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What Bianchi did I buy? Early 80's Super Corsa?

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What Bianchi did I buy? Early 80's Super Corsa?

Old 10-31-21, 04:17 PM
  #1  
SwimmerMike 
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What Bianchi did I buy? Early 80's Super Corsa?

I saw a bike on Craig's List yesterday with Super Record chainrings and Grand Sport F/R derailleurs. At the price that it was listed for I decided to buy it for the parts. The ad said is was a Bianchi, but there was no stickers and the paint was not a classic Celeste, so I assumed it wasn't. I figured the seller saw the kinda celeste color and determined it was a Bianchi.

Once I got it home I looked at (yes I bought it w/o checking it out) and saw it really was a Bianchi so started doing some investigating and tore it apart today.

Notable on the frame:

58 cm
4.87 lb w fixed cup and headset in.
1.47 lb fork.
Campy drop outs (chrome)
Chrome fork w/Campy fork ends.
No marking on the fork
Bianchi pantograph at the top of the seat stays
"B" at the top of the Down Tube
Shifter cables routed under the BB.
Internal routed rear brake cable.
27.2 Seat tube
Set up for recessed brake mounting
Stamped 81.12
The paint looks like a pearly Celeste and appears to be original. I know a lot of people like Patina, but I'm thinking this is a tad too much. I'll see if it "buffs out"

Components:
Super Record Chainrings
1983 date stamped Strada Cranks
Super Record Headset
Record Brakes (not recessed) post CPSC
Grand Sport (not Nouvo Grand Sport) RD
Grand Sport (post CPSC) FD
Record Pedals
C-Record (I think) down tube shift levers
The rest was random including the steel townie bars.

The stamping on the frame leads me to believe 1981/82 model year (I assume the 81.12 means December '81) Maybe this is a bad assumption and is what is confusing me.
The Campy dropouts lead me to believe Superleggera or Super Corsa (from the '81 catalog) Then again, I'm not sure it was a US catalog.
The Super Record components lead me to think Super Corsa.

But....

There's so many weird components added so trying to determine by the components may be problematic. Except..... I don't see someone adding a SR headset to a build unless it already was there, especially since most of the components were changed to a lower level.

The fork doesn't have a "B" on it and a full chrome fork seems odd so I question if it's original. Except at this weight and with Campy fork ends, it's a high end fork. There was also no sign of any damage to the down tube from a front end crash that would have taken out the original fork (if this on isn't original).

It looks like the high end Bianchi's if this era had chrome lugs and long points. This one doesn't.

Then their's the internal cable routing..... I'm not seeing them on the Bianchi's of this era, except for one on Steel Vintage Bikes. Except the one on line is on the top and my bike has the routing on the left side.

Thoughts?

If more pictures would help, let me know.


Mike
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Old 10-31-21, 07:31 PM
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Based on the serial number, it should be a 1982 model. It has the full Bianchi name on the stay caps, which would typically suggest the full SL frame for this year, either a Super Leggera or Super Corsa, but I would also expect chrome on the stay caps and drive side chain stay. The fork crown is not what I would expect on either the full SL or tretubi SL models. My next step would be to check if the fork has a Columbus steerer tube by verifying a Columbus logo on the outside of the tube and the presence of five helical ridges on the inside of the tube,at the bottom. Some of the tretubi frames during this era also used Campagnolo dropouts on the rear. It also would be interesting to know if the fork and rear bridge are designed for recessed brake nuts ot not. I'm learning towards a full SL frame, but have reservations about the fork.
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Old 10-31-21, 07:40 PM
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I think this bike needs a paint job
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Old 10-31-21, 10:20 PM
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@T-Mar - Thanks for confirming the S/N to date correlation.

Both the Fork and Seat Stay bridge are designed for the recessed brake nuts.

The drive side seat stay has the top chromed (you can sorta tell in the first picture).

The details are what is confusing me. The paint isn't a standard Celeste, the chrome, and the internally routed brake cables.

