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Borghi Olympia. Educate me

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Borghi Olympia. Educate me

Old 05-02-20, 07:50 PM
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Borghi Olympia. Educate me










Made a trade today for this frameset and a bunch of build parts. Sean was great to deal with and gave me some info about the frameset but I am looking to learn more. I am hoping this becomes part of my stable as it looks to be within my size range.

Here are the questions:
1. What Olympia model might it be?
2. The tubing decal is pretty tattered but looks to be Columbus. Any thoughts about which Columbus?
3. Any other stuff you might know about the bicycle ... Era, original build kit etc., would be appreciated.
I believe keidal and aixaix have demonstrated knowledge about the brand in earlier posts. Looking forward to learning about, building up and riding this bike. - Dan

Last edited by Dannyboy21; 05-02-20 at 07:52 PM. Reason: found answer
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Old 05-02-20, 08:04 PM
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Dannyboy21

I would already have that bell off and stem cleaned up where it was.
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Old 05-02-20, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Dannyboy21

I would already have that bell off and stem cleaned up where it was.
Ha! Yeah it's off.
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Old 05-03-20, 12:29 AM
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cannot make out enough of that decal to be certain but appears to be a rectangular Columbus from the era when this was what would be later called "SL" (a triangular from the same era meant "tre-tubi" SL), Olympia is a very popular make in Italy that almost never were exported to the US in any numbers, so they are little known here but has been said in Italy the marque is as well known as Bianchi! The Gipiemme DOs and forkends would point to less than top model yet it has a fair bit of chrome and some panto parts, so...better than middling, I'd guess. So there's under BB cable mounting but no WB bosses so I'll guess 1978 (with a old stock decal about to be phased out)
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Old 05-03-20, 02:21 AM
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Dannyboy21

I think you will be doing the "educating" here.

Again, fantastic score, well done.

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Old 05-03-20, 05:33 AM
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Nice looking frame, closeups? Is there something pointing down on the brake bridge? Is that a chain cover mount on the right seat stay?
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Old 05-03-20, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Nice looking frame, closeups? Is there something pointing down on the brake bridge? Is that a chain cover mount on the right seat stay?
Bianchigirll So here are some detail pics as requested. The stamping at top of seat tube appears to be 6D 238 and below BB maybe 37 or 57 or S7 are my best guesses. Also included close-up of tubing sticker remains. There definitely is some kind of 'Hanger' near the bottom of the drive side seat stay. Headset is Olympia pantographed.


BB


serial number

Hanger off rear brake mount

Seat tube decal


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Old 05-03-20, 07:49 AM
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Here are the build bits included in the exchange.








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Old 05-03-20, 09:54 AM
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I don't think the GPM drops indicate 2nd tier. a lot of Italian builders in the late 70s
stopped using Campy as the more affordable GPM or Columbus drops were exactly
the same. that is the classic Columbus decal denoting SL/SP. I suspect the bracket
on the right seatstay was for a chain hanger. I love the chrome lugs and the head badge
is tre cool!
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Old 05-03-20, 12:32 PM
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Actually thanks to the close-ups that Dannyboy21 just uploaded I do believe that decal is for Columbus Aelle tubing and it's a later style (post 1978, with blue border) than I had previously thought. But will stand by my assessment that it's not a "top-of-the-line" model, but I'm not disparaging it. I'm sure this will be a fine rider!
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Old 05-03-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Actually thanks to the close-ups that Dannyboy21 just uploaded I do believe that decal is for Columbus Aelle tubing and it's a later style (post 1978, with blue border) than I had previously thought. But will stand by my assessment that it's not a "top-of-the-line" model, but I'm not disparaging it. I'm sure this will be a fine rider!
You are correct. Seems to be Aelle. A little disappointed. Seller was sure it was SL. Damn my 50 year old eyesight. That close up would have come in handy yesterday!
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Old 05-03-20, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dannyboy21 View Post
You are correct. Seems to be Aelle. A little disappointed. Seller was sure it was SL. Damn my 50 year old eyesight. That close up would have come in handy yesterday!
Do not be disparaged, few here could tell any difference without looking at the sticker and even then their view would be suspect, considering.

Seen plenty of lowly frames that rode like a dream and many "good" frames that didn't live up to the hype.

There's a good article in another thread that does a blind frame test, very interesting as is the thread.

DB 531 v. 631OS v. SLX Tubing for Speed & Comfort

Last edited by merziac; 05-03-20 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 05-04-20, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Do not be disparaged, few here could tell any difference without looking at the sticker and even then their view would be suspect, considering.

Seen plenty of lowly frames that rode like a dream and many "good" frames that didn't live up to the hype.

