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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 07-27-20, 05:27 AM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Sure. If you entirely ignore the non-Italian builders doing the exact same thing at the same time of those "original" Italian builders did.
Who taught those other builders to build those bikes that you think are exactly the same? Build quality used to be much poorer in the USA - but then Faliero Masi taught an entire generation of American builders how to do the job properly. Those people then taught others. Sadly, those that learned how to do it were replaced by PRC-based laborers who don't care about what they build - or about the safety of those who ride their products.

Non-Italian builders aren't the same as Italian builders on the high-end. Geometry is different, for one thing. Ride quality differs substantially. I've owned Brit and French bikes that didn't handle as well or ride as well as the Italian bikes I still own. The Ideor I have in the basement (older than I am) out-rode and out-handled the Carlton and PX-10 I used to have. It's one of the main reasons I got rid of the other bikes and kept the Ideor. To each his own.
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Old 07-27-20, 09:19 AM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
Who taught those other builders to build those bikes that you think are exactly the same? Build quality used to be much poorer in the USA - but then Faliero Masi taught an entire generation of American builders how to do the job properly. Those people then taught others. Sadly, those that learned how to do it were replaced by PRC-based laborers who don't care about what they build - or about the safety of those who ride their products.

Non-Italian builders aren't the same as Italian builders on the high-end. Geometry is different, for one thing. Ride quality differs substantially. I've owned Brit and French bikes that didn't handle as well or ride as well as the Italian bikes I still own. The Ideor I have in the basement (older than I am) out-rode and out-handled the Carlton and PX-10 I used to have. It's one of the main reasons I got rid of the other bikes and kept the Ideor. To each his own.
I don’t buy that, given a vacuum of Italian builders, other great frames would not have occurred.

My 1985 531Pro Bob Jackson Ltd Ed. is easily equal to my SLX Merckx and Colnago of the same year.
An ‘87-89 Ironman is easily equal in ride to my same years DeRosa Pro and Merckx Corsa Extra.

My stable has mostly “fades” lately: Battaglin, Basso, Guerciotti, Colnago, Pinarello and Ironman. Same era. Really not a whit difference in them. My 1985 or 1986 Fiorini is not Italian (Chris Fiorini from Paramount, Buell and H-D) and is SL but I’m fairly certain most visitors would take it home after riding it and leave my others.

Many really good young builders have not even seen any from the Italian masters. Somehow, they are producing amazing new steel bikes that will never resemble a C&V bike. It’s a bike thing.

Goes without saying Italian C&V are nice, work well, and I like ‘em; but they are not the Origin Of The Species. Just cool.
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Old 07-27-20, 09:22 AM
  #128  
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i mean, France is probably the "origin of the species" for popularizing the derailleur, which is really where the modern sports bike starts
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Old 07-27-20, 11:49 AM
  #129  
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Has anyone mentioned yet the obvious point that Italian names just sound cooler? Colnago and Bianchi and Tomassini and Battaglin and Bottechia all just sound exciting. (By contrast, Fondriest doesn’t, even though he was a great rider and his bikes look gorgeous). Much more so than Schwinn, or Raleigh or Peugeot, which all sound a bit utilitarian.

The aesthetics of the bikes, and the caliber and reputation of Columbus steel, and Campagnolo components, and Fausto Coppi with his Persol shades, are all part of what always looked cool whenever any of us got into cycling.

It’s also the race car effect. The analog to the Colnago or Bianchi was always Ferrari or Alfa Romeo. But Schwinn was an Oldsmobile, Raleigh a Morris Minor and Peugeot a, well, Peugeot.
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Old 07-27-20, 12:31 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Comparing F1 to Le Mans is silly. It's like saying the Giro (Le Mans) is better than Milano-Sanremo (F1). An F1 car would be crushed at Le Mans and an LMP will never get pole at Monaco. Le Mans is older and there is no doubt, Enzo regarded it more than F1. He just had a hissy when he could no longer control the rules and Ford and Porsche crushed his soul.
As for the V8, you have to be joking, right? It is a US thing that Ferrari did miserably. Feeling still butt hurt from what Ford did to him, Enzo tried this joke of a dalliance. Gutless pos. 12s and 6es, that the sweet spot, nothing in between. An that wedge isn't fit to suck the exhaust from the 365, which was Enzo's weak attempt to better the E-type (spoiler alert, he did not). And finally, comparing a 550 to a whale is so desperate, it isn't worthy of anything. The only thing somewhat comparable is the P3, but it does not have the elegance.
Hmmm, a lot of conjecture there regarding the thoughts and intentions of the Drake. Ford and Porsche "crushed his soul"? Seriously? The V8 gutless? Do you remember what cars in the US were like in the early 80's? The 365 a weak attempt to better the E-type? Now I'm thinking you might have hit the bottle or the pipe. I know these are just your opinions, but suffice to say that most people in the know don't agree with you, or share your "taste."

