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Help ID my (fake? ) Olmo Mexico frame

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Help ID my (fake? ) Olmo Mexico frame

Old 01-28-21, 08:14 AM
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Beurt
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Help ID my (fake? ) Olmo Mexico frame

Hi everyone,
I bought this bike a couple months ago for close to nothing and intend to put it back on the road.
Seller didn't have much to say about it and I mostly went and grab it because of it's color, price and some of the components I was able to spot on the pictures he posted that I liked.

The bike as I picked it up from seller

Upon closer inspection on site I was surprised to decifer Olmo decals on the head tube and frame.

Head tube Olmo decal

Nearly gone Olmo Mexico decal
There are though none of the pantographed elements you'd expect to find on such a bike.
More over the bottom bracket is stamped "RGF" which would indicate a French made bike. (Raccords Garrett Frères)

Then again the capital Gs on the fork don't look very Olmo to me.

Fork
Wheels don't give much more info and could be younger than the frame, the front is silver Mavic rim on a Mavic hub when the rear is an unmarked black rim on a Maillard helicomatic hub.
Being in the French Alps the border with Italy is not far but I'm leaning towards a French redecorated frame. Olmo or not I like it a lot and will ride it.
If it's fake I'm wondering why doing this and if maybe that was common practice at a time.
And also what I should do with it? Clean and put the same decals on or leave it blank?
Any help solving the mystery of this frame's origin will be greatly appreciated. Don't hesitate to ask for more precise details, I'll answer if I can.
If I find any more clues dismounting it, I'll post them here.
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Old 01-28-21, 08:39 AM
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Nice looking lugs! Could you take a picture of the seat cluster, front and back?
I would disassemble, lube and clean. Check the fork steerer tube for markings. If Columbus tubing there should be a dove.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
Nice looking lugs! Could you take a picture of the seat cluster, front and back?
I would disassemble, lube and clean. Check the fork steerer tube for markings. If Columbus tubing there should be a dove.
Thanks for your answer, no dove on the steerer tube. Here is the seat cluster.


The frame feels fairly light compared to my Mercier tour de France but it could be just an illusion...
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Old 01-28-21, 10:11 AM
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Can't really help but was hoping @T-Mar or others could chime in.
Looks like a quality frame set to my uneducated eyes.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:24 AM
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Life Is An Illusion

Originally Posted by Beurt View Post
Thanks for your answer, no dove on the steerer tube. Here is the seat cluster.

The frame feels fairly light compared to my Mercier tour de France but it could be just an illusion...
The "Dove" tends to be very lightly stamped, and is often not perceptible. Look and feel up the steerer tube and ascertain whether it is "rifled" or not?

"RGF" is the BB shell brand, in common use prior to 1980 by frame builders of all nationalities.

To identify the maker of a frame, details of the frame making are helpful. Pics of the underside of the bottom bracket, the finishing of the stay ends, the type of dropouts, the way seat and chain stays are braced, the tangs on the inside of the forks blades, and so on are all necessary. In other words, pictures of wherever the builder's hand would have left a telltale "fingerprint" are worth depicting.

Seat tube size? BB threading?

Nice gentle bend to that forks!

Congratulations on your acquisition!

Last edited by machinist42; 01-28-21 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:57 AM
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RGF was indeed a FR maker of frame bits, best known for their BB shells but they made them in at least 2 (maybe more) threadings and they were very popular with Brit builders. Would not be out of the question for this to have been built in nearly any country in Europe....but can be narrowed down with some critical clues: what are the ODs of the 3 main tubes? What is the BB threading (looks like maybe a Stronglight BB unit? The seat cluster is very interesting, both being a shot-in fastback" but also the "Dutch style binder" yet this is opposite (male bolt head on the LEFT instead of Right) to common practice.
What are those "caps" on the WB bosses?
What dropouts and fork end brand?
Take a pic of the bottom of the BB shell.
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Old 01-28-21, 11:13 AM
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As an owner of a couple of Olmo bikes now, I'll say, the lugs fit what Olmo used on a lot of its bikes. The seat cluster is like nothing I've seen on an Olmo, seat stay caps are usually long spoons or stays terminate into a Cinelli-esque treatment.

