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Tommasini timeline and serial number registry

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Tommasini timeline and serial number registry

Old 01-06-19, 06:21 AM
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Tommasini timeline and serial number registry

I’ve been collecting info on Tommasini bicycles since I found my faded metallic red Tommasini a couple of years ago and became fascinated with figuring out its build date and what its serial number (30) meant. I’ve now collected the details of about 200 Tommasinis from the 1970s to the early 1990s, and put that info into a Google spreadsheet. I’ve also gathered notes from knowledgable people (@T-Mar first and foremost!), and in a series of posts I’m going to lay out what I’ve found. I’ll update these posts as I get new/better information and corrections. I’m putting this on BF because I want this to be an on-going crowd sourced resource. Note - this is not meant to replace the wonderful Tommasini Lounge!

The spreadsheet is complicated and needs more editing. I tried to err on the side of too much info, since I wasn’t sure what data would turn out to be useful later. Anyone with the link (below) can comment within the spreadsheet, but for now only I can edit. Don’t hesitate to add comments to help make this more accurate and meaningful.

Each column header has notes (hover over any cell that has a black triangle in the upper right). Most of the data is extracted from online photos, and I’ll go back and add more links to those photos. Some of my classifications are idiosyncratic, or naively descriptive, and I’m sure I’ve made some errors. Feel free to make suggestions for improvements. I’ve roughly listed the bikes in chronological order, and also grouped them together by model designation. The chronology is far from refined currently (it’s very time consuming), but I intend to continue to refine the sorting and estimated dating.

Tommasini Timeline/SN spreadsheet

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Old 01-06-19, 06:25 AM
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2 Tommasini Graphics

Point: Tommasini decals are very durable. It’s common to see clear decal remnants on even abused/aged bikes. If a bike is unmolested, there’s a good chance the decals will help roughly date it.

Counter-point: Tommasini has always done a good business repainting bikes. This is surprisingly inexpensive if the bike is local, so it is common to see bikes that oddly have a newer decal style than the bike’s components would suggest. Non-Tommasini repaints are usually easy to spot, but Tommasini repaints are virtually indistinguishable from original. My impression is that a lot of the older Tommasinis in Italy are repainted, and so decals/graphics must be taken with a grain of salt. Also, several different decal/graphics styles appear to have been in use simultaneously.

There are lots of slight variations in the following decals/graphics: subtle changes to the WC stripes, adding an extra decal, leaving something off, etc. These classifications are just what I used for the spreadsheet.

There are two rare and four common graphics styles for Tommasini bikes. First is:

Stencil Thomas. Only one example found, on display in the Tommasini shop, along with the stencil. This looks like it would be a very early graphic style, but that one example is dated as a 1972.


The rarity of the ‘Stencil Thomas’ graphic suggests to me that it was a very early pattern used by Tommasini, and these bikes have are either lost to time, or have been repainted. Is this the way the bikes from 1957-1962 were marked? Hopefully someone will ask the master at some point.

The bike above is a little confusing. It is labeled a “Prestige 1972” but has the ‘Romanesque T’ seat tube decal that was reportedly created in 1976, and the rest of the seat tube decals are c/w the ’THOMAS Racing’ decal set. Is this possibly a recreation using the old stencil?
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Old 01-06-19, 06:31 AM
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3 Block Thomas/Tommasini graphics

I’ve found only 4 examples so far - two on Subito.it (Italian CL, basically), one photographed in the Tommasini shop by Dale Brown in 2007, and one bought from a bike shop in Italy. None of these four have exactly the same decal combination.










DT decal: THOMAS or TOMMASINI in open block letters with gold background, WC stripes in middle bg, w/ scalloped tricolor stripes on sides (2 THOMAS, 1 TOMMASINI, 1 without DT decal).

ST decal: Same style T, on gold bg, WC stripes behind, tricolor scalloped stripes above and below, with THOMAS in black print above and GROSETTO below the T (consistent on all four).

HT decal: Same as ST, or shorter and without THOMAS and GROSETTO.

WC bands above and below on ST, with block T along with TOMMASINI and GROSSETO.

I suspect that this style was very early, going back to the 1960s. The bikes with these decals are very different (from each other, and from what came later), while there is significant consistency to the bikes with the following graphics styles. This indicates to me that these decals were developed before Tommasini has started to specialize in high-end racing bikes. I also wonder if these decals were been used along side the ‘Thomas Racing’ style decals, but only for the local market. Note the presence of WC stripes, which doesn’t exactly support some of the ideas I’ve just floated.
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Old 01-06-19, 06:38 AM
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4 THOMAS Racing graphics

Thomas Racing - [early ‘70s-late ‘70s or early ‘80s] DT decal is THOMAS in a blocky print and then a smaller Racing above a rectangle of WC stripes. Sometimes there is a band of flags above and below the DT decal, which seems to indicate a slightly later build.

