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Why is there more love for Italian Steel bikes?

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Why is there more love for Italian Steel bikes?

Old 07-21-20, 10:29 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
You, unfortunately, are living in a distant past. Perhaps one that even never existed considering Beretta has been making guns for several hundred years longer than English gunmakers. It will be a very cold day when England produces a SxS superior to Bertuzzi, Fabbri, Perazzi, or any one of maybe a dozen other Italian gunmakers.
you need to get out more
just sayin'
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Old 07-21-20, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
Here's a "Stodgy" British bike for you built in 1985 fillet brazed slx at 18.5 lbs. it will absolutely trash the Colnago and Cinelli I had.

Well yeah, that's cuz of the Columbus tubing stickers
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Old 07-21-20, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Well yeah, that's cuz of the Columbus tubing stickers
That's interesting... The Cinelli and colnago had the same stickers.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:46 AM
  #29  
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the following is in reference to top end bikes.


The Italians as a group have had an evolution in geometry, but often, those bikes share a lower bottom bracket than the French and British bikes I have owned of the same era.

The handling is often quite enjoyable, not all are all day comfortable bikes, but capable.

Visible workmanship shows interest by the builder. (bridge reinforcements, filling the seatlug ears with brass or a tube and brass, then cut away, reducing distortion in use)

Italian bikes will most often have the drive side stays blacksmithed flat to provide more clearance for the chain and small cog.

(Only a few French makers did this, and can mean a lot to a mechanic when the stays are completely round.

Often Columbus tubing- I think a case ca be made the fork will be laterally stiffer, no scientific data, but Columbus is wider than a Reynolds Imperial oval blade.


My French bikes vary, one of mine is by geometry, an Italian clone.

Frequently a bit higher bottom bracket.

Often "indifferent" finish work, not to write they are of poor quality, I often have felt the brazer went in fast, filled the lug full and sometimes to overfilling and got on to the next task- a strong case as that is smart structurally.
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Old 07-21-20, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
My Fender Strat and Tele are made in Japan and they are superb Guitars.
If they work for you then it's all good. I wouldn't trade one of my Italian built steel framed Colnagos for any carbon fiber version they make, regardless of the fact that it would probably be functionally better in every way. Same goes for my steel Guerciottis (made in Italy) or Merckxs (made in Belgium of course). I don't ride my bikes for what they "do", I ride them for what they "are". They're the genuine article, warts and all. That's not necessarily right; it's just right for me.
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Old 07-21-20, 11:55 AM
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Alot of it has to do with the Racing Heritage associated with Made in Italy bicycles. If it won at the Vuelta, The Giro , and the Tour on a consistent basis then its Race Proven , so it must be the Best.

I drank the Kool Aid over 30 years ago, and it still taste delicious.
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Old 07-21-20, 01:15 PM
  #32  
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In two words: history and aesthetics


This is such that a Porsche may have better suspension and less likely to deteriorate. But when a Ferrari is standing next to a Porsch at the traffic light, you feel like you are seeing a VW Beetle with a nice make-up. Italians put their soul and passion into it. It all comes across in things where objects need to be given a shape.
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Old 07-21-20, 01:30 PM
  #33  
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US? more were Imported than those like Gazelle from NL.. There have been quite a few British brands brought in ..
Belgian other than Merckx, not much..

I Own a Koga , no dealers at all for those. I got a used one someone brought back with them from NL.
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Old 07-21-20, 01:33 PM
  #34  
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Unlike French bikes and Raleigh, didn't get much low end Italians here either, with the exception of Bianchi and I think Atala.
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Old 07-21-20, 01:51 PM
  #35  
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If you could put it into words that really did it justice, I suspect you could win some sort of prize, or perhaps be recognized by the Italian government. But however elusive a description or summary might be, it is there. That certain special something, it exists. And while it might be be for everyone, once you have a taste for it there are very few substitutes.

As others have mentioned, spending time in Italy certainly helps understand what it is all about. And by 'spending time in Italy,' it is ideally doing something other than waiting on line to get into the Coliseum or Vatican Museum (not that there is anything wrong with either of those things, which are certainly worth the wait, but just to say that there is a lot more going on in the rest of the country).
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Old 07-21-20, 02:04 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
British bikes were "stodgy" and focused on 3 speed "English racers".