Lastly, we are talking about modern day F1. It is the top level of auto racing, and LeMans is a mere fraction of what it used to be. So until Porsche decides to even attempt racing where it matters, nobody is going to take them seriously as a racing brand. They are a gentleman's toy, nothing more.

Originally Posted by iab View Post
Sure. If you entirely ignore the non-Italian builders doing the exact same thing at the same time of those "original" Italian builders did.
You missed the part about a tradition of craftsmanship and artistry that no other country (especially not the US or UK) could, or can, match.
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Old 07-27-20, 12:54 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Hmmm, a lot of conjecture there regarding the thoughts and intentions of the Drake. Ford and Porsche "crushed his soul"? Seriously? The V8 gutless? Do you remember what cars in the US were like in the early 80's? The 365 a weak attempt to better the E-type? Now I'm thinking you might have hit the bottle or the pipe. I know these are just your opinions, but suffice to say that most people in the know don't agree with you, or share your "taste."

Lastly, we are talking about modern day F1. It is the top level of auto racing, and LeMans is a mere fraction of what it used to be. So until Porsche decides to even attempt racing where it matters, nobody is going to take them seriously as a racing brand. They are a gentleman's toy, nothing more.



You missed the part about a tradition of craftsmanship and artistry that no other country (especially not the US or UK) could, or can, match.
And what's wrong with a gentlemen's toy? I guess I am a gentlemen and I would take a DB-11 over anything red.

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Old 07-27-20, 01:23 PM
  #132  
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French versus Italian:

As reported in an issue of Bicycling magazine published around 1975 or 1976, a Bicycling writer was allowed to wander around the mechanics' stations before a Tour de France stage. He picked up the front wheel from the bike of Bernard Thevenet, the yellow jersey wearer, and gave the wheel a spin. The hub felt startlingly grindy. He pointed that out to the head mechanic, who said, "Doesn't slow him down."

Salvatore D'Amato, the 84-year-old owner of the famed Sally's Apizza restaurant in Pizza Row in New Haven, Connecticut, when asked if he was thinking about retiring and turning over the running of the restaurant to his sons, both in their '40s, both having worked in the restaurant since their early years, said, "Well, the older boy is starting to get a feel for when to take the pizza out of the oven."
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Old 07-27-20, 02:18 PM
  #133  
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Love the Bianchi I have. How much is placebo? Unknown. But I took it for an alignment and the framebuilder noted the sloppy lug filing, uneven brake bridge, and the DT shifter bosses being 5mm or more misaligned (measured down from the head tube) from DS side to NDS side (not a big deal but still). Maybe imperfection is the secret to a nice riding bike! Kidding, I think.
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Old 07-27-20, 02:23 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Has anyone mentioned yet the obvious point that Italian names just sound cooler? Colnago and Bianchi and Tomassini and Battaglin and Bottechia all just sound exciting. (By contrast, Fondriest doesn’t, even though he was a great rider and his bikes look gorgeous). Much more so than Schwinn, or Raleigh or Peugeot, which all sound a bit utilitarian.
Is that why all the American framebuilders have funny names like Havoonian, Alistair Spence, Chris Chance, Kvale, Sklar, Weigle, ...Guglielmana...?
This is why I became a scientist instead of building frames. Nobody would buy a "S Carlson" when they could have that guy I went to college with, D'autremont..

The aesthetics of the bikes, and the caliber and reputation of Columbus steel, and Campagnolo components, and Fausto Coppi with his Persol shades, are all part of what always looked cool whenever any of us got into cycling.
It's true. Fausto Coppi is still cool.

It’s also the race car effect. The analog to the Colnago or Bianchi was always Ferrari or Alfa Romeo. But Schwinn was an Oldsmobile, Raleigh a Morris Minor and Peugeot a, well, Peugeot.
Does that make my Herse a Bugatti, my Ron Cooper a Bentley, and my Taylor an Aston Martin?
Conversely, my Claud Butler is some horribly badge-engineered faux-luxury marque by malaise-era British Leyland, like an Austin Metro Vanden Plas...
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Old 07-27-20, 03:14 PM
  #135  
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Higher end Italian bikes from the 70's and 80's were all hand built with immaculate attention given to every detail. Most of these were made by smaller shops and in lower quantities.
Pretty much every one was setup with Campy components and Cinelli bars that last for ever.
Still riding mine today.

