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Whats so special about Italian bikes?

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Whats so special about Italian bikes?

Old 12-30-18, 03:24 PM
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The Italians made good solid racing bikes since back in the 1950's or 1960's.

Other brands like Peugeot and Raleigh made a few nice bikes, and quite a few cheap department store bikes. Schwinn also made a lot of junk, and a few nice bikes (which the top of the line Schwinns command as high of a price as many Italian bikes).

The Japanese did a good job copying the Italian classics.

Do you want an original, or a copy?

There will also be a supply and demand issue, especially in the USA. A limited number of vintage Italian bikes, and millions of later model Japanese copies.
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Old 12-30-18, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...happens every winter. I think it must be weather related. Hey , have I ever told you about my Japanese made rain bike ?
lol...

My current rain bike is from China...I don’t know why anyone would want a Rene herse when I like my Diverge

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Old 12-30-18, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I hate these threads.

Bikes from a country aren’t all the same because they’re from a country. Bikes and brands are different in different eras. This question is meaningless, and insulting, intentional or not, to those of us who do like many Italian brands.

In short, most of these Japanese bikes are imitations of Italian designs. Often they’re well made, and typically larger production runs. Typically they’re budget alternatives. Comparisons of this country vs. this country are utterly meaningless, and quite silly.

A 200-300 Miyata/Centurion is rarely a racing machine, like the Italians you’re comparing them to. They are slacker geometry, usually more versatile, and likely more practical for many riders - but they are not the precision, agile racing machines a De Rosa is known as.

You can find top end Italian bikes from lesser known builders for far under 1k if you know what you’re doing.

No other bike, Japanese or Italian, rides as well for me as my Marnati.

It’s great that you like your 200-300 miyata...I’ve liked many myself. Why do you have to justify your bike by comparing them to something else?
Its the reason why a board like this exist. Old schtuff to re-hash over.

Comparing makes and country of origin is good. It tells a story, perhaps of economics, skill and capabilities, etc..

As I mentioned earlier and such things as the mighty USA that CAN'T produce and competively market a shift group. But sure they can SOURCE foreign tubing and massage into beautiful frames, but that's only limited to boutique makers.

Schwinn and Trek slipped away, both formerly making in the USA super R531 tubed framesets, in decent production numbers. I finally have each example from those two companies and cherish the thought. 1973 Paramount and 1984 760.
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Old 12-30-18, 03:42 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Why buy original art when a quality print or lithograph is nearly indistinguishable from a few yards away?

Many C&V'ers know and quote the names of the guys who built these frames in shops across Italy so what you're buying is a piece of history. I wouldn't call it snobbery to want to own handmade objects. We like authenticity and we want to be as close to the creator as possible. Cino Cinelli made a few hundred bikes a year while I suspect the nameless/faceless Miyata production line could easily pop out those out in a day or a week. It's not just Italian bikes . Venerable French, Belgian, English (European) marques all carry a premium. It's not about the bike.
This explanation would make sense if there weren't also many old Japanese framebuilders making small amounts of custom frames by hand with masterful style and craft. Toei, Toyo, Cherubim, Alps, Amanda, the list goes on. Many started in the late 60s and 70s.

Not to mention the many boom factories in Europe at the time pumping out mass production.

So it can't be a "European vs. Japanese" distinction, as there are handmade shops and factories everywhere.
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Old 12-30-18, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
This explanation would make sense if there weren't also many old Japanese framebuilders making small amounts of custom frames by hand with masterful style and craft. Toei, Toyo, Cherubim, Alps, Amanda, the list goes on. Many started in the late 60s and 70s.

Not to mention the many boom factories in Europe at the time pumping out mass production.

So it can't be a "European vs. Japanese" distinction, as there are handmade shops and factories everywhere.
OK. So let's start a thread on esoteric Japanese brands. Anyone ever seen or ridden one?
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Old 12-30-18, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
This explanation would make sense if there weren't also many old Japanese framebuilders making small amounts of custom frames by hand with masterful style and craft. Toei, Toyo, Cherubim, Alps, Amanda, the list goes on. Many started in the late 60s and 70s.

