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Another Old Bianchi

Old 12-04-12, 11:20 PM
  #1  
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Another Old Bianchi

Just trying to continue my education in old (pre-1970s) Bianchis.

Here is a "project" described as a 1960s Speciallisima. Looks rough but complete, I know the pictures are atrocious.







Would you say this bike is worth $300 or $400? Is it as described?
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Old 12-05-12, 05:04 AM
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Hm i would say yes if it s all original and dent free but for me lower number(300), by pictures it needs a lot of work chrome seems in bad shape, paint is shot...

This is 1961 Bianchi Specialissima for comparisment

https://www.flickr.com/photos/6688292...ol-1368725@N23
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Old 12-05-12, 07:30 AM
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If the chrome can be saved, and frame is dent free, I would have no problem paying $300 for it. Might be worth $400, but I would not pay it, knowing the work I would be facing to rehab/restore it properly. I am OK walking away from a bike, where someone else puts a higher value to it.
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Old 12-05-12, 09:09 AM
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Actually it appears to be a very early 1960s Specialissima. The mid-1960s versions had additional bands on the seat tube. it should not predate 1961 due to the Universal 61 calipers. It looks so rough that I'd have to see it in person, but at $300 I'd definitely make a visit .
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Old 12-05-12, 09:47 AM
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Is this local? I may go $350 or so on a local sale but not more than 275-300 if shipping is involved.

Is there damage or just heavy patina at the top of the DT?
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Old 12-05-12, 04:24 PM
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Thanks. It is not local, unfortunately, but he is sending me some better pictures.

Seems like this one would be a full restoration project - paint and decals at least, and then even if the chrome cleans up pretty nice, it might still look bad next to fresh paint, so even re-chroming is a possible need. Lots of money to be spent. Will it be worth enough to make such an expensive project worthwhile?

What do restored early 1960's Bianchis go for? I will look around but any ready opinions?

This is an abandoned project, the seller can't finish it, or maybe he took a hard look and realized it wasn't worth doing. So my skepticism level is elevated.
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Old 12-05-12, 09:43 PM
  #7  
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Here is another way of looking at it - what is it worth if it is fully redone, meaning new paint and new chrome and the components all spiffed up? To get that new paint and new chrome (and new decals) from a reputable, experienced painter (I'd recommend Ed Litton in Richmond CA for his skill and his vast klnowledge of Bianchis), expect to pay $1,000 or more. If the chrome is still serviceable, chop somewhere around $400 off that. The components look like a modest investment in cleaning products and some elbow grease on your part should make them look like new. (BTW, some Brasso, a wire brush and maybe some Scotch-Brite will work wonders on that headbadge.)

So, is a good-as-new early to mid 60s Specialissima (my gut says early 60s, mainly because of the integrated headset and what looks like a Gran Sport RD - I would expect a Speciallissima after about 1962 to have a Record RD instead - but I am far from positive about this) worth $1,300 to $1,500, either to you as a bee-yoo-tee-ful keeper or on the open market? I think that is a better question. Personally, I think if old Bianchis float your boat, that is a reasonable price for one of that vintage in what appears to be pretty darn good mechanical shape. If you don't have to rechrome, the price is more like $900 to $1,100, and I would tell you to buy it. Now.

Now for some questions you need to ask but may not know to ask about a couple unique factors about that bike, questions gleaned from personal experience (from refurbishing a 1961 Competizione, a couple notches lower on the Biachi food chain of the time, but still a Reparto Corse frame - and I would have killed for those components, as I had to start pretty much from scratch). These questions are not meant to scare you off, but rather to make sure you know as much as possible about what you might be getting yourself into. Hey, forewarned is forearmed.

