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Bertoni MAX pickup

Old 01-06-20, 09:36 PM
  #1  
velomateo
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Bertoni MAX pickup (New build pics)

Picked up this Bertoni MAX today. Lower models show up on CL here fairly regularly, but I always check the ads to see if it's a MAX frame. This morning this one popped up at a good price. Complete mash up of parts, some good - some not so much. Paint isn't bad, most of the chips are in the black, so should be easy enough to spot fill. Really nice seller, had the bike a few years but mostly rode his mountain bike. After I got home I noticed, that the Syncros stem was extended so far that the quill wedge was visible at the headset - it's good thing he stuck mostly to the mountain bike, because the failure could have been catastrophic.
I've looked around for a catalog scan with zero success. Anyone know what year these were produced, and how they came spec'ed?


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Old 01-06-20, 09:53 PM
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I can't help with the Bertoni, but I've heard anecdotes of the Syncros stems breaking while riding. If it were me, I'd probably replace it.
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Old 01-06-20, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mhespenheide View Post
I can't help with the Bertoni, but I've heard anecdotes of the Syncros stems breaking while riding. If it were me, I'd probably replace it.
It's destine for a recycle bin near me
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Old 01-06-20, 10:20 PM
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Interesting..I have never come across a BERTONI MAX. Looks like a normal Columbus Max frameset. Is the history that important to you? I think a good tear-down, getting a nice full-set group together and enjoying the sh*t out of it is a good starting point. Im a manic for Columbus Max frames, if you find anymore, let us know! It should be a fantastic ride.
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Old 01-07-20, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by shuru421 View Post
Interesting..I have never come across a BERTONI MAX. Looks like a normal Columbus Max frameset. Is the history that important to you? I think a good tear-down, getting a nice full-set group together and enjoying the sh*t out of it is a good starting point. Im a manic for Columbus Max frames, if you find anymore, let us know! It should be a fantastic ride.
Not hugely important, just curious. Still considering which direction I want to go with it. I have a complete Super Record group I could use, but I might want to build on the C Record crank it came with. I think I have an old C Record rear derailleur and shift lever set, and I also have a clean set of Cobaltos. Would only need to source a few things. Decisions decisions
Iíll get it torn down and do some paint touch up for now.
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Old 01-07-20, 06:48 AM
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Id replace the stem and see how well the frame fits you before doing too much more upgrading. Being a high quality metal lover you should be pleased with the Columbus MAX, which was released in the late 1980s. It was lightened by avoiding the internal helicoidal reinforcements of other Columbus tubing and used Nivacrom Steel. The main tubes often had an elliptical sections at their ends, and the he top tubes and down tubes were oversized.
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Old 01-07-20, 07:57 AM
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I've not seen a catalog past '87, but the Max would be later. My Bertoni had a serial (2 part) with decipherable date build info - any SN's on yours?
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Old 01-07-20, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I've not seen a catalog past '87, but the Max would be later. My Bertoni had a serial (2 part) with decipherable date build info - any SN's on yours?
I did a quick look, but only saw a size stamp (54). It’s black and really dirty around the bottom bracket - so one may appear after cleaning.
I found the same ‘87 catalog scan. According to Wikipedia, the company closed up shop in the early 90’s, which is when MAX frames were being sold by Merckx and others - so I would guess these were some of the companies last offerings.
Sized as a 54, it measures 54 ctc at the seat tube and 55 on the top tube. Should work fine for me.

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Old 01-07-20, 10:12 AM
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More searches on the interwebs led me to the Columbus MAX FB page. Lots of cool stuff there. According to a post there, the MAX tubeset was offered by Columbus in 1984 ...who knew? I always had believed it was a 90's thing.
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Old 01-07-20, 10:12 AM
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Cool find.
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Old 01-07-20, 10:17 AM
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+1, really cool and rare, too. I wonder which contractor was building this exotica for Bertoni back then: doubt it was Bianchi or Torresini/Torpado...anybody know?
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Old 01-07-20, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
+1, really cool and rare, too. I wonder which contractor was building this exotica for Bertoni back then: doubt it was Bianchi or Torresini/Torpado...anybody know?
Daccordi was supposedly building these for Bertoni. Daccordi's MAX frame was lugged, but I've found pics of both frames (Daccordi and Bertoni) with the identical pink/blue/white paint job.
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Old 01-07-20, 11:27 AM
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Nice. I also read somewhere that Bianchi made these but I have no clue if that is correct.

I almost picked this one up in St. Louis a few years ago and I remember poring over Bianchi MAX photos and they did look very similar....

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Old 01-07-20, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jet sanchEz View Post
Nice. I also read somewhere that Bianchi made these but I have no clue if that is correct.

I almost picked this one up in St. Louis a few years ago and I remember poring over Bianchi MAX photos and they did look very similar....