Not to mention the many boom factories in Europe at the time pumping out mass production.

So it can't be a "European vs. Japanese" distinction, as there are handmade shops and factories everywhere.
Disagree, unless you mean keirin bikes. Japanese road bikes are imitations of euro road bikes...including the 3renshos. Most of them were designed by westerners and intended for export. Need a reminder on who Nagasawa learned under?

Japanese bikes can be good as what they are without trying to make them what they’re not.
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Old 12-30-18, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
lol...

My current rain bike is from China...I don’t know why anyone would want a Rene herse when I like my Diverge

Now I want to buy a new bike. Thanks a lot!
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Old 12-30-18, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Now I want to buy a new bike. Thanks a lot!
It’s a really fun build! Certainly not C/V, but it’s a fun bike.
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Old 12-30-18, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Disagree, unless you mean keirin bikes. Japanese road bikes are imitations of euro road bikes...including the 3renshos. Most of them were designed by westerners and intended for export. Need a reminder on who Nagasawa learned under?

Japanese bikes can be good as what they are without trying to make them what they’re not.
Not following what that has to do with the issue I had with @clubman's argument. He was saying the difference between Japanese and Italian is a difference of "handmade" vs. "mass production". Yet there were clearly both types of bikes being made in both Europe and Japan regardless of the origin of the style of bike.

His quote: "Cino Cinelli made a few hundred bikes a year while I suspect the nameless/faceless Miyata production line could easily pop out those out in a day or a week."
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Old 12-30-18, 04:20 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Not following what that has to do with the issue I had with @clubman's argument. He was saying the difference between Japanese and Italian is a difference of "handmade" vs. "mass production". Yet there were clearly both types of bikes being made in both Europe and Japan regardless of the origin of the style of bike.

His quote: "Cino Cinelli made a few hundred bikes a year while I suspect the nameless/faceless Miyata production line could easily pop out those out in a day or a week."
I might have misunderstood what you were trying to get across...there certainly are smaller Japanese brands/builders that make some superb stuff.
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Old 12-30-18, 04:26 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...you can remedy most of this by using die drawn stainless derailleur cables . . .And it still won't handle much in the way of a largest rear cog. I can only get them to work well with about 25 teeth or less. But it was never designed or intended for use with larger rear cogs.
Interesting, I will swap the cable housing and give it a try this summer. And I am running a 28t cog without any difference from a 25t I had.

Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
I like your last sentence. I installed a lowly 4050 Edge (1987) on a fine Zunow. Better yet, mated with a French made Sachs Maillard LY92 freewheel and Sedisport chain.
I can identify with being this type of sinner, When I bought my F.Moser I put a Suntour AR group on it to see how the bike would handle. It looked and worked great and kicked butt on group rides but it just wasn't SR.

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Old 12-30-18, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
OK. So let's start a thread on esoteric Japanese brands. Anyone ever seen or ridden one?
Italian frames have been a symbol of wealth and status in the US over the decades and captured the attention of many C&Vers since youth. Hard to get that image of the shine coming off your dentist's Colnago out of your head - they call it a formative experience!

Yet many people have seen and ridden handmade Japanese frames. 3rensho, Toyo, and others made many of the first production high end frames for Specialized, Ritchey, and a few other American brands. They also have made thousands of custom bikes under their own brands over the decades. Many frames exported but their own branded frames tended to stay domestic in Japan. Just because they weren't exporting as much as the Italians doesn't mean they are irrelevant or "esoteric". Nor does it mean that there's actually something special about the high end Italian bikes compared to the high end Japanese ones, besides the cultural infatuation that men of a certain age have for them.

I would highly recommend taking a few minutes to look through the pictures from this bike shop in Japan called Shinkai Cycle. The man has a constant stream of NOS classic Japanese handmade bikes coming through, whether racing frames, randonneuring, even some early MTBs here and there. There are some amazing bikes. LINK

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Old 12-30-18, 04:37 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
lol...

My current rain bike is from China...I don’t know why anyone would want a Rene herse when I like my Diverge

That's a lot cooler than my boring old Surly. But my Surly looks 40 years old LOL
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Old 12-30-18, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Italian frames have been a symbol of wealth and status in the US over the decades and captured the attention of many C&Vers since youth. Hard to get that image of the shine coming off your dentist's Colnago out of your head - they call it a formative experience!