HT and ST decal: classic circular shape, with chainring and laurel leaves surrounding a T. Early versions have a ‘print T’, changed to a Romanesque T in the mid-70s (one article dates this change to 1976). Most of these bikes also have a Tommasini or Tommasini Racing decal on the both chainstays. I believe the There are also multiple variants of the seat tube WC stripes (note placement and style of the T on the stripes).









There are 3 variants of the head tube decal. In timeline order:

1. Red Print T over silver chain ring (underlying silver foil showing through), with laurel leaves and a thin blue circle, broken at the bottom for ‘GROSSETO’. HT and ST decals appear the same.

2. Red Romanesque T, no outline, over gold/yellow chainring, with laurel leaves and the same blue line with ‘GROSSETO’ at the bottom. A some registered mark also appears on the right. Begins 1976?

3. The T now gets a prominent outline and is larger. The chainring is more gold than yellow, and ‘GROSSETO’ disappears. A diagonal band of WC stripes (viewer’s left) and Italian tricolors (right) appears in the background. I believe this begins after 1980.





All 3 styles above are seen on bikes with ‘Thomas Racing’ DT graphics. The two on the right are also seen on ‘Early’ graphics style bikes (next post), supporting the idea that this THOMAS Racing graphic continued to be used in Italy longer than for US bound bikes.
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Old 01-06-19, 06:43 AM
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5 Early style Tommasini graphics

Early - [1976/77 to 1983] Script Tommasini decal on DT, Romanesque T inside laurel leaves and chain ring on HT and ST. This very attractive DT decal, making the Tommasini name especially prominent, was at the urging of Wm. Lewis, for the US market. I believe this happened in the mid-late 70s. Most of these bikes also have a Tommasini Racing decal on the drive side chain stay (or both; as with most of the THOMAS Racing bikes). Both strada and pista examples feature this CS decal.

Note - As with the THOMAS Racing bikes, sometimes there is a band of flags above and below the script Tommasini DT decal, which seems to indicate a slightly later build. I believe this band of flags was introduced to both decal sets at the same time.

An example from Steel Vintage Bikes, likely from 1978-81, without the DT flag decals and with different WC bands on the ST:




RLorenz2’s bike from 1982/83, with both flag decals and later head tube decal:



These bikes with ‘Early’ decals virtually never have model designations per se. In the spreadsheet I’ve called these bikes ‘Racing Strada’ or ‘Racing Pista’ just to distinguish them from the later ‘Racing’ models. The Racing Strada bikes became the Prestige model in the eyes of the Tommasini shop.

Edit to add: Sometime in 1981-82 the Tommasini signature decal was added, usually on the DS TT near the seat lug, but in at least one early case towards the head tube (where the model designation decal would soon appear). These signature decals are all "Tommasini Irio" until sometime in the mid-late 1990s, when this decal changed to "Irio Tommasini".

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Old 01-06-19, 06:52 AM
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6 Middle style graphics

Middle - [1984 to 1991] Same DT script Tommasini but with 3 swoosh graphics added (also sometimes on the fork), and script Tommasini on DT in stacked lettering, with modified WC bands above and below. This style coincided with the introduction of model designations on the DS TT (Prestige, Super Prestige, etc.).







There are a LOT of these bikes around, especially on the BF C&V forum. Keys to narrowing down the time range are the type of tubing decals (if original), the paint schemes, and the frame elements/braze ons.

This style of graphics was resurrected later, but the decals are not identical. Compare these Prestige bikes (the blue one in the middle is the much later style) - they are very distinctly different:


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Old 01-06-19, 07:00 AM
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7 Late style graphics

Late - [91-present] Similar style down tube script Tommasini, but now usually painted on, and so the lettering often lacks a contrasting outline. Swoosh graphics disappear. Most obvious change is the seat tube graphic is now the same as the DT graphic (not stacked; now reads sideways). You can tell the late style decals on the ST and DT because the lettering has an outline. The model designation on the top tube continues to be a decal, not painted on. This transition appears to have largely happened between 90-91, so that we see some 15th Anniversary bikes with both Middle and Late graphics (these were made in 90 and 91). There also appears to be some bikes built after 1991 that got a version of the Middle style graphics (see previous post). It's possible that some of the middle-style ST decals continued to be used on some bikes post-1991.

Middle style above (1991 and earlier), Late style below (1991 - present):





Close-ups of the seat tubes.