Thatís the paint job I was referring to. I guess the confusion with the Bianchi connection comes from Laweeís earlier affiliation with them. I read yesterday that it was Daccordi, canít remember which site I saw it on though, maybe CR.




Too similar to deny a connection IMO.

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Old 01-07-20, 03:30 PM
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Daccordi sounds like a good clue/guess. I believed the Bianchi/Bertoni connection "rumor" in the past (why not?) but read some more recent opinions that de-bunked it...still the jury's out cause Ben Lawee won't be talking (RIP, Ben).
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Old 03-10-20, 01:31 PM
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Iíve been working on this for a little while now and have it mostly finished up today. The idea was to build this up with a modern 11 speed but use friction shifting. I initially thought I could pull this off with parts on hand, because I had a nice XTR long cage, Simplex retro-friction shifters and pretty much everything else I would need. Doing some research I found that a 10 speed Shimano set up was fairly easy and could even be done with indexed shifting. But the brakes, crank and wheel set I already had directed me toward going with a SRAM setup. I run SRAM Rival WiFli on my Moots and the spare wheel set I have already has an SRAM 11-30 (11 speed) cassette. Iíve been happy with these components and their price point is very reasonable.
I ordered the Rival derailleurs and a new chain, I also needed an Italian thread BB. So when I got everything in, I started assembling. With the Simplex shifters installed, the amount of cable pull required to move the derailleur through the entire cassette was so much that the lever travel was greater than 180 degrees. This was unacceptable, so I searched for another option. Velo Orange sells Dia-Compe 11s shifters...although not cheap at $80 a set. They have a huge cable barrel and a classic look, although the left shift lever is slightly shorter the right, due to the rightís enlarged barrel. With these installed, shifting is excellent, not too sensitive - no issues. Front isnít completely worked out yet though. The SRAM Yaw derailleur on the front doesnít require much cable to fully actuate, and the lever is only moving about 20 degrees. I have it working fine now, but during testing on the stand, the retro-friction loosened up and it needed to be re-torqued. Iíll need to ride it and see if that is 100% sorted. I may need to use another derailleur though.
Up front I used a set of Hwy One bars from Soma. In trying to replicate my position from the Moots, I was very happy to find the bend of these bars is nearly identical to the PRO PLT bars on the other bike. SRAM brake levers make my hands feel right at home too. Saddle is from a previous Eroica bike, San Marco Rolls. Iíll ride it and see how that works out, Iím hoping it softens up a bit - itís been sitting for awhile and gotten a bit hard.
I've never had a MAX tube bike, so Iím excited to get this out for its shake down. Iím amazed at how light this bike is, havenít weighed it - but I would estimate in the 19 lb range. Not too shabby.


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Old 03-10-20, 02:52 PM
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Columbus MAX was introduced for the 1988 model year. The tubesets that Columbus introduced in 1984 were SPX and SLX. I've got Lawee price lists for 1990 and 1991. They include Univega and Sterling but don't mention Bertoni, so I'm assuming the brand had been discontinued by then. That should make a Bertoni Max a 1988 or 1989 model.
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Old 03-10-20, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Columbus MAX was introduced for the 1988 model year. The tubesets that Columbus introduced in 1984 were SPX and SLX. I've got Lawee price lists for 1990 and 1991. They include Univega and Sterling but don't mention Bertoni, so I'm assuming the brand had been discontinued by then. That should make a Bertoni Max a 1988 or 1989 model.
I haven't found anything as to the year of production. I did read that these frames were on display at a bike show in Boston and then shipped out to a few shops and sold as framesets, but I haven't found anything to back that up.

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Old 03-10-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by velomateo View Post
I haven't found anything as to the year of production. I did read that these frames were on display at a bike show in Boston and then shipped out to a few shops and sold as framesets, but I haven't found anything to back that up.

How did I miss this? FABULOUS find! I search for these once and while too. I don't see a lot of Bianchi on this aside from the crowness fork. Bianchi used vertial dropouts, a sort of half seat lug different cable routing and did not have the HT reinforcements. I worked for Univega dealer for a few years between '89 and '93 and the only Bertoni info I ever saw was the old '86 or '87 catalog and then at a small dealer show at the Mansfield warehouse for '94 line up. There was a beautiful Tommasiniesque MAX frame among he SLX, TSx and SL frames. I strangely have a '94 price sheet that doesn't show groups just frames, and may show very very limited quantities available
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Old 03-10-20, 06:17 PM
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@Bianchigirll, I have heard the Bianchi connection, but Iím leaning more towards the Daccordi guys being the builder, especially with the paint job similarities posted above. I
would love for you to check that price sheet for any MAX frames listed. Iím thinking this frame is earlier than that, as T-mar suggested, but still would be cool confirm they were on there. Rear spacing on my frame is 126mm, I think everyone was well in to 130mm spacing by Ď94.
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