Yet many people have seen and ridden handmade Japanese frames. 3rensho, Toyo, and others made many of the first production high end frames for Specialized, Ritchey, and a few other American brands. They also have made thousands of custom bikes under their own brands over the decades. Many frames exported but their own branded frames tended to stay domestic in Japan. Just because they weren't exporting as much as the Italians doesn't mean they are irrelevant or "esoteric". Nor does it mean that there's actually something special about the high end Italian bikes compared to the high end Japanese ones, besides the cultural infatuation that men of a certain age have for them.
Actually there is something special about the history of a Cinelli that no Japanese brand can claim. Racing success, influence on other builders...

It doesn’t make them better riders, but there are real reasons for them being more desired by most.
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Old 12-30-18, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Yet many people have seen and ridden handmade Japanese frames. 3rensho, Toyo, and others made many of the first production high end frames for Specialized, Ritchey, and a few other American brands. They also have made thousands of custom bikes under their own brands over the decades. Many frames exported but their own branded frames tended to stay domestic in Japan. Just because they weren't exporting as much as the Italians doesn't mean they are irrelevant or "esoteric". Nor does it mean that there's actually something special about the high end Italian bikes compared to the high end Japanese ones, besides the cultural infatuation that men of a certain age have for them.

I would highly recommend taking a few minutes to look through the pictures from this bike shop in Japan called Shinkai Cycle. The man has a constant stream of NOS classic Japanese handmade bikes coming through, whether racing frames, randonneuring, even some early MTBs here and there. There are some amazing bikes. LINK
Thanks for the link.

I'd wager most American buyers, including yours truly, have little awareness of anything other than mass-produced Japanese bikes. I think it would be great to learn about lesser-known Japanese brands and their availability. Enlighten us.

I love my Ironman, BTW.
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Old 12-30-18, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Actually there is something special about the history of a Cinelli that no Japanese brand can claim. Racing success, influence on other builders...

It doesn’t make them better riders, but there are real reasons for them being more desired by most.
True, perhaps more so for a 50s or 60s Cinelli than an 80s Cinelli, for me, but still true...
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Old 12-30-18, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
True, perhaps more so for a 50s or 60s Cinelli than an 80s Cinelli, for me, but still true...
It’s also true that many Japanese bikes offer remarkable value, others are extremely well made, and the sports tourer concept was likely the best bike for most people of its time.
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Old 12-30-18, 04:50 PM
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My Nishiki was made in Taiwan.
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Old 12-30-18, 05:05 PM
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Show up to a group ride on anything but Italian and you spend a lot of time explaining how your bike compares to Italian. It is the basis of how everything else is judged.

I have Campagnolo and Suntour equipped bikes. If I want to get more serious about speed, I choose the Suntour equipped bikes. I do not have to worry about tightening the down tube shifters every 20 minutes and the brakes work better. My Campagnolo bikes look so pretty though.

Edit: I love all of my bikes. I do believe there is a perception that the bike worth more is the better bike. Not always true. It is just worth more. Riding a bike that is associated with a special team or builder can make one feel better than riding a bike that may be just as good but no history. Puts a bigger smile on the face. More pride in the ride.

The same can be said of those that do not make the investment. One can feel a sense of inferiority about their ride. Get a chip on their shoulder. Always dream about how much better that other bike must ride.

I have had quite a few bikes come through the door. I have discovered there are no real differences as long as you have good wheels and tires. Some just make you feel better about yourself.
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Old 12-30-18, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
LOL, total cop out!
How so?
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Old 12-30-18, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post


How so?
If you have to ask....