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Old 01-06-19, 07:07 AM
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8 Columbus tubing decals

Most Tommasinis are made with Columbus tubing, and tubing decals provide useful dating clues. I haven’t found any definitive source for the dates for early Columbus decals (1970s), as different sources give different dates, but I’ll post what I’ve found here and edit this as I get corrections. In any event, few of these early Tommasinis still have their original paint AND original Columbus decals.

Many/most of the bikes from the 1980s do have their Columbus decals intact. On bikes with AiR forks, there are also usually Columbus decals on each blade. Note that the Columbus decals are much less robust than the Tommasini decals, and many owners seem to have scraped them off when they became damaged. It’s very easy to accidentally (or on purpose) replace a missing tubing decal with a different decal. It appears that some bikes get “upgrades” in their tubing via this method, so caveat emptor.

One of my chief sources for the dating of specific decals is in part the cyclesroland blog. I’ve corrected the dating for the SLX and SL decals at the bottom, and corrections to the other dating are welcome.



In the spreadsheet I often refer to a Columbus decal with a blue bottom band as ‘bbb’, Columbus SLX red bottom band as rbb, etc. The new style decal, with a slightly different gold bg and the colored band at the top was introduced in 1988 (bottom right). I make the assumption that the earlier style bbb or rbb decals were used into 1988.

I haven’t found a definitive guide to when most later types of tubing came into use.
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Old 01-06-19, 07:09 AM
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9 FD tabs and BB gear cable routing

Front derailleur tab braze-ons indicate 1982 or later. It is rare to see a Tommasini without the FD tab after 1982, but there are a few (which appear to have been made to order or lower-cost models).

Gear cable routing was over the bottom bracket shell through 1980 at least, and always under the BB on bikes with FD tabs. I have yet to find a Tommasini that looks like an early-80s bike lacking an FD tab but with gear cable routing below the BB, and there are no bikes with FD tabs and above-BB gear cable routing. Therefore it appears that FD braze-on tabs and below-BB cable routing started simultaneously in 1982.

Note that the Aero bikes have gear cable routing either through the BB, or in a few cases above the BB.

On the very early Tommasinis (early 70s), all have at least one braze-on above the BB for the rear derailleur, and almost all have a second braze-on above the BB for the front derailleur.
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Old 01-06-19, 07:16 AM
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10 Rear dropouts

Special thanks to T-Mar for this dating, and hopefully I haven’t made too many mistakes here.

301/A [60s - 1973] Long, horizontal, BREV. CAMPAGNOLO across top, extended derailleur mounting boss w/ spring anchor hole. [‘A’ indicates it lacks the fender eyelet.] It can be very difficult to distinguish between 301/A and 1010/A dropouts, and without a very good photograph some of these may be misidentified as 1010/A.



1010/A [1974 - 1976?] As above but without extended boss and spring anchor hole. [1010 is with fender eyelet, 1010/A is without. Have yet to see a Tommasini with fender eyelets on DOs.] It doesn’t appear that Tommasini continued to use 1010/A dropouts for very long after the Nuovo Record short horizontal DOs became available around 1975.

Nuovo Record short horizontal - [1975ish - 1978ish] I’m uncertain of the differences between this and the later 1010/B that came after the Portacatena DOs. From photos these dropouts look identical to me to those used starting in 82/83.

Portacatena [1978 - 1982ish] Short horizontal RDO with two holes drilled on DS for Portacatena device. There were first available in late 1977, but I make the assumption that they went into use by Tommasini in 1978.

1010/B [1982/83 - late ‘80s/1991] Classic short horizontal Campy DO, same as Portacatena variant above but without the holes and extra bossing around the holes.

Tommasini [very late 80s onwards] Short, horizontal, embossed 'TOMMASINI X'

IC dropout with sockets for the SS and CS ends - I haven’t seen a good close-up photo of these, but have seen them on a Sintesi and a late-model Prestige. I don’t know if they completely replaced the ’TOMMASINI X’ style, or were used on different models.

In this montage, there are two 1010/A dropouts (second and third) - the first has been filed in the back in a way I haven't seen on other Tommasinis. I also didn't show the 1010/B, TOMMASINI X, or IC dropout. If I have time I'll add photos of those, though the 1010/B looks pretty much like the NR DO that preceded the Portacatena DO.




I expect there was some overlap between different types as existing stock was used up, but Tommasini doesn’t seem to have stocked up on any variant, so the latest versions introduced by Campagnolo seem to have been adopted relatively quickly. The dropouts are virtually always chromed, and virtually never with painted faces. When I see rear dropouts with painted faces I suspect it is a repainted bike.

There are a few “cost-efficient” Tommasinis with unmarked dropouts or Gipiemme dropouts. These are almost always non-US bikes.

