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Whats so special about Italian bikes?

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Whats so special about Italian bikes?

Old 12-30-18, 10:09 PM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
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.
Pinarello really did make some nice machines...some early ones were built by Cinelli... mine is Galmozzi.

I’d really like to learn more about early Pinarello - who made what. They really weren’t exported, or made in much bulk, before the late 70s.
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Old 12-30-18, 10:37 PM
  #102  
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This is just a question not trying to add to any argument about the quality or value of the nice European bikes. How much do these more expensive harder to find bikes get ridden? I know some of the easier to replace Japanese bikes get some serious miles put on them. If I had a high end Italian or French beauty I don't know if I would ride it or just admire it and show it off. I ride the heck out of my Centurions but parts & even nice complete bikes are pretty easy to find. Here in Podunkville I doubt there is 30 year old or older bike worth more than $500 much less one for sale.
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Old 12-30-18, 10:55 PM
  #103  
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What's so special about Italian bikes?

With attempt to keep topic in the classic vintage bike arena:

Tradition and innovation.

Cino and the C.O.N.I. manual -
Ernesto and the Super's geometry -

Japan masters as copiers.
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Old 12-30-18, 11:00 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I just have to get this off my chest. I have always thought a Campy NR RD resembles a marine invertebrate. It looks like a squid with those pointed inlays and tentacle like things going off the side. Really shiny, though. There, I said it. Don't be hating.
set the way back machine Sherman for 1969, looking into the window of C. Harding’s Westwood Cyclery. A tourmaline blue Legnano in the window, eye level display rack, stenciled downtube graphic, seat binder bolt inside the main triangle, full Campagnolo save brakes, first viewing of Campagnolo components up close... the rear mechanism was a work of industrial art, anodized, chrome plating, Styling. The cranks, terrific, even the chainring bolts were identified, the pedals, wow, it all just looked amazing. Had to reference the rims, the bike was on display sans tires... these were not clinchers. Too bad Charlie would not give a kid the time of day, when I had saved up enough cash for a real road bike three years later I went elsewhere.
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Old 12-30-18, 11:04 PM
  #105  
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......drifting

Harry Ferguson (and Henry Ford) in 1939. Say what? OK, well Ford was into bikes.

Anyways, the 3 point hitch. Say again?

Kubota of Japan circa 1970s.... tada and the 3 point hitch. They took over the market in that class 🚜

Ford vanished and John Deere went to Asia. Good night
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Old 12-30-18, 11:12 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post

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.
When I see pictures of Italy and other places in Europe, I see the vast majority of bikes ridden are low end utility bikes. Someone was building them? I doubt everyone in Italy only made fine high end racing bikes? Bianchi comes to mind.
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Old 12-31-18, 12:26 AM
  #107  
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If you do not know I cannot explain it to you.

Seriously, I can't anyway.
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Old 12-31-18, 12:49 AM
  #108  
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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.
FWIW, I have never ridden an italian frame, I'm 6'5" and my choice of high end frames is not so deep and often quite expensive, but I have found love in my Univega Gran Primeo. I bought it initially as something to convert into a fixie because is a sporty frame in my size, was is decent condition, and the buyer was asking only $150 for it. Once I converted it I found it to be the most intuitively responsive road bike I have had the pleasure of riding. It's back to being a multispeed road bike these days and I still love it. The only way this bike could feel better is if it accepted 32mm tires for a little bit of fire road gravel riding in the local canyons
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Old 12-31-18, 02:24 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by Choke View Post

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.
IIRC, the valve adjustment intervals for the Desmodromic system was not far in between, and most people do not have the tools or the skills to do it themselves, so many did not like the added cost of having the dealership do it so often....
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Old 12-31-18, 06:48 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
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.
The NR rear mech is the AK-47 of the cycling world. It keeps working when other rear mechs die, and was a legend in its day. That day came and went. Most NR mechs on the market now are in middling condition, with cracked pulleys being a condition of ownership. Nuovo Record and Super Record shift like Toonces the Cat drives (not very well). NR requires you to over-shift rear cogs, with greater amounts of over-shift required for smaller cog sizes. The practical lower end limit is 14T. Corncob freewheels work better than wide-ratio freewheels. I'm not the only person who has observed these limitations with the old original GS/R/NR/SR design.

