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Whats so special about Italian bikes?

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Whats so special about Italian bikes?

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Old 12-30-18, 08:20 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
The thing I've never understood is why there's so much snob appeal for Campagnolo Nuovo Record and Super Record. Campy's parts may be durable and pretty, but the shift quality is HORRIBLE in comparison to Suntour Superbe/Cyclone/Sprint.
Quite a snobby comment IMO. I have some early 70s nuovo record that still shift as bad as it did when it was new. LOL And some sun tour that shift just as well as new Ultegra. It all has its place


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Old 12-30-18, 08:49 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Point and shoot?, or digital SLR? They both take pictures.
the latest and greatest cameras don’t have mirrors anymore.

now is the time to buy a Hasselblad. Cheap.
i want a Speed Gaphic.

it took a while for the Japanese to sort out frame geometry to match the Italians.
in general, for a long time Japanese bikes had bottom brackets without enough drop and not enough variation in top tube length.
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Old 12-30-18, 09:42 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
The thing I've never understood is why there's so much snob appeal for Campagnolo Nuovo Record and Super Record. Campy's parts may be durable and pretty, but the shift quality is HORRIBLE in comparison to Suntour Superbe/Cyclone/Sprint.
There's some history here. Campagnolo started as a company that made effective problem-solving for road racers, in the European pro peleton. They were durable, effective, and designed for the needs of professional racers. They did not begin with groups or derailleurs, or as bling. The best bikes reasonably widely available were road racing machines, made by Cinelli, Masi, Peugeot, and many others. The bikes came with Campy because it was what racers used, and because Campy provided attachment points to be built into the frames to accept and support their parts. Improvements were made over the years, but were backward-compatible in many cases. Many improvements were unsung or unannounced. The image was of quality and devotion to function and durability. It wasn't designed as bling. In those years, 1950s and 1960s, there was very little if anything imported from Japan, and the early imports were price leaders.

A truth in racing is that you do not win races that you do not finish. Trust of the professional race team management was key, to the early Campy. Racing, for example did not change to light weight Al cranksets from TA, Stronglight, or Campy overnight. Initially they were at least unproven, and in some cases prone to fracture compared to steel cotterred cranksets like FB and Magistroni, just to look at Italy. The Campy Record had to prove itself. The Record derailleur did not spring forth in aluminum, it was steel, then Nuovo Record was aluminum. They were not designed to shift 7 cogs spanning 12 to 32, they needed to cover 14 to 24 5 speed. They did that better than anyone else up until perhaps the late 1960s. Simplex came up with some better-shifting derailleur designs, but not very durable, and they were the newcomer.

I don't know the history of the Japanese brands so well, but I didn't see them on bikes in my local shops in top-line frames much before 1975 to 1980. They were price leaders, not performance leaders. Campagnolo slowly began to compete, with some good results and some not so good. And the Asian companies raised their game as time went on.

All I can say, is that Campagnolo NR and SR were designed to fit the top markets of the day and satisfied in that task. The needs changed, and others came it. Many today do not understand that NR and SR should not be compared to the indexing performance of modern groups. The were not designed for it and are not suited for it. But they were the best solution to the market they did have.

Today they are nearly antiques and more scarce every year. Those of us who own and use old frames sometimes want to recreate the past. Other times we're happy to put modern parts on retro frames (see the retro-roadies thread). Prices today are largely based on the Internet, which means value is strictly subjective. It's not the fault of the current Campagnolo company that their 40 year old derailleur sells for 20 times what it did new. It's not even Ebay's fault.

Bottom lines: Understand some of the history.

Nobody is twisting your arm to buy Campy.

If you buy Campy and it doesn't work for you, maybe you are misapplying it, or maybe it has a flaw. But hey: it's 40 years old, and you can find good instructions if you look. On Youtube? Maybe not. But Campy did provide the knowledge required.
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Old 12-30-18, 09:50 AM
  #29  
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I loved how my mid 80's Super Record gruppo worked. It shifted and braked great. Maybe I was doing it wrong.


DSC01645 (2) by cb400bill, on Flickr
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Old 12-30-18, 09:59 AM
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Physically beautiful bikes/components and the names just roll off the tongue. To be fair, same for French bikes or European bikes in general. It's all about the dialogue. Imagine the conversation at local coffee shop.

"I'm here on my Trek getting a cup of Joe. What about you?"
"My Barista is making me a double shot of Expresso. I'm riding a BEE-ONG-KEE. It has a full CAM-PAG-NOOW-LOOOOOO gruppo."
"What about that other bike?""That belongs to the guy getting the croissant and filling up his bidon.
"Bidon, you mean water bottle? What kind of bike is his?
"It is a POOJZ-JSHOW. It is equipped with a combo of Stronglight, Simplex, EUR-RAY and MA-VEEK."
"This Trek was handmade in Waterloo."
"Waterloo? Isn't that where Napoleon met his defeat? Could be bad karma. Can you do the bidon flip while riding the Trek?"
"Different Waterloo. I cannot do the bidon flip because I don't wear any Rapha. I do have a Breaking Away DVD, however."
"Bravo! Want to ride with us?"
"I think I am good solo, but thanks for the offer."

