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Italvega Superlight. Again?

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Italvega Superlight. Again?

Old 01-30-21, 04:22 PM
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JRC2K
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Italvega Superlight. Again?

As it seems there is some renewed interest in the premium models of the Italvega and earlier Univega lines, I will resurrect this story as I have decided to continue the project. This saga started about 9 years ago and was initially documented on another site. After the frustration recapped below I hung the frame up in storage and have only recently retrieved it. Anyway, from the past:
"I was looking for an older DeRosa (which I could afford?) when I ran across this Italvega, I was not real familiar with them but I do remember them as being very expensive back in the day (way out of my budget then) The Italian pedigree of this frame is rock solid but it does not have the current popularity/market value of other brands of the era (most likely due to its being created and distributed exclusively for and to the American market only) so I was able to get it for a very fair price. As the snaps show, the previous owner had resprayed the entire frame so I had no Idea of the condition of the plating on the fork,stays or dropouts and therefore staying with the original finish was impossible. Although the respray was pretty well done (more on that later) I was not particularly enamoured with the color or the complete coverage of the stays and dropouts, so I decided to have the entire frame and fork stripped and replated. And thats when the real "fun" began"

Stand by for part II (its a long story . . . )
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Old 01-30-21, 04:27 PM
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Italvega

It was harder then I anticipated to find an affordable plating service here in Socal and I knew how much Joe Bell (a neighbor) gets for this. I finally chose a company down near the border, and that is when things went south (sic) I dropped off the frame and fork as they were with specific istructions as to how I wanted it done. I was promised a one week turnaround. . . .
Three weeks and several phone calls later I was invited to come collect my project. I was horrified to discover several pits and dings which they had simply plated over. Either they had oversripped the frame and eliminated any previous repairs (it was over 35 years old after all) or the frame had been kicked around the shop for a while before being worked on. Needless to say I was very unhppy and refused to accept the frame. The owner was not around at the time (big surprise) and the employee had no answers. I rescued the fork which appeared acceptable and left before I lost my temper. I took the fork over to Joe Bell and proceded to cry on his shoulder. Joe was a lot more sympathetic than I anticipated and was very pragmatic about the affair, he inspected the fork and pointed out that they had not only plated the steertube but also the bottom bearing race landing as well and I was going to have fun getting the lower race to seat. He went on to recommend that since they clearly did not know bicycle frames that I should bite the bullet, get the frame back and cut my losses before they do any further damage. I then called the previous owner and asked what filling and frame prep he had done before painting, Turns out he was a former welder by trade and did acknowledge having filled a couple dings but insisted the brazing was done properly and the platers had clearly overstripped the frame. Even though it was just a phone conversation his statement had the clear ring of truth to me. When I was finally able to speak with the owner of the shop, he insisted that the damage was preexisting and not caused by his shop. When I asked if anyone had inspected the frame after stripping the paint he just shrugged. He finally offered to fix the offending areas for an additional 40 dollars. Remembering JBs advice I agreed. One week later I went to pick up the frame only to have the employee bump the additional charge to 50.00. That is when I lost it and went off. There were 2 other customers in the shop at the time (one of whom left immediately when I got angry) The employee quickly got the owner on the phone (big surprise) I heatedly pointed out that as far as i was concerned I was basically paying extra to fix damage that his people had caused, he quikly went back to the
original extra charge. I paid the man and rescued my frame.

Stay tuned for Part III
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Old 01-30-21, 04:46 PM
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Italvega Part III

"I took the frame straight to JB for his expert assesment and prayed for the best. On close inspection, the repaired areas were still identifiable but in all not too bad. the bottom bracket was a mess and they had been unable to remove the drive side cup and had simply plated over it. Joe worked his magic and got the bearing cup off. Unfortunatly his quote to do his magic on the complete frame (even with the friend and neighbor discount) would have blown my bike budget for the next two years. Although his artistry is well worth every penny, I still couldnt swing it"

I decided to finsh the bike myself as I had done it in the past. Keeping the seat and chain stays and fork fully chromed (I love that look and this was always going to be a restomod, NOT a restoration after all) The final result came out OK, looks great from 6' or so but get closer and . . . not so much. (I could never compete with JB)

This is where we take up this story albeit 9 or so years later. I have collected most of the components I need (again this is not an "accurate restoration" nor was it meant to be)

Pics as soon as I get my post count back up.
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Old 01-30-21, 06:55 PM
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Mr Yee if you are reading this I did receive your PM. I cannot reply in kind until I get my post count back up. My frame is already in One Italvega database I have found. I reached out to that administrator a while back to update and have not heard back as of yet.
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Old 02-03-21, 03:21 PM
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Apparently there is not as much interest as I anticipated, Oh well . . .
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Old 02-03-21, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JRC2K View Post
Apparently there is not as much interest as I anticipated, Oh well . . .
just really want to see the pictures.to put every thing in context,,,,when you get your post count up ..........this crowd is pretty simple that way

