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Why are some vintage Italian bicycles labelled "Super?”

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Why are some vintage Italian bicycles labelled "Super?”

Old 10-26-20, 04:00 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by agmazza View Post
The Cinelli’s official name is Speciale Corsa. Or, so it started out as such. That is what is written in the frame transfer of my Cinelli.
Mine, too, and it's a good point.
My Colnago Super is not.
My Speciale Corsa is.
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Old 10-26-20, 04:35 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by markk900 View Post
In many things Italian "super" = "extra" - Super leggera = "extra lightweight" not "better lightweight" - so not always indicative of a boast about quality (well, still a boast I suppose!).
It was a good way to denote a higher level/standard of equipment, using a term that is fairly universal (or global). They, I would say correctly, probably figured it was easier for foreign markets to understand than the usual suffixes like -issimo/issima, even if those have more cache these days (a specialissma sounds, well, special!)

Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
No, in this case ("pro-strada" and "pro-pista") means "for" the road and "for" the track.
Nah. As someone said, the "pro" part is the level, and the "strada/pista" is the application. Pro is sometimes used in modern Italian to say "in favor of," just as it is used in English, but that's about it, other than professional(e).
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Old 10-26-20, 04:43 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
It was a good way to denote a higher level/standard of equipment, using a term that is fairly universal (or global). They, I would say correctly, probably figured it was easier for foreign markets to understand than the usual suffixes like -issimo/issima, even if those have more cache these days (a specialissma sounds, well, special!)



Nah. As someone said, the "pro" part is the level, and the "strada/pista" is the application. Pro is sometimes used in modern Italian to say "in favor of," just as it is used in English, but that's about it, other than professional(e).
And translated into English in the context, it would be "for the street" and "for the track". Not "in favor of the street" and "in favor of the track". Neither is it "professional street", "professional track".

If you talk about "level" and differentiate that from the usage to denote "professional", please do tell what other thing than "professional" "pro" can stand for? What are the other "levels" that is in no way related to "professional"?

Edit: Pro or con: For or against.

Last edited by CargoDane; 10-26-20 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:47 AM
  #54  
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NOT a Superissimo label, as having durability....
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Old 10-27-20, 10:57 PM
  #55  
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You only have to say it out loud. Let it be so!
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Old 10-28-20, 02:27 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by TLaurent View Post
Thanks to COVID and being an empty nester, I’ve dusted off my interest in bikes and have begun a couple 70s and 80s Italian builds because those old rides are beautiful and are an important part of bicycle history. I’m learning a lot and realize how little I know and am enjoying the ride. I keep coming across the word “Super” and am hoping that the forum can educate me. There are many frames for sale on the internet for Super versions including Colnago Super, Tommassini Super Prestige, Bianchi Super Corsa, and several less popular brands that seem to have gone by the wayside but deemed including the word Super on the frames to establish a higher level of quality. Does this mean that they were originally equipped with Campagnolo Super Record group sets or does it have to do with the material that the frames were made from? Is it just a marketing ploy or is there real value to Super frames?
it is not only an italian thing, even Daimler-Benz Mercedes, known for exuberant model names like "220 E", used/uses it a lot. There was the SSKL (Super Sport Kurz Leicht), or the SL (Super Leicht), etc...

but of course, no one beats the italians for style

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Old 10-28-20, 10:25 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
And translated into English in the context, it would be "for the street" and "for the track". Not "in favor of the street" and "in favor of the track". Neither is it "professional street", "professional track".

If you talk about "level" and differentiate that from the usage to denote "professional", please do tell what other thing than "professional" "pro" can stand for? What are the other "levels" that is in no way related to "professional"?
I don't buy it.

If a manufacturer sells two versions of a bike and calls one "Corsa" and the more expensive one "Corsa Pro", I think your explanation falls apart; Pro is short for Professional. You'd have to prove all the manufacturers who use this nomenclature are doing it wrong.

Also for example we also have the English language versions of Stumpjumper, Stumpjumper Comp, and Stumpjumper Pro, in which "Comp" and "Pro" are clearly distinguishing buzzwords indicating quality/price bumps having nothing to do with intended use.
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Old 10-28-20, 10:50 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I don't buy it.

If a manufacturer sells two versions of a bike and calls one "Corsa" and the more expensive one "Corsa Pro", I think your explanation falls apart; Pro is short for Professional. You'd have to prove all the manufacturers who use this nomenclature are doing it wrong.
They didn't sell one called "Corsa Pro". They sold one called "Pro Corsa". There's a huge difference.