There's a good article in another thread that does a blind frame test, very interesting as is the thread.

DB 531 v. 631OS v. SLX Tubing for Speed & Comfort
I have to laugh. I put on my bi-focals, looked closely at the tubing decal in good light and still could not make out the Aelle. Would Bianchigirll or anyone else have thoughts on what that bolt hanging down from rear brake bridge is for? Bracket for a fender maybe? Still looking forward to learning about and restoring this puppy.
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Old 05-04-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Dannyboy21 View Post
I have to laugh. I put on my bi-focals, looked closely at the tubing decal in good light and still could not make out the Aelle. Would Bianchigirll or anyone else have thoughts on what that bolt hanging down from rear brake bridge is for? Bracket for a fender maybe? Still looking forward to learning about and restoring this puppy.
Its likely either for a fender or a brake that mounts under the bridge, there was a post about that brake just in the last few days.
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Old 05-04-20, 10:24 AM
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be advised: that 3T stem and SR bars are not the same size. cast al-alloy stems have NO elasticity.
stem failure is a real possibility when the two parts are not exactly the same. I see 3T/Cinelli combos
all the time and just cringe!
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Old 05-04-20, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by steve sumner View Post
be advised: that 3T stem and SR bars are not the same size. cast al-alloy stems have NO elasticity.
stem failure is a real possibility when the two parts are not exactly the same. I see 3T/Cinelli combos
all the time and just cringe!
Good to know. I have an ITM in there now. I will look for a 3T. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-20, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Actually thanks to the close-ups that Dannyboy21 just uploaded I do believe that decal is for Columbus Aelle tubing and it's a later style (post 1978, with blue border) than I had previously thought. But will stand by my assessment that it's not a "top-of-the-line" model, but I'm not disparaging it. I'm sure this will be a fine rider!

This seems to be the match for the seat tube decal remains.
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Old 05-04-20, 03:35 PM
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Yep, that's my take on it, too^ Tretubi Aelle. But as Merziac has stated the (paraphrasing) the "proof of this pudding is in the riding"! So build it and ride, you may discover you love Tretubi Aelle.
BTW the thing to match with bars and stems is the clamp diameter, not necessarily the brand(s). Your panto'd 3TTT stem will be almost certainly 26.0mm (current "Italian" clamp diam. standard) so find the bars you like with that same clamp area diameter, most likely another Italian brand but EARLY Cinelli bars and concurrent stems were 26.4mm, often Japanese brands are 25.4 or occasionally 25.8, but there are exceptions all over (Nitto for example makes some 26.0 models, too) so measure with digital calipers or read the markings if they got 'em.
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Old 05-04-20, 03:55 PM
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Olympia is a full range Italian brand founded by Carlo Borghi in 1893, making it the 2nd oldest Italian brand in continuous manufacture, after Bianchi. The company sponsored a pro team in the 1930s and 1940s, though I'm not aware of them having any major victories on the palmares. Circa 1960, it was acquired by the Fontana family, who continue to offer the marque, to this day.