On the few Pista bikes I’ve documented a variety of rear dropouts were used (all track style, of course).

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Old 01-06-19, 07:18 AM
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11 Forks

A variety of fork crowns are seen on the earliest Tommasinis. I’ve tried to describe them in the spreadsheet, and this section needs to be tightened up. With rare exceptions, most of these are off-the-shelf forks used by other builders, though a few rare examples have an early ‘Print T’ embossing.

Coin fork [mid-70s to 1982/83] This really isn’t a coin, but a T inside a chain ring or gear. This is the standard Tommasini fork during this period.

Transitional T - Sloped pagoda-like shoulders (similar shape to some of the AiR forks), embossed T on each shoulder, external lugs. This appears after the Coin fork and before the AiR fork.

AiR fork [1984 - ?] Initially always with internal lugs, but starting in the late 1980s an external lug version is introduced. There are also some versions with slightly different shaping so that the shoulder is more like an airfoil. This fork was used into the 1990s, and I think has been resurrected a few times.

Sloped shoulder, ext. lug, T embossed. This fork crown is very similar to the “Transitional” fork above, and may be pretty much the same thing. It was used in the mid-late 1980s and I think was less costly than the AiR fork.

In 1982 the Aero bikes made for the Onion River/Shimano team had internally lugged, sloping shoulder, T embossed forks that may have inspired the AiR fork.

Some of the cost-efficient bikes got what appear to be off-the-shelf fork crowns, with sloping shoulders and external lugs, and no embossing.

In the 1990s a unicrown fork with a raised T on the shoulder is introduced.
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Old 01-06-19, 07:22 AM
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12 Tommasini Models (and tubing notes)

There are no model designations until 1984 with the introduction of the ‘middle’ graphics.

Among the handful of early bikes (before the ‘THOMAS Racing’ and ‘early’ script Tommasini graphics), there is at least one with Ishiwata tubing, and another that takes a 26.2 seat post.

Most of the bikes with ‘Thomas Racing’ and ‘Early’ graphics seem to have been made with SL tubing, and often have Columbus decals as noted above. When we get to the ‘Middle’ graphics period, with specific model designations, things get more complex. [General note - rifling in the fork steer tube indicates SL/SP or SLX/SPX tubing. Rifling at the base of the seat tube and down tube indicate SLX/SPX tubing.]

1984 saw the introduction of Prestige, Super Prestige, Air Prestige, and CX Prestige. Model designations are vitally always via a single decal on the drive-side top tube.

Prestige - [1984 - ?] Virtually all made with SL/SP, esp. if they were imported to the US. I have found one Prestige bike (Italy) with an Oria sticker and two (one US, one British) with SLX stickers (possible incorrect replacement decals). Note: the road racing bikes made prior to 1984 are considered Prestige bikes by Tommasini, and when the shop repaints these bikes this decal is sometimes added to the top tube.

Super Prestige - [1984 - ?] The usual assumption in the US is that these are all with SLX/SPX. SLX/SPX was introduced by Columbus in1984, but apparently Tommasini didn’t start using this tubing until 1985. As a result early Super Prestige bikes were made with SL/SP. Even after Tommasini began using SLX, not all Super Prestige bikes used this tubing. I have also found several Super Prestige examples (in Italy) that appear to be late-80s builds that have SL stickers.

I’ve also documented two Super Prestige bikes made with Oria tubing (South Africa and the UK), and two (with distinct, matching paint scheme c/w a racing team) made with Reynolds 501.

1984 also saw the introduction of the Air Prestige (SL tubing shaped by Tommasini, with round ends and normal lugs) and CX Prestige (SL tubing, flat or downward sloping top tube, for time trials) models.

Racing - [mid-to-late 1980s - ?] The ‘Racing’ model of Tommasinis, designated by the TT decal, show a variety of build elements. Most that I’ve documented are made with SL tubing, and a couple of these examples from the mid-80s appear identical to Prestige bikes except they are not completely chromed under the paint (and I believe these were ordered for racing). Others are made with SL but have some cost-efficient changes (simplified SS caps, for example), while several are made with CROMOR tubing. The lack of chrome under the paint makes rust more of an issue on some of these bikes.

Competizione [aka [b]Comp. and Comp] - Introduced 1989 or 1990. Made with SL tubing (a Wm Lewis ad indicates Oria Ranf, but I haven’t seen one of these yet), meant to be a no-compromise racing bike at a more affordable price, and so has simplified SS caps and only fork/DOs/right CS chromed. I believe initially the Quattro Colori paint scheme was specific to this model.

