame was built. I've there is a lot of information out there regarding where Bill Lewis outsourced Quattro Assi frames to be built (Tommasini, Zullo, Italy, Colombia, US, China), but I haven't been able to suss out who or where this frame could have been built. I'm hoping someone with better lug and frame knowledge could help me out. Tubing is Oria Ranf. Bottom bracket is stamped "E" and "26" on the opposite diagonal side. Thanks! Any information is much appreciated.









Last edited by greenteei; 08-11-22 at 09:17 PM. Reason: additional information about Bill Lewis
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Old 08-11-22, 09:59 PM
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Been doing a lot of research in the Tommasini Lounge and Timeline thread. Mainly going through all the pictures and trying to find matching brake bridges and bottom brackets. One big step forward when I found a few matching brake bridges, but also a big step back when I found similarly shaped brake bridges in Zullo's and Billato's (maybe this brake bridge is relatively popular?). Back to where I started.

Some information that leads me to think it could have been built by Tommasini:
-Bottom bracket cable guides that may be a clue. Not built up under the cable and guided with a thin bent metal strip. Not sure if other's did this as well.
-Serial numbers trend towards being really short on Tommasini frames. The Quattro has an "E" and a "26"

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Old 08-12-22, 10:04 AM
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Uhhhhhh - decal on headtube says "Made in Italy"

Something very wrong about that seat tube bider/lug arrangement --- did someone jam the wrong size post in there at one time and then try to heat it with a torch to get it to move i wonder?
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Old 08-12-22, 10:34 AM
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The decal does say that, but I've also read that the "Made in Italy" designation was quite lax back in the day. I'm sure it was made in Italy, but hoping learn even more I guess.

There is something wonky with the seat tube area... haven't touched that yet. Does look jammed in though.
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Old 08-13-22, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by greenteei View Post
The decal does say that, but I've also read that the "Made in Italy" designation was quite lax back in the day. I'm sure it was made in Italy, but hoping learn even more I guess.

There is something wonky with the seat tube area... haven't touched that yet. Does look jammed in though.
I was around Bill Lewis a lot back in the late 80s-mid 90s. Obviously everyone knows that he sourced his frame production out 100%, from the frame building to the frame painting. I remember asking him why he didn’t let Tommasini make and paint his frames. He told me that for a top paint job from Tommasini, it was too costly and that the basic paint was not up to the level of quality that he’d stand behind. His goal was to sell Italian frames (all the rage then) at lower price points. Also at that time, Italian frames were known for their crappy paint jobs that looked great but just wouldn’t last. Even the Japanese generally were putting out better quality paint at the time. My Miyatas are perfect examples. So he brought the frames into the US unpainted and contracted with various painters to finish them. I have the exact frame shown in the original post (among others) and can tell you it is a Tommasini build, but painted by a painter in Georgetown, Texas. I bought mine from a group that never got painted and had Bill paint it by the painter he was using for some of his aluminum frames at the time, so it’s a bit of a one off but looks great with the second generation Quattro Assi decals. I never did build it up as it was a bit of a porker with the German steel tubing. I had recently toyed with the idea of building it up with one of my excess groupsets (Dura Ace or Superbe Pro 8-speeds) I have to play around with. I just don’t know if I’d speed much time on it in all reality. But it is a nice Italian built, utilitarian frame from that era.

By the way, Bill would never have allowed a “Made in Italy” decal to go on a frame not made in Italy. 🇮🇹

My QA stable...


The steel frame paint matches the Easton Elite aluminum frame in the middle of the photo above. Same painter, paint and decals were used for the most part.

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Old 08-14-22, 05:22 PM
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Did that have Delta brakes? If not someone is missing that little hook on the post binder
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Old 08-14-22, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BMC_Kid View Post
I was around Bill Lewis a lot back in the late 80s-mid 90s. Obviously everyone knows that he sourced his frame production out 100%, from the frame building to the frame painting. I remember asking him why he didn’t let Tommasini make and paint his frames. He told me that for a top paint job from Tommasini, it was too costly and that the basic paint was not up to the level of quality that he’d stand behind. His goal was to sell Italian frames (all the rage then) at lower price points. Also at that time, Italian frames were known for their crappy paint jobs that looked great but just wouldn’t last. Even the Japanese generally were putting out better quality paint at the time. My Miyatas are perfect examples. So he brought the frames into the US unpainted and contracted with various painters to finish them. I have the exact frame shown in the original post (among others) and can tell you it is a Tommasini build, but painted by a painter in Georgetown, Texas. I bought mine from a group that never got painted and had Bill paint it by the painter he was using for some of his aluminum frames at the time, so it’s a bit of a one off but looks great with the second generation Quattro Assi decals. I never did build it up as it was a bit of a porker with the German steel tubing. I had recently toyed with the idea of building it up with one of my excess groupsets (Dura Ace or Superbe Pro 8-speeds) I have to play around with. I just don’t know if I’d speed much time on it in all reality. But it is a nice Italian built, utilitarian frame from that era.

