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Why is there more love for Italian Steel bikes?

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Why is there more love for Italian Steel bikes?

Old 07-21-20, 06:16 PM
  #51  
ramzilla
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This is my counterfeit DeRosa


Just kidding. (It's a cheap Japanese imitation).
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Old 07-21-20, 07:11 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Quick release paint and decals do not seem to keep people from loving a lot of Italian bikes.
They GO so fast the paint peels off.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:07 PM
  #53  
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It's not limited to bikes, is it? Italian architecture, cuisine, art, design, it's all put up on a pedestal as some of the most wonderful contributions to humanity. The blending of art and engineering that can lift the spirit is not something that comes easily.

The downside is they've been doing it for so long anything can have a red, white and green sticker these days and it's immediately desirable and marked up $$.

Italian cycling was obviously a massive influence on frame builders globally. Paconi, Conceicao, Beretto, Euro - they're all Australian frame builders in the 80's/90's. Nagasawa has the Italian colours in its logo. 3Rensho's logo includes part of the Cinelli flying C.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:33 PM
  #54  
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Ironically Japanese cyclists absolutely loved Italian bikes. Read an article about a recent survey saying the three most admired bike brands there being Colnago, Pinarello and De Rosa.

Given some old catalogs, they also had a big weakness for classic high end French style touring bikes.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:41 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Cultures in the Catholic religion seem to be marked with passion. I won't go into theology to try to explain why, but it's an observation. And Italians seem even more so than, say, the French.
French passion is more stubbornness. They seem to have an allergy to following standards and best practices set by other countries. This usually results in laughable products like a smoking Renault, or a Simplex Prestige, but sometimes they throw you an absolute left field masterpiece like a Citroen GS, Rene Herse touring bike, or a Huret Jubilee. Wouldn't have them any other way.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:49 PM
  #56  
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84 Nuovo Mexico. Looks Great. Rides Great.


Last edited by Andy Antipas; 07-21-20 at 09:00 PM. Reason: revise narrative.
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Old 07-21-20, 09:00 PM
  #57  
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Italian regions are so competitive with each other that they excel in many things on a micro scale. The parts are greater than the whole. Look up the Wiki list of past provinces, it's staggering. And each one insists it has the best, wine, cheeses, moral values, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, bread, cars, on and on. Craftsmanship in most everything they make. Bikes is a great example.
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Old 07-21-20, 09:47 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
I drank the kool-aide. I think it happened when I was stationed in Italy in the 60's and walking around the small town near the base I happened to look in the window of an engineering supply store and saw the most streamlined drafting machine ever - and I thot ............... only in Italy.
The rest is History

BTW the cars go without saying and the shotguns are a near necessity for a serious shooter
Were you in Vicenza ?
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Old 07-21-20, 10:00 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Ironically Japanese cyclists absolutely loved Italian bikes. Read an article about a recent survey saying the three most admired bike brands there being Colnago, Pinarello and De Rosa.

Given some old catalogs, they also had a big weakness for classic high end French style touring bikes.
Way back in 1987 I entered a local bike race in Okinawa Japan, I entered it out of peer pressure as I was clearly not in racing form.

I showed up in my white Olmo SL with full Campy Record, the bike drew alot of attention and alot of pictures from the crowd. They were in awe and it was a Hit.

As for the Race, it was a 25 mile Crit and I blew the doors off everybody ,,,for 22 miles.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:06 PM
  #60  
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Most Italian Export Frames, the shop I was in sold a few Thomasellis, is they shipped painted and pretty. But ..

the final threading and prep was left to the retail shopkeeper.

That sold a lot of Campagnolo frame prep tool sets ..

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Old 07-21-20, 10:07 PM
  #61  
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What was it...win on Sunday, sell on Monday.

Cars and bikes would win races over the weekend and you'd have people showing up the following day cash in hand to buy the good stuff.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:25 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Pinarello and Wilier in particular seem to have been the big recent winners of using pro racing as brand cachet. Wilier in particular seems a bit obscure across the Atlantic before the 20th Century.
That's because Wilier was founded in 1906. Do you mean the 21st century?
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Old 07-21-20, 10:37 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The French had a great racing heritage, arguably greater than Italians, up to the 1970s. However, for the most part their success was tied to big, full range brands like Gitane, Motobecane and Peugeot.

Italy's popularity was also tied to the big, full range brands into the 1970s, with marques like Atala, Bianchi, Bottecchia and Legnano being the most popular during the early 1970s bicycle boom.