Here’s a modified list of models/tubing from T-Mar in an earlier BF post:

Sport: Columbus Aelle or Oria, depending on year. These did not have top tube decals, and may not have been imported to US. Mid-late 1980s to early 90s. I have yet to see a Tommasini that I can confirm is one of these.

Tretubi: Columbus SL main tubes in approx 84-85 Wm Lewis ad, shown without TT decal, and w/ early graphics (other bikes in late graphics). I have yet to see a Tommasini that I can confirm is one of these.

Racing: Columbus SL [through 83 - these are the ones with the Tommasini Racing decal on the CS], SL or Cromor [86-87 and further?] or Thron, depending on era; was Cromor avail in 86-87?

Prestige: Columbus SL or Brain, depending on era (have also seen Oria, and apparently SLX)

Air Prestige: Columbus SL modified to aero or Columbus Air, depending on year (I think the Columbus Air was only a handful of bikes in 1982, and the slightly later Air Prestige bikes used regular lugs and shaped SL tubes)

CX Prestige: Columbus SL with straight or sloping top tube, for time trials

Super Prestige: Columbus SL (early) or (usually) SLX (and rarely Oria or Reynolds 501)

Competizone SL: Columbus SL [late 1980s to Early 90s?] {89-93?** Can have Comp, Comp., or Competizione on top tube. Goal was SL tubed bike for racers without the cost of Prestige and other models.

Diamante: Columbus MS [MS used from around 88-92] original f/f price $915 in US in 1988 Colonia color exclusive to this model 88-90.

Velocista: Columbus MAX - [one example, bought Helen’s Cycles 1992]

Tecno: Colombus EL OS years?

Tecno Extra: Columbus Genius

Tecno TIG: TIG welded Columbus Genius

Tecno Light: Columbus Nemo

Premier Alloy Extra: Columbus Altec

Premier Alloy Light: Columbus Altec2

Mach: 3-2.5 Titanium

Sintesi SLX New (1993ish) and also with ELOS (and Neuron)

Mach Corsa/Titanio - vert DOs, unicrown fork, titanium

Fire (2000) Columbus Foco with CF Tommasini fork

I will be most happy for folks to document these other models in this thread, along with dates of production, frame details, serial numbers, etc.

Going for a ride. More to come (so cont. to hold of posting till then please!).
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Old 01-06-19, 09:59 AM
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13 Colors and paint schemes

The early bikes are all a single color, either gloss or metallic. Metallic gold or shades of blue were particularly common. A very fade-prone metallic red was introduced in the early 80s and not used later.

Starting around 1984, with the introduction of Prestige/Super Prestige models, we start to see airbrushed contrast bands on the seat tube (approximately under the WC stripes), and the beautiful Retinato paint scheme. Starting in 1987 we see the Marble paint introduced for Super Prestige models, and then for Prestige bikes soon after.

Colonia was introduced in 88 or 89 exclusively for the Diamante model, though it trickled down to other models fairly quickly.



Subsequently there was an explosion of paint schemes, some associated with specific racing teams (Magniflex, for example):




In 1991 the standard colors for US-bound Super Prestige bikes were:

Colonia Blue (navy with silver/bronze swirl)
Colonia Red (black highlights on red)
Oro-Nero Black (black with silver/bronze swirl)
Amore et Vita (pink/gray/pearl white)
15th Anniversay (blue/white)*
Allessandro Purple (purple/white)
Allessandro Blue (blue/white)

Comp. models got Quattro Colori exclusively upon at first, and subsequently came in other finishes.




I will update this as I get info about exactly when certain color schemes were introduced, and I need to add more photos.
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Old 01-06-19, 10:19 AM
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14 Seat stay end caps

Bullet (Blunt/domed) - very early Tommasinis (2 examples), as well as Competizione models.

Flat (similar to those Pela was known for) - [early-mid 1970s] - see the image above of the blue bike with stencil DT graphics, the "1972 Prestige."

Fluted - [mid-70s - early 80s] These sometimes appear on cost-efficient bikes made later, esp. those sold outside the US. I think there is at least two slightly different styles of fluted SS end caps in the bikes from the 1970s.



T/3 lines - [approx 1982 - early 1990s] There are rare bikes with only the T, or only the 3 lines. The couple I've seen with only 3 lines on a flat SS cap appear to be from the early 80s.

First, one of those rare ones without the T.




Then the classic form. These often featured exposed chromed:



Bikes with oversized top tubes (the 15th Ann. Specials and Sintesi models) got special IC seat lugs with no SS caps, which can be seen in the post with the 15th Anniv. bikes. Diamonte bikes also had their own special seat lug for MS tubing, which the seat stays fit into.
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Old 01-06-19, 10:41 AM
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15 Lugs and lug cutouts

There seem to be two main types of lugs used in the early-mid 1970s, one with long points and (usually) no windows, and one with short points and windows. I think the long-point lugs were Guinticiclo stamped lugs, which were used by a variety of frame makers.