Not every Italian bike from the period was as high quality. I did own 2 Bianchi's that were produced in much higher volumes from the 80's that were pretty average in all aspects.
Although they sold 10 to 50 times more bikes I rarely see any of these on the road yet still see riders on old CIOCC, Colnago, Olmo, and Guerciotti bikes even though only a few were sold in these parts.
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Old 07-27-20, 03:16 PM
  #136  
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idk where you are, I see old mid-range Bianchis all the time here- frequently hybrids, or old MTB/road frames with flat bars. Them, Univegas and Peugeots are the old Craigslist specials I notice people riding the most.
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Old 07-27-20, 04:03 PM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
Who taught those other builders to build those bikes that you think are exactly the same? Build quality used to be much poorer in the USA - but then Faliero Masi taught an entire generation of American builders how to do the job properly. Those people then taught others. Sadly, those that learned how to do it were replaced by PRC-based laborers who don't care about what they build - or about the safety of those who ride their products.

Non-Italian builders aren't the same as Italian builders on the high-end. Geometry is different, for one thing. Ride quality differs substantially. I've owned Brit and French bikes that didn't handle as well or ride as well as the Italian bikes I still own. The Ideor I have in the basement (older than I am) out-rode and out-handled the Carlton and PX-10 I used to have. It's one of the main reasons I got rid of the other bikes and kept the Ideor. To each his own.
If you think building happened in the 70s, you have a very limited view of history. Faliero Masi didn't teach **** to Pop Brennan, Oscar Waysten, Alvin Drysdale, Dick Power, Albert Eisentraut, or dozens of great French, English, Belgian, German or any other builder prior to the 70s.

Again, everything you describe as "better" can be summed up with je ne sais quoi. Nothing else.

Last edited by cb400bill; 07-28-20 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 07-27-20, 04:05 PM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Hmmm, a lot of conjecture there regarding the thoughts and intentions of the Drake. Ford and Porsche "crushed his soul"? Seriously? The V8 gutless? Do you remember what cars in the US were like in the early 80's? The 365 a weak attempt to better the E-type? Now I'm thinking you might have hit the bottle or the pipe. I know these are just your opinions, but suffice to say that most people in the know don't agree with you, or share your "taste."

Lastly, we are talking about modern day F1. It is the top level of auto racing, and LeMans is a mere fraction of what it used to be. So until Porsche decides to even attempt racing where it matters, nobody is going to take them seriously as a racing brand. They are a gentleman's toy, nothing more.



You missed the part about a tradition of craftsmanship and artistry that no other country (especially not the US or UK) could, or can, match.
Let me get a shovel, it's getting really deep ....
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Old 07-27-20, 05:49 PM
  #139  
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Actually, my real problem with Ferrari are all the gold chains you have to wear if you own one.

















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Old 07-27-20, 05:59 PM
  #140  
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Je ne sais quois is great. I'm remembering the recent thread where soenone was deciding between a Vitus 979 and an old CAAD, where the conclusion was that the CAAD was better in every objective metric but the 979 was much, much cooler. That's part of the whole appeal of c+v.
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Old 07-27-20, 06:55 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Well.... it must be something unexplainable for me. All I can say is that I have a lot of bikes that I ride a lot. I've also had a lot come through the fleet. As bikes get moved on it seems to never be the Italian built ones that I have.

I've passed on quite a few beautiful, dang near mint bikes over the years. But as I think about them they are ones like my Team Fuji and Fuji Club, Schwinn Prologue, and even my mint serial #1 1987 Paramount. Also a Trek built Lemond, a highly respected Trek 560 Pro along the way. Heck, as I consider needing room in my bike cave for a couple of new builds I'm even thinking of selling my 1987 Schwinn Circuit that's got a full Campagnolo 11 speed setup on it. I've posted pretty much every one of my Strava KOM's on this bike yet for whatever reason I can deal with selling it over any of my Italian rides. Don't ask me why, that's just how it is.

Yesterday was a 30 miler on my Billato built Giordana XL Super. Every mile was pure heaven and sex on wheels. Can't get better than that.


Out on the road under me, this is my best Italian bike. Not the De Rosa, not the Basso, not any of the others...

Filthy Bike Porn ! ! ! Cruel of you as it was to post that pic it was in a way kind not to have included others. If you had I may have had to start cutting myself
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Old 07-27-20, 07:34 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
If you think building happened in the 70s, you have a very limited view of history. Faliero Masi didn't teach s**t to Pop Brennan, Oscar Waysten, Alvin Drysdale, Dick Power, Albert Eisentraut, or dozens of great French, English, Belgian, German or any other builder prior to the 70s.
No, I think the Italians and other nationals were building bikes long before the 1970s. What is undeniable is that the builders eventually coalesced around Italian ideas about aesthetics and function. They did that in the USA, England, Japan, the low countries and even France.

