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Bianchi Specialissima Identification... 1985? No serial number!

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Bianchi Specialissima Identification... 1985? No serial number!

Old 06-24-14, 04:16 PM
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frogalley
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Bianchi Specialissima Identification... 1985? No serial number!

I bought a Bianchi Specialissima last year with plans to restoring it and wonder if anyone can shed light on what it might mean that there is no serial number anywhere on the bike. I think it's a Specialissima, bought as a frame set, because it has the chrome fork and full chrome on the rear stays. The peculiar thing is that it has no serial number anywhere on the frame, it has an embossed "85" on the bottom bracket (and I have never seen a raised number on a Bianchi bottom bracket) but no stamped numbers or letters anywhere on it. I've taken it to Bianchi dealers that assure me that there must be a frame number, but have been stumped when I bring it in for their inspection.

I'm enjoying riding it right now so may not restore it for while. It's a bit of a jalopy because its so rusty and worn, which I kind of like. I'd probably strip it rather than powder coat it cuz I'd rather not blow away the chrome underneath the paint, though it would more thoroughly cure the rust. I'm new to bike restoration, but did a lot of car resto when I was a kid... Any thoughts or advice?
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Old 06-24-14, 05:03 PM
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I have a 1982 Nuova Racing (entry level) that barely has a serial number at the very top of the seat tube, above the point that the seat stay joins on the drive side. The paint is so heavy in that area that I can only make out the letter A.
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Old 06-29-14, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric S. View Post
I have a 1982 Nuova Racing (entry level) that barely has a serial number at the very top of the seat tube, above the point that the seat stay joins on the drive side. The paint is so heavy in that area that I can only make out the letter A.
Hey Eric,
Thanks for the reply. I did look hard all over the bike, which is a little challenging because there is a amount of abrasions and corrosion, but cannot find anything. I included the pictures of the seat post area, the bottom bracket and head tube to show the typical locations where one might find serial numbers in the past, but that there is no trace of them here. I also looked on the dropouts, inside and out, because I understand that numbers have appeared on other manufacturer's frames on dropouts in the past, but there are no numbers there either. That's another reason I would do a chemical strip of the paint instead of sandblasting: so that I would not obliterate any significant stampings or engravings that might now be covered by the paint.
So the mystery persists.
Do you have any experience seeing raised or embossed numbers on Bianchi bottom brackets?
-W
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Old 06-29-14, 10:25 PM
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I don't really know much about Bianchi bikes, other than I'd wanted a classic '80s celeste one since I worked at a bike shop as a teenager.

The frame you have looks a little more decorative than some I've seen here on BikeForums; perhaps Bianchi had some levels of hand-made and rapid production (I don't want to use the term "mass produced").

For what it's worth, I can't find a serial number anywhere on my '86 De Rosa.
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Old 06-30-14, 04:42 AM
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Not a bad looking Bianchi but one in need of serious cleaning and overhaul. Also your stem looks dangerously high.

How about a little info on the components? Are the brakes Triomphe or Victory? That looks like a shimano RD but what are the shifters?

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Old 06-30-14, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by frogalley View Post
Hey Eric,
Thanks for the reply. I did look hard all over the bike, which is a little challenging because there is a amount of abrasions and corrosion, but cannot find anything. I included the pictures of the seat post area, the bottom bracket and head tube to show the typical locations where one might find serial numbers in the past, but that there is no trace of them here. I also looked on the dropouts, inside and out, because I understand that numbers have appeared on other manufacturer's frames on dropouts in the past, but there are no numbers there either. That's another reason I would do a chemical strip of the paint instead of sandblasting: so that I would not obliterate any significant stampings or engravings that might now be covered by the paint.
So the mystery persists.
Do you have any experience seeing raised or embossed numbers on Bianchi bottom brackets?
-W
Again nice looking Bianchi but again one in need of immediate TLC. You don't want to run the BB to the point where you need to replace it.

First I think you have a very odd duck. I do not believe it is a Specialisma I don't believe there was a model ever named that, at least in the US catalogs. I think the Specialisma name was simply a script applied to the left chain stay as sort of an early Reparto Corse thing. This is not to be confused with the Specialisma X4 models.

This frame atleast dates from around '85/86 and while most all Bianchi dealers were realigned under Bianchi USA I am sure there were still plenty of bikes coming in through the old channels. None of the bikes in the catalogs I have from the era show a frame with a chrome fork and stays but I do recal seeing a bluish Vittoria model hanging in a shop where I works that had that chroming. Most of the production Vittorias were all painted. So whether this is a frame only from that period or some other model could be impossible to determine.