Print T cutout - I’ve found 3 mid-70s bikes with a simple printed T cutout (and long points) on the head lugs and seat lug. I need to post up these images to check if they're the same lug shape as the ones above.

I don't know the maker of the short point lugs, but they almost always had what I call 'default' cutouts or windows that look like triangles with rounded corners. You can see plenty of examples elsewhere in this thread. These lugs are very similar to the lugs that eventually showed up with the Romanesque T windows.

Default cutouts - if the lugs have windows, in the 1970s to early 1980s they are triangular with soft corners, which I call ‘default’ cutouts (I assume they came from the supplier this way). These cutouts sometimes show up in the mid-late 1980s on cost-efficient bikes, almost always outside the US.

T lugs - [early 1980s - early 1990s] - the classic Romanesque T cutout window on the head lugs. These show up slightly after the ’T/3 lines’ SS caps, and slightly before the AiR forks.
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Old 01-06-19, 11:06 AM
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16 Bottom bracket shells and drain holes

The earliest Tommasinis appear to have a variety of drain hole patterns (or no drain hole), at least in the very few cases I’ve documented.

'Pela' indicates the 4-hole "butterfly" pattern often associated with G. Pela (though it was an off-the-shelf bottom bracket shell). As best I can tell, these were used throughout the 1970s. I’ve found one example with cable routing below the BB. Use of these BB shells appears to have overlapped with the early variants of the 'T' shaped drain holes.

'Print T' - earliest type with a ’T’ shaped drain hole, I believe. Rare, with other signs they’re from around the mid-70s.

'Fat T' and 'Fat top T' - these are variations of the usual ‘Romanesque T' BB cutout. I believe these are mid-late 1970s to about 1980, but I need to look at this more closely.

’T’ - A variety of BB shell types have the exact same T drain hole. These are the classic Tommasini BB cutouts, and were used from around 1980 to the early 1990s. I think they were in use longer for the bikes with SL tubing than the bikes with SLX.

Cinelli - there are a handful of examples with the very distinct Cinelli embossed BB shell (on a flat section of the BB underside), both with and without a ’T’ cutout. These all seem to date to around 1981-83.

In the late 1980s the ’T’ cutout drain hole disappears from the Super Prestige bikes. These newer BB shells have a vestigial, integrated CS bridge, and either 3 diagonal slat cutouts or one small oblong hole. The only Prestige bike I’ve seen with this is one from the mid-late 1990s, in Brain tubing, when that model was apparently reintroduced.

In the spreadsheet the other numbers/letters in these cells (e.g., T 3b or T 5) are my idiosyncratic system for differentiating BB shell types (by the nature of the cable routing system, the socket points, and the socket windows). I was hoping by detailing this info I could see some patterns, but there were a surprising variety of BB shell variants, and I’m still sorting this. At some point I’ll document my idiosyncratic system.


BottomBracketMontage

Click on the photo above to go to the Flickr image, where you can see a larger version. These shells are in rough chronological order of the early 1970s to the early 1990s, though I've grouped the Pela shells together for no good reason, since I don't think the evolution was this strict. I didn't include newer models like Diamonte, etc. In the larger image you can also see (to some extent) how serial numbers have been handled through the years. The photo in the lower right is my 'signature' - it's the shell of my bike from around 1983.
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Old 01-06-19, 11:07 AM
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17 Pump pegs and bottle cage mounts

Pump pegs - very early Tommasinis sometimes had pump peg on the underside of the top tube near the seat lug (see the blue ’Stencil Thomas’ bike above).

In the mid-1980s we see head tube pump pegs appear. These became standard on all US models in 1986, though from one article it seems they started to be used in the US during 1985. Any 1980s or early 1990s US Prestige, Super Prestige, or Racing Tommasini that lacks the HT pump peg is pre-1985 and likely pre-86.

Head tube pump pegs also appear non-US bikes from 1985/86 onwards, but are often absent. It seems they were never standard in any other market. At some point in the 1990s pump pegs stopped being a thing, but I haven’t tracked when they went extinct.


Bottle mounts - All but one early Tommasini has at least one set of brazed-on bottle mounts. In a couple of these early bikes the mounts are “proud” and much less subtle than later versions. It appears Tommasini was doing bottom cage braze-ons at least from the very early 1970s.

