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EU Mashup: Puch Mistral made by Bianchi

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EU Mashup: Puch Mistral made by Bianchi

Old 11-19-19, 08:38 AM
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EU Mashup: Puch Mistral made by Bianchi

I picked this one up locally, after spotting the glint from a dropout adjuster in the fuzzy non-drive photo on CL. After a bit of research I see there are a few previous threads with similar bikes, here here and here.
I've got it mostly torn down now, and I don't see any helical ribs inside the bottom of the seat tube. Seat post is 27.2mm, BB threads are Italian. Dropouts are Gipiemme. My best guess is 1986-ish. The only parts that are original, as far as I can tell, are the wheels and brakes (Modolo Mach 1).
My questions are these: 1) Is the tubing Reynolds or Columbus? 2) What's the equivalent Bianchi model, if there is such a thing? Paging [MENTION=159681]Bianchigirll[/MENTION] [MENTION=299673]puchfinnland[/MENTION]




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Old 11-19-19, 10:22 AM
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Based on the serial number it was manufactured at the beginning of 1988, making it a 1988 model. Given the 27.2mm post and the absence of a front derailleur hanger, it would be the equivalent of the mid-range Bianchi framess built with the Formula II tubeset, which is believed to be rebranded Columbus Cromor.

Edit: I just went back and double checked the catalogue. The three Bianchi Forumla II models were the Giro, Trofeo and Campione d'Italia. The Giro was Formula II with Aelle stays and Campagnolo Victory brakes. The Trofeo and Cd'I used Formula II with Aelle stays and fork blades. The brakesets were Modolo Flash and Modolo America, respectively. So, no exact match based on the brakes.

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Old 11-19-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
Based on the serial number it was manufactured at the beginning of 1988, making it a 1988 model. Given the 27.2mm post and the absence of a front derailleur hanger, it would be the equivalent of the mid-range Bianchi framess built with the Formula II tubeset, which is believed to be rebranded Columbus Cromor.

Edit: I just went back and double checked the catalogue. The three Bianchi Forumla II models were the Giro, Trofeo and Campione d'Italia. The Giro was Formula II with Aelle stays and Campagnolo Victory brakes. The Trofeo and Cd'I used Formula II with Aelle stays and fork blades. The brakesets were Modolo Flash and Modolo America, respectively. So, no exact match based on the brakes.
Hmmmm... interesting! Thanks, Tom!
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Old 11-19-19, 01:33 PM
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I picked this one up recently, aside from the tires it's stock. This is what it would look like.


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Old 11-19-19, 01:55 PM
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Thanks, Johnny. I see yours has Campy derailleurs. I suspect this one had Ofmega, based on the brake calipers. Which brake calipers does yours have?
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Old 11-19-19, 03:47 PM
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Great find!

I covered all I know about my own Puch in the second link you posted. Mine seems to be very close, of not identical, to an '89 Campione D'Italia. I believe the '88 models were badged "Formula Two" and '89 were Cromor.

Regardless, I am very fond of mine. It is a very nice riding bike. I was not fond of the Modolo brakes, and changed them out for Ultegra 6500 calipers with BL-R400 levers. The wheels are great riding, although difficult to mount tires on.

Best of luck with your score.
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Old 11-19-19, 07:11 PM
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Bianchi bought out PUCH around 86, your bike is Columbus tubing, of some flavor. the Reynolds was in Austrian Builds only.

as you have noticed, it is a Bianchi w PUCH markings.

sweet bike
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Old 11-19-19, 07:41 PM
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I also have one with same paint and graphics and GPM dropouts plus all the bits that point to a Bianchi product but IT has a Columbus SLX decal! Now I wonder if that's a fake...I need to open the BB and confirm if the tubes have rifling.
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Old 11-19-19, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
I also have one with same paint and graphics and GPM dropouts plus all the bits that point to a Bianchi product but IT has a Columbus SLX decal! Now I wonder if that's a fake...I need to open the BB and confirm if the tubes have rifling.
My understanding is that there was a hierarchy of Mistral bikes (Leader, Competition, etc.), so it wouldn't surprise me if yours is SLX. Google search shows some that are.
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Old 11-19-19, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher
Great find!

The wheels are great riding, although difficult to mount tires on.
.
Now there is an understatement.
Those rims are notorious.
I was given a set- they were used to protect a pair of rims I bought- so got them for free!
I did use them recently, I switched a set of 27" super champ rims that did not have enough spoke engagement with the nipples
Worked well- I developed a method to get the tires on- part of that is using the nylon reinforced strapping tape as a rim strip- one needs all the help one can muster- the rim is only slightly smaller at the centerline than at the bead seat.
Add to that the tall section at the bead and these rims are strong an a devil to get a tire on.
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Old 11-19-19, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
Now there is an understatement.
Those rims are notorious.
I was given a set- they were used to protect a pair of rims I bought- so got them for free!
I did use them recently, I switched a set of 27" super champ rims that did not have enough spoke engagement with the nipples
Worked well- I developed a method to get the tires on- part of that is using the nylon reinforced strapping tape as a rim strip- one needs all the help one can muster- the rim is only slightly smaller at the centerline than at the bead seat.
Add to that the tall section at the bead and these rims are strong an a devil to get a tire on.

