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Italvega ID

Old 08-09-06, 12:15 AM
  #1  
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Italvega ID

Hello,

First time poster, long time reader. I've learned a great deal from everybody here and I appreciate it very much. I am hoping somebody out there can tell me what I bought. I've searched the forums and google and haven't found very much.

I picked up an early '70's Italvega frame and fork last week. I was told it that it is from 1973. It has Campy rear dropouts and heatset, a Columbus tubing and Campagnolo stickers on the seat tube and lots of chrome. The serial number on the welded bottom bracket has 5866 stamped on it as well as a small 6 pointed star.

First off I am wondering what model frame this might be. The Columbus sticker says "DEUX DE TUBES" and "EN ACIER SPECIAL." What kind of special steel is this? I haven't found any references to it yet. It is very lightweight. At least lighter than my other bikes, although I have not weighed it yet. The Campagnolo sticker below says "PRODOTTI SPECIALI." From what I understand the mid to upper crust Italvegas came with Record groups, so this may not mean much.

The biggest mystery is that this frame seems to have been repainted a long time ago. Beneath the red and yellow is a dark blue paintand there are clear signs of bad masking in sveral places. I am confused by this since the decals on the downtube seem to be original. Might this be an old restoration job or is am I just seeng some odd blue primer? Maybe I have a counterfeit Itavega!

My goal with this frame is to build it up into fixed gear with mostly Campy and Cinelli parts. I may or may not repaint it, depending on if this is the original finish or not.

Thank you in advance,
Josh
Attached Images
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Italvega-Full.jpg (47.2 KB, 128 views)
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Italvega-Front.jpg (27.2 KB, 87 views)
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Italvega-RDropouts.jpg (38.2 KB, 108 views)
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Italvega-Seat-Lug.jpg (23.5 KB, 89 views)
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Italvega-Stickers.jpg (23.1 KB, 96 views)
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Italvega-BB-5866.jpg (23.0 KB, 100 views)
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Italvega-Cable-Guides.jpg (38.5 KB, 82 views)
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Italvega-BB.jpg (33.8 KB, 79 views)

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Old 08-09-06, 12:19 AM
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One more thing! I am curious about the 6 pointed star mark. It appears on the bottom of the bottom bracket and on one side of the seat lug. It may just be the lug makers mark, but I was happy to find it.
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Old 08-09-06, 09:28 AM
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It's a "midline" model. I had a similar one that had the same type of cable braze-ons on the top-tube. I remember it having the Campy drops in back but the fork had plain stamped drops. It was metallic blue and labled "Nouvo Record" on the top-tube. It had come with Campy Nouvo Record derailleurs and clamp-on DT shifters, but had a Stronglight crankset/BB and centerpull brakes (Universal or similar, I can't remember). The wheels had been changed but everything else on the bike was original. I think that's the model you have there.
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Old 08-09-06, 09:43 AM
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Yeah that jibes with an early Italvega I once had, but some details are different. I never saw one with a French Columbus decal, or with a big chrome panel on the seat tube like yours has, nor ever seen one with that paint scheme. I guess this is an old repaint and done at a shop that had the french stickers on hand. Other point of interest is the six-pointed star, that came up as a mark on a mystery frame many months ago, and nobody had a clue except Malvern, and the bike clearly was not an Aussie. Maybe this is a mark made by Torpado (who made the Italvegas for US market) or a lug makers mark...or it could be the repainter's mark.
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Old 08-09-06, 09:28 PM
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Thank you for all your replies. I assumed it was a mid-range model. Would the consenses be that the Columbus sticker is not accurate being that it is in French and the frame was repainted? Any guesses on what type of tubing this might have?

I pull what I could off my Viscount and bought a bottom bracket today and took it on its maiden voyage to the grocery store. Maybe it's the new toy syndrome, but its rides like a butter-filled dream. This frame is over an inch shorter and a hair lighter than what I usually ride. It feels much quicker and more reponsive. I think I can jump higher too!

Here is the Italvega looking vaguely Italian with a mid '70s Nuovo Record Pista crank, MKS Sylvan track pedals and clips, Brooks B17 Narrow, and Nitto bars. I'm running 46/16 gears. I'll be getting nicer track hubs and rims sometime in the near future.