Bikes with two sets of mounts start showing up in the early 1980s, possibly as a special order element. Like HT pump pegs, Bill Lewis asked Tommasini to make them standard on US bikes starting in late 1985 or 1986. A single set of bottle bosses continued to be common on non-US bikes throughout the 1980s, even on Super Prestige bikes.
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Old 01-06-19, 11:10 AM
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18 Brake bridges

Rear brake bridges show a clear evolution (though there were three distinct types used simultaneously through the mid-late 1980s). Early bikes have non-recessed nuts and the bridge is a plain cylindrical tube, sometimes with minimal reinforcements on the sides with the seat stays. I’ve been unable to find a definite date when Tommasini started using recessed nuts on the brake bridges, but we see recessed nuts beginning when he was still using 1010/A long horizontal rear DOs, so this seems to be in the mid-70s.

The brake bridges start showing reinforcements a little earlier, in the early 70s, either a teardrop-shaped reinforcement or a diamond-shaped reinforcement. The diamond reinforcements dominate and continue into the early 80s.

T knob - Starting around 1982 brake bridges get a cube-like ‘knob’ for the caliper bolt, with an embossed Romanesque T (’T knob’ in the spreadsheet). Initially these have a roughly tubular bridge, with diamond reinforcements (except the Aero bikes and most of the Pista bikes, which lack the reinforcements).

T knob, shaped tube - Starting around 1983 the ’T knob’ is carried over to a bridge that is a ‘shaped tube’, with no reinforcements needed. This style is seen through the 1980s, usually on Prestige or Racing models (though a few Prestige bikes still are seen with the earlier type brake bridge, with a plain tube and reinforcements). This style bridge also shows up on some Super Prestige bikes, even in the US market. It disappears (I think) around 1990.

T aero, flat - Starting around 1984: Angular, flat across the bottom, with embossed T on each side of a center ridge for the caliper bolt. Initially only on Super Prestige and Air Prestige bikes. On many 1984 (and perhaps 1985) Super Prestige bikes, this brake bridge seems to be the only difference compared to a Prestige, unless I’m missing something. It shows up a a few Prestige bikes and one Racing model later in the 1980s, and is used on all the Comp. bikes I’ve seen.

T aero, angled - Similar to above, but kinked or angled for better tire clearance. Introduced in the mid-80s, and is by far the most common brake bridge on Super Prestige bikes. I believe I’ve only seen it on one Prestige bike, a Magniflex blue bike. Also seen on Diamante, Velocista, and Tecno bikes from the 1990s, and I believe a slightly different version is still in used today.

Note that the latter three brake bridges were all in use for much of the 1980s.

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Old 01-06-19, 11:11 AM
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19 Chainstay bridges

Like the brake bridges, there is an evolution with early CS bridges being a simple tube with (usually) some kind of reinforcement, progressing to shaped version without side reinforcements. Bikes with SLX tubing tend to not have a CS bridge, or to use a BB shell with a small integrated bridge. SL tubed bikes tend to have a CS bridge, though it is sometimes not present on earlier Prestige models.

I haven’t correlated specific types of CS bridges with specific time frames in the late 1970s and though the 1980s, but I suspect there is likely at least a loose chronological pattern. You can see the chain stay bridges in the BB montage photo in post 16 (go to the Flickr image to see the large version).
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Old 01-06-19, 11:14 AM
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20 Rear brake cable routing

Early bikes tend to have top tube clips, though there are some with early-style braze ons. I think this is a slightly controversial area, and I’m out of my depth regarding how early top tube cable guide braze ons were used, and what forms they took. My impression is that some bikes in the 1960s and early 1970s did have cable guide braze ons. Hopefully those with more knowledge can clarify.

The early Tommasinis with TT braze-ons show either 2 or 3, and they are usually a long/thin variant distinct from the style that became common in the late 1970s. By around 1979-80, all the bikes seem to have 3 TT braze ons for the cable housing.

Internal TT cable routing begins in 1984, with the introduction of the Prestige/Super Prestige/Air Prestige models. All Air Prestige models have internal brake cable routing. Most early Super Prestige bikes have internal routing, and all with the 1988-Columbus decal have internal routing.

Many (most) Prestige bikes also have internal TT cable routing, including apparently all the Prestige bikes from 1988 on. About half of the Racing models from the mid-late 80s have it.

I’ve also documented the entry/exit combinations (low or high on the top tube), and I don’t see any pattern here, except that ‘hi/hi’ became most common, except on Comp. bikes.
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Old 01-06-19, 11:17 AM
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21 Components dating

Since most Tommasinis (esp. in the US) were sold as frame sets, and except in rare exceptions a specific model did not correlate with a group set, and because previous owners often change/upgrade components from an original build, it’s often/usually unreliable to use the dates of components to date a Tommasini. That said, if one has a strong suspicion that a bike was built up contemporaneously with the frame first being sold, then the rear wheel lock nuts, the derailleurs, and the cranks can often help narrow down a time range (derailleurs and cranks often have a code instead of an actual date - lots of posts here about dating components).