First, you need to find out from the seller what shape that headset is in. As mentioned, that is an integrated headset, typical of Bianchis of the 50s until sometime in the 60s. In particular, you need to know two things. (1) How smooth is it? If it is rough or "indexed," is the problem with the bearings or the races? Replacement bearings the right size are easy to find. Replacement races, on the other hand, are damn near impossible to find. (2) What is the condition of the threaded retaining nut/tightener thingies that hold the whole mess down (I'm having a brain fart and can't remember what they are called). I would expect the threads to be fine, but there are no wrench flats on those - instead, the sides are round with a knurled/pebbled surface. You can see it in the photos. They have two holes opposite each other on the round side surface for a special pin wrench to fit in. Such wrenches are not exactly common (although I know for sure that Ed Litton has one). So most of those nut/thingies have been abused by monkey wrenches, channel lock pliers, or the like at some time in their 50 or so year lives. That means that the surface is usually at least somewhat munched, and sometimes badly munched. Not a deal breaker unless it is really awful, and maybe not even then, and it is most likely a cosmetic issue, but something to be aware of.

Second issue - find out before you buy what size BB spindle it takes and how well the BB turns. If the seller doesn't know the spindle size, have him/her measure the BB width. Some Bianchis of that vintage require a Campy "Con Sfere" (I think that is the right spelling) 74-ss-120 spindle that takes 9/16" bearings, not the far more usual 1/4". Yes, that is a 74mm wide BB hanger with bearing races set accordingly. No, a spindle made and badged for a 68mm or 70mm BB hanger will not work without some sort of modifications that I didn't even dream of attempting. And no, the spindle itself is not 120mm long - Campy was really annoying that way. If you have to replace the BB, you are in for a process that is frustrating and either expensive or futile. I can tell you from personal experience that finding a whole BB with proper bearings and cups is almost impossible - almost but not quite, if you are prepared to be veeeeeeery patient and look veeeeeery hard for a loooooong time - and will cost $300 or more if you can find one. I can also tell you from personal experience that putting one together from parts is an exercise in "you can't get there from here." I had the spindle - rough, but servicable. I found the bearings as part of a C-Record BB set (some but nowhere near all of those also have 9/16" bearings for reasons known but to Tullio and/or Valentino). But for the life of me, I could not find cups that work. You will need cups with Italian threads, that take 9/16" bearings and are thin walled. I was able to find Italian threaded cups with races for 9/16" bearings and cups with Italian threads and thin walls, but none that had all three traits for love or money. And no, the thick-walled cups will not work -- I and a LBS whose owner knows and likes the old stuff tried and tried and tried without success. I ended up giving up and going with a Phil - most decidely not period-correct but at least it got mine on the road.

All this having been said, I hope you decide to get it, restore it, and show it off here. (God, I love spending other people';s money, even vicariously.)
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Old 12-05-12, 11:12 PM
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I'd go for it at $300. It's not often you see a 50 year old Bianchi that nice in that kind of condition.

I'd clean it up and keep the original paint. Patina is cool. It's not like this is going to be a commuter bike in danger of rusting out..
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Old 12-05-12, 11:27 PM
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I'm getting a few more pictures besides these, I hope.






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Old 12-06-12, 04:34 AM
  #10  
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By pics this bike, in my opinion, needs full restoration and that will cost money so question is would you keep it for yourself of resell? other thing i ve noticed is headbadge, by internet resources it s pre 1960s and doesn t mach rest of bike maybe someone else knows better.

this is velo-base circa 1930s badge and it s closest match i ve could find



and this should be 1960s version

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Old 12-06-12, 08:38 AM
  #11  
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Never having a bike repainted but being a long time dreamer of it, plus what I have learned in C&V once you embark on a repaint it simply becomes a project of love of the bike as there is little chance of recouping the investment.

I don't generally price bikes of that vintage but I think once you put $500+ into a good repaint and chroming, plus all the other parts you will will not recoup your entire investment.
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Old 12-06-12, 09:54 AM
  #12  
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+1, looks cool, but you will never recoup your investment if you do a full restore.
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Old 12-06-12, 02:03 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by balkanac View Post
By pics this bike, in my opinion, needs full restoration and that will cost money so question is would you keep it for yourself of resell? other thing i ve noticed is headbadge, by internet resources it s pre 1960s and doesn t mach rest of bike maybe someone else knows better.