French bikes had non-standard threading.

American bikes were just "gas pipe specials".

That leaves the Italians, who made light weight, high performance bikes.
Compared to my Ron Cooper or the others like him? Hah. Gas pipes? Eisentraut, Strawberry, Redcay, Teledyne(lol) Paramount, of the mid- seventies? What about those that came, or became REALLY well known a few years later, like Ben Serotta?

​​​​​Foreign cachet, at the time. I would gladly trade my '86 De Rosa Professional for the blue Peter Mooney currently on NH CList. And would have in 86, as well, had I been riding.
Seriously...Offer stands.
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Old 07-21-20, 02:13 PM
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I always attributed the popularity of Italian racing bicycles to their racing heritage. Nothing breeds sales success like success in high level competition.

The American builders, as a collective whole, laboured over the details and finish more than anybody and offered Campagnolo but they didn't sponsor high profile pro teams.

The British had also had very fine builders and offered Campagnolo but outside of Raleigh they didn't have the financial resources to sponsor pro teams outside the British Isles.

The French had a great racing heritage, arguably greater than Italians, up to the 1970s. However, for the most part their success was tied to big, full range brands like Gitane, Motobecane and Peugeot.

Italy's popularity was also tied to the big, full range brands into the 1970s, with marques like Atala, Bianchi, Bottecchia and Legnano being the most popular during the early 1970s bicycle boom.

Then in 1975, a curious thing happened, the boom went bust. Looking to retain financial liquidity, many of the larger, full range manufacturers ditched their independent American distributors and set up their own USA based sales and distribution divisions in an attempt to retain a large piece of a much shrunken pie. This forced the independent distributors to look for new bicycles and the late 1970s saw a number of smaller, more exclusive brands introduced to the USA, many of them being Italian.

Now, this development was perfectly suited for the avid American cyclist. They'd been through the boom and had gained more knowledgeable about what constitutes a high grade bicycle. They were prepared to ditch their Peugeot or Raleigh for something more exclusive and exotic. As a result, the high end market swung away from Peugeot PX-10 and Raleigh Professionals.

As part of their education, it became known that many of the top riders rode custom manufactured, rebranded frames. Eddy Merckx was the undisputed king of bicycle racing and it became known that he actually rode Colnago, Masi and De Rosa. As a result, the demand for these frames outstripped the supply and when they couldn't be had, the prospective buyer started looking at some of the other Italian brands that were appearing in the American market, like Guerciotti, Pinarello and Rossin.

Penetration into the American market allowed these smaller brannds to grow, to the point where they could start sponsoring pro teams. That was immediate increased stature and racing success was only icing on the cake. Basically, it snowballed throughout the 1980s for the high end Italian manufacturers, with racing success bring increased sales and popularity, which allowed hiring better riders, which created more success in races and in sales.

I think you can look at certain high profile race performances as being instrumental in driving the USA market popularity of the smaller Italian brands.

1. Eddy Merckx, 1972 Hour Record on Colnago.

2. Dave Stoller, 1978, not winning but giving the "good old American try", in Breaking Away on a Masi.

3. Giuseppe Saronni, 1982 World Championship for Colnago.

4. Francesco Moser, 1984 Hour Record for Moser.

5. Alexi Grewal, 1984 Olympic road race victory for Pinarello

6. Stephen Roche winning the Triple Crown (Giro d-Italia, Tour de France, World Championship) for Battaglin.

Last edited by T-Mar; 07-21-20 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 07-21-20, 02:16 PM
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Quick release paint and decals do not seem to keep people from loving a lot of Italian bikes.
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Old 07-21-20, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
Compared to my Ron Cooper or the others like him? Hah. Gas pipes? Eisentraut, Strawberry, Redcay, Teledyne(lol) Paramount, of the mid- seventies? What about those that came, or became REALLY well known a few years later, like Ben Serotta?