Also there are some Tommasinis that sport a Campagnolo decal that I believe indicates they were originally sold with a Campagnolo groupset. If those bikes are intact then the component dates will be very helpful, but these seem to be exceptions.
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Old 01-06-19, 11:32 AM
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22 15th Anniversary Bikes

A limited edition of 200 of these were made in 1990 and 1991, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Bill Lewis importing Tommasinis to the United States (although I think there is evidence that Tommasinis started being imported before 1975, it appears that Lewis and Tommasini considered 1975 the date their partnership began in earnest). As noted above, these bikes feature both the ‘middle’ and the ‘late’ style Tommasini graphics. They are Super Prestige bikes but with a brass, numbered head badge, an oversized EL top tube, special red, white, and blue paint scheme (see post 7 above), and a special investment case seat lug. They are also embossed on the upper NDS BB with ’15th ANNIVERSARY IN U.S.A.’ This same BB shell was also used with other Super Prestige bikes at the same time (bikes that didn’t have the special seat lug/oversized TT, and special red/white/blue paint).

On the Tommasini Lounge we've seen at least one bike with this BB shell that is not one of the specific 15th Anniversary special bikes, and which may have been made later than 1991. Personally I think this is unlikely, but it remains a possibility.




It appears Tommasini also introduced an embossed BB shell with a script T instead of ‘15th ANNIVERSARY IN U.S.A,’ and I believe this was first used at about the same time (1990-91). This embossing is only seen on Super Prestige bikes around 90-91, as far as I can tell, plus later editions of the Prestige model also have this script T on the upper bottom bracket.

I make special mention of these bikes because they're very useful for establishing the dating of a variety elements. Plus they're cool bikes.
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Old 01-06-19, 12:05 PM
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23 Serial numbers

The meaning of the numbers and letters stamped on the bottom brackets of Tommasini bikes is an intriguing mystery. They clearly aren’t serial numbers in the literal sense, and they are often completely absent. When they are present, they often appear to have been applied fairly haphazardly and inconsistently, at least until the early 1990s. I think since the mid-90s the use of serial numbers is more consistent, and the numbers get much longer, but I've never seen any description of what the numbers mean on these more modern bikes.

Summary (for bikes of the early 1970s to early 1990s):
1) SNs are rarely present on the earliest Tommasinis (70s), and become increasingly common into the 1990s, but are never ubiquitous.
2) Two numbers is the most common format, with or without 1-3 letters.
3)The first number usually appears to represent the last year of the build. E.g., ’30’ for a 1983 build, ’69’ for a 1986 build.
4) The second number, or the second and third, might be the month. Or not.
5) In the mid-80s frames headed for the US market tended to be stamped with a ‘US’ either in front of or behind any numbers.
6) When other letters are present (besides ‘US’), it often appears to relate to paint colors or paint patterns.
7) The earliest bikes with SNs are stamped at the junction of the DT and the BB shell. Some of these bikes lack any SN, but do have 1-4 punch marks here, which I suspect is related to frame size/tube angles.

Here's an intriguing photo from the Tommasini shop showing an early BB shell with a number already stamped on the shell. This leads me to believe that, when the 'SN' is at the junction, it means something about the shell itself, and not the bike.



Letters for colors A few of these are confirmed, some speculative. For example, MN is for Marmo Nero (black marble paint). MR seems to be for red marble (marmo rosa), though I’ve seen one such bike marked ME. Single letters are uncommon, but there is a distinct tendency for B to be on blue bikes, V on green bikes, R on red bikes. P seems to have been the code for white. I’ve seen H once, on a pink bike. Perhaps for bikes built to order, the color was marked with a stamp to make sure the paint shop didn’t make a mistake. There are several bikes with OL; I have no idea what this signifies.

Take a look at the spreadsheet, and see if you can find some meaningful patterns. Below is a photo from the Tommasini facebook page, of a modern Tommasini getting it's serial number. As you can see, lots more numbers and letters. If anyone knows how to decode these modern SNs, post it here.

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Old 01-06-19, 12:07 PM
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24 Catalogs and dated advertisements

Later I'll come back and post links to what catalogues and brochures and ads have been posted to the web. I'm out of time now. Looking forward to feedback.
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Old 01-06-19, 03:15 PM
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Wonderful thread Kevindale!
I like the decals in post #3 , especially on the green frame, for my own reference I call them the lifesavers style decal.

Last edited by gbi; 01-06-19 at 06:35 PM.
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