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Centurion Cinelli project bike

Old 07-28-23, 01:05 PM
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Hi all, just came to the forum to find some answers on the cinelli centurion project bikes. I have one and am looking to part ways with it. Ive read that the equipe that was made in 84 goes for about 1k but I have the project bike with the different specs and was wondering if they have a different value as they may be more rare?? The information out there on the project bike seems vague. I've seen posts saying a bike shop in Maryland has a number for sale? Could anyone connect me with that shop/person possibly. Thanks for any help
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Old 07-28-23, 07:56 PM
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You probably want Larry Black, or whoever is running Mt. Airy Bicycles in Maryland. Google is your friend.
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Old 10-27-23, 11:07 AM
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Ressurect a zombie thread... All info here is great, but I had to dig until my nails were raw.

I came into possesion of one of the 'Project' (not Equipe) frames, and started finding out all I could. To me, an important guide, both in pictures of the frame, and description of the whole Cinelli/Project/Equipe thing is documented at (I can't post links as I am yet unworthy, so put a " . " in place of DOT between the words, and take out the spaces) cinellionly DOT blogspot DOT com / search / label / Cinelli%20Project .

Basically, from what I gleaned, the Project frames were a dealers' sample set made for the US market, to gauge interest in the upcoming Equipe 'Project', thus the Cinelli Project label on the 'Project' frames. Not sure, but it is inferred that they were fewer in number than the 50-150 Equipe bikes. Yes, there are differences in the Project and Equipe bikes, but minor, for example the Cinelli pantograph was at different orientations between the two.

Please correct me if you know differently, as I am NOT knowlegable about Italian bikes, this being my fitrst foray into them.
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Old 10-27-23, 01:22 PM
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Since this thread is risen, at Eroica last month, someone told me that the first IMs were designed by the same folks at Cinelli wrt geometry. So I raised the price on mine and will likely never part with it.
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Old 10-27-23, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
someone told me that the first IMs were designed by the same folks at Cinelli wrt geometry.
Because WSI couldn't get an acceptable frame designed from its own people, and had to outsource the geometry?
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Old 10-27-23, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Because WSI couldn't get an acceptable frame designed from its own people, and had to outsource the geometry?
Evidently, (behind closed doors naturally) there was an internal knockdown, dragout fight over what head tube angle would be specified for the size 58 frame. They then did a "King Solomon" and outsourced the decision.




EDIT- Not true.
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Old 10-27-23, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Because WSI couldn't get an acceptable frame designed from its own people, and had to outsource the geometry?
Nobody asked why there was collaboration between WSI and Cinelli or suggested that Cinelli had a hard time selling bikes here and needed WSI to market their brand.
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Old 10-27-23, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
Nobody asked why there was collaboration between WSI and Cinelli or suggested that Cinelli had a hard time selling bikes here and needed WSI to market their brand.
There are a few holes in the Centurion/Cinelli story, for sure.
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Old 10-27-23, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
Nobody asked why there was collaboration between WSI and Cinelli or suggested that Cinelli had a hard time selling bikes here and needed WSI to market their brand.
From what I gleaned in a quote from one of the WSI owners, I don't believe that WSI built bikes - rather acted as a broker/seller. Cinelli by that time was owned by Colombo, who also owned the tubing business, along with others. It was common for them to license the Cinelli name out to other companies, thus the Japanese, Mexico, US deals. I believe that this is a quote from T-Mar: "Collaborations between American marketing companies and Italian companies were a mini-trend in the mid-1980s. When they couldn't crack the high end market to the desired extent with Japanese made models, Centurion, Lotus and Nishiki all introduced high end models manufactured in Italy using Columbus tubesets and Campagnolo parts. They all disappeared within a few years, shortly after Shimano introducing SIS in new Dura-Ace. Like Centurion, Lotus used the high recognition Cinelli connection, while possible Nishiki sources have been suggested as Colnago, Olmo and Viner."

