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Bianchi Donna 28 Positron - What Kind of Tubing?

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Bianchi Donna 28 Positron - What Kind of Tubing?

Old 11-11-12, 08:48 PM
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PaintItCeleste
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Bianchi Donna 28 Positron - What Kind of Tubing?

Well first off, hello. Long time lurker, first time poster. The forum has been a great help. So, to the bike...

I recently came into a "Bianchi (Piaggio) Donna 28 Positron 6V" that I decided would be the perfect candidate for me to build up for a sunday rider for my mum. While it was in pretty good condition, judging by the amount of plastic, the welds, and other cues, it seems to have been a relatively inexpensive bike in its day (though I might be wrong).

Pictures






For the heck of it, here a couple close ups post-powdercoating:






(if the images are too large or I am somehow violating the terms of how things are done around here, pleasantly inform me and I will make the adjustments! Thanks)


Specifications:

Model: Bianchi Piaggio Donna 28 Positron 6v
Serial Number: 43240 (marked across top/front of headtube)
Frame Tubing: Unknown
Bottom Bracket: Italian thread, 68 x 145 (asymmetrical)
Brakes: Unmarked center-mounted, nutted, center-pull brakes, weinmann cable stops
Wheels: FIR AB23 700c clincher (solid axles with "B" marked nuts)
Notable Accessories: Friction-generator powered headlight and kickstand both marked "Made in W Germany", Plastic "Bianchi" tool case, "Bianchi" stamped INOX fenders

What I Might Know...

So here's what I think I know (much of it from other posts here). If I am incorrect, or you know otherwise, I would love the info.

- The Piaggio decals. Piaggio was a company that owned Bianchi in the 80's and threw their name in the mix.
- The model, "Donna 28" - Donna meaning "woman". 28, something to do with the wheel size?
- "Positron" refers to the Shimano Positron 6-speed (6v) gearing which the bike was set up with. Positron was an early Shimano attempt at an indexed shifting system.
- The frame seems to be nothing special judging by the welding, lack of welded derailleur hanger, a rough seam along the bottom bracket shell (which I filed down), and the very basic, unmarked dropouts.

What I Would Like to Know...

- Any idea what year this frame was? I'm guessing early 80's, maybe 1980?
- I would love to be able to note the tubing when I re-decal it. Any way of telling? It's a lugged frame. From inside the bottom bracket, I detect a seam running lengthwise on the downtube, which I think indicates it is "seamed" tubing. Even if it was the most basic hi-ten or something, I'd like to be able to get a decal for it. The frame's not terribly heavy. Any chance this is very basic Columbus or anything? Perhaps the fact that this was italian-made, and from the Bianchi-Piaggio days, helps narrow down who would have manufactured the tubing.
- Any other information regarding this model would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance for reading!
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Old 11-11-12, 10:25 PM
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I think this is a case where if Bianchi was using something to boast about they would have.
Campagnolo bits on it... How Italian citibike.
I would reconsider the quick release seat post bolt. I have seen way too may bikes parked with the seat post missing.
I think this is a case where powder coating was the right refinish from the images.
Go forward.
I would be tempted to apply some red "retro" appearing Bianchi graphics to the down tube.
This would be a bike my wife would like, if it had a motor assist.

And remember that Campagnolo makes a center pull brake now, for time trial and triathlete applications... they are black anodized, but that can be corrected.
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Old 11-12-12, 12:00 AM
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I just wanted to say that this is an excellent example of how to post in this forum. Good pics, the history you know, list of known identifying marks. These help the knowledgeable people here give the best possible evaluation.

Also, that bike is cool. Perfect for a nice stylish comfort bike your Mum should enjoy greatly.
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Old 11-12-12, 05:55 AM
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BAsed on various build details, very likely high ten steel tubing.

All the Shimano bits, like the Positron RD, will have date codes, as will most likely the brake calipers, stem, and several other parts.
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Old 11-12-12, 08:50 AM
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I am with Work101 on this HiTen at its finest. It could be some type of Maganese but HITen is my guess. I am not certain of the year either but I believe shipmano was fooling with Positron (and torturing mechanics everywhere) as early as '76 or so.

I don't use mine much but I like it. It also make a great bike to lend to one of the other girls in the building.



PS the frnder chainguard and tool kit have since been reinstalled.
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Old 11-12-12, 10:00 AM
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Thank you for the replies!

Repechage - Definitely a good thought. I my mum lives in the suburbs and as I said, will likely only take this out for Sunday strolls up to the farmer's market (which is very small). Considering I intend on putting a Brooks saddle there, I should be weary of a clamp allowing such an easy take. But I imagine she won't be parking it, as it will double as her shopping cart. But since you mention it, I may change it for safety's sake! As far as the decaling, I began this the other night. My mum's a much bigger fan of more modern design with clean lines and industrial materials. For this reason, I went with silver, near incognito style decals.