One thing I would strongly suggest, while overhauling the BB in the near future, check for any ribs or 'rifling' in the seat and down tubes to see if the frame is SLX.

In the absence of other evidence if the brake calipers are Victory coupled with the Victory crank I would say this is an '86 Vittoria
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Old 06-30-14, 09:00 AM
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There was a Specialissima model complete bike produced and sold in the 60s. This certainly isn't one of those. In the 80s the Specialissima model name was used for a frame set that was sold bare. It was the same frame used in the Super Leggera and Super Corsa. Then in addition the Specialissima decal was seemingly randomly applied to the chainstay of various other models for reasons that are not clear.

That said I don't know what this is. The seat stay top treatment is not familiar to me nor is the Bianchi stamped BB.
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Old 07-02-14, 05:30 PM
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The plot thickens..

Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Again nice looking Bianchi but again one in need of immediate TLC. You don't want to run the BB to the point where you need to replace it.

First I think you have a very odd duck. I do not believe it is a Specialisma I don't believe there was a model ever named that, at least in the US catalogs. I think the Specialisma name was simply a script applied to the left chain stay as sort of an early Reparto Corse thing. This is not to be confused with the Specialisma X4 models.

This frame atleast dates from around '85/86 and while most all Bianchi dealers were realigned under Bianchi USA I am sure there were still plenty of bikes coming in through the old channels. None of the bikes in the catalogs I have from the era show a frame with a chrome fork and stays but I do recal seeing a bluish Vittoria model hanging in a shop where I works that had that chroming. Most of the production Vittorias were all painted. So whether this is a frame only from that period or some other model could be impossible to determine.

One thing I would strongly suggest, while overhauling the BB in the near future, check for any ribs or 'rifling' in the seat and down tubes to see if the frame is SLX.

In the absence of other evidence if the brake calipers are Victory coupled with the Victory crank I would say this is an '86 Vittoria
Wow, thanks for the flurry of interest..
Thank you for your insights, BG. I've been lurking on these forums for a while stalking info on Bianchis (this is my 3rd one) and I feel like I've just had a visit with the queen!
Your advice to remediate the rust sooner rather than later is well taken, and rest assure that the stem is within the minimum limit.

I've been combing through the web and can see why you suggested it's a Vittoria. I hadn't known what level Campy components were on it, but believe you're right: they're probably Victory.
Bluedevil is also correct in corroborating my assertion that in '85-'86 the high-end frame was marketed as a "Specialissima". It was a bare frame with a chrome fork. I was shown a magazine article of the era that said as much and I had photographed those pages, but may have lost them when my laptop was stolen. I'm sure I can recopy that info if you are interested.

Could you weigh in on the lack of serial number and the embossed "85" ?? I still am not sure what to make of that...
Do you know if one could special order full chrome stays and fork on top models or full chrome on a frameset of that era?

The components aside from the Campy crank, headset, brakes and hubs are Shimano Santè, including the brake levers. I've seen a few chrome forked Bianchis from this era, bit don't recal one that had full chrome on the rear stays. I believe that the script-style pantographing on the top of the seatstays is consistent with the high-end frames that year, is that correct?
Notice the gold columbus stickers on the fork; wouldn't a Vittoria have the green stickers? Is there any significance to the blue/gold wing combo on the Bianchi logo decals? Is it my imagination or do the high end frames sport the gold while mid level frames are all blue?
Also it looks like the Vittoria reinforcement of the lower rear stays behind the BB is a rod-like strut, while the better frames are the web-like one pictured.

I bought it because I was intrigued with the full chrome treatment (under the paint as well), Campy dropouts, pantograping and that there was only a raised number 85 and no serial number, so it seemed to be the high-end frame for that year. It also has Mavic decals on the leading edge of the front fork. Because of all these things, I thought it might be a team bike or custom made for somebody.
It's been my assumption that this was sold as a bare frame set and the owner tricked it out with his own components and the Sante set was added later ( I think Sante was introduced in late 80s).

I've included some more pictures:
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Old 07-02-14, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by frogalley View Post
Wow, thanks for the flurry of interest..
Thank you for your insights, BG. I've been lurking on these forums for a while stalking info on Bianchis (this is my 3rd one) and I feel like I've just had a visit with the queen!
Your advice to remediate the rust sooner rather than later is well taken, and rest assure that the stem is within the minimum limit.