Also for example we also have the English language versions of Stumpjumper, Stumpjumper Comp, and Stumpjumper Pro, in which "Comp" and "Pro" are clearly distinguishing buzzwords indicating quality/price bumps having nothing to do with intended use.
Read the thread again. Or at least the posts I'm responding to as well as my posts.
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Old 10-28-20, 03:54 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
The best part about the Cinelli Super Corsa moniker is that it only exists because of a decal supplier's typo. Up until (I think) the early to mid-70s, Cinelli always called the model "Speciale Corsa." Somewhere along the line, they ordered new decals. They wanted "Speciale Corsa." The printer gave them "Super Corsa." I am not sure if this happened before or after Cino sold the company to the Columbos (somewhere around 1978), but it appears that whoever was in charge said "what the heck" and used them. Hence the names "Speciale Corsa" and "Super Corsa" became interchangeable. "Super Corsa" eventualy won out. It probably did not help that, up until the 1960s sometime, the sticker that went on the frames said "Mod. S.C.", meaning "Super Corsa" was a reasonable guess at the model name for the non-cognoscenti.
Actually, the opposite is true, "Speciale" was the "mistake". The 1963 and 1973 Cinelli catalogs called it the Super Corsa. Also around 1963, the bike started to appear with the Speciale Corsa decal, up until about 1970 when they went "back" to Super Corsa. Personally, I don't buy that 7 years was an "error".

Also, prior to Cino's involvement, when Giotto owned Cinelli, he sold a Speciale Corsa frame. Masi and Bianchi also used "Special" in their bike names. Not as common as Super, but still pretty common.
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Old 10-28-20, 04:02 PM
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Forgot, Legnano also had a Specialissimo.
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Old 10-28-20, 06:55 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Forgot, Legnano also had a Specialissimo.
And Galmozzi with the Super Compitizione.
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Old 10-29-20, 09:57 AM
  #62  
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I'm just really super struggling to see the point of attempting to deconstruct some marketing decision (probably) on a bike name. I suppose that I'm just turbo stoopidissimo. Or would that be Pro Stoopidissimo? Or Stoopidissimo Professional?

I'm gonna call my bike line Turbo Pro Super Specialissimo Corsa Professional so there is no question about its superissimo excellence
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Old 10-29-20, 10:23 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
I'm just really super struggling to see the point of attempting to deconstruct some marketing decision (probably) on a bike name. I suppose that I'm just turbo stoopidissimo. Or would that be Pro Stoopidissimo? Or Stoopidissimo Professional?

I'm gonna call my bike line Turbo Pro Super Specialissimo Corsa Professional so there is no question about its superissimo excellence
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Old 10-29-20, 11:18 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
I'm just really super struggling to see the point of attempting to deconstruct some marketing decision (probably) on a bike name.
I have nothing better to do.
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Old 10-29-20, 11:20 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Mogens View Post
Generally, it felt to me like Italian uses a relatively small number of adjectives relative to English, ‘brutto’ and ‘bello’ chiefly. I haven’t been there in 25 years, so I don’t know if that’s the case any more.
Forgot to respond before, but suffice to say that they certainly have plenty of adjectives to chose from, plus the aforementioned absolute superlatives to modify them further and provide more specificity. Plus, they have the super useful word "proprio" that is sorely lacking a good English equivalent (at least that I know of), which is partly responsible for the horrific overuse and misuse of "literally" these days.

Yes, it is true that bello and brutto are very common, but what would they have to say about the way most American English speakers use the word "like"?

Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
And translated into English in the context, it would be "for the street" and "for the track". Not "in favor of the street" and "in favor of the track". Neither is it "professional street", "professional track".

If you talk about "level" and differentiate that from the usage to denote "professional", please do tell what other thing than "professional" "pro" can stand for? What are the other "levels" that is in no way related to "professional"?

Edit: Pro or con: For or against.
I'm not sure you interpreted my post the way it was intended to be interpreted (my fault, because it wasn't well written). It isn't about translation "in context." Granted, I'm not familiar with this specific brand and their naming policies, but I would be really surprised if the intention was to communicate "for the street" or "for the track" by using the term "pro."

It is very common for a model name to have a modifier tacked on at the end to indicate a higher spec. Or the "pro" itself could be a model name. Either way, they added the "strada" and "pista" at the end to indicate the intended use, and those words alone take care of that. The "pro" had nothing to do with the intended use.
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Old 10-29-20, 11:25 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
I have nothing better to do.
Same. Empty Nestor, COVID, bikes. Plus, the marketing has proven to add considerable value in most of these examples. One could say that it was splendido!
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Old 10-29-20, 11:28 AM
  #67  
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It wasn't the "strada pro" and the "coursa pro", though.
Context matters:

A pro bike = A professional bike or a bike for professionals
A pro bono job = Literally: For the public good. Often it means "doing something for free - usually judicial work.
Pro or con = For or against, but often used as "good or bad things about xx"
Pro Brexit = Someone who is for the UK to exit the European Union
Pro car = Either someone advocating for cars or a car that is professional in some area
Car pro = Someone who makes a living in or around cars.

There is also a difference between a "pro bike" and a "bike pro".

The context in which those are used will be translated differently to English with different connotations (although "for" is almost always there if the "Pro" is there as the first word). The moment it is in English, it has to conform to the English language.
Not that it matters in the end. It's just language and at this point, I really don't care that much.