According to RobbieTunes, in an old post in the BIke Forum:
".... Alan Goldsmith, the guy who did the deal with Cinelli for Western States Imports (WSI) has written to me and filled in many details that clear up questions about this bike's origins, who built it and where.
1. The deal was done between WSI and Cinelli (the company) of Milan.
2. Goldsmith represented WSI and Andrea Cinelli, Cino Cinelli's son, who remained working for Cinelli after his father retired and sold the company to Antonio Columbo in 1979, represented Cinelli
(the company) in the negotiations that began in late 1983.
3. The frame was designed by Goldsmith and built in the Chiricho (note: name of framebuilder) shop on the outskirts of Milan after design details were discussed among Goldsmith, Andrea Cinelli and Chiricho and revisions were made. The Chiricho shop also built Super Corsas for Cinelli (the company).
4. Goldsmith says not more than 150, or one shipping container load, of this bike was made. He has since had a chat with another former WSI principal who said he "feels" that the number was either 50 or 100, but was not sure.
5. Goldsmith said that "sales were horrible" due to a host of logistical and market factors. It was not a failure of the bicycle but a failure of distribution and marketing.

My own thinking is that the numbers must be more than 50 as I've seen 17 sell on eBay over the last seven years and am aware of half a dozen more in private hands. That would be an unusually large percentage of the total to track down. So maybe a 100 but I would go with Goldsmith's guess of 150 as one container load would seem a logical first contract target. It might also be a reasonable number for the shop to turn out in a year, in addition to whatever SCs it was producing. Just uninformed speculation here on my part.

There is still a question of Cino Cinelli's role, if any, in the Equipe project. The introductory ad in the December 1984 of Bicycling Magazine clearly states: "The frame is designed by Cino Cinelli and production is coordinated and supervised by his staff." But Alan told me that as far as he knows, Cino did not play a role in the Equipe project. He pointed out that Andrea Cinelli, who was running the company at the time for Antonio Columbo, was an expert in his own right and would not have needed his father's help executing the Equipe project.

I'm thinking the writer of the '85 Bicycle Guide article, which also implies a Cino role, may have confused Alan's visit with Cino to discuss the Centurion Ironman DS of '85 after Alan signed on Dave Scott as endorser/promoter of that model, not yet on the drawing boards. Alan said he had hoped to incorporate Cino's ideas into the Ironman design but WSI nixed the idea in favor of designing it after the already successful Comp TA, another project of Alan's."


Not sure who posted this, but it details the differences between the Project and Equipe frames:
"areas of difference between the "Equipe" and "Project" frames:
Shorter seatstay caps with "flying C" oriented different than Equipe:
Different chainstay and brake bridge pieces:
"Project" decals:
Internally lugged SC type fork crown vs. tanged fork crown on Equipe:
No cutouts in shell as appear on Equipe:
Different chainstay bridge piece:
Other differences of note: no chromed lugs, no pump peg, no front derailleur braze-on. It's possible the lugsets were different, or were filed differently. The points on my Project appear longer than those on the Equipe I previously owned, and the seatpost binder ears appear slightly different.
Size is stamped on BB shell, as it is on the Equipe."


This is in part why I think it important to assemble all of the data possible in one thread.

Now, let's see YOUR 'Project' or 'Equipe' bikes/frames!
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Old 10-29-23, 01:17 PM
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I'm more confused than ever. My next build at the co-op is a frame with all the Cinelli logos like the 2nd post, but I was told it came from Performance Cycles and was an in-house brand that featured Cinelli tubing and markings. Maybe more than one co-lab was made. Or, maybe its a rebadged Centurian for the Performance Cycles store.

I'm just glad I didn't advertise it as a Cinelli and get accused of false advertising.
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Old 10-29-23, 03:43 PM
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I don’t think there’s such a thing as “Cinelli tubing.”

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Old 10-29-23, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
I'm more confused than ever. My next build at the co-op is a frame with all the Cinelli logos like the 2nd post, but I was told it came from Performance Cycles and was an in-house brand that featured Cinelli tubing and markings. Maybe more than one co-lab was made. Or, maybe its a rebadged Centurian for the Performance Cycles store.

I'm just glad I didn't advertise it as a Cinelli and get accused of false advertising.
You may have one of the 'Cinelli'-ish bikes made in Japan, fine bikes by their own right. Look for a 'Tange' tubing label for the main tubes. If it is Tange, then it is probably Japanese make, using some Cinelli stays, BB, etc. It could also have been made in Mexico, fabricated by a former CInelli worker - a few were made there.

Oh, all of the Italian made Project Cinelli Centurions were made with Columbus SL tubing.

