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Mystery solved at last it's italian!

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Mystery solved at last it's italian!

Old 04-23-13, 11:22 AM
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Lenton58 
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Mystery solved at last it's italian!

MYSTERY SOLVED AT LAST — IT'S ITALIAN!

On February 4th, 2011 I posted a request for information about this machine along with specifics:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...er-Anyone-Know

A recent pic minus the lurid wheel decals that appeared in earlier posts.:


I built this bike from frame-up over two years ago in SS format. It has been on a number of BF threads — cuz I just love to ride the thing! The asymmetrical frame fits exactly, and it just has the "X" factor. Whenever I look at it, I get the urge to mount up and ride!

One of its first rides was a muddy excursion I made into the nightmare left by Japan's Great Eastern Tsunami of 2011. The bike is visible in the foreground in some of the some of the first pictures from the ground in Sendai that were featured in the Canadian press — as soon as we had internet restored. (Albeit without credit cuz I was not interested at the time). The painful association has not spoiled my affection for the machine.

My attempts to find out about the machine produced very little results, except that it was branded as a Simplon "4-Star" in Reynolds '531'. A '5-Star' model was offered of which less than 60 examples were built. With little to go by, I am still confident that it comes from the late 70's. The stays came in a 120 mm spread that I had cold-set to 126. The Reynolds decal helps to date the production. Perhaps I should have written a letter to Simplon. Perhaps I still should.

Some of the rather rather ugly graphics (IMHO) quickly dissolved under thinners that I used to clean the paint before repairs to scars and clear coating. Thus I removed most of them, and thus they do not appear in the attached picture. An engraved "S" appears on the fork crown.

I was never convinced that this frame was actually made in Austria by the Lake Constance boat yard that has now become the manufacturer of premium competition MTB's under the same name. Well, my friends, persistence has paid off. As far as I can tell, this frame — as some little internal voice told me all along — is Italian. It is a Romani — a company that was formed in Parma Italy in 1924.

The Romani name failed to appear on most of its many decades of production. Rather than complete bicycles, they concentrated on producing frames. They supplied frames to many "brands" including luminaries such as Colnago. Romani ceased to exist in 1990.

More later ... if anyone is interested as to how I have solved this mystery — at least my own satisfaction. It's a matter of " ... if it quakes like a duck and walks like a duck ... blah blah." but it's conclusively convincing in so many respects.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:57 PM
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WNG
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Congrats on resolving its origins.
When I was a teen in high school, my classmate and his family were into cycling, and rode Italian.
He couldn't afford the big marques like his adult family members, so he rode a Romani.
I was told it had a stiff BB due to the use of a Columbus SP seat tube instead of an SL. It was a good climber. A mutual friend ended up buying the frameset and repainted it. He confirmed that it felt much stiffer than his previous Raleigh with 531c.

Interesting that Romani built with Reynolds 531 instead of Columbus tubing for this one.
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Old 04-23-13, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by WNG View Post
Interesting that Romani built with Reynolds 531 instead of Columbus tubing for this one.
I too found that interesting. Although I always suspected that it was an Italian frame, the British tubing was disquieting factor. However, Classic Rendezvous reports that catalogs show Romani frames made from Columbus SL, SLX and TSX as well as Reynolds. It does have Campagnolo drop-outs.

On UK's Retrobike forum, a Gaetano Romani III writes that his grandfather started the company in 1924 and that his father Rodolpho and uncle Mario took over in 1950. Gaetano III came into the factory in 1983. Production was shut down in 1990.
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Old 04-23-13, 09:42 PM
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Those little mysteries are fun esp. When u find the answer. Looks like a very nice rider
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