As noted, the decal remnants are an Aelle decal from 1978+. However, I believe it actually a Tretubi Aelle decal. Based on the decal, in conjunction with the S/N, I believe the frame is from 1986. Overall, the workmanship and fittings are consistent with a lower mid-range Tretubi Aelle model, with the exception of the chromed head lugs. It would appear to be a touring/randonneur type frame based on the dropout eyelets, fender bolt and what appears to be a chain guard tab.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:08 PM
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I had a look at an early 1980s catalog from Olympia and found nothing there that looks quite like your frame. I think it is mid-1980s, as the pantograph treatment started around then, and the Aelle decal is from that time. (I cannot imagine why anybody would put that sticker on besides the maker, as it confers no distinction as a Reynolds or Columbus SL decal does.) The brazed on cable guides & shifter bosses also date it. The head badge is unusual, as bikes of the era had either a decal (in use since the mid 1970s) or a pantographed design. Maybe they found a bunch of brass head badges in a drawer and used them up. The brazed on bits were found on mid-range racing frames, so I don't think it is necessarily a touring frame. The brazed on flange on right the seat stay may have been for a peg to hang the chain on when removing the rear wheel, rather than for a chain guard.
Small Italian bicycle makers are notoriously inconsistent in their product lines. If they ran out of a particular component, they would put on whatever they could get. In the early 1970s, I was assembling Olympias in the U.S. Some bikes would come with Campy Valentino derailleurs, while others used Huret Sveltos. Same model: spec sheet be damned! Likewise, frame tubes, even on the high-end models would vary: sometimes Reynolds, sometimes Columbus.
As others have observed, the ride quality is not much affected by the frame material. Gipiemme drop-outs are no different than Campagnolos in function and quality. I hope riding it gives you as much pleasure as the ones I have give me.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
I had a look at an early 1980s catalog from Olympia and found nothing there that looks quite like your frame. I think it is mid-1980s, as the pantograph treatment started around then, and the Aelle decal is from that time. (I cannot imagine why anybody would put that sticker on besides the maker, as it confers no distinction as a Reynolds or Columbus SL decal does.) The brazed on cable guides & shifter bosses also date it. The head badge is unusual, as bikes of the era had either a decal (in use since the mid 1970s) or a pantographed design. Maybe they found a bunch of brass head badges in a drawer and used them up. The brazed on bits were found on mid-range racing frames, so I don't think it is necessarily a touring frame. The brazed on flange on right the seat stay may have been for a peg to hang the chain on when removing the rear wheel, rather than for a chain guard.
Small Italian bicycle makers are notoriously inconsistent in their product lines. If they ran out of a particular component, they would put on whatever they could get. In the early 1970s, I was assembling Olympias in the U.S. Some bikes would come with Campy Valentino derailleurs, while others used Huret Sveltos. Same model: spec sheet be damned! Likewise, frame tubes, even on the high-end models would vary: sometimes Reynolds, sometimes Columbus.
As others have observed, the ride quality is not much affected by the frame material. Gipiemme drop-outs are no different than Campagnolos in function and quality. I hope riding it gives you as much pleasure as the ones I have give me.
Thanks for the information. I appreciate your taking the time to look the bike up for me. The paint is the other factor that had me stymied. According to the prescribed reading the pearl white paint seems more as described on earlier frames but the consensus says mid-80s and I'll take it. I have a mix of earlier Suntour Cyclone and Campagnolo I hope to affix to the frame and have it out for a spin by next weekend.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:28 PM
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-----

aixaix

it has come up in prior discussions regarding this manufacturer that they work closely with a retail shop in their town or a nearby one.

they are reported do contract bicycles for the shop which exhibit a private label for the shop rather than the Olympia badge.

am unable to recall the shop or badge but think you will likely be familiar with it...


-----
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Old 05-12-20, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

aixaix

it has come up in prior discussions regarding this manufacturer that they work closely with a retail shop in their town or a nearby one.

they are reported do contract bicycles for the shop which exhibit a private label for the shop rather than the Olympia badge.

am unable to recall the shop or badge but think you will likely be familiar with it...


-----
I know nothing about this. A friend of mine who regularly visits the Olympia factory and is close with the Fontana cousins who own it hasn't heard about this either.
That doesn't mean it isn't true. A number of bike shops in Europe have bought and rebadged bikes over the years. The Fraysse family in New Jersey used "Paris Sport" as the house brand name. The bikes so labeled were made by Gitane, Lejeune and a number of other manufacturers.
https://flic.kr/p/2j1pmGQ
Here's a scan from an old catalog that looks a lot like an earlier version of your frame. Note the head badge, chain guard, fenders, lugs and fork crown. Your bike is newer, but could have evolved from this model.
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Old 05-12-20, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
I know nothing about this. A friend of mine who regularly visits the Olympia factory and is close with the Fontana cousins who own it hasn't heard about this either.
That doesn't mean it isn't true. A number of bike shops in Europe have bought and rebadged bikes over the years. The Fraysse family in New Jersey used "Paris Sport" as the house brand name. The bikes so labeled were made by Gitane, Lejeune and a number of other manufacturers.
https://flic.kr/p/2j1pmGQ
Here's a scan from an old catalog that looks a lot like an earlier version of your frame. Note the head badge, chain guard, fenders, lugs and fork crown. Your bike is newer, but could have evolved from this model.
aixaix this question came from juvela but I really appreciate the scan of the bike on flicker. I believe you have pinpointed what I have. Although the tubing material is different on the spec sheet a lot of the other stuff is bang on down to the chromed head tube lugs. Thanks a bunch for your input.
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Old 05-14-20, 06:17 PM
  #25  
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Olympia Educated!?

Thanks to aixaix, merziac and others it seems likely that I have an Olympia Condor which as T-Mar pointed out is a Condorino or Randonneur, for a Franco-Canadian such as myself. I have attached both the photos scan provided by aixaix and the frame as I built it.
My Olympia Condor
I decided t
o build with Shimano 600 EX (Arabesque) which I thought matched the bling factor of this frame's chromed lugs. I got to watch an old wrench work some magic to get the shifters functioning while I drank his beer. Awesome! Saved that Suntour Cyclone for that Reynolds frame I am looking for.


Olympia Condor from catalog scan.

Olympia Condor spec sheet.
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