Then in 1975, a curious thing happened, the boom went bust. Looking to retain financial liquidity, many of the larger, full range manufacturers ditched their independent American distributors and set up their own USA based sales and distribution divisions in an attempt to retain a large piece of a much shrunken pie. This forced the independent distributors to look for new bicycles and the late 1970s saw a number of smaller, more exclusive brands introduced to the USA, many of them being Italian.
This (including the parts I didn't quote) is a very interesting analysis. I have a sense that part of the popularity of Italian bikes is that, apart from Bianchis of a certain period, there just aren't low-end Italian bikes. I'm sure there are some, maybe more than I realize, but that's at least not the impression I have of them, and for the purposes of this discussion perception is everything.

For example, this is an entry level Colnago:



Columbus tubing
Forged dropouts
Chrome lugs and fork
Pantographed fork crown
Internally routed brake cable
Nice construction

For most brands, this would be their top-of-the-line model. For Colnago, it was the bottom.

By contrast, a typical bottom-of-the-lineup Raleigh is likely to have a hi-tensile steel frame, stem shifters, stamped dropouts, cottered cranks, and a curb weight around 35 pounds. Sure, Raleigh sold a lot more bikes by offering models like this, but they diluted their brand.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:46 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Italian regions are so competitive with each other that they excel in many things on a micro scale. The parts are greater than the whole. Look up the Wiki list of past provinces, it's staggering. And each one insists it has the best, wine, cheeses, moral values, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, bread, cars, on and on. Craftsmanship in most everything they make. Bikes is a great example.
I study (and teach) the medieval martial art of Fiore De Liberi and the same is true about martial systems. Many provinces in competition give rise to superior martial arts. That’s how Japan’s martial systems developed, many small competitive provinces.

That said, I’ve never owned an Italian bike, because they seem to lean towards racing. I’m more a tourer, and distance rider. I’ve had Miyata’s, Treks, and Cannondale’s. I like those companies because they make their own frames, and they put the same effort into “sports touring” and full touring frames, that they put into their racing frames.

Italian frames have a racing history, that makes them popular and also less interesting to me.
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Old 07-21-20, 11:06 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
Here's a "Stodgy" British bike for you built in 1985 fillet brazed slx at 18.5 lbs. it will absolutely trash the Colnago and Cinelli I had.
LOL!

The era I reference is at least 20 years prior to your bike.

Don't take it the wrong way, though, after all, look at the bike I ride.
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Old 07-21-20, 11:09 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
Were you in Vicenza ?
Brindisi - - - San Vito dei Normanni
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Old 07-21-20, 11:16 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by last ride 76 View Post
compared to my ron cooper or the others like him? Hah. Gas pipes? Eisentraut, strawberry, redcay, teledyne(lol) paramount, of the mid- seventies? What about those that came, or became really well known a few years later, like ben serotta?

​​​​​foreign cachet, at the time. I would gladly trade my '86 de rosa professional for the blue peter mooney currently on nh clist. And would have in 86, as well, had i been riding.
Seriously...offer stands.
LOL! I seem to have struck a nerve. LOL!
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Old 07-22-20, 12:34 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Italian women need more credit -
So to gather the consensus of the thread, let's say Monica Bellucci, riding a Colnago, toting a Beretta pistol (and a Bertuzzi shotgun, for good measure) while playing a '60s Vox guitar and preparing an espresso with a nice old Gaggia machine...

That's pretty good afternoon, yes?
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Old 07-22-20, 01:56 AM
  #69  
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If the bike is form the 60's the French seem to make the most attractive, in the 70's-80's all Italian all the time, There was very little made starting in the late 80's to early 2000's that was attractive companies were playing with different materials and we started the stripped down/industrial look. It's now 2020 and just about every mass produced bike is ugly (looking at you Dogma) even if they're "better", but we have a larger selection of boutique brands that are building attractive bikes. There have always been custom makers doing nice stuff and right now the Americans seem to be dominating that game no matter the material but there are a couple German builders out there I like (Nua).

There are excellent bikes from every where and my list leaves out the Japanese, they build great bikes and have for a long time but like a Camry or and Accord there great but lack something.

Porsche>Ferrari all day and twice on Sunday
VW>Peugeot/Citroen all day and twice on Sunday

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Old 07-22-20, 05:13 AM
  #70  
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I had to have a piece of the Italian mystic and found this unicorn 9 years ago. Can't imagine not having it.

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Old 07-22-20, 05:19 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
LOL!

The era I reference is at least 20 years prior to your bike.