I still need to clean off an absurd amount of adhesive residue and put on the red bartape, lights, and a brake.
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Old 08-09-06, 09:53 PM
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Hi Josh,
I think your Italvega is a 1974 Super Speciale which was the top of the line with all Campy equiped. I have two Italvegas (one I bought new in 1971 (mid-range) and the other a 1972 Super Speciale. I have been collecting serial numbers for Italvegas and now have about 20. The Super Speciale usually had a star at each end of the serial number - so no mystery there. Italvegas were produced in the Torpado Italy factory and were imported from 1970 to about 1977 by Ben Olken who was the distributor and named them. The Columbus decal on the seat tube was in French on all of the Italvegas that I have hear about. Olken may have had a supply of French-Columbus or did it for some other reason. Most Super Speciale had a six digit serial number but yours appears to be an early one. Original colors were metallic green, metallic blue, "root beer" metallic brown, and yellow. I can give you more particulars on my Italvega Super Speciale but from what I can see in the pictures, yours is like mine. What size is the frame?
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Old 08-09-06, 09:59 PM
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No. I think more likely that it IS Columbus tubing and the foil sticker usually indicates a tubeset equivalent to SL, but earlier stuff, before they used those designations. But I have never seen a foil sticker in French...somebody who can translate should tell us what "Deux de Tubes" means, is it that just two of the tubes are "special steel", or (as I suspect) that they are double-butted? That Italvega looks very flash, dude! Wonder if it made it to France (or Canada) from the US to be repainted, and then back again. Far as I know, the Italvega brand was just sold in the US, but...I've been wrong before.
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Old 08-10-06, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Skip Magnuson
Hi Josh,
I think your Italvega is a 1974 Super Speciale which was the top of the line with all Campy equiped.
A Super Speciale would not have the top-tube brake cable braze-ons, a welded BB shell, that fork crown, or seat-stay top.
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Old 08-10-06, 03:03 PM
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Skip-
seattube t-c is 57cm
toptube c-c is 55cm

Thank you unworthy.

I weighed it today and with everything on it comes in at 20lbs even. Most of that being my Brooks and two coats of paint.

The star on the BB shell is to the left of the SN and on the other side of the weld. There is only one. There is only one star on the seat lug and it is under the chrome as opposed to being stamped on afterwards. Both of these stars are on the drive side.

The Columbus sticker is paperbacked with a gold foil surface. According to Babelfish "Deux de Tubes" means "Two of Tubes." Double Butted maybe?? And "En Acier Special" translates as "Out of special steel"

I'm suspicious of it being top of the line with that welded shell. I've read that the flagship models had cutouts in their BB shells and in the lugs. Maybe the early ones didn't have that yet? Skip, can you defend my bike's honor and status?

Regarding the fork crown, in the few pictures I have found online they all appear to be the same regardless of the model. I check again though.
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Old 08-10-06, 03:22 PM
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Ok, I was wrong. Here is a Superlight with an different fork crown.

The one at Classic Rendezvous looks just like mine but with a nicer seatstay bridge.
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Old 08-10-06, 07:51 PM
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"Ok, I was wrong. Here is a Superlight with an different fork crown."

Yup, the top models all had the flat-crown forks with diamond cut-outs. Diamonds in the the head-tube lugs and seat cluster lug as well. Here's a link to a '76 catalog:

http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/ItalVega-76/

Check out the "Nouvo SPort" model 4th pic down, that's the closest to yours but still a bit different. Again, yours is really close to the "Nouvo Record" I had. Are the drop-outs on your forks stamped?
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Old 08-10-06, 08:17 PM
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Italvega information is hard to get - But - I have a 1972 Super Speciale (s/n *308798*) frame and fork sitting about two feet from me. The bottom of the BB is welded. The fork has chromed sloped sholders and welded fork drop-outs (both front and rear drop-outs are chromed as is the seat tube, rear stays, and front fork). It does not have brazed on top tube cable braze-ons. The rear drop-outs are Campy with derailleur hanger. It is all original and is Campy Groupo.
The Italvega Super Light came out about 1973 and had the same frame as the Super Speciale except the bottom of the BB had a couple of cut-outs.
Your bike, Josh, could be a Nuovo Sport as Otis suggests or some other model. Models included Nuovo Sport, Elan, Super Record, Grand Turismo, Super Speciale, Super Light and probably other models. The "higher" models had rectangular Columbus decals (in French) and the Mid and lower models an inverted triangular Columbus decal (in French) and I have heard the lowest models may not have had a Columbus decal.
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Old 08-10-06, 08:42 PM
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The Nouvo Sport is very similar. I see that the '76 came with an Ofmega headset while mine is a Campagnolo. The front dropouts are stamped. I just checked and the braze-ons appear to be original as they are chromed underneath the paint. This may be irrelevant considering the repaint, but as I was cleaning off all that adhesive I noticed the top tube had three rings of built-up grime that seem to perfectly match Campy clamp on cable guides I have seen before. These can be seen in the photos included in the first post.
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Old 08-10-06, 09:05 PM
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Here is some wild speculation. Are Ofmega headsets taller than Campagnolo's? Mine has two spacers on it. One of them is duller and a bit rougher compared to the other. I tried removing it, but the top locknut bottoms out on the threads too soon without it. The point being that what if this frame was resprayed with new decals and stickers and cobbled together at the shop or factory at some later date? I've been wondering why someone would go through all that trouble and not put the model name back on? One more thing to note is that the head badge was never put on after the respray. There was no residue or scraping and the rivet holes have intact paint on the inside edges.