I am highly suspicious the fork is a replacement, I'll look at it again in the next day or two and let you know what I find for markings, if any, and if I feel/see any helical ridges.
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Old 10-31-21, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I think this bike needs a paint job
@bikemig Are you saying this is too much patina?

I'm debating building it up with a quick and dirty build to check it out or just jump in and strip the paint (I'm using that term loosely) and do a rattle can spray.
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Old 11-01-21, 05:38 AM
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That's a fair amount of rust on the outside. What's going on inside of the bike? The frame may need an OA bath. Evaporust is your friend for the rust on the parts.

If you are going to rattle can this, take a look at spray.bike products.

https://spraybike.us/

There is a bike being sold in the C&V for sale forum (a 1946 Higgins) that was painted with this stuff so you can see some pics of what it looks like.

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Old 11-01-21, 09:14 AM
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@bikemig Thanks for pointing me to the spraybike solution. They have some colors that look like they have a couple good Celeste choices, none match the current more pearly/metallic Celeste (doesn't show well in the pictures) but I doubt I'll find that w/o going custom.

I did lightly sand the rustier spots (after I took the pictures) and it all looks like surface rust. When I looked in the tubes I was surprised that they looked pretty. I'll still give it an OA bath and use frame saver.
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Old 11-01-21, 11:15 AM
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@T-Mar I checked the fork and there is no rifling, there are straight ridges, but not spiraled. Also no markings. In relooking at it, there is an additional spacer in the Campy S/R headset that is about 1/8 of an inch, I can't image that the factory didn't know the stack-height of the headset. Based on both of these observations, I'm going with it's a replacement fork, albeit a nice one.
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Old 11-01-21, 11:25 AM
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Fun find.

this may be of help with your color...or just take you down the celeste wormhole: Obsessing about Celeste, again
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Old 11-01-21, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SwimmerMike View Post
@bikemig Thanks for pointing me to the spraybike solution. They have some colors that look like they have a couple good Celeste choices, none match the current more pearly/metallic Celeste (doesn't show well in the pictures) but I doubt I'll find that w/o going custom.

I did lightly sand the rustier spots (after I took the pictures) and it all looks like surface rust. When I looked in the tubes I was surprised that they looked pretty. I'll still give it an OA bath and use frame saver.
having done bike rattle can and automotive spray..... I would find a local powder coater instead. I think Silva Cycles had someone they used...not sure what the deal is but not too far from you https://www.silvacycles.com/
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Old 11-01-21, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SwimmerMike View Post
@T-Mar I checked the fork and there is no rifling, there are straight ridges, but not spiraled. Also no markings. In relooking at it, there is an additional spacer in the Campy S/R headset that is about 1/8 of an inch, I can't image that the factory didn't know the stack-height of the headset. Based on both of these observations, I'm going with it's a replacement fork, albeit a nice one.
Straight ridges in the steerer tube sounds like an Ishiwata product. It's definitely not Columbus. For the 1982 model year, Bianchi did offer the Professional with an Ishiwata 022 tubeset and Japanese components. While 022 does utilize a 27.2mm seat post, like Columbus SL, the Professional of this era that I've seen have used SunTour Superbe rear dropouts and were manufactured in Japan. Based on the serial number format and location(s), your frame is clearly Italian manufacture. So, this basically confirms my earlier reservations about the fork. It's almost certainly a replacement fork.
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Old 11-01-21, 02:34 PM
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@T-Mar Thanks for confirming the fork is a replacement. Of course, I wish it was original, but ......

A couple quick questions

1) Any thoughts on the internally routed brake cable in the top-tube? I was really surprised when I couldn't find this on any other Bianchi's of this era.
2) If I end up getting new Frame Stickers What would make sense for a model (and be defendable)? I'm most likely going to do a quick repaint and build it up from my parts bin. Then if I feel like investing more I'll try to find the right fork and potentially get a professional wet paint.

