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1965 Bianchi Specialissima

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1965 Bianchi Specialissima

Old 04-13-12, 09:47 PM
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BlueDevil63 
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1965 Bianchi Specialissima

I don't usually post "before" pictures, mostly because I usually tear right into a bike when I get it. But my shop is still not set up after our move (most importantly the heat in the shop is not done yet) and I have such a backlog of projects that I thought I would go ahead and do some pictures more or less "as received".

I've been on the lookout for a top of the line Bianchi, a Specialissima or Super Leggera, for quite awhile. They are pretty rare from any year and usually quite pricey. The 60s Specialissima is a real classic and I really didn't expect to come across one. This one is claimed as a '65 and I haven't had time to do any specific dating myself but it is certainly a 60s Specialissima and the original components are all from the 60s. There was a thread outing this bike on Ebay but I had been watching it since it was first listed.

It came with brakes from the early 80s which I have already replaced with the correct Universal 61s. The probable original components include Campy "no Record" hubs, integrated headset, Record RD, FD with chrome arm and cable stop, chrome steel pedals with strap loop, old style shifters, 151 BCD Record crank, Brooks Pro saddle. The paint has plenty of scrapes and chips but no rust really at all and fantastic chrome. The decals are flaked and fading but not horrible. The headbadge is BEAUTIFUL. I need to find the proper stem, bars and brake levers and probably lace the hubs to more period correct rims otherwise I plan to just clean, polish and lube and leave it as is.

I'll post after pictures when she is spiffed up.

















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Old 04-13-12, 09:55 PM
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You learn something new every day....I'd never seen an integrated headset on a vintage bike before.
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Old 04-13-12, 09:58 PM
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bellissima
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Old 04-14-12, 04:55 AM
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Slick. What does the tubing sticker say?

Would you mind taking a couple of photos when you are re-lubing the headset? I am curious to see the inside of that headset.
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Old 04-14-12, 05:04 AM
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Beautiful.

There used to be a Specialissima frame hanging on the wall in the bike shop at Maine Sport in Camden, ME. Same color. I'd be surrounded by high end CF bikes but I only saw that frame.
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Old 04-14-12, 05:25 AM
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We were admiring that one BD 63. Glad you got it! Very classy looking machine. And a very interesting and different color. Great addition to your collection.

Last edited by rootboy; 04-14-12 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 04-14-12, 05:30 AM
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Now that's my kind of bike! Holy cow, that's beautiful. I love that colour and the silver bands on the seat-tube. The paint is incredible for a 60's bike that was actually ridden. The tubing decal looks like an early Columbus "Garantiti", which is SL. Be very careful re-packing that headset, you're going to need a special tool, it's very similar to my Cinelli headset and they aren't easy to work with. What colour cloth tape are you going to go with? Kind of a tricky paint scheme to compliment perfectly. Anyway congrats on an absolutely stunning find.
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Old 04-14-12, 06:02 AM
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Beautiful!!
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Old 04-14-12, 07:50 AM
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i love this bike - oh man - 60cm?61?

i would ride the heck out of it just as it be...
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Old 04-14-12, 08:39 AM
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fine machine. Am I the only one who thinks that these maroon bianchi's are prettier than the celestes?
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Old 04-14-12, 08:46 AM
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i dont know if i would say prettier - but darn fine in its own right

edit: ? looks kinda brown to me - but my eyes are always a bit off when it comes to colors like this
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Old 04-14-12, 08:57 AM
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I would call it a shade of reddish brown? The tubing sticker is the early Columbus Garantiti.
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Old 04-14-12, 09:48 AM
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Beauty! I was watching that one.
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Old 04-14-12, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by marley mission View Post
i dont know if i would say prettier - but darn fine in its own right

edit: ? looks kinda brown to me - but my eyes are always a bit off when it comes to colors like this
Hm, might have chosen the wrong word to describe the colour.
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Old 04-14-12, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
fine machine. Am I the only one who thinks that these maroon bianchi's are prettier than the celestes?
You're not the only one. The standard Bianchi color is nice, but they over-did it in my view and painted too many bikes that color.
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Old 04-14-12, 10:29 AM
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How does that headset work? Beeyooteeful. Enjoy enjoy enjoy.