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Old 12-30-18, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Not following what that has to do with the issue I had with @clubman's argument. He was saying the difference between Japanese and Italian is a difference of "handmade" vs. "mass production". Yet there were clearly both types of bikes being made in both Europe and Japan regardless of the origin of the style of bike.
The OP specifically opened the thread mentioning Miyata and Centurion. I think we can agree those marques and many others as representative of the best value in mass bike production in the late 20th century. I own a Sakai, a Fuji America, Kuwaharas, Centurions, Nishikis and I've love them all, for the most part. But the thread also referred to high priced Italians and I'm pretty sure that doesn't include modern day Masi's or Colnago's. It's the genre of Italian bikes that evolved and was refined from the pro peleton from the 40's on. IIRC, there may have been one team with Miyata frames at that level, ever?

A Confente is really a high priced Italian and deserves it's rep and cost. Toeis, Toyo's etc are patterned after the classic french bikes that populated the Pacific rim from the 50's and the 60's. Do you remember the number of $1000 Simplex Juy derailleurs auctioned to Japanese collectors in the late 90's? That was crazy, they were buying tradition and heritage in the form of a mass produced derailleur.

My argument is scattered but please don't infer that I was saying the Italian bikes were just better, that makes no sense. But the combined, perceived value of craftsmanship, tradition, nostalgia and heritage, as 'soft' as these qualities may be, have real impact in the market. Once again, 'It's not about the bike'. In 20 years maybe that Centurion Ironman may fetch ridiculous prices but it's not likely with the sheer volume of bikes that were made.

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Old 12-30-18, 08:16 PM
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It might have to do more with the 100 plus Years of Racing Heritage that alot of Italian Bikes carry with them. Bikes proven on the Stelvio Pass and L'Alpe Duez ridden by the Greats of Cycling. Riding the same bike that our heroes did carries alot of nostalgia from days gone past.
Japanese bikes (although great ) dont carry that Legacy of Tradition and probably never will.

Many many Years ago I purchased a brand new "Made in Japan" Schwinn Prologue with Tange Prestige Tubing and added Dura Ace parts. It was supposed to be my Crit bike and a thrasher. Ironically my Olmo And Masi stayed home while my Prologue soon became my Main and favorite bike.
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Old 12-30-18, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Actually there is something special about the history of a Cinelli that no Japanese brand can claim. Racing success, influence on other builders...

It doesn’t make them better riders
, but there are real reasons for them being more desired by most.
They definitely were not, by the mid 80's, but a point well made.
They're still Cinelli's, and Cino, then Andreas worked pretty hard to make them what they are.
Centurion and Lotus did not seek out Cinelli to make some frames because they simply thought they'd sell.

One Italian firm made absolutely no bones about trying to win: Pinarello. The father, and then the son, especially, continually sought to produce fast, winning bikes. Other than the choice of decal maker, they did a pretty good job, and are still doing so.

I like to think the Italian frame builder in the 80's was trying to make semi-art, and thinking of Maria and vino. He had a tradition to uphold, and the peer pressure and pride was the driving force. I like to think the Japanese frame builder in the 80's was trying to create an error-free frame of beauty and precision. He/she certainly knew of Ed Deming. I doubt the Italians knew or cared, based on the bikes, and the cars. Totally different approach.

I'm not aware of any Italian builders who were after the low-mid market, with high volume. Japanese frame builders were all about that. The chance to hand-craft frames was not given to many. You have to understand the corporate mind-set in Japan at the time, vs. the almost guild-like situation in Italy.
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Old 12-30-18, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
And virtually no US made derailleur set. Paul and someone else tried a limited run of rear derailleurs during the MTB hay day. Those purportedly not quite good.
Precision Billet (also known as Gorilla Billet) was the other company. Both made front derailleurs as well. I once had a bike with Precision Billet front and rear derailleurs and they shifted fine IMO.

Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
It wasn't until the early '00's you could buy a Ducati that you didn't have to be able to work on yourself just to keep it running.
I disagree. The 2-valve Ducati motors from the 1990s are one of the most bulletproof and non-maintenance intensive motorcycle engines ever made. I know of loads of them that have 50k+ miles with only the normal things done to them.

Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
And it still won't handle much in the way of a largest rear cog. I can only get them to work well with about 25 teeth or less. But it was never designed or intended for use with larger rear cogs.
I've used a NR RD with a 28T as well as a Zeus SR copy with a 30T and both shift more than well enough for me. I think the big key is to make sure that the wheel is all the way back in the dropout.
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