ADDITION INFO
I emailed member janson, who originally supplied the 1983 catalog pic of page 27, showing the Project Cinelli frame. I asked id he had pics of the cover and any pages showing geometry for the frame. Here's his reply this evening:
"Your message brings back memories from 40(!) years ago so some of this is kind of foggy so I hope I can at least fill in a few of the gaps.
I live in Southern California and in the 80s there was a bike shop in Santa Monica called Bikecology where I used to buy tubular tires and wool jerseys, etc. They occasionally printed small magazine like catalogs one of which I still have. On page 27 there is an ad for a Cenelli Centurion frame. I don’t know the history of how that particular frame came into existence. I do know that that catalog is dated Summer ’83. In late 1983 a friend of mine bought a red fully built up Campagnolo Super Record equipped one for $1000.00. I remember the first ride we went on after he got the bike and it was a rainy morning and he crashed and I had to ride home, get my car, and take him into the emergency room. The bike was amazingly undamaged but he did suffer a concussion but he was ridding a couple of weeks later. It was his first ride on a tubular tire equipped bike; I don’t know if it had anything to do with his crash - he was behind me when it happened. The last time I saw him which was 10+ years ago he still had the bike."

Attached were pages: Cover, 22 (geometry), and 27 (frame pics). I'll post them when I am able to, unless some kind person wants to post them for me - let me know and I'll give you pics.

Here's the catalog geometry of the advertised 59cm frame versus my 58cm frame. The second number is my frame as measured.
Size 59cm 58cm
ST 56.5 56.5 CC in cm
TT 56.5 56.5 CC in cm
WB 98.0 99.0 cm
CS 41.0 41.5 cm
FC 58.5 ?? cm
BBH 26.7 ?? (BB Height, cm)
BBDrop ?? 7,4 cm
STA 74.5 ?? Degrees
HTA 75.5 ?? Degrees
Rake 40mm ??
Dropout to brake mount 356mm 356mm
Fork 356mm 356mm
Rear OLD 126mm 126mm
SP Dia 27.2mm 27.2mm
Steerer inner 22.2mm 22.2mm (diameter)
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Old 10-29-23, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
I'm more confused than ever. My next build at the co-op is a frame with all the Cinelli logos like the 2nd post, but I was told it came from Performance Cycles and was an in-house brand that featured Cinelli tubing and markings. Maybe more than one co-lab was made. Or, maybe its a rebadged Centurian for the Performance Cycles store.

I'm just glad I didn't advertise it as a Cinelli and get accused of false advertising.
Sorry to post more than one reply, but this forum thread antics keep kicking me out.
Performance advertised two frames made of Columbus SL tubing in their Fall 84-85 catalog. The frames were either the gray/silver 'Campione' model, or the Red 'Blue Ridge' touring model. Both had chromed seat and chain stays, and fork legs. They both had Campy dropouts front and rear. No mention of Cinelli anything though. Check your bike for the chrome and for any Cinelli pantographs (stamped Cinelli logo) on the top of the seat stays, top of the fork crown on both sides, and top of the brake mounts.

Can you post a picture?
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Old 10-29-23, 10:13 PM
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OK, I misspoke. In my head, because Cinelli is owned by Columbus, I could not imagine a Cinelli stamped frame made from anything but.

Then again, who owns Raleigh again? Yet, I've seen Japanese tubes...

Anyway, the frame is a 58, red, no brand stickers and with the same Cinelli winged "C" and cinelli on the BB as the Centurion posted in #2.

So, I'm wrong. Its probably actually a Centurian. Maybe the Performance cycles was a sticker because it had a tune up there.

I'd post a pic but I'm not there until Wednesday.
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Old 10-30-23, 07:36 PM
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More data points. I noticed a Project frame for sale on eBay, and messaged the seller. Here's his reply:
" I purchased the bike in 1982. The bike was sold under the Centurion brand as their top line race bike. I purchased the bike at Newbury Park Bike Shop in Thousand Oaks CA, which was a Centurion dealer. The company (Centurion) is no longer in business.
The frame was made as a collaboration by Cinelli and Centurion. Build by Cinelli, US marketed by Centurion. Your decals likely say Centurion Project? It's a crit frame that I thought handled very well. Many of the racers in my group were riding it. Not as expensive originally (and not as good a pedigree) as the De Rosa, Guerciotti, Pinarello frames, so not as desirable I'm sure in the secondary market. However, the build is pretty good with Cinelli lugs, Campy dropouts.