Mike
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Old 11-01-21, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
having done bike rattle can and automotive spray..... I would find a local powder coater instead. I think Silva Cycles had someone they used...not sure what the deal is but not too far from you https://www.silvacycles.com/
Thanks @squirtdad. I'm still debating what to do on this frame. I didn't mean to get another project, but at the same time, it's hard to not make this bike "right". I rattle can'd my Colnago and it's a solid 2-3 footer. So I think I can make the frame "passable". But, it starts adding up pretty quickly (primer, paint, top coat, sand paper, solvent stripper, decals, etc.).

In typing this, I'm now back to build it and ride it, then decide on next steps. But, I'm sure tomorrow I'll be of the mindset to make it look at least "good" from 10 feet. Right now it's not even a 100 footer. I had the frame in the bike stand on the driveway and went out to walk the dogs with my wife. As we were coming back, seriously 100' away and it looked like crap. I did polish the chrome and at least the fork looks better now.
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Old 11-02-21, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SwimmerMike View Post
[MENTION=20650]...1) Any thoughts on the internally routed brake cable in the top-tube? I was really surprised when I couldn't find this on any other Bianchi's of this era.
2) If I end up getting new Frame Stickers What would make sense for a model (and be defendable)? ...
1) I didn't pick up on the internal routing! I can't recall seeing that on any high grade Bianchi prior to the Centennario. Given the repaint, it could be an owner modifcation or possibly some unique foreign market specification. The latter seems to happen a lot with Bianchi and could also be the reason for the variation in chroming. Once you strip the frame, you may be able to tell if it previously used external cable tunnels or had some chrome that was removed or painted over.

2) Bianchi from this era can be seen with a variety of decal styles, even in the catalogues. In such cases, with a high grade model, my prefered references are old race photos. The 1982 team bicycles clearly use the logo with the short lines protruding from the front of the B and the back of the i, but not with the narrow bands around the tubes, as seen in 1981. This appears to be the same as seen on the top models in the 1982 catalogue, though it's hard to tell if they are black (as used in 1981) or the royal blue with the gold shadow, as shown in the catalogue. From the 1982 catalogue...
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Old 11-02-21, 09:13 AM
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What a cool project.
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Old 11-05-21, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
1) I didn't pick up on the internal routing! I can't recall seeing that on any high grade Bianchi prior to the Centennario. Given the repaint, it could be an owner modifcation or possibly some unique foreign market specification. The latter seems to happen a lot with Bianchi and could also be the reason for the variation in chroming. Once you strip the frame, you may be able to tell if it previously used external cable tunnels or had some chrome that was removed or painted over.
@T-Mar You hypothesis was right. I've stripped it some and there are artifacts of top tube cable guides brazing. So that question around the top tube cable routing is answered. The Chrome on the rear chin stay and the top of the seat stay looks like it's been painted over. No evidence of chrome on the head lugs.

So the bike is not as odd as it first appeared. The only missing attribute I would expect is the head lug chroming. Then of course there are a couple added holes in the top tube.

Thanks for all the help in understanding this.

I did have one final question: Why do some of the high end Bianchi's of this era have the S/N on the seat tube club and others have it on the bottom bracket?

Mike
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Old 11-08-21, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SwimmerMike View Post
@T-Mar You hypothesis was right. I've stripped it some and there are artifacts of top tube cable guides brazing. So that question around the top tube cable routing is answered. The Chrome on the rear chin stay and the top of the seat stay looks like it's been painted over. No evidence of chrome on the head lugs.

So the bike is not as odd as it first appeared. The only missing attribute I would expect is the head lug chroming. Then of course there are a couple added holes in the top tube.

Thanks for all the help in understanding this.

I did have one final question: Why do some of the high end Bianchi's of this era have the S/N on the seat tube club and others have it on the bottom bracket?

Mike
I apologize for the delay in replying but the wife and myself took our first weekend trip out of our area in two years.

