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Forget the tubing: The master builders, hidden gems, and underappreciated marquees

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Forget the tubing: The master builders, hidden gems, and underappreciated marquees

Old 09-26-12, 12:57 AM
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Veloh
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Forget the tubing: The master builders, hidden gems, and underappreciated marques

I've been a tubing snob for a while. Reynolds 531 or Columbus SL+. However, a recent thread made me forgo tubing sticker envy and look for a bike that is a well built, balanced examples of craftsmanship.

Anyone have any recommendations of builders, marquees, or specific models that ride exceptionally well?
I'd like to narrow it to racing frames, possibly of the Italian ilk. For example, seems like many really enjoy the ride of a Guerciotti regardless of what it's made of.

Last edited by Veloh; 09-27-12 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 09-26-12, 01:25 AM
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I can't say that I ever noticed a real difference between my 531 frames and the low end steel ones that I have.
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Old 09-26-12, 03:56 AM
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Quick answer.

Zullos.

I've owned more than one that was made from SL and they were very nice riders.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:17 AM
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Sounds like your eyes are set for an Itialian frame. But for under appreciated, responsive, undervalued; I'd givea nod to the early 80's Japanese built Raliegh Competition. second in line to the Pro it has a 531 frame, Bocma Lugs, chrome socks, Campy or Superb dropouts, aggressive geometry and the workmanship is outstanding plus you can find lightly used examples in the $350 range for a complete or $200 frame & fork
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Old 09-26-12, 05:24 AM
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I have been wanting to try a Oria or True Temper tube machine lately. I think Geurciotti used some Oria.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:31 AM
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There are so many quality, smaller name builders out there. I'm obviously partial to Marnati. Grandis is another that I REALLY love. Some of the lesser known US builders also typically go at rates beneath their quality - Bill Boston, Redcay, Franklin all come to mind.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
There are so many quality, smaller name builders out there. I'm obviously partial to Marnati. Grandis is another that I REALLY love. Some of the lesser known US builders also typically go at rates beneath their quality - Bill Boston, Redcay, Franklin all come to mind.
+very many. The lesser known US builders are a bargain, and I think the best avenue for the cheaper collector. I think even the better known ones are by and large undervalued. There's also any number of very small Italian builders, little known outside of Italy (and sometimes barely even there) that produced beautiful work. Finding one requires some dumb luck and patience, but they do exist.



They run cheaper than "name" Italians and are often built far better.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:41 AM
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I realized, quite some time ago, that I was in jeopardy of becoming a vintage bicycle snob. I had to have the best and looked down on most other, less than spectacular, offerings. I learned differently and it was this old entry level Legnano that taught me a valuable lesson.

Good bikes are not just the best ones made. Some ordinary offerings can be pretty darn special, in my opinion...

That said, the best workmanship I have been lucky enough to witness appeared on my Pinarello and on my Cyclops. Trek and Miyata also offer examples of nicely crafted frame sets. Again, this is opinion based.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:42 AM
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Certainly not what you're after but one of the nicest riding bikes I've had has been a Motobecane Super Mirage with Columbus 'inexternal' tubing, of which it's hard to find much info about. A mid-end bike, it's no doubt largely due to the geometry (fit me perfectly) but it certainly rode nicely, not too heavy, no noticable flex and it just did everything it ought to really, really well, cornered, accelerated, long journeys, it did everything comfortably and confidently

Sadly I sold it to a friend who needed a bike, but if all goes well I'll have the same model, same size, a few years younger (MBK), and far far pinker (90s) some time this weekend. I'm more excited about picking this up than any other bike in a loooong time.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
+very many. The lesser known US builders are a bargain, and I think the best avenue for the cheaper collector. I think even the better known ones are by and large undervalued. There's also any number of very small Italian builders, little known outside of Italy (and sometimes barely even there) that produced beautiful work. Finding one requires some dumb luck and patience, but they do exist.