Italivega is abike I keep my eyes out for, along with a torpado superlight
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Old 02-03-21, 06:29 PM
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“I’m out on the border, try’n to change this water to wine”

ouch
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Old 02-03-21, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JRC2K View Post
Apparently there is not as much interest as I anticipated, Oh well . . .
What color was the bike when you bought it? (Fishing for your tenth post so you can post pics.)
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Old 02-04-21, 12:51 AM
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It was bright gold.!! (lovw you guys!)
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Old 02-04-21, 04:32 AM
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I found a 1972 Grand Rally a few years ago that had been left for dead in a field in Moro Bay California. I actually bought it as a complete rusted bike for $100. It is a rare model that is almost identical to the Nuovo Record. It has Columbus tubing and Campagnolo drop outs and fork tips. I spent a year bringing that bike back to life (it was really rusty) . I actually like the patina and the whole frame underneath the rose gold paint is chrome, so where the paint is rubbed through the chrome kind of pokes through and gives it a nice look. I rode it in 2019 Eroica California . Bartly Yee helped quite a bit with identifying the year etc. Mine was upgraded to higher end components when it was new with Campy NR cranks with SR chain rings and NR drive. You will not be disappointed when you ride it , I ride mine a lot even though I have prettier bikes. See Rusty Resurection joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 02-04-21, 07:54 AM
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I loved my early 70s Nuovo Record - one of the frames that served me longest, but after a good eight years I accepted it was just too small for me. One of the best looking frames I've ever put my hands on - so yeah, it would be neat to see your Super Leggera !
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Old 02-04-21, 09:31 AM
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Some 45 yrs ago when I 1st got into biking, I went into a shop and saw a used Italvega bike for sale. Not sure of the model, but it had a pale metallic green paint job & chromed lugs. I wanted it, but could not afford it at the time. A bit later, I was perusing another bike shop (a hi-end one at the time) & this was after I had crashed my Mercier one nite while riding when it was dark & totalled the frame/fork (young & dumb). Anyway, this shop had a set of Italvega forks for sale that caught my eye. I immediately snapped them up, figuring, it's aways good to have an extra set of forks around, esp since I had ruined the Mercier's.
Well, these forks layed around a long time, until one day, all these Titan bike frames popped up in a Thread here & on ebay & for a great $. Some w/ forks, some w/o. Mine happen to come w/ a chromed unicrown Tange fork that went right into the garbage. Since I already had the Italvega forks, they were destined to go on the Titan. Had them painted to match the frame by Rick at D&D Cycles in San Lorenzo, CA (who does great work). So, in a way, I guess the forks have come full circle & I couldn't be happier w/ their performance on this Titan
.
Titan frame/Italvega forks


Best of luck with your Italvega JRC2K . . .
btw: We need pics!

Last edited by 1 Lugnut; 02-04-21 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 02-04-21, 06:08 PM
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Italvega Part IV

So here we are today. Some shop rash and the cheap rattlecan clear coat I hit it with back in the day has fogged up in places, but it should polish out:





And thanks for the post count help!
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Old 02-05-21, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JRC2K View Post
Mr Yee if you are reading this I did receive your PM. I cannot reply in kind until I get my post count back up. My frame is already in One Italvega database I have found. I reached out to that administrator a while back to update and have not heard back as of yet.
Got your PM, thanks for the reply and getting this thread started, will be pumped to see your Superlight back together again soon. I've updated my database and his entry in mine with your info and this thread. I'll alert him to this thread too.

Seems I've seen your story somewhere else as you alluded to, where did you post it?

Originally Posted by niliraga View Post
I loved my early 70s Nuovo Record - one of the frames that served me longest, but after a good eight years I accepted it was just too small for me. One of the best looking frames I've ever put my hands on - so yeah, it would be neat to see your Super Leggera !
What size was it being too small and what size do you normally ride? If available, would you like to try an Italvega again?