I'm thinking the fork could be a red herring. The "G" with an arrow end is unique. I thought at first maybe it was a lower-end bike like the Olmo Deluxe due to the seat cluster, but I'm pretty sure the Deluxe used a different lugset.

Interesting find, and worth the money if bought for 'close to nothing'. Headset could fetch you $50-60 all day long and the crankset another $65-100. Odd selection of parts, lots of French there. Curious, any threading stamps on the BB cups? What threading is the top nut on the headset?
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Old 01-28-21, 12:11 PM
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I have nothing to add, except that it looks like a worthy basis for a project.

But is that a crack at the top of the left seatstay? If so, it looks like it is just the brass (not the tube) and is easlily repaired.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:28 PM
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The bottom bracket is probably made with sealed bearings inside.
I vote French
ditch the Olmo graphics.
looks like vertical dropouts maybe?
not sure on the fork.
small chance it is a late Carré shop frame.
if so, really inspect closely for Super Vitus stamps on the tubes- just a hunch- paint might be thin enough.
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Old 01-29-21, 02:11 AM
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Thank you all for your insight and guidance, the mystery is not solved yet...
I could not remove the bottom bracket just yet and will have to make a tool for this, so pics and measurements of the threads will come later. There is no serial number to be found under it sadly though.
Upon a first light cleaning with alcool I can tell that the decals were not covered with varnish as they are easily coming off.
I checked the seat stays and so far can't see any cracks which is good news.
These are the rear drilled campagnolo drop-outs before I removed the wheels.

I found out last night that the lugs are "prugnat s4" and are matching Olmo Mexico pics I found online. This is pointing in the direction of a real Olmo bike but far from sufficient to be 100% sure.
More pics to come this afternoon, for the moment I'm still believing it's a "same Era replica"
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Old 01-29-21, 04:50 AM
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Certainly a top drawer bike. The lugs and dropouts point in that direction. I can’t wait to find out what you got. There is someone here who can narrow it down. Threading specs would help.
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Old 01-29-21, 10:41 AM
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More clues found today are pointing towards France...
Head tube threading on the underside of the top campagnolo nut reads France 25/4.00

The fork itself revealed spiral rifling down the tube (couldn't manage to make a good picture of it) and maybe a colombus dove on the tube.

There's a 25 stamped on it as well for the diameter.
The fork dropouts are marked campagnolo:

The underside of the bb shows a 23 mark (sorry the pic isn't good) and a shifting cables routing that doesn't look very Olmo quality to me.


​​​​I haven't found rifling in the frame tubes themselves.
That's it for now, let me know what you think.
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Old 01-29-21, 11:56 AM
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With the overload of French parts and the French threading, and now I see your profile showing you're in France, I'm going to guess this is a French-made bike and not an Olmo. I've been known to put my foot in my mouth with assertions, but that seat cluster screams "Not possibly Olmo!" to me, and I know someone could swap a metric/French-thread fork, I suspect you'll find the BB is French thread too.

Furthermore, the angled-end treatment to the fork blades and stays is fairly unique, almost what one could call a "signature". I suspect one of the others will see that and say "AHA!" and instantly recognize it, the same way Gitane's fish-mouth end treatments are obvious, or Mondia's point-end treatments are quite (but not as much) uncommon.

I'm going to dig back through photos for a few minutes, I recognize those ends, but my memory isn't what it once was.
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Old 01-29-21, 12:31 PM
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This one's got me stumped. I know I'm missing something, I feel like those ends are so familiar but the closest I can get is Jean Frelat. However, if it were one of his, I'd expect a bit nicer cluster, to be honest. Furthermore, it's clearly not SMG branded on the caps, so .... meh.