this is velo-base circa 1930s badge and it s closest match i ve could find



and this should be 1960s version

That top headbadge - the brass-colored one - is exactly what came on my 1961 Competizione, and I have seen photos of another such headbadge on a Bianchi of about the same age. I have also seen photos of high-end Bianchis of similar vintage that had tghe white headbadge like the one on the lower photo. I have no clue how they determined what badge went on what frame, just reporting what I have seen.
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Old 12-08-12, 03:22 PM
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Old 12-08-12, 03:37 PM
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Old 12-08-12, 04:07 PM
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Old 12-08-12, 04:29 PM
  #17  
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Old 12-08-12, 04:35 PM
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Does this mean you bought it?? Post some pictures when you get a finished product, I'd be interested to see this classic all cleaned up.
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Old 12-08-12, 05:27 PM
  #19  
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Judging by the updated sig line, I'd say it now resides in jyl's stable. Older than me, that's what I'd call 'vintage'! How's it ride??
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Old 12-08-12, 06:47 PM
  #20  
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Yup. It is hanging in my basement. Drove for four hours today to pick it up.

Wife informs me that, after this, I'm getting underwear for Christmas and that's it! I don't mind. Better than a sweater. She doesn't even know about the PX-10 from two weeks ago, hee hee . . . damn, hope she wasn't reading over my shoulder. Well, I just found out how much she has spent on Christmas so far, and I'm not the worse offender.

There is one little wrinkle. Literally, you can just see it in the pic I posted. Right under the lower head lug there. I guess 50 years of riding have not been incident-free. Doesn't worry me, there is no other damage and the frame needs a complete restore anyway.

Found an old Dymo label with name and address of, I presume, the original owner. The bike came from Berkeley CA, a house up in the hills, a couple blocks from where I used to live. How odd is that. I may try to track down the original owner, if he is still with us, and find out how he pranged the bike and how he rode this gearing up in the Berkeley Hills. Not what I'd call climbing gears. Actually this will be my first experience with half step. I think it is a half step setup?

I'm going to grease it, glue on new tires, lower the stem, wax the frame, and ride until I know if I like it enough to invest the money into a restoration. I won't make any profit on it, and if I like the bike I won't sell it after restoration anyway, so I'll have to reaaaally like the ride to spend the $1,000 or so it will take to do this one properly.

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Old 12-09-12, 09:42 AM
  #21  
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Congrats!
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Old 12-10-12, 12:44 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Would you say this bike is worth $300 or $400? Is it as described?
IMO, no it isn't. factoring what it'll cost to make this a decentbike for riding, it's expensive compared to alternatives.

OTOH, I don't think it's in good enough condition to buy as a classic.

That said, if you're doing your own work, and assign a value to the process and pride in the end result, then it's probably worth it.

There's a wide difference what a reconditioned bike is worth to he who does the work, and what it's worth on the market.
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Old 12-10-12, 02:07 PM
  #23  
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Very cool. That was a great deal, in my book. I'd be inclined to clean it all up, rebuild it, and ride as is.....
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Old 12-10-12, 05:31 PM
  #24  
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With your PX10 and now this bike, you are now deep into the world of 120mm rear hubs, quill pedals and straps, silver 36H rims, leather saddles, 5 speeds and less, no CPSC nonsense, no aero anything, cloth tape. mostly hexhead bolts and sometimes slotted screw heads, more chromed steel parts, clamped on everything.....
It seems to have been a much simpler (and sometimes cruder) world this earlier era of bikes, but there's something really nice about the sort of "honesty" of bikes back then.....
Congratulations on getting the old Bianchi, Hope it works out to be a great project for you!

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Old 12-10-12, 09:20 PM
  #25  
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I ended up paying less than the range mentioned. I think/hope that I can part it out for close to that. So as long as I don't restore it, I am probably okay, monetarily. So, I'll tune it up, ride it, and see if I fall in love with this time traveler from before I was born. In enough love to take on the project. Or, part it . . .

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Classic and Vintage Bicycles: Whats it Worth? Appraisals.
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07-09-12 12:25 PM
fas2c
Classic & Vintage
8
04-02-10 10:58 AM

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