Races and performs great, in my opinion. The bike was known for having pretty poor paint quality however, so I had mine sent to Cycle Art after a few years of riding. They may have also cleaned up the lug work to a higher degree. Not sure."

So now we know for sure that the Project Centurion/Cinelli bikes were made as early as 1982, and for sure in 1983. There's also a post I found mentioning the 'Centurion Team'. Interesetingly, 'Equipe' in Italian translates to 'Team' in english. So the Team Centurion probably refers to the building of the U.S. bound Equipe bikes. Here's a compilation of theads describing the Chirico builder, the ones who made the 'Project' and Equipe frames:
"Chirico frames
Interest has recently been shown in Chirico frames and components and this is what I believe to be the basic history of Chirico.
Erminio Chirico started building frames in the 1960's and continued until 1975 when the elder brother took over production until 1985. Luigi, the younger brother took over the business in 1985 and still has the shop in Bussero, Italy.
The Precision model was in production from 1980 to 1985 and varnish-fix decals are still available for it and possibly for other models as well.
---
Further research has revealed that the Chirico company was formed in the early 1900's by Enrico Chirico and that in 1948 his son Erminio took over the business until 1987. During this period Erminio's son Claudio was employed as Production Manager and in the early 1980's he was involved [and no doubt his father as well] in an arrangement with Andrea Cinelli to produce additional frames for Cinelli, including the Equipe model, to satisfy the North American market. Claudio also jointly ran the "Team Centurion" with Andrea.
Steel frame production finally ceased in 2000 at Chirico.
19The Erminio's son Luigi took over the business in 1987 and still runs it today.
---
My research has involved contacting Luigi Chirico and also my friend, an Italian bicycle research historian has spoken to Luigi on the same subject. Additional information has revealed that Claudio Chirico was invited by Andrea Cinelli to join Cinelli in 1980. He did so, but it is not clear exactly what his specific involvement was, but it certainly involved additional Cinelli frame production. It is not known to me whether the additional Cinelli frames were produced on their premises, or whether there was a sub-contract arrangement, with the frames being produced in the Chirico factory.

With Andrea, Claudio was involved with setting up Team Centurion, which was eventually disbanded in 1987; this coincided with the monetary exchange rate which also affected the production of frames.
It might be the case that Chirico manufactured some carbon frames but they withdrew when high technology carbon frame production became the norm.
Finally, I don't understand why Chirico are not referred to in the VeloBase brand data-base, perhaps they're elusive and keeping a low profile !
"
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Old 10-30-23, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
So now we know for sure that the Project Centurion/Cinelli bikes were made as early as 1982, and for sure in 1983.
Unless the seller has some documentary evidence about the 1982 build, I would take that with a grain of salt. An example: I bought a bike from Craigslist several years ago. The original owner was getting on in years and had his friend sell it for him. The story was the bike was bought on a trip to Italy around 1980. The guy rode it around, shipped it home, then hung it from a hook in the garage.

It had an unusual (to me) mix of parts, including a Huret rear derailleur. The date code on the derailleur indicated 1985 manufacture as I recall. Definitely much newer than the bike's purported purchase date.

Now I might have been snookered and the seller replaced the original rear derailleur. Still, we're getting old. Our neurons are wearing out. Documentation of past events is important to validate the dates of those events.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:16 PM
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A bit off topic, but related to Centurion collaborations, if my memory serves me, a member on the forum purchased an early IronMan MASTER and discovered that it was a 3Rensho EDIT (Zunow) built frame. The rumor was that 3Rensho EDIT (Zunow) built the frames for D.S. and that the first ones actually helped Scott.
If my memory is correct perhaps members will chime in.....I think there was a discussion on the Ironman thread about it as well.
BTW, I did a search and could not find the thread, if I am right maybe super sleuths can find it. Robbie T's would certainly know more of the history on this.
Best, Ben
Thanks to [MENTION=103617]jetboy[/MENTION] for the correction....
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Old 10-30-23, 08:49 PM
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[QUOTE=NVFlinch;23057245]…so I had mine sent to Cycle Art after a few years of riding. They may have also cleaned up the lug work to a higher degree. Not sure."