Oscar Wastyn?

Originally Posted by iab View Post
Again, everything you describe as "better" can be summed up with je ne sais quoi. Nothing else.
The Italians got good at the bike business because they focused on the details that mattered - handling, ride quality (dictated by geometry and tubing metallurgy), mass reduction, aesthetics and fitment. There were other builders but the Italians consistently got it right. If you want to refer to that as "je ne sais quoi" nobody will stop you, though. My opinion is that this stuff is pretty tangible.
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Old 07-27-20, 07:45 PM
  #143  
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Sensory perceptions are funny things.

I worked in a brewery years ago and a veteran employee told me about a funny experience. People used to say brand "A" beer sucked, tasted terrible, etc. But brand "B" beer was great - nice and smooth, just wonderful.

The only difference was the label and the price. It was the same beer in the bottle.

Ride what you like, and like what you ride.
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Old 07-27-20, 08:47 PM
  #144  
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well, unless you're talking touring bikes, in which case the Italians did about as well as if you asked Enzo Ferrari to design a pickup truck...
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Old 07-27-20, 08:52 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
What is undeniable is that the builders eventually coalesced around Italian ideas about aesthetics and function. They did that in the USA, England, Japan, the low countries and even France.
I deny that. Italians couldn’t paint for beans, and ignored quality control processes, thinking they were good enough. Sometimes they were, sometimes better, sometimes worse..

Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
The Italians got good at the bike business because they focused on the details that mattered - handling, ride quality (dictated by geometry and tubing metallurgy), mass reduction, aesthetics and fitment. There were other builders but the Italians consistently got it right. If you want to refer to that as "je ne sais quoi" nobody will stop you, though. My opinion is that this stuff is pretty tangible.
Too generic to agree on the former, but there is something there. Cool factor.

When triathletes started racing on bikes they could afford, others started paying more attention to affordable bikes that were as good as the Italians but cost 1/5 to 1/4 the price. Triathletes, despite how I really feel about most of them, did not bring a cultural need for Italian bikes or Campy components to the game. They just wanted bikes they could go fast with and that worked. Instead of objects of affection, they were tools, a means to an end. To me, that’s when things changed. I use 1985 as both a great year for Italians and a bookmark for their “dominance.” The market grew the next big dogs, and they were not Italian.

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Old 07-27-20, 08:57 PM
  #146  
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Yeah, the rise of the mid range road bike can't be discounted there, and the Japanese were the ones with high quality midrange frames and maybe more critically, high quality midrange components. I mean, really, what do you want, a Peugeot with Simplex Prestige, a cheap Atala with Gian Robert or whatever, or a Suntour VX-equipped Fuji?

Seeing Colnago or De Rosa sell bikes at the "105-level" market still feels weird. Less so for Bianchi since they were always aimed at the entire market range from professional to entry.

They did the high end perfectly fine as well, but it took a while for the pros to be convinced.
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Old 07-27-20, 09:33 PM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
No, I think the Italians and other nationals were building bikes long before the 1970s. What is undeniable is that the builders eventually coalesced around Italian ideas about aesthetics and function. They did that in the USA, England, Japan, the low countries and even France.

Oscar Wastyn?



The Italians got good at the bike business because they focused on the details that mattered - handling, ride quality (dictated by geometry and tubing metallurgy), mass reduction, aesthetics and fitment. There were other builders but the Italians consistently got it right. If you want to refer to that as "je ne sais quoi" nobody will stop you, though. My opinion is that this stuff is pretty tangible.
Kunsunoke says it best. I think there was a synthesis of frame design, elegant italian aesthetic and technology (lighter Columbus tubing over Reynolds 531) that coalesced into amazing bikes and the intense following they enjoy to this day.
Ugo De Rosa taught Eddy Merckx how to build bikes and Eddy was obsessed with every detail of his bikes. Nagasawa, one of the premier Japanese builders, worked for De Rosa. Richard Sachs admired Nagasawa's skills so much, he bought one for himself. There are other examples of course, but I would agree that the Italians were hugely influential in frame building over the years.

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Old 07-27-20, 09:54 PM
  #148  
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Overrated indeed.
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Old 07-28-20, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by CarbonBone View Post
Overrated indeed.
That's one way to get to ten

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Old 07-28-20, 05:51 AM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
well, unless you're talking touring bikes, in which case the Italians did about as well as if you asked Enzo Ferrari to design a pickup truck...
Enzo was perhaps "just" an excellent manager, the geniuses were called Pininfarina, Colombo, Forghieri, etc.
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