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Old 08-10-06, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jjvw
Mine has two spacers on it. One of them is duller and a bit rougher compared to the other. I tried removing it, but the top locknut bottoms out on the threads too soon without it.
I would say a clue indicating the bike originally came with centerpulls, the original front cable hanger taking up the space that uses a second spacer now. The fork drops being stamped would without a doubt rule out a top model frame.
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Old 08-10-06, 10:15 PM
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Ah yes, cable hangers. I never thought of that. There may have even been a reflector bracket.
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Old 08-11-06, 01:58 AM
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I think that Josh's frame is a "Nuovo Record" or "Nuovo Sport" model, as Otis suggested.

After about '73-'74, the SuperSpeciale and SuperLight frames were the same (both with BB shell cutouts), but the equipment spec. differed, with the SuperLight being the top model. Prior to about '73-'74, there was no SuperLight, and the SuperSpeciale was the top model. These early SuperSpeciales were a much different frame than the later SuperSpeciale and SuperLight. If you're looking at the ItalVega brochure scans on M. Bulgier's site, remember that it's from about '75-'76, and doesn't mention Nuovo Record model, but they did exist... The earlier ItalVega models were quite a bit different.

Oh, and that '76 SuperLight pictured above is one of my bikes...! It's pretty original, but missing it's drilled chainrings.
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Old 08-11-06, 09:10 PM
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Glad to see you back TheOtherGuy. Skip
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Old 08-12-06, 10:12 AM
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Hey there Skip; thanks I stop in every few days & check out the threads. I've always liked ItalVegas, so had to post...

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Old 08-12-06, 11:56 AM
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Thank you everyone for all the information. I'm satisfied that what I have is either an early Nouvo Record or Nouvo Sport. Would I be correct that the only real difference is group that came with it? If and when I decide to repaint the frame I will try to sand down through the red on the top tube and see if there is anything left of the model name. In the meantime I am waiting for a reply from the seller to see if he has any more details since this frame was from his personal collection. I'll be at the next Chicago Critical Mass if any of you are in the area and want to take a closer look.

Josh
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Old 02-13-07, 10:29 AM
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Josh,
I agree with earlier response that your bike is of the mid level Italvega line with decals placed on after a repaint. It is definitly not a Super Spec. as the S.S had different bottom bracket lugs and did not have eyelets. Brazeon cable mounts were not on the early models. My Super Spec. is serial nmbr 3662 and was sold in 1973. My brother bought his S.S serial nmbr 605 new in 1971. Both of these are coffee in color. There was one model in the early 70's that was higher than these and that was the Super Light. Of the early line ,I only saw the Super Light in pearl white with all the same campy nuevo record gruppo but drilled. The higer grade bikes did have rectangular columbus decals WITH french writing. Lower models had triangular columbus decals. Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 02-13-07, 01:08 PM
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Thank you, Randy. I just rode that bike though 5 inches of snow and 25mph winds. It was great!

Based on what I have gathered over the last six months, I have been refering to it as a 1973 Nuovo Record. There was a repainted Italvega frame on eBay a few weeks ago with the same bottom bracket, cable guides, fork, and a slightly higher S/N. I think the seller was saying it was an early to mid 70's frame. Unfortunatley there was not a model name attached to it. I would love to find a head badge for it. The search goes on!
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Old 02-13-07, 03:02 PM
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Some Italvega info for the confused. Re: I have a Bertoni, which I have read elsewhere was a later marque from the same man - whom I have seen variously referred to as Ben Olken (in MA), Ben Lawee (in CA), and as Ben Olken's Lawee distributorship. Does anyone here have the definitive answer - and is Bertoni really a follow-up marque of Italvega/Univega? Thanks.
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Old 02-13-07, 03:32 PM
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This Ben Lawee/Olken fellow seems to be a very mysterious fellow in bicycle history. One of the LBS guys I talked to about my frame mentioned his existence, but didn't know much. I've been wondering if anyone has ever actually seen the man. I once heard he was 8 feet tall.
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Old 02-13-07, 04:51 PM
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In regard to the six-pointed star stamped on the frame; did you buy that from someone in the Bay Area? Alameda County used to stamp that onto bicycles as a sign the serial number had been registered with local police. I've had a couple older bikes stamped that way.
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