I've been combing through the web and can see why you suggested it's a Vittoria. I hadn't known what level Campy components were on it, but believe you're right: they're probably Victory.
Bluedevil is also correct in corroborating my assertion that in '85-'86 the high-end frame was marketed as a "Specialissima". It was a bare frame with a chrome fork. I was shown a magazine article of the era that said as much and I had photographed those pages, but may have lost them when my laptop was stolen. I'm sure I can recopy that info if you are interested.

Could you weigh in on the lack of serial number and the embossed "85" ?? I still am not sure what to make of that... The Serial number is there just lightly stamped and full of paint. Bianchi was not great and really stamping the numbers in and on a bike like this it could be very short. I am very certain the 85 refers to the date of the shell/frame which could mean something special and it might not.

Do you know if one could special order full chrome stays and fork on top models or full chrome on a frameset of that era? I think if you ordered a bunch like maybe 100 you might but Bianchi did not do a lot of custom stuff then. At one time on the Mondiale and Super Leggera I think you get a slightly custom top tube but the wait was ridiculous.

The components aside from the Campy crank, headset, brakes and hubs are Shimano Santè, including the brake levers. I've seen a few chrome forked Bianchis from this era, bit don't recal one that had full chrome on the rear stays. I believe that the script-style pantographing on the top of the seatstays is consistent with the high-end frames that year, is that correct?

Notice the gold columbus stickers on the fork; wouldn't a Vittoria have the green stickers? Most likey yes but if they were replaced an owner may just put anything on it. Is there any significance to the blue/gold wing combo on the Bianchi logo decals? Is it my imagination or do the high end frames sport the gold while mid level frames are all blue? Yes the gold was usually the top line bike.
Also it looks like the Vittoria reinforcement of the lower rear stays behind the BB is a rod-like strut, while the better frames are the web-like one pictured. It is possible but with the top 3 bikes sharing a frame in '85 it could be all three had that as well.

I bought it because I was intrigued with the full chrome treatment (under the paint as well), Lots of companies did that up until the very late '80s early '90s. it was done to protect the frame, and some believed the chroming process made the frame stiffer. Campy dropouts, pantograping and that there was only a raised number 85 and no serial number, so it seemed to be the high-end frame for that year. It also has Mavic decals on the leading edge of the front fork. Because of all these things, I thought it might be a team bike or custom made for somebody. I suspect the decals were applied to the fork by an owner. Bianchi did do a lot of 'grass roots' sponsorship back then so it possible some NeoPro owned this.
It's been my assumption that this was sold as a bare frame set and the owner tricked it out with his own components and the Sante set was added later ( I think Sante was introduced in late 80s). Anything is possible. We had a very nice Vottoria in our shop but we finally put 600 derailleurs on it to sell it.

I've included some more pictures:
I think you have a very nice Bianchi and very good mystery on your hands. There are just too many possibilities here. It could be an off the shelf Vittoria, it could be a Canadian model of some sort. It could have slipped in through the cracks before Bianchi USA and Bianchi Italy finalized their agreement. It could even be a warranty replacement that someone was sent because their Vittoria broke.

When you get her cleaned up a little email me some pics and I'll try and pass them to a few people at Bianchi I occasionally mail and see if they have any ideas. BianchiGirLL@yahoo.com
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Old 07-15-14, 09:44 PM
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Many thanks..

Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I think you have a very nice Bianchi and very good mystery on your hands. There are just too many possibilities here. It could be an off the shelf Vittoria, it could be a Canadian model of some sort. It could have slipped in through the cracks before Bianchi USA and Bianchi Italy finalized their agreement. It could even be a warranty replacement that someone was sent because their Vittoria broke.

When you get her cleaned up a little email me some pics and I'll try and pass them to a few people at Bianchi I occasionally mail and see if they have any ideas. BianchiGirLL@yahoo.com
Thank you for the very thorough reply, Bianchigirl...
I appreciate your attention to each detail and laying out some of the possibilities for deciphering the origins of this bike.
I'll clean it up and will have to strip the bike down and take the paint off to really see what's underneath. I'll take pictures of each phase and send some to you as I go to see what you think. That should be fun.
Thanks also to Eric and BlueDevil, I'll get back to this once I make the time to start this project.
Ciao fer now!
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Old 02-09-17, 09:37 PM
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Wow. I picked up a Bianchi a few weeks ago and have been trying to identify what model and year it is. The pictures above have the exact same paint scheme and other markings, except the serial numbers under the bottom bracket are 59 (which I assume is the frame size) and D266. From my research I thought this was a '85 Specialissima as well, but not sure. Anyone know what the D266 stands for?
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