Last edited by CargoDane; 10-29-20 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 10-29-20, 02:56 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
It wasn't the "strada pro" and the "coursa pro", though.
Context matters:

A pro bike = A professional bike or a bike for professionals
A pro bono job = Literally: For the public good. Often it means "doing something for free - usually judicial work.
Pro or con = For or against, but often used as "good or bad things about xx"
Pro Brexit = Someone who is for the UK to exit the European Union
Pro car = Either someone advocating for cars or a car that is professional in some area
Car pro = Someone who makes a living in or around cars.

There is also a difference between a "pro bike" and a "bike pro".

The context in which those are used will be translated differently to English with different connotations (although "for" is almost always there if the "Pro" is there as the first word). The moment it is in English, it has to conform to the English language.
Not that it matters in the end. It's just language and at this point, I really don't care that much.
Change pro to bro.

Yah. Mind blown.
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Old 10-29-20, 04:33 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
It wasn't the "strada pro" and the "coursa pro", though.
Context matters:

A pro bike = A professional bike or a bike for professionals
A pro bono job = Literally: For the public good. Often it means "doing something for free - usually judicial work.
Pro or con = For or against, but often used as "good or bad things about xx"
Pro Brexit = Someone who is for the UK to exit the European Union
Pro car = Either someone advocating for cars or a car that is professional in some area
Car pro = Someone who makes a living in or around cars.

There is also a difference between a "pro bike" and a "bike pro".
Note, not one of those is Italian. Perhaps that is my major disagreement with your point. Do you have other examples besides Medici/Confente?
What about Pro Tour?
And the bike model "for" a professional would be the Pro Pro ... that sounds very French.


In a similar vein, how about a list of Italian brands that are just spelled out acronyms?

Gipiemme = GPM
Aelle = AL
Biemme = BM
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Old 10-29-20, 04:42 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Note, not one of those is Italian. Perhaps that is my major disagreement with your point. Do you have other examples besides Medici/Confente?
What about Pro Tour?
And the bike model "for" a professional would be the Pro Pro ... that sounds very French.
No, only if you wanted to denote "for the professional". Which you wouldn't need to with a pro.

I know they're italian - Pro Corsa and Pro Strada. That's not the point. The point is that those words when translated into English says something in English. You cannot translate something into another language and then refuse to use the language you translated it into.



In a similar vein, how about a list of Italian brands that are just spelled out acronyms?

Gipiemme = GPM
Aelle = AL
Biemme = BM
I don't see how acronyms have any bearing on anything. They're acronyms, not words. When acronyms are translated, you translate the words they mean and make a NEW acronym. However, you don't do that with brands. However, you do do that with, say, names of countries, so in French, the USA is les États-Unis d'Amerique, which becomes les EUA. And in Italian it's something like Stati Uniti d'America, or SUA.

But again, brand acronyms are not really in discussion, and I have no idea what point you're trying to make with that nugget.

Edit: I just realised you meant the other way around: That the words is how you sound the letters in whatever language. Well, if they actually use the spelling out of the sounds of the letters, then the result really doesn't have any meaning, does it? If they only pronounce it, but use the actual letters on their stuff (not the sounding of the letters), then that will be pronounced differently around the world.

But anyway, if they use the word "Aelle" rather than writing/printing "AL", then that word is just a meaningless word, you don't translate that, as THAT now has become the brand name.

Last edited by CargoDane; 10-29-20 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 12-01-20, 09:55 AM
  #71  
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I always found it funny that Univega liked using "Specialissima" on their top of the line touring bike, maybe the least Italian style of bike you can make.

Like most of their model names, they liked pulling from their Italvega days and using Italian-sounding stuff. They really liked themselves some "Super", or "Special" - Super Strada, Superlight, I think they even went all the way and had their top road model named the Super Special for a few years.
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Old 12-01-20, 09:56 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
I wonder when "Tactical" will be applied to bikes? If it already hasn't.
When it happens, I guarantee it'll be Specialized.

Speaking of Specialized, I'm not sure it was them, but especially in MTBs, they seemed to start the loose hierarchy of component levels being labeled Sport/Comp/Pro/Team. "Team" or "Team Issue" definitely seemed popular to denote an absolute top of the line halo bike back in the 90s.
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
The SC, S.C., speciale corsa, Super Corsa, Supercorsa causes all kinds of grief.

i have found them languishing on eBay when not enough key terms have been used.
.
Another fun example: De Rosa Professionals constantly getting called De Rosa Super Prestiges due to the Eddy Merckx commerative decal (reading "Trophee Super Prestige") on them. An old issue of Bicycling I saw actually repeated this mistake in a review of the bike.


E) dangit, had this thread open from another search and didn't realize it was old, whoops

Last edited by sheddle; 12-01-20 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 12-01-20, 10:44 AM
  #73  
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So super

I have a Gitane Super Corsa. That’s Italian in French!
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