Don't take it the wrong way, though, after all, look at the bike I ride.
Looks like you left that part out. lol
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Old 07-22-20, 05:34 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
As part of their education, it became known that many of the top riders rode custom manufactured, rebranded frames. Eddy Merckx was the undisputed king of bicycle racing and it became known that he actually rode Colnago, Masi and De Rosa. As a result, the demand for these frames outstripped the supply and when they couldn't be had, the prospective buyer started looking at some of the other Italian brands that were appearing in the American market, like Guerciotti, Pinarello and Rossin.
I think Eddy really started it, riding a Masi disguised as a Peugeot in the 60's, then moving to an Italian team, working with Colnago, DeRosa, etc. That was I think what pushed exclusive Italian racing bikes into the spotlight more than anything.
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Old 07-22-20, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I think Eddy really started it, riding a Masi disguised as a Peugeot in the 60's, then moving to an Italian team, working with Colnago, DeRosa, etc. That was I think what pushed exclusive Italian racing bikes into the spotlight more than anything.
I have no knowledge of the American situation. But here in Europe (but not in Italy), I remember listening to my father’s narrative as a child in the ’70s, who was young in the‘ 40s and ’50s, and referring to the Bianchi and Legnano as the Holy Grail.

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Old 07-22-20, 07:00 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I always attributed the popularity of Italian racing bicycles to their racing heritage. Nothing breeds sales success like success in high level competition.

The American builders, as a collective whole, laboured over the details and finish more than anybody and offered Campagnolo but they didn't sponsor high profile pro teams.

The British had also had very fine builders and offered Campagnolo but outside of Raleigh they didn't have the financial resources to sponsor pro teams outside the British Isles.

The French had a great racing heritage, arguably greater than Italians, up to the 1970s. However, for the most part their success was tied to big, full range brands like Gitane, Motobecane and Peugeot.

Italy's popularity was also tied to the big, full range brands into the 1970s, with marques like Atala, Bianchi, Bottecchia and Legnano being the most popular during the early 1970s bicycle boom.

Then in 1975, a curious thing happened, the boom went bust. Looking to retain financial liquidity, many of the larger, full range manufacturers ditched their independent American distributors and set up their own USA based sales and distribution divisions in an attempt to retain a large piece of a much shrunken pie. This forced the independent distributors to look for new bicycles and the late 1970s saw a number of smaller, more exclusive brands introduced to the USA, many of them being Italian.

Now, this development was perfectly suited for the avid American cyclist. They'd been through the boom and had gained more knowledgeable about what constitutes a high grade bicycle. They were prepared to ditch their Peugeot or Raleigh for something more exclusive and exotic. As a result, the high end market swung away from Peugeot PX-10 and Raleigh Professionals.

As part of their education, it became known that many of the top riders rode custom manufactured, rebranded frames. Eddy Merckx was the undisputed king of bicycle racing and it became known that he actually rode Colnago, Masi and De Rosa. As a result, the demand for these frames outstripped the supply and when they couldn't be had, the prospective buyer started looking at some of the other Italian brands that were appearing in the American market, like Guerciotti, Pinarello and Rossin.

Penetration into the American market allowed these smaller brannds to grow, to the point where they could start sponsoring pro teams. That was immediate increased stature and racing success was only icing on the cake. Basically, it snowballed throughout the 1980s for the high end Italian manufacturers, with racing success bring increased sales and popularity, which allowed hiring better riders, which created more success in races and in sales.

I think you can look at certain high profile race performances as being instrumental in driving the USA market popularity of the smaller Italian brands.

1. Eddy Merckx, 1972 Hour Record on Colnago.

2. Dave Stoller, 1978, not winning but giving the "good old American try", in Breaking Away on a Masi.

3. Giuseppe Saronni, 1982 World Championship for Colnago.

4. Francesco Moser, 1984 Hour Record for Moser.

5. Alexi Grewal, 1984 Olympic road race victory for Pinarello

6. Stephen Roche winning the Triple Crown (Giro d-Italia, Tour de France, World Championship) for Battaglin.
note that Pinarello at their museum totally ignores the 1984 Olympic victory.

Masi Carlsbad’s high volume production year was 1975- sales collapsed in 1976.

i think it was 1975 that Columbus ran a full page advert in Bycycling! magazine- America Discovers Columbus with an image of Eddy and his bike.

lots at play in the 1970’s

a number of the factory owned USA distributors also did not do well, Gitane USA for one.

and don’t discount the yen to dollar exchange rate... it ushered in the demise of the Japanese factories being priced out and the rise of others like Giant.
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Old 07-22-20, 07:35 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I think Eddy really started it, riding a Masi disguised as a Peugeot in the 60's, then moving to an Italian team, working with Colnago, DeRosa, etc. That was I think what pushed exclusive Italian racing bikes into the spotlight more than anything.
What was the peak of riders riding bikes painted like their sponsors? I remember hearing something about how like a majority of the French riders in the peloton got their bikes from Cyfac at some point.
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