Jesse
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Old 04-14-12, 10:35 AM
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That is a nice example and pretty close to original. '65 is probably a good call. If it has a 3/16th bottom bracket it may be a bit earlier. The hub locknuts may be a clue, although in my experiance have always been a few years earlier than the bike on these.

Is that a Brooks Pro or a Competitition Standard? It may be original if the later (or even if a Pro, as it looks like an early one).

I have a 9cm Ambrosio stem that would be correct if pre '65 (not Bianchi stamped though). PM if interested.

These are really nice riding bikes, heavy as hell but you do not notice that on the fly.
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Old 04-14-12, 10:40 AM
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Integrated headset. I believe that there's an old VAR tool designed for them. But, you can use ball bearings (held in place by painter's tape or glue) to adjust. Same challenge for old Cinelli or Frejus headsets....


There's a blue Specialissima in a LBS in Chicago. Think that it's about a 54 or so, and that they're asking $1200 (though they raise their prices when you ask about a bike), if anyone's interested.
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Old 04-14-12, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Otis View Post
That is a nice example and pretty close to original. '65 is probably a good call. If it has a 3/16th bottom bracket it may be a bit earlier. The hub locknuts may be a clue, although in my experiance have always been a few years earlier than the bike on these.

Is that a Brooks Pro or a Competitition Standard? It may be original if the later (or even if a Pro, as it looks like an early one).

I have a 9cm Ambrosio stem that would be correct if pre '65 (not Bianchi stamped though). PM if interested.

These are really nice riding bikes, heavy as hell but you do not notice that on the fly.
Hard to tell about the saddle. As far as I can make out it says

Brooks
Competition <something>
B17

Then on the underside bracket it says:

Made in England
D
60
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Old 04-14-12, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueDevil63 View Post
Hard to tell about the saddle. As far as I can make out it says

Brooks
Competition <something>
B17

Then on the underside bracket it says:

Made in England
D
60
B-17 Competition Standard, original equipment. "60" should be the date, but again you have to expect parts to be dated earlier than the bikes. Especially for large houses like Bianchi that bought in bulk.

If the serial number is a 160 prefix your bike is probably a '63-'65.
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Old 04-14-12, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Otis View Post
These are really nice riding bikes, heavy as hell but you do not notice that on the fly.
Curious, why would it be heavy? It's Columbus SL and kitted out with lightweight parts - I would guess that bike would weigh around 25lb as pictured, lighter with tubulars. My Cinelli B has almost exactly the same set-up, down to the Record derailleur, and it ain't heavy.
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Old 04-14-12, 12:37 PM
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Very nice! I have coveted something like that ever since high school, when I rode my lowly 1962 Bianchi Corsa into a bike shop in Huntington Beach, and the owner invited me to see his two mid-1960s Specialissimas on a rack against the back wall.
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Old 04-14-12, 12:43 PM
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25 pounds would be pretty heavy in my book. I'd hope for 23.5 with the leather saddle in that size, but then again the head tube area looks like plenty of metal there.

Inside of that headset are Campagnolo races. Take care to never ride it with the bearing adjustment on the tight side as replacements are somewhat scarce.

I passed on a minty (original paint) one of these last year (in my size) for $800, I offered $750 and the bike had most original parts replaced with 600. It did have a perfect set of high-flange hubs on E-2 rims which made for a bit of temptation, but I was $50 off. Loved the forest green paint on that one and wish I had the photos handy but that's not quite the case untill I re-load the software on my other PC.
I ended up paying $600 for a mint-original blue Bottecchia Pro instead, in my size with tubulars.
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Old 04-14-12, 04:22 PM
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I can't find my good hanging scale but according to my digital bathroom scale it weighs about 23.5lbs. Serial number is 164513.
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Old 04-14-12, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
fine machine. Am I the only one who thinks that these maroon bianchi's are prettier than the celestes?
Great bike. I happen to think all the Bianchi colors are prettier than the celeste ones, but that puts me in a minority, I realize. I like the bottle green, blue, and black in particular. The medium blue isn't bad, either. Celeste looks like left-over military paint, which I think it was ...
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