They run cheaper than "name" Italians and are often built far better.
I think there are other advantages too...people don't know what they are and that can make for fun conversations. It means they tend to attract less attention, which I consider a plus. I think they're easier to get back if stolen...they stick out. As you said, I think a lot of the time they are much better made bikes and the price is a huge boon as well. I'd much rather have an odder marquee...something like a Picchio...than a 10speed Drives import.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:13 AM
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If we're talking pure riding characteristics, fit and geometry will be more important than the brand.

I found David Moulton's (who most agree knew how to build a frame) three articles on frame evolution to be very enlightening. Suddenly I understood why my Peugeot with the handlebars above the wheel axle handles much better than my oversize Marini with the long top tube and short stem.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
+very many. The lesser known US builders are a bargain, and I think the best avenue for the cheaper collector. I think even the better known ones are by and large undervalued. There's also any number of very small Italian builders, little known outside of Italy (and sometimes barely even there) that produced beautiful work. Finding one requires some dumb luck and patience, but they do exist.



They run cheaper than "name" Italians and are often built far better.
That color reminds me of my Gazelle. I'm not sure why, but I think colors of this sort just look fantastic on a bike.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:31 AM
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For pure handling on a "fast" bike, my Gazelle Champion Mondial (531c tubing) is pretty tough to beat. Although BF folks will generally be familiar with Gazelle racing bikes, at least around here in the Midwest where Trek seems to be about the only thing anyone has ever heard of, it's a marquee that almost no one is familiar with.

...which is entirely OK by me!
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Old 09-26-12, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 20grit View Post
That color reminds me of my Gazelle. I'm not sure why, but I think colors of this sort just look fantastic on a bike.
+1 - I dig it! It has a subtle beauty...it's not loud, it's simple...I think the word I want is tasteful. Especially love the small bit of chrome on the fork crown.

Awesome bike Pogue.

I've had De Rosas that I wasn't wild about, but they've always handled well at speed. I think having the fork made to the frame size might help...they really track nicely and corner quickly, yet predictably. If I'm going down a hill at 50mph, I'd want a De Rosa over the other production bikes I've been on. In terms of handling, the most secure bike I've ever been on is the De Rosa Primato...though I also have to credit the GP4000 tubulars with some (most?) of that.

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Old 09-26-12, 07:44 AM
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I would just like to note that marque and marquee and two different things.

Bikes are nice. I like bikes. That is all.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
I would just like to note that marque and marquee and two different things.

Bikes are nice. I like bikes. That is all.
Not to mention "marquis." Or Marky Mark.
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Old 09-26-12, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
I would just like to note that marque and marquee and two different things.

Bikes are nice. I like bikes. That is all.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_sade

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Old 09-26-12, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I think I used to have a saddle manufactured by this guy.

Man, has this thread degenerated. Apologies. I'll go away now.
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Old 09-26-12, 08:14 AM
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Old 09-26-12, 08:27 AM
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Univega and Panasonic bikes don't get much attention.
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Old 09-26-12, 05:53 PM
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My list of lesser names that offer lustworthy quality.

Vitus 983 Gitanes (mid 80's)
Miyata 91x series (late 80's)
Trek 770
Panasonic 7000 (non-AL)
Centurion turbo, ironman
RB1 (tough find)
Fuji Opus/Professional
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Old 09-26-12, 06:14 PM
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I very fond of all the Marinoni I've owned and ridden.
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Old 09-26-12, 06:44 PM
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Miyata bikes tend to be nice riding frames.

The high end models get all the glory, but I believe the middle level models are quite under rated.

Of the bikes that I have flipped the last few years, I really wished I'd hung onto a Miyata 312. The components were nothing special but that splined tripled butted cromoly frame rode quite nicely.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:30 PM
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Thank you Colonel. The Marquee thing was getting to me...
A-and I love Olympias.
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Old 09-26-12, 07:48 PM
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