I tried to mount some Kevlar bead Panaracers on these rims and broke a favorite tire lever in half, and punctured two tubes. So, yes I suppose I was understating. Picked up a tire jack since then.
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Old 11-20-19, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308
Thanks, Johnny. I see yours has Campy derailleurs. I suspect this one had Ofmega, based on the brake calipers. Which brake calipers does yours have?
FWIW, the 1988 Bianchi Trofeo and Cd'I had Suntour Accushift derailleurs, Sprint 9000 and Cyclone 7000 respectively. I wouldn't be surprised is yours was similarly equipped.
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Old 11-20-19, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
I also have one with same paint and graphics and GPM dropouts plus all the bits that point to a Bianchi product but IT has a Columbus SLX decal! Now I wonder if that's a fake...I need to open the BB and confirm if the tubes have rifling.
Based on the few Bianchi built Puch I've seen, both brands used the same frame designs. Consequently, if it has a front derailleur hanger, I'd expect it be SL/SP or SLX/SPX and would definitely be opening that BB. Serial number?
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Old 11-20-19, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
Based on the few Bianchi built Puch I've seen, both brands used the same frame designs. Consequently, if it has a front derailleur hanger, I'd expect it be SL/SP or SLX/SPX and would definitely be opening that BB. Serial number?
I will check when I am in the same room as this frameset next time (it's in storage) and let you all know.
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Old 11-22-19, 11:22 PM
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Took some poor pictures this PM and can't get them to post until iCloud relinquishes them, but now I see a few crucial differences: it has chrome on the stays and dropout faces, does have a FD tab and fancier brake bridge plus the staycaps are a little better shaped and very "Bianchi" looking. What I did not have time to do was remove crank and BB unit to check for rifling in the tube butts but am more confident that it actually is SLX, as the decal claims.


Serial number is "interesting" cause the first number looks like a double-strike: at first glance it is 4644 but the first "4" has something underneath that could be either a "7" or a "3".


Curious to hear what others think when I get the pix up (maybe will try for betters this weekend).


One trivia note the decal on the bottom of seat tube does not mention "Bianchi" but does have the address in South San Francisco that I know used to be the Bianchi importer back in the '80s, also says Made in Italy.
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Old 11-23-19, 01:57 PM
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double-strike serial number 4-over-3 6 4 4 ?


Stay caps look like Bianchi


SLX maybe yes


Bianchi had an import HQ office in South City, BITD


FD tab


chrome on dropout faces and the chain stay
Finally got iCloud to play nice, but they can't make mediorcre pics look better than they are! Here are some details of the Puch/Bianchi Mistral frame with SLX sticker
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Old 11-23-19, 02:07 PM
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other side of BB shell, maybe a 6 or a 9, then a V perhaps?


stay decals, and a glimpse of the brake bridge which I think is also GPM
Maybe a couple more pix, iCloud willing
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Old 11-23-19, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for the pics. Do your components give you any clues as to what year yours is?
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Old 11-23-19, 09:48 PM
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Nice find! I had no idea Puch and Bianchi ever got together. If that is SLX it should be a pretty sweet riding frame
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Old 11-23-19, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308
Thanks for the pics. Do your components give you any clues as to what year yours is?
No, those components are all mine, I got this as a bare frame (no fork) and am gradually making "a bike" out of it.
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Old 11-24-19, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1

other side of BB shell, maybe a 6 or a 9, then a V perhaps?


stay decals, and a glimpse of the brake bridge which I think is also GPM
Maybe a couple more pix, iCloud willing
Unfortunately, Bianchi was somewhat inconsistent with their serial number application. I think the letter is an incomplete 'N'. Normally, it would be 6.N but could also be N.9. This would mean 1986 or 1989 manufacture. For it it be the former, there are a couple of inconsistencies with respect to the Bianchi SLX model offered in the USA that year. First, it has Gipiemme dropouts instead of Campagnolo. Secondly, the SLX decal the 1988+ style. If it is 1989 manufacture, then dropouts and Columbus decal are correct but the seat lug style is wrong. Of course, the third possiblity is an SL/SP frameset with an aftermarket SLX in place of an SL/SP decal.

Assuming that the Puch frames had the same traits as their Bianchi equivalent, I'm leaning towards a 1987 model manufactured in late 1986 with anSL/SP tubeset. However, the only way to know for sure is to pull the bottom bracket and inspect the insides of the tubes for the helical ridges indicative of SLX/SPX.
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Old 11-24-19, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnnybikes
I picked this one up recently, aside from the tires it's stock. This is what it would look like.

The most interesting part of this bicycle is the tubing decal. Unlike the Bianchi version of the Formula Two decal, the background is silver, instead of celeste. At the time, the only Columbus set which used the silver background was the Matrix/Cromor set. For me, this is just one more piece of evidence to suggest that Formula Two was based on Matrix/Cromor

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Old 11-24-19, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
...the only way to know for sure is to pull the bottom bracket and inspect the insides of the tubes for the helical ridges indicative of SLX/SPX.
True, and so I will but will be a few days before I can get that done. Thanks for your updates, T-Mar, you are a wealth of knowledge!
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Old 11-26-19, 03:31 PM
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following up: there are no spiral ridges in the butts of the main tubes so the decal lies, it's not SLX. Maybe as T-Mar says this is SL, don't know if Bianchi would have used SP on any tubes for one this size (57cm)

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Old 11-27-19, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
following up: there are no spiral ridges in the butts of the main tubes so the decal lies, it's not SLX. Maybe as T-Mar says this is SL, don't know if Bianchi would have used SP on any tubes for one this size (57cm)
If it's the same as the equivalent Bianchi models of the era, I'd expect it to be Superest configuration utilizing an SP grade down tube and chain stays, with SL elsewhere. So far, all the evidence suggests that the Puch frames of this era match their Bianchi counterparts, with the obvious exceptions of decals, paint schemes and embossing. BTW, thank-you for the update and confirmation.
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