Full disclosure - I've owned and managed enough Campagnolo NR, SR, Record-C stuff to know how to adjust it. I once owned an SR-equipped Colnago. I have an Ideor Asso with NR mechs in the stable right now. That bike has a Rally rear cage and is set up as a 3 x 6 triple. All of the gears work on the Ideor, just the same as all of the gears worked on the Colnago. When I ride the Ideor I expect to have to finesse the gear changes. I also expect the rear mech to resist changes from the 14T to the 13T cog. Were the bikes equipped with SunTour I would not need to compensate at all - the shifts would just occur, without drama or need for finesse.
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Old 12-31-18, 07:06 AM
  #111  
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What you say here is true, though I think it shifts pretty well under the right conditions and if you master overshifting. And yes, I've seen the same limitations since 1970 when I had my first bike with Record and then Nuovo Record. But I learned to deal with them effectively back then. Overshifting/pulling back was something yo just did. But no, you are not the only person. Frank Berto, in his book "Upgrading your bicycle" laid out the case in gory detail, similarly in

So if you understand it so well what are you complaining about? I don't think anybody is saying it works better than a wide range modern Campy or Shimano on a 12-36 or with a 40 tooth wrap requirement.

I've had good results with 13/26, by the way on NR, and horrible results with a Rallye. Instead of a Rallye use a Duopar.
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Old 12-31-18, 07:12 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by TXsailor View Post
This is just a question not trying to add to any argument about the quality or value of the nice European bikes. How much do these more expensive harder to find bikes get ridden?
Mine are used and in the old duffers loose group rides I take and there are several in in the group that get the miles. Guys like to get favorable comments when parked at the Starbucks and that requires keeping them looking sharp and well maintained. They typically don't get locked up at the library or Ace Hardware.
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Old 12-31-18, 07:34 AM
  #113  
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Japanese bike brands suffer because normally, they are mass produced, and run the gamut from low end budget bikes to high end products. So while the high end stuff might be very good, they're reputation is dragged down by all of their low end offerings.

Most Italian brands don't dabble in low end stuff. A Colnago, DeRosa or Pinarello is built for the high end buyer only, so there reputation is very good and well deserved. The Italian brands that do make low end stuff, like Atala, also suffer the same as those Japanese brands and are normally not that well regarded even though their top end stuff is pretty good.

The Japanese build some pretty good cars, but they will never be a Ferrari, just as a Miyata will never be a Colnago.
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Old 12-31-18, 09:32 AM
  #114  
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I really like my Centurion Semi-pro. It lives on the trainer though. I like the self-effacing name. Maybe they didn't fully understand the implications.

We really never saw the bikes from lone Japanese craftsmen like with did with the Italians. And the high-end Italian bikes were always flashier. Mass-produced Italian bikes were pretty horribly made, whereas comparable Japanese bikes were cleanly made and had better parts if you compare bikes that sold for the same money.

Nowadays, there is no comparison, the Japanese are kicking butt and the Italians are barely in the picture.
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Old 12-31-18, 09:40 AM
  #115  
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Uhhh, they're Italian.




And I didn't really start out with this as an intent, and I'm not really sure I still have any intent with my mess of bikes, but I've ended up really liking, and keeping, most of the Italian bikes that have passed through my hands.
That includes both older bikes and my closer to modern ones.


.
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Old 12-31-18, 10:00 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post

Nowadays, there is no comparison, the Japanese are kicking butt and the Italians are barely in the picture.
¿
Singapore, Taiwan, China.
>>>>>>>>
New full CF Colnago with Shim 105 model year leftovers are only $1500. Kick butt deal for the buyer.
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Old 12-31-18, 10:05 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by TXsailor View Post
This is just a question not trying to add to any argument about the quality or value of the nice European bikes. How much do these more expensive harder to find bikes get ridden? I know some of the easier to replace Japanese bikes get some serious miles put on them. If I had a high end Italian or French beauty I don't know if I would ride it or just admire it and show it off. I ride the heck out of my Centurions but parts & even nice complete bikes are pretty easy to find. Here in Podunkville I doubt there is 30 year old or older bike worth more than $500 much less one for sale.
That's one of the reasons I like finding older bikes with a few battle scars; that way I can ride them and not worry about keeping the bike pristine. Also if a bike is a rider, I'll focus more on functionality than originality. I picked up a late 70s Motobecane Grand Record earlier this year and I plan to turn it into a long distance machine. It came with a TA double and I'll run a TA or stronglight triple. I'll swap out the wheels for something a bit more functional. I'll keep the original center pull brakes but replace the pads with kool stops. I'll replace the campy derailleurs with a suntour VGT in the rear and bar cons for shifters.
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Old 12-31-18, 10:48 AM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
When I see pictures of Italy and other places in Europe, I see the vast majority of bikes ridden are low end utility bikes. Someone was building them? I doubt everyone in Italy only made fine high end racing bikes? Bianchi comes to mind.
I guess I should have added..."for the American market." Because that's the only market I've ever been in. I look at pictures of Italy, and rarely recognize the bikes. Never gave much thought to the entry-level market in say, Budapest.