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Old 12-30-18, 10:13 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Get the $300 Japanese bike and put Campy on it. Win-win.
Nope, better to take an Italian frame and put higher end SunTour or Shimano components on it. Tried it with my Bianchi, shifting and braking much improved. Ended up going back to Campy for the looks. Like a lot of Italian stuff, looks are everything, function, performance, and reliability secondary. As far as CV goes, SunTour and Shimano kind of embarassed Campy in the performance department. Campy does look way cooler though.
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Old 12-30-18, 10:28 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
If you look carefully you can buy a pristine vintage Japanese Miyata or Centurion for for $200-$300 dollars but yet I see these classic Italian bikes selling for thousands of dollars. Are they really that much better or is it a prestige deal having more to do with snob appeal owning a certain brand or something thats more of a collector item?
Someday I'll be able to let you know. For now I'm gonna climb on my less-than-pristine $200 Panasonic-built Schwinn Volare and enjoy myself just fine.

(FWIW, translating my experience with guitars to bikes: They're really that much better.)
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Old 12-30-18, 10:35 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
If you look carefully you can buy a pristine vintage Japanese Miyata or Centurion for for $200-$300 dollars but yet I see these classic Italian bikes selling for thousands of dollars. Are they really that much better or is it a prestige deal having more to do with snob appeal owning a certain brand or something thats more of a collector item?
Why buy a German or Italian car?
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Old 12-30-18, 11:02 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Get the $300 Japanese bike and put Campy on it. Win-win.
Get the $300 Japanese bike and put Shimano UIltegra or Dura Ace on it. Win-win-win. And have some money left over to buy another bike.
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Old 12-30-18, 11:08 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Get the $300 Japanese bike and put Shimano UIltegra or Dura Ace on it. Win-win-win. And have some money left over to buy another bike.
Same.
Syke knows bikes.
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Old 12-30-18, 11:12 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post


Nope, better to take an Italian frame and put higher end SunTour or Shimano components on it. Tried it with my Bianchi, shifting and braking much improved. Ended up going back to Campy for the looks. Like a lot of Italian stuff, looks are everything, function, performance, and reliability secondary. As far as CV goes, SunTour and Shimano kind of embarassed Campy in the performance department. Campy does look way cooler though.
Tim
IMO this is incorrect . There is a rational/irrational bias for Italian bikes. All bikes are cool. Just preference for provenance by Italian fans. The history, tradition, passion and culture are all there. Doesn’t mean the bikes are better, just more interesting backgrounds.
🚴

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Old 12-30-18, 11:29 AM
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I guess it depends on whether you want to ride them or talk about them.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:21 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Totally agree with your assessment on the bikes from different countries. Also agree with you very much about Americsn custom frames.
The Davidson (Also built with Columbus SL) I just added to my stable is turning out to be the best riding bike I have, so far!


I cannot stop grinning when I ride it!
Yep, gotta agree with you there. I was looking at this year's logs and realized that since I got the Davidson it's been used more than any of my bikes. It also owns two of my three fastest paced rides of over 25 miles for the year. Not to mention how superb the craftmenship of the frame is.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I guess it depends on whether you want to ride them or talk about them.
Feels good to be back in the discussions again.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
If you have to ask...

LOL, total cop out!
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Old 12-30-18, 12:23 PM
  #41  
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I think it's all about Columbus Tubing frames. The only thing that Japan had that came close were Tange 1 frames. And, few mass produced bikes were ever made with it until the late 80's. Every Italian bike I ever rode always had Columbus Tubing frames. Only one in ten Japanese bikes I've ever rode had Tange 1 frames.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:25 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post


Quite a snobby comment IMO. I have some early 70s nupcoming record that still shift as bad as it did when it was new. LOL And some sun tour that shift just as well as new Ultegra. It all has its place
Never had shifting problems with my SR rear derailleur. But I was using Simplex retro friction shift levers.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
Do you really think it is about the Country of origin or the craftsman that built the Bike?
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Old 12-30-18, 12:28 PM
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Not sure if this answers the question about 'Italians Better?', but if someone says:

"I have a nice Italian frame for you" …. it carries a higher expectation than....

"I have a nice _________ (Chinese, Indian, Trek, Spesh, English, Japanese) frame for you.

BUT, as with most questions, the answer is usually = It Depends.
What makes a bike ride 'special'? IDK!?!
Exceptional tires and wheels can usually make any nice frame ride significantly above frame material.

But to be blunt, if you want a racy feeling bike - higher end Columbus tubes with appropriate geometry and lotsa chrome, sporting hand sewn Italian tubulars always ooooozzzzes SPECIAL.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:34 PM
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...*sigh*
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Old 12-30-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...*sigh*
yeah.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by joesch View Post
Why buy a German or Italian car?
My question exactly. You can get a Japanese car with equal performance,10 times more reliable and more economical to buy and maintain.
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Old 12-30-18, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Never had shifting problems with my SR rear derailleur. But I was using Simplex retro friction shift levers.
As far as I can remember the nuovo record always had to over shift and the back to get the gear right, not that is a bad thing it is just they way they are. Possibly the shifters but I don't know I use campy shifters on them as well.
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Old 12-30-18, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
I loved how my mid 80's Super Record gruppo worked. It shifted and braked great. Maybe I was doing it wrong.


DSC01645 (2) by cb400bill, on Flickr
This one really makes me smile! Wisconsin outfit that poured everything they knew into making a fine, fine racer.... regardless where they sourced tubing or components. Make the best. Done.
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Old 12-30-18, 01:14 PM
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I don't really know how to explain what it is about Italian bikes that I like....I just know that I like them. I guess the best way is to say that they are the epitome of what a racing bike should be in my view. I have a custom frame from a US builder and a couple of non-Italians - all of which are very nice bikes - but there's just some intangible extra to Italian frames IMO.
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