Not sure. I need to bow to a fresher mind or someone with more expertise, of which there's no shortage around here.
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Old 01-29-21, 01:34 PM
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I have PDFs saved on three other Olmo Mexicos, which are different in details than this one. That doesn't mean this isn't an Olmo Mexico however. Give me your email address if you want me to email you the PDFs...... Peter
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Old 01-29-21, 01:47 PM
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That looks a lot like a Mavic bottom bracket...
Another vote for French.
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Old 01-29-21, 04:59 PM
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Put me in the "it's French" camp too, and looks pretty NICE but could not hazard a guess: yes the stay treatment (and the holes in BB sockets, etc. with the Campy Verticals and forkends) are all "unique" but elusive clues. Somebody like MauriceMoss is sure to have some insights. I still think the BB unit is Stronglight or Spidel (but won't bet any real money)
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Old 01-29-21, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
I still think the BB unit is Stronglight
I agree with this.
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Old 01-30-21, 01:36 AM
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I have a busy weekend ahead of me and unfortunately won't be able to spend much time working on the bike, but I will take a minute to snap some more pics of the bb.
Thanks to you all again for your efforts trying to solve this case.
I'm still wondering why (if it's a replica, and it seems like it is) would someone put the money and effort to disguise a nice frame into another one of the same period? Would the price difference between buying the blank French one instead of a regular Olmo available at the same time, be enough to explain this?
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Old 01-30-21, 09:39 AM
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The stay and fork ends are “signature”
C.N.C. Did similar but not the same.

Norris Lockley has a good memory for French machines.

he haunts the ClassicRenzezvous Google group

that Steerer mark is not Columbus- new to me.
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Old 01-30-21, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post

that Steerer mark is not Columbus- new to me.
Most certainly is - it's just upside-down. Look at it right-side-up with a comparison from another BF'ers fork.

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Old 01-30-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Beurt View Post
I'm still wondering why (if it's a replica, and it seems like it is) would someone put the money and effort to disguise a nice frame into another one of the same period? Would the price difference between buying the blank French one instead of a regular Olmo available at the same time, be enough to explain this?
Quite possibly because the bike was (in the eyes of the owner) made by a less-known builder or brand, thus they believed it carried "lesser prestige" than an Olmo. It's very possible this frame was built by an apprentice, for example, thus deemed "less than". Or maybe it was a "shop" brand, maybe built by a notable frame builder, but carrying the shop name and decals - maybe the "G" on the fork crown is a logo or first character of the shop name from which it came, or the surname of the builder? It's also possible the owner was from an area where, in that decade, it would be more exclusive to have an Italian brand where they were living in France. You never know

Sometimes it's very hard to say. I find many people today would pay more for an obscure, well-made frame like this from a small builder or shop than they would for Olmo's highest-end frame from the same year. It's interesting how views change over time, and the quality of construction becomes more valuable than the prestige of the brand name.
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Old 01-30-21, 12:03 PM
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I second francophile's observations: would be willing to bet if/when this ever gets ID'd it may turn out to have more cache due to being the product of a fine but obscure FR builder than an Olmo (as nice as that may have seemed to the PO back when decals were applied). The detail of the angled stay ends and the fork ends matching, plus the confirmed Columbus mark on the fork steerer would lead to a strong indication this frame could be (Metric?) Columbus tubing, most likely SL. But it's not 100%, a custom builder may have mixed tubing and as speculated might have added Vitus into the mix, who knows without stripping the paint off (not what I'd recommend at this point!). It remains an unsolved mystery but maybe can be cracked by somebody like Norris Lockley (IIRC he had once been a member here but made very few and infrequent posts) or the aforementioned MauriceMoss who has a stellar track record!
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Old 01-30-21, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
Most certainly is - it's just upside-down. Look at it right-side-up with a comparison from another BF'ers fork.

You are Correct!
this must be an earlier stamp than I am aware, which kind of indicates a builder who had been around a while and did not rotate stock or the vendor he bought from did not.
I have seen this on other parts.
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