Bianchi serial number locations and formats will vary depending on the era and manufacturer. Offhand, I can't recall seeing an early 1980s, high end Bianchi that did not use the seat lug for the location of the serial number. That was typical for all the Italian manufactured models in the American market during the early 1980s. However, during this era the entry level and some mid-range models for the American market, were typically contract manufactured in Japan and these used different formats and locations. Perhaps you've seen some of these? Alternately, they could have been late 1980s models, as the location for the Bianchi manufactured frames was switched to the BB shell in late 1984, for the 1985 model year.
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Old 11-08-21, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I

the wife and myself took our first weekend trip out of our area in two years.

.
Awesome !
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Old 11-08-21, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I apologize for the delay in replying but the wife and myself took our first weekend trip out of our area in two years.

Bianchi serial number locations and formats will vary depending on the era and manufacturer. Offhand, I can't recall seeing an early 1980s, high end Bianchi that did not use the seat lug for the location of the serial number. That was typical for all the Italian manufactured models in the American market during the early 1980s. However, during this era the entry level and some mid-range models for the American market, were typically contract manufactured in Japan and these used different formats and locations. Perhaps you've seen some of these? Alternately, they could have been late 1980s models, as the location for the Bianchi manufactured frames was switched to the BB shell in late 1984, for the 1985 model year.
Thanks for the information @T_Mar. Also congratulations on being able to get away for The weekend.

I did a quick build on the Bianchi from the parts on the bike and my parts bin. Much less of a frankenbike than it was. I was able to take it our for a 20 miler yesterday and really enjoyed it. Now the harder work begins of trying to make it look presentable for its 40th Birthday.
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Old 11-08-21, 01:35 PM
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The lack of down tube clearance points to a different fork, too. Unless it's been crashed...
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Old 11-08-21, 03:11 PM
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Perhaps a crash necessitated a new fork and maybe even a bit of a frame tweak. Taking advantage of this, the frame was modded then finished with a new metallic paint approximating Celeste. The paint was either not up to the task or the bike was ridden hard and put away wet more than a few times. Oof. I'd like to see a pic of the internal routing transitions - do they use stylized fittings or is it flush with the tubing? If done well, the main triangle is a quality piece, but the ride will always be the determining factor - and may not be as good as intended without an original fork.

Regarding the SN location/format: mine has been ID'd as a Specialissima from 1981, with SN stamped into the BB shell. It sports the "waving flag" Made in Italy decal but no model name. As I understand it, the Specialissima moniker was applied to framesets only, while Super Corsa and Super Leggera models were complete bikes; the frames materials, paint and chrome were to identical specification.

Some detail photos of what's been identified as an '81 Specialissima:







The brake bridge is a Gippiemme item and uses a separate threaded insert. It looks as though it will allow for either nutted or recessed application; the piece is on the right:











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Old 11-08-21, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
...Regarding the SN location/format: mine has been ID'd as a Specialissima from 1981, with SN stamped into the BB shell. It sports the "waving flag" Made in Italy decal but no model name. As I understand it, the Specialissima moniker was applied to framesets only, while Super Corsa and Super Leggera models were complete bikes; the frames materials, paint and chrome were to identical specification...


Thank-you for posting. This is first time that I recall seeing the Bianchi S/N on the BB shell for this era and an Italian manufactured, high grade frame. It's also interesting that the order for the month and year is reversed from the normal Bianchi convention. This could be inadvertent or intentional. I have seen other brands where the variations in the serial number location appear to have been used to indicate the intended market.
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Old 11-08-21, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Perhaps a crash necessitated a new fork and maybe even a bit of a frame tweak. Taking advantage of this, the frame was modded then finished with a new metallic paint approximating Celeste. The paint was either not up to the task or the bike was ridden hard and put away wet more than a few times. Oof. I'd like to see a pic of the internal routing transitions - do they use stylized fittings or is it flush with the tubing? If done well, the main triangle is a quality piece, but the ride will always be the determining factor - and may not be as good as intended without an original fork.