By the way, Bill would never have allowed a “Made in Italy” decal to go on a frame not made in Italy. 🇮🇹

My QA stable...

The steel frame paint matches the Easton Elite aluminum frame in the middle of the photo above. Same painter, paint and decals were used for the most part.
Thanks for all the insight into the frame and the history of the bikes! There isn't much information about QA bikes, but everyone that has them seems to love them. Awesome collection you have there. I remember seeing a red aluminium Quattro Assi Team in person almost 10 years ago and have wanted a QA since. When this one popped up and I rushed over as quickly as I could. Looking on and off I've only seen 3 for sale locally in Northern California and when I was living in Austin. Can't wait to put it back together and on the road
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Old 08-14-22, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Did that have Delta brakes? If not someone is missing that little hook on the post binder
Huh. I was wondering what that was for. Unfortunately no brakes were included when I purchased. Deltas would have been nice though .
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Old 08-15-22, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by greenteei View Post
Thanks for all the insight into the frame and the history of the bikes! There isn't much information about QA bikes, but everyone that has them seems to love them. Awesome collection you have there. I remember seeing a red aluminium Quattro Assi Team in person almost 10 years ago and have wanted a QA since. When this one popped up and I rushed over as quickly as I could. Looking on and off I've only seen 3 for sale locally in Northern California and when I was living in Austin. Can't wait to put it back together and on the road
Sure thing, glad I could help fill in some of the details. Quattro Assi as a brand was really no different than a house brand such as Performance Bike when it comes right down to it. Everything was outsourced and at the end of the day, you got a pretty decent bike at a price point you could afford, without having to pay to support the marketing budget of a big-name brand. They were good, solid frames (mostly) that got used and abused, and adding to the low numbers, there are just not a lot that show up for sale. And when they do pop up, the current owners seem to attach a value to them that belies their true worth, and that mainly comes from a misunderstanding of the history of Quattro Assi or downright embellishment of it. My Easton Elite aluminum frame was made by Kinesis with a Kinesis carbon fork. At that time, mid-late 1990s, Kinesis was actually manufacturing the frames (forks I believe were outsourced from Taiwan but don't quote me). I can't remember where or who built my titanium QA. I picked that up not directly from Bill, and it's funny, I don't remember at the time even knowing that Bill was selling a titanium frame. That frame is actually quite nice to ride and has a wonderful pearlized teal to purple flip-flop paint job, looking very pink at the transition of the two colors. I built it up with Dura Ace 9 speed. I wouldn't be surprised if it too was a Kinesis frame. I do know that Bill outsourced at least one of the carbon frames he sold to Kinesis. My Easton 7005 Elite tube QA frame is fine, not as harsh as a contemporary aluminum frame but not something you'd want to spend a lot of time on. It was good for what it was at the time, a moderately priced lightweight frame, stiff enough to race but nothing spectacular. The best part was if you crashed it, it wouldn't break the bank.

There is a guy now selling Quattro Assi frames but he has nothing to do with Wm Lewis, just bought the name. I've seen photos of the frames he's built and I corresponded with him a couple of times. Seems like a nice enough guy but the key to Bill's success was in the outsourcing of the manufacturing, not trying to build up a brand of handmade frames from scratch. I've not checked in on him for a while but see that he must have outsourced some carbon QA branded frames as he's now selling one on eBay. In fact, he states, "This is being sold because I want to clear out workshop space, so that I can focus on custom builds." He also says, "This is being sold, because I want to focus QA more on custom steel over carbon. Many of you may remember Quattro Assi from when Bill Lewis owned the name. I am trying to carry on with his legacy, but with a custom twist. I have good quality items, at good, competitive prices. I want to have you as a long-time customer." I wish him nothing but the best, but I saw at least one of his earlier frames and I don't think I'd be a customer of his at any price point. It's been more than a few years and hopefully, his skills have improved.

I had toyed with the idea of buying Bill out and then the reality of it all caught up and at the end of the day, I was too far ahead in my career to start over and risk it all in order to make it a bigger deal than it was at the time, which is to say, not that lucrative. My standard of living shall we say was not as frugal Bill's, LOL. The QA frames were only one part of his import business that was still remaining in one piece, the rest, for the most part, having moved on to other distribution channels, e.g., Tommasini, Zullo, and most of the other brands he imported. The remaining house brand frame business (and odd Australian pedals IIRC) was just not that lucrative and only someone in semi-retirement could actually afford to spend time maintaining it. It was just after this time that I lost contact with Bill and I hope he and the buyer both were able to get some value out of the transaction. I know that he had managed to sell off most of his frame inventory but I believe the buyer did take on some excess frames that he built up and sold.

I kept the QA bikes I had bought mainly for sentimental reasons, like all the rest of the bikes that I own. Each has its own story and it's those memories that I treasure.
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