As for the steel, I would agree, if it wasn't touted, it's nothing special. Tell me, would it be "unethical", since this isn't a true restoration, to place "Campagnolo" decals at the top of the seat tube and at the top of each fork (where the steel decals typically are located), since this bike will be completed with entirely Campagnolo components? Obviously, I can do whatever I want, but at the same time, I am looking to be tasteful and appreciate the opinions of others within the discipline!

Bianchigirll - What year is your bike? Pretty unique looking frame! Also, I messaged you some time back about this through flickr since I had actually spoken with you once before there. So if you come across a message about this bike, that was me!
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Old 11-12-12, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by PaintItCeleste View Post

Bianchigirll - What year is your bike? Pretty unique looking frame! Also, I messaged you some time back about this through flickr since I had actually spoken with you once before there. So if you come across a message about this bike, that was me!
Your Mom is going to have the best looking bike at the farmers market.

OH Your the one!!! I botched up my email about a month ago and lost everything in my inbox! I knew some one asked about my mixte but I didn't have a clue. I am not certain of the year my oldest catalog is '80. I am pretty sure these are '78ish bikes. As mentioned I think shimano started torturing the cycling world with index about that time.
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Others but still loved; '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape SLX Bertoni "Speckled Trout"
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Old 11-13-12, 11:28 AM
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+1, almost certainly hi-tensile steel. The best indicator is the seat post diameter.

As for the age, it would appear to be newer than 1980. The rear derailleur appears to be a Positron 400. My literature lists these as 5 speed models through 1980. I don't have the 1981 literature, but starting in 1982 they were listed with 5 and 6 speed versions and were available through at least 1984. There should be a double letter date code on the back of the derailleur that will narrow down the year.

The serial number on the bicycle is very interesting. It uses the location but not the format used by Bianchi in the 1970s. It's also does not match their 1980's serial numbers. Nor does it match their 1980's Japanese contractor used for most entry level models. I'm assuming, based on the serial number and Italian threading, that this is a subcontracted, European market model.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:39 PM
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Thanks T-Mar! The seatpost diameter is an even 26.0mm. The rear derailleur is Positron FH-400. I scoured the derailleur and could find "FH-400", "Shimano Japan", "VIA", and near that "HI". Any help?

As far as it being a subcontracted, European market model, does that mean anything special about the bikes original quality (low-end, or perhaps more middle of the road?)? Of course, at this point, this bike is nothing of it's former self. Having been converted in its entirety to Campagnolo with a brand new, sealed bottom bracket, 8-speed set up, and many more modern amenities! haha

Also, did you all post somewhere here, some type of collection on how Bianchi's serials work? I'd really appreciate looking at that!
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Old 11-14-12, 05:57 AM
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A 26.0mm seat post indicates a lighweight hi-tensile steel. IIRC correctly Bianchi called it Calibrati 1-20. The concensus on the forum is that this is Bianchi speak for 1020 hi-tensile steel.

The HI date code on the derailleur is Sept 1983. By the time it made its way Italy and was assembled onto the bicycle, it would have been very late 1983 or very early 1984. In hindsight, you can reverse engineer the serial number to 1984, but whether that is correct or not, is another questrion. Regrdless, everything is pointing towards a 1984 model.

We know that Bianchi was still manufacturing mid and high end models at their own facilities during this period. However, the entry level North American models were made in Japan. It's entirely feasible that the entry evel Italian models were being subcontracted to another Europen manufacturer with cheaper labor rates. Based on the pictures, the workmanship standards do appear to be slightly lower than what we have seen on the bicycles coming from the Bianchi factory.
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Old 11-16-12, 08:23 PM
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Well thank you so much all! I found some images of the "1-20 Calibrati" decal and recall seeing it on some models from the past. Most of the models share the decal style, Piaggio branding, and other traits with this bike so that would be the most likely candidate. I may see if I can find someone to custom make the decal for me, or more likely pass on it altogether, and opt for no decal or another option. I have just received my Paul Components center-pull brakes which just look stellar with the current Bianchi decals and frame, so I doubt I need much more "bling".

Again, thank you for all the help!
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Old 11-17-12, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
BAsed on various build details, very likely high ten steel tubing.

All the Shimano bits, like the Positron RD, will have date codes, as will most likely the brake calipers, stem, and several other parts.
The lack of braze on standoff cable guides on the frame and simple rough one knuckle lugs and color date make the frame as low end High-ten late 70's maybe early 80's. This combined with the positron dates the bike 80/81 or so. My guess is the bike is a European model that was brought over to the US by an individual likely Military.
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