One bike magazine finished a tour of Europe and surmised that "the vast majority of high-end Italian bikes are in -- the US." Again, the approach in Europe is simply different. The market, the manufacturers, the users. I know a guy here with a Dogma and a BMC, both approach easily several thousand. He freely admits, that in Ireland, no way would he have two, much less one as high caliber. The environment is different, food costs are easily double, the disposable income and roads and traffic, all different.

In Japan, people ride(and race) bikes, but I'd never get on some of those roads on a bike. I marveled at the guts of the 2-stroke cyclists, just to be able to survive in that chaos. To think they built bikes mainly intended for use 7,000 miles away is really a different approach, and they are constantly, constantly trying to produce the best for the money.

Someday, some kid who grew up on Nigeria or Kenya will burst onto the scene, having grown up on 35-lb bikes, raced on 25-lb bikes, and get picked up and given modern rocketry from China, then get sent to train on smooth roads and actual traffic laws. Then, the racing upper crust will need to certainly change their attitudes.
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Old 12-31-18, 11:29 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
If you do not know I cannot explain it to you.

Seriously, I can't anyway.
Exactly, if you have to explain it, well you know.
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Old 12-31-18, 11:32 AM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
If you have to ask....

Ah, the master of obfuscation strikes again.
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Old 12-31-18, 11:38 AM
  #121  
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1972 Colnago Super

Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
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.
Ernesto Colnago revolutionised racing frame geometry and riding a 1970's Colnago is a great experience. I grew up on 1960's friction shift Campag and once you are used to it you can change gears as easily as modern indexing. It is very satisfying to work with. The Italians certainly knew how to make great bikes and in the early days they certainly led the way. It's the heritage that comes with an historic Italian bike.

My Colnago Super is a much ridden racer with its rubbed silver paint but still rides beautifully with its original components and though I put clinchers on it for practicality I still keep the original tubular wheels ready to go.



1972 Colnago Super



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Old 12-31-18, 11:42 AM
  #122  
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Italian bikes are not special. They are.........."speciale!"
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Old 12-31-18, 12:01 PM
  #123  
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I think it all comes down to your personal finances. Is an Italian bicycle worth 10 to 20 times more than my Miyata 912 or Centurion Ironman? To some it probably is just not me lol
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Old 12-31-18, 12:10 PM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post


set the way back machine Sherman for 1969, looking into the window of C. Harding’s Westwood Cyclery. A tourmaline blue Legnano in the window, eye level display rack, stenciled downtube graphic, seat binder bolt inside the main triangle, full Campagnolo save brakes, first viewing of Campagnolo components up close... the rear mechanism was a work of industrial art, anodized, chrome plating, Styling. The cranks, terrific, even the chainring bolts were identified, the pedals, wow, it all just looked amazing. Had to reference the rims, the bike was on display sans tires... these were not clinchers. Too bad Charlie would not give a kid the time of day, when I had saved up enough cash for a real road bike three years later I went elsewhere.
Brilliant!

With so many Nuovo Record equipped bikes on display in this forum and elsewhere we have, perhaps, become a bit jaded; but for those of us who were young when Nuovo Record was new the impression left on us is permanent. Those satin-anodized cranks with their fluting and chamfering were the stuff of dreams for a 17-year-old putting in 50-mile days on his U0-8 which he had converted to sew-ups and toe clips. For me the object of my lust was a silver (or was it gold?) Masi and the store window was at Sugden and Lynch Bicycles in Menlo Park California.
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Old 12-31-18, 12:37 PM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
What you say here is true, though I think it shifts pretty well under the right conditions and if you master overshifting. And yes, I've seen the same limitations since 1970 when I had my first bike with Record and then Nuovo Record. But I learned to deal with them effectively back then. Overshifting/pulling back was something yo just did. But no, you are not the only person. Frank Berto, in his book "Upgrading your bicycle" laid out the case in gory detail, similarly in
Frank Berto stated that NR shifted badly forever. He's right. It does.

So if you understand it so well what are you complaining about? I don't think anybody is saying it works better than a wide range modern Campy or Shimano on a 12-36 or with a 40 tooth wrap requirement.
Campagnolo and Shimano got their current dual-slant panto design from SunTour. Shimano adopted dual slant just after the patent expired in 1985, and added the dual sprung pivots - which really helped when SIS came a few years later. It took the threat of index shifting to get Campagnolo to switch away from simple parallelogram.

I've had good results with 13/26, by the way on NR, and horrible results with a Rallye. Instead of a Rallye use a Duopar.
NR top with Rallye cage works about the same as NR and SR alone with a 13-21. It gets into the 13T cog about half the time you shift it. SunTour Superbe / Cyclone / Sprint just work, under load, with zero drama, in all gears.

Huret Duopar works great if you can keep it properly aligned.
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