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Help dating a 1970's US Masi GC

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Help dating a 1970's US Masi GC

Old 11-10-15, 05:54 PM
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dadoflam
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Help dating a 1970's US Masi GC

I am researching a US Masi GC project and come across serial number that is not consistent with the numbering regimes that have generally been described as I understand them and would love some assistance trying to date it and work out which Masi Ca location it was built at.The details are as follows:

The BB serial No is MC53 57701 with a M cutout
The bike was originally purchased in 1978 – probably from I.Martin cycles in LA.
It has remained in the current owner’s hands since late 1978/early 1979 – he is the second owner
It is in original condition with only a couple of parts swapped by the current owner (stem and bartape)
It is Masi racing red with the California style modified decals – just the ‘Masi’ on the downtube, ‘Milano’ removed from the headtube/seat tube decals and world champ version stripes around the seat tube.
The components are Campagnolo Record/Nuovo Record dating from 1973 (RD, cranks etc) and in some instances a little earlier (1037 pedals with strap loops, pre-circlip FD etc)
The fork has a semi-slotted (front and rear faces) Fischer casting crown not a Cinelli semi sloping one.

Is this a 1978 ish bike do you think or something earlier?
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Old 11-10-15, 10:35 PM
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Size and photos (full profile, fork crown, rear dropouts, absence or presence of brazed on bottle bosses & rear brake cable guides) would be helpful.

Interpolating from Bob Hovey's registry, it looks like yours is a 53 cm (MC53), constructed in 1977, number 01 of that period (7701). The convention is a letter in the first position for the quarter (A=Jan.-Mar., B=Apr.-Jun., etc.), but this one has the numeral 5 (5th quarter?). If that first digit is the month of manufacture, it's curious that there's no leading zero.

Last edited by oldbobcat; 11-10-15 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 11-10-15, 11:50 PM
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Yes I agree the first digit has got be scratching my head. Some pics to assist thanks to Alex Yust



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Old 11-11-15, 06:51 AM
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That's Dave's bike.
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Old 11-11-15, 09:21 AM
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I do not know anything about the US serial numbers but the bike looks '76-'78 ish to me.

Wonder how long the front brake pads have been installed backwards?
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Old 11-11-15, 10:34 AM
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I'd like to date a '70s Masi myself...
might even turn into a long term relationship!
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Old 11-11-15, 12:13 PM
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Beautiful Masi, I like these late 70's/very early 80's Italian bikes as they were still quite conservative with their graphics and paint which makes them look very elegant compared to the later Italian bikes that became "peacock" bikes, festooned with all sorts of gimmicky graphics, crimped tubing, paint jobs and pantographing.
I agree, the brake system on the bike really needs attention. In its present state, it looks a bit out of place on that immaculate frameset.....
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Old 11-11-15, 12:25 PM
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@dadoflam, as @oldbobcat said, go to Bob Hovey's website. Then compare the contour of the HT lugs in the pics to your bike. Pay special attention to the "spoon" area under the lugs instead of the more obvious pointed tangs on top. As it was told to me (I wasn't there, of course and all my info is second-hand or gleaned from various websites), they introduced investment-cast lugs in late '75. This was a design of Mario Confente which gave more consistent contact with the tubes. The difference in shape is subtle but it can be an aid to distinguishing the earlier frames from the later ones.

That's a nice bike!
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Old 11-11-15, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
That's Dave's bike.
Dave who? Oh, now I remember.

The brazed on bottle bosses and rear brake cable guides establish the newness of the bike. Masi California was a little late to this party. On the other hand, the long Campagnolo rear dropouts and slotted Fischer fork crown establish its oldness--definitely pre-1980. The lovely curve of the fork blades assert that it was not built by Lippy or Eisentraut.

Hovey wrote that the highest number he came across under the Carlsbad numbering scheme is 0906. He's kind of vague about what happened between 1976 and '78, but it appears that the Rancho Santa Fe period comes before and overlaps the San Marcos period. 57701 looks like a variant on the Rancho Santa Fe numbering scheme, like they may have had the blind staggers in the months before Jim Allen came up with the "standard" Santa Fe scheme in 1978.

I've got one too, a 1980. It has short dropouts, the semi-sloping fork crown, and the "Gran Criterium" and flag decals on the down tube. I love these bikes, the subdued paint schemes, the lack of excessive pantographing and chrome, and their classic profiles. They ride pretty nice, too.
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Old 11-11-15, 09:19 PM
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Funnily enough it actually IS Dave's bike
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Old 11-12-15, 12:08 AM
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You are saying this is one of the movie bikes?
That would be ultimate cool!
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Old 11-12-15, 04:24 AM
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It is indeed one of the movie bikes - it appears less in the film than the other one but importantly for me is the bike ridden by Dave in the Cinzano truck chase scene.

1978 & 2015


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Old 11-12-15, 05:35 AM
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Somewhere online, perhaps DiabloScott's website (Diablo Scott's Bike Blog: Breaking Away) or maybe one of the articles in Bob Hovey's Masi pages, there is a description of the bikes they built for the movie. If this is indeed one then you have some answers available. My memory says the bikes were built in 1978 specifically for the movie.
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Old 11-12-15, 12:25 PM
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The 'other' bike used is reported as a 1978 GC serial no MC54 B7814 with a Cinelli fork crown not a Fischer one. It was significantly damaged in recent times and repaired by Gangl cycles with different components and decals. The two Masi bikes had some differences which perhaps explains particular recollections quoted on various sites from those involved with Masi and the film at that time which are not always reflected by what you see in the movie. - ie the assertion that both Masi bikes had blue chainstay decals for example - so I am being a little cautious about taking everything quoted on face value. My information is that both bikes were likely purchased at the same store at the same time (early '78) which I think corresponds with several changes at Masi including workshop location and staff. I am guessing that the bike above may have been unsold 'old stock' item from Carlsbad workhop whilst the other was fresh from the factory in 78.

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Old 11-12-15, 07:06 PM
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Well, it looks like the front brake pads/holders were installed the right way during filming.......
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Old 11-12-15, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dadoflam View Post
Funnily enough it actually IS Dave's bike
Well, I'll be . . .
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Old 11-13-15, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
Well, it looks like the front brake pads/holders were installed the right way during filming.......
They had to be - he was doing 60mph at the time
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Old 11-13-15, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dadoflam View Post
They had to be - he was doing 60mph at the time
Come on now, he wasn't doing 60mph when he installed the brake pads. Unless he installed them in the back of a moving truck, but probably not that truck.
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Old 11-13-15, 02:44 PM
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No - when the bike was being ridden it made sense that things were installed correctly. This particular bike has not been ridden for two or three decades and used in a few exhibits so not hard to envisage things getting reassembled incorrectly long the way
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