Originally Posted by 1 Lugnut View Post
Some 45 yrs ago when I 1st got into biking, I went into a shop and saw a used Italvega bike for sale. Not sure of the model, but it had a pale metallic green paint job & chromed lugs. I wanted it, but could not afford it at the time. A bit later, I was perusing another bike shop (a hi-end one at the time) & this was after I had crashed my Mercier one nite while riding when it was dark & totalled the frame/fork (young & dumb). Anyway, this shop had a set of Italvega forks for sale that caught my eye. I immediately snapped them up, figuring, it's aways good to have an extra set of forks around, esp since I had ruined the Mercier's.
Well, these forks layed around a long time, until one day, all these Titan bike frames popped up in a Thread here & on ebay & for a great $. Some w/ forks, some w/o. Mine happen to come w/ a chromed unicrown Tange fork that went right into the garbage. Since I already had the Italvega forks, they were destined to go on the Titan. Had them painted to match the frame by Rick at D&D Cycles in San Lorenzo, CA (who does great work). So, in a way, I guess the forks have come full circle & I couldn't be happier w/ their performance on this Titan
.
Titan frame/Italvega forks


Best of luck with your Italvega JRC2K . . .
btw: We need pics!
Beautiful application, looks great! Do you still have the other Italvega fork? I'm looking for one.
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Old 02-05-21, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JRC2K View Post
So here we are today. Some shop rash and the cheap rattlecan clear coat I hit it with back in the day has fogged up in places, but it should polish out:





And thanks for the post count help!
Nice work! Do you have any before stripping or as bought pics, and pics of the frame after its initial stripping for chroming. I've not seen the Superlight / Super Speciale frame stripped to see what parts were chromed since most of the frame was normally painted.

For those who need a spotters guide, the 2nd Gen Italvega high end frame is made from Columbus SP (maybe SL, still looking to document that) full frame and fork, built on contract by Torpado / Torresini in Padova, Italy, 73-76. Originally only chromed (and drilled) Campagnolo fork ends and dropouts. The frames were the same and used for both the Superlight and Super Speciale models 73-76, main differences being SS models had normal Campagnolo Record and Nuovo Record parts, and the Superlight had drilled and milled brakes, crankset, chainrings, seat post, and later occasionally stem. Some have said the rear derailleur and/or cage were also drilled but I have no hard documentation on this. The drillings and millings varied depending on production date. IMO, much of this was similar to what Eddy Mercks custom did with his race bikes.

The 2nd gen. Super Speciale was painted a light pearl mist green. I've seen the Superlight in pearl white, pearl silver, Pearl rose and pearl silver blue. Occasionally you will find a Superlight in pearl mist green but I'm not sure if those were factory or Super Speciale upgraded to Superlight specs. The Columbus tubing foil decal was gold with red double wing seagull, language variously Italian, French, and more rarely English.

JRC's frame has all these attributes. Its nice to see the chromed lugs again with contrasted painted diamonds in the lugs, fork crown, and bottom bracket, always a classy look. His current paint pattern is unique in that its a fully chromed bike with chrome rear triangle, and large Italvega Nuovo Record chrome seat panel, using the original look Gold downtube logo and partial top tube "Super", couldn't quite tell if the "Light" is there. Originally, there were no shift bosses (clamp on shifters) and one set of bottle bosses on the downtube. When the bike was sold on Ebay, top tube guides and shift bosses were added from the previous repaint. The look melds both the early and later generation of Italvega frames.

I will deduce from JRC's post that he's in the San Diego area since Joe Bell was local to him and he mentioned SoCal a number of times.
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Old 02-05-21, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mech986 View Post
Beautiful application, looks great! Do you still have the other Italvega fork? I'm looking for one.
NopeSorry...! There was never another fork.
I only had the one Italvega fork. I had bought it at a now defunct bike shop years ago. IIRC: the shop was Sudgen & Lynch in Menlo Park, CA...
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Old 02-06-21, 04:04 PM
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Yes I am in San Diego. I used to contribute to Road Bike Review and amazingly enough i just logged back in and found my original Superlight thread and also my DeRosa build thread. Unfortunatly the original snaps I took aren't there anymore (at least I couldnt find them) so I no longer have any images of the frame as purchased. I dont particularly care for the new look of that forum and I found a number of posts on it that were somewhat mean spirited or even down right snotty, so I dont participate in that forum anymore.

Anyway, back to the Vega, since I had never seen the original paint scheme or finish, and the quality of that even if I had was not highly regarded, I chose to finish it as I would have built it originally, that is with a full chrome fork, rear triamgle and lugs. I got the artwork from Cyclomondo down under, which I am happy with, but unfortunately he only had the superspecial script, not the superlight. I did talk to a guy in LA who would repop the superlight script, but I got tired of waiting and since this is not anywhere near an exact restoration anyway, I just truncated the script I had and called it a "super"
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Old 02-06-21, 04:16 PM
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I might be wrong here but I believe the normal size SS and SL frames were Columbus SL and the larger frames were SP. The snaps I have seen of "Original" Superlights show a drilled cage on the rear mech. as well as the brake calipers (that makes me a bit nervous so I will likely not drill my brake calipers)
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