---
QUOTE]

Cyclart performing work and not compensated? Surely you gest.
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Old 10-30-23, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1
A bit off topic, but related to Centurion collaborations, if my memory serves me, a member on the forum purchased an early IronMan MASTER and discovered that it was a 3Rensho built frame. The rumor was that 3Rensho built the frames for D.S. and that the first ones actually helped Scott.
If my memory is correct perhaps members will chime in.....I think there was a discussion on the Ironman thread about it as well.
BTW, I did a search and could not find the thread, if I am right maybe super sleuths can find it. Robbie T's would certainly know more of the history on this.
Best, Ben
I am pretty sure it was a Zunow not a 3Rensho. maybe its unique or maybe there are a few of them hanging out... who knows. I own an Equipe myself, not the Project- I love it.

Last edited by jetboy; 10-30-23 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 10-31-23, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jetboy
I am pretty sure it was a Zunow not a 3Rensho. maybe its unique or maybe there are a few of them hanging out... who knows. I own an Equipe myself, not the Project- I love it.
Thank you.... you are correct.......thats why I said IF memory was correct (it wasn't and why I could not find the link. Searching for the Zunow and Lemond, I found this Zunow Show


It's interesting that the Brand used a number of builder on their way to greatness and many thanks for helping a member with a lapsed memory.!
Best, Ben
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Old 10-31-23, 08:27 AM
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OP kept talking about modern geometry. But there isn't a significant difference between the geometry of a bike like this centurion and an average carbon bike. I think probably the centurion doesn't fit him in some way, like handlebars. Some steel builders like to promote this idea as well.

AFAIK, Cinelli would sell you all those parts and you could make your own Cinelli. I never understood why they sold some of them with their logo. I guess he didn't have a lot of experience with U.S. lawyers.
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Old 10-31-23, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro
Unless the seller has some documentary evidence about the 1982 build, I would take that with a grain of salt. An example: I bought a bike from Craigslist several years ago. The original owner was getting on in years and had his friend sell it for him. The story was the bike was bought on a trip to Italy around 1980. The guy rode it around, shipped it home, then hung it from a hook in the garage.
The guy has a lot of detail in his reply, and it is documented that the frames were offered in 1983 via catalog. Chirico was on-line producing Cinelli bikes in 1980, so were at the ready for the Project bikes. To me, circumstantial evidence points to 1982. Unless other proof comes to light, I tend to believe him. Besides, this ain't Bigfoot existance we're discussiing - he's certainly around! I hope I'm not wrong....I really like Bigfoot!

Edited: Note, I want to keep facts definite, and assumptions stated as such. Follow up with the eBay owner:
"Wow, you know a lot more about this frame than I do. Very fun to learn about its history. Thank you! My first Campagnolo Record derailleur on the bike was stamped 82. I am pretty sure I purchased in 1982, but my memory is a little fuzzy. It could have been beginning of 1983. Just for clarification. "

So, I owe smontanaro a mini-appology - it may be later than '82...but I still think BIgfoot may be out there! However, if it was purchased in early '83, that begs the question as to when it was actually built - obviously earlier, then shipped to the U.S.

I love bike detective work!

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Old 10-31-23, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
OP kept talking about modern geometry. But there isn't a significant difference between the geometry of a bike like this centurion and an average carbon bike. I think probably the centurion doesn't fit him in some way, like handlebars. Some steel builders like to promote this idea as well.

AFAIK, Cinelli would sell you all those parts and you could make your own Cinelli. I never understood why they sold some of them with their logo. I guess he didn't have a lot of experience with U.S. lawyers.
"Andrea Cinelli, Cino Cinelli's son, who remained working for Cinelli after his father retired and sold the company to Antonio Columbo in 1979"

So Columbo, in order to increase sales, marketed the Cinelli logo, parts, and sometimes bikes/frames (for example the 'Project' and 'Equipe' frames) in efforts to compete against the growing Japanese producers. In fact, many Centurions and other brands licensed the Cinelli logo, and bought Cinelli parts, and produced the bikes in Japan and some in Mexico. CIno had no say in the Cinelli name after the sale.
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