Regarding the SN location/format: mine has been ID'd as a Specialissima from 1981, with SN stamped into the BB shell. It sports the "waving flag" Made in Italy decal but no model name. As I understand it, the Specialissima moniker was applied to framesets only, while Super Corsa and Super Leggera models were complete bikes; the frames materials, paint and chrome were to identical specification.



DD
@Drillium_Dude Ridden hard and put away wet was the way I described it also. If it wasn't for the Super Record crankset/chainrings I wouldn't have even contacted the seller. I was really surprised at what it was when I got it home. As I was taking it apart I expected to find a stuck seat post/dents/some real damage, but everything checked out. I always wanted a nice Bianchi, so I'm going to try to see if this one will be able to be made to fit the bill. The 2K clear coat arrived yesterday, the Celeste paint shows up tomorrow, and the VeloCals decals are ordered.

Thank for the detailed shots. Your bike was one of the reasons I was asking @T-Mar about the S/N location. I saw in an earlier post of yours that the S/N as on the BB.

The fork is definitely a replacement. Based on the weight, it is a good quality fork (Suspecting I****awa based on the inputs above). The photo is deceptive, the space between the front wheel and the Down Tube is about the same as my Colnago Super and there doesn't seem to be any issues with the downtube. Can you measure your fork rake? I'd like to make sure mine at least matches the factory spec. I'd like to be able to get a replacement fork, but I think that will be a long shot, so I'm going to try to make sure the fork I have is as close as possible.

I built it up and have done a couple of rides. It rides and tracks well. I have a straight block on it and it feels like it belongs.

Mine doesn't have the chrome head lugs, but the rest of the chrome matches yours (I've found other 1982's w/o the head lug chrome, so I think it's a build/market difference).

The through tube routing is a kludge. Just two drilled holes. I'll take some pictures later this week. I'm taking it to a local frame builder this week to see what he can do (Plug the holes and replace the cable guides on top -or- modify the through tube to be more professional). One other ask is if you can take a picture of your top tube brake cable guides? If I go that way, and I have a choice, I'd like to match as close as possible.

Mike
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Old 11-08-21, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
It's also interesting that the order for the month and year is reversed from the normal Bianchi convention. This could be inadvertent or intentional. I have seen other brands where the variations in the serial number location appear to have been used to indicate the intended market.
Also note the "7" stamping - perhaps, since this was likely built/sold as a frameset only, that number represents the intended market you suggest. I wonder if perhaps the serial numbering convention/location was done differently to differentiate between that designated for built-up bikes and frame/fork only versions.

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Old 11-08-21, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by SwimmerMike View Post
Can you measure your fork rake? I'd like to make sure mine at least matches the factory spec. I'd like to be able to get a replacement fork, but I think that will be a long shot, so I'm going to try to make sure the fork I have is as close as possible.

Mine doesn't have the chrome head lugs, but the rest of the chrome matches yours (I've found other 1982's w/o the head lug chrome, so I think it's a build/market difference).

The through tube routing is a kludge. Just two drilled holes. I'll take some pictures later this week. I'm taking it to a local frame builder this week to see what he can do (Plug the holes and replace the cable guides on top -or- modify the through tube to be more professional). One other ask is if you can take a picture of your top tube brake cable guides? If I go that way, and I have a choice, I'd like to match as close as possible.
Unfortunately I cannot help with frame/fork angles as I'm currently over 1k miles away from the bike, but I'd assume there is something online somewhere which would provide factory specs. Most of what I know about my frame I learned from various contributors to this thread: 1981 Bianchi

Some have suggested that the head lug chrome came and went in the late 70s and early 80s; I do like that mine has that feature as they nicely contrast with the paint, don't they?

Too bad about the kludge, but those holes can be plugged/filled and guides brazed in place. gugie did just that with my Casati.

Here's a shot of one of the brake cable guides he brazed to my Casati - I show this because I have no close-up pics of the ones on the Bianchi which are pretty much identical:



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