​​​​​Foreign cachet, at the time. I would gladly trade my '86 De Rosa Professional for the blue Peter Mooney currently on NH CList. And would have in 86, as well, had I been riding.
Seriously...Offer stands.
I want to add, in '75 I lusted after a Gios, De Rosa or Colnago, because of the pantographing, but after I destroyed my Cooper in 1976, the frames I lusted after were built by those 3 small American firms listed above. I got a used Masi, because it was immediately available and affordable. (Not that there was anything wrong with it, it was a great bike! Just didn't inspire bike lust in me...
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Old 07-21-20, 02:21 PM
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Pinarello and Wilier in particular seem to have been the big recent winners of using pro racing as brand cachet. Wilier in particular seems a bit obscure across the Atlantic before the 20th Century.
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Old 07-21-20, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Quick release paint and decals do not seem to keep people from loving a lot of Italian bikes.
I believe the correct terminology is 'self-shedding'.
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Old 07-21-20, 02:29 PM
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You're lucky if you can even get paint on a modern high end bike these days. I swear that matte black carbon is the worst thing to happen to high end road bikes since the press-fit bottom bracket.
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Old 07-21-20, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
You're lucky if you can even get paint on a modern high end bike these days. I swear that matte black carbon is the worst thing to happen to high end road bikes since the press-fit bottom bracket.
like agree, the coolness factor with "naked" finish,matte black CF modern bikes, wear off very quickly. CF just does not look that interesting, after spending just a short time looking at the material. My nephew bought a top of the line, really expensive Canyon race bike in matte black "naked" CF finish. He was really excited about how it looked maybe the first six months he owned it. Now it sits mostly parked next to the rolling garbage bins in our garage, hardly ever ridden. He seemed to loved the previous cheaper Giant he had that had a black red and white paint job much more.
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Old 07-21-20, 03:30 PM
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no italians now....pair of team miyatas but: my first italian a torpado super strada just had a special ride....even with not super high end tubing (allele DB) I still kinda of lust after a Torpado super light and putting modern campy on it. My next italian l a de rosa lived up to billing again a fantastic ride, and I would still have it except that is was just slightly too big and I found a proper size team miyata

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Old 07-21-20, 03:32 PM
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There are MANY great bikes out there....MANY.

I LOVE all my bikes and I am lucky enough to own a Colnago Super 1976.

Maybe it's in my head or real.....I cannot even hear it when I shift it is SO SMOOTH !!!!!

So I would suggest to the OP to test ride an Italian bike and see for yourself.

I prefer steel. I have ridden aluminum and they are fast and light....but harder on my body

My go-to bike is a Schwinn Sports Tourer 1973 VERY smooth...BUT it weighs in at 31 pounds !!

The Colnago is 10 pounds lighter !!!!!

To me there is greatness in all bikes.........................it's just what you want to get out of it...................
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Old 07-21-20, 03:42 PM
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Italian women need more credit -
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Old 07-21-20, 05:28 PM
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It’s because Colnago’s are so cool.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Italian women need more credit -
And the best thing about them is you can't understand a word they are saying.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:50 PM
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Cultures in the Catholic religion seem to be marked with passion. I won't go into theology to try to explain why, but it's an observation. And Italians seem even more so than, say, the French.

Italians have a flair for design. Sometimes it's over the top or gaudy. I find some Italian bikes much too decorative, but even still, there is a certain mastery of the art.

There also seems to be a ethos of form over function. The attitude sometimes seems to be that it doesn't matter if it works well as long as it looks good. I had an Italian-made espresso machine which was amazing to look at, but I had to contort my body to put water in it. The sequence of button presses didn't make a lot of sense. But it looked fantastic. Generally, the (high end) Italian racing bikes I've worked on, and there were many, were very well made but not as well made as the American or Japanese ones.
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Old 07-21-20, 06:03 PM
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I had two bicycles that should have been comparable: 1980 Peugeot PKN-10 and 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia. Both had moly steel butted main tubes. In fit-and-finish craftsmanship, the Bianchi was very noticeably superior to the Peugeot. I also liked its lower bottom bracket, but I did greatly appreciate the Peugeot's more generous tire clearance. The Peugeot was one size too long and too tall for me, so I gave it to my elder son.

Erik and Henry on Pi day (3/14) 2020, waiting for their dad to give them a trailer ride. He is really thankful for that 34T granny ring I added.
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