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Is my Bianchi Italian?

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Is my Bianchi Italian?

Old 10-20-20, 11:29 AM
  #1  
walterb
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Is my Bianchi Italian?

Absent of a Made in Italy sticker, what's the best way to determine the origins of a given Bianchi?

Mine was purchased in Montreal in 1982 (or thereabouts) and has no markings to indicate the model or even the frame-maker (no Columbus sticker.) The frame is stamped with a circled B and the vertical sticker incorporates a Piaggio emblem at the top. The front Bianchi badge — rectangle in shape — is embossed metal, not a sticker. The serial number just above it: 2A00917. There is no number on the bottom bracket.

The components are Italian, that much I know: Campagnolo derailleurs and pedals (no model indicated), Miche crank, Gipiemme hubs, Ofmega quick releases, and Modolo brakes (since swapped out for Modolo aero model.) I believe the original rims were Ambrosio; I now have Records.

I'll post pictures when this forum allows me to.

As I mentioned elsewhere on this site, I am the original owner and might still have the sales receipt somewhere in my attic. This elusive piece of paper might or might not have the answer to my riddle: What model Bianchi do I own, and where was it made? (I vaguely remember it being hand-written and containing little information other than the price: around CAN$400.)

But in the meantime, I'm interested in your best — and, I hope, educated — guesses. It will be fun to compare them with whatever information the sales receipt produces, if it materializes.

Up for the challenge?
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Old 10-20-20, 11:52 AM
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While you are waiting for photo privileges, ...
What is the seatpost diameter?
is the BB threading English (suggesting Japanese manufacture) or Italian?

Wouldnít think that $400 Canadian would have bought you much Bianchi in the early Ď80s. The frame + fork for my first really good bike, a Pinarello all-SL, retailed for $525 in 1981. Still have it in the family.
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Old 10-20-20, 12:46 PM
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Typically, a 1982 Canadian market, Italian manufactured Bianchi would have a two part serial number , stamped with one segment on each side of the seat lug. However, it's also not a Japanese manufactured model. The format and location (collar of upper head lug) was a holdover from the 1970s models and has been seen on some early 1980s, lower level models contract manufactured in Italy by Chiorda. They were typically seen with Bianchi Calibrati 1-20 or Columbus Zeta tubesets, both which were h-tensile steels. The seat post diameter will tell if its in the hi-tensile steel range. The derailleurs are likely entry level Campagnolo 980 or similar. It's definitely a 1982 model, based on the serial number.
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Old 10-20-20, 01:53 PM
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Hi, thanks for the response. I’m embarrassed to say I wouldn’t know what to look for in the threading even if I could get to it. But a quick measure of the seatpost diameter shows it is exactly the same as our second Bianchi, a Compione d’Italia with various stickers: 1986-87 Campione del Mondo, Columbus tubing, Made in Italy. On both bikes the seatpost diameter seems to be 30 mm. Does that tell us anything?

Last edited by walterb; 10-20-20 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:04 PM
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Thank you , t-mar. The seatpost seems to be 30 mm in diameter. Though my memory is beyond fuzzy, Iíve somehow retained this fragment of information from that time: chromoly frame, steel forks. I honesty donít know where I got that - whether I was told at the store, or whether I read it in a catalogue. I doubt it was on the sales receipt, which, I promise, I will find. Anyhow, what does the seatpost diameter tell us? In the meantime, Iíll do some research on Chiorda and Calibrati. First I hear of them.

Last edited by walterb; 10-20-20 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
Thank you , t-mar. The seatpost seems to be 8.5 cm in diameter (3 3/8 inches.) Though my memory is beyond fuzzy, Iíve somehow retained this fragment of information from that time: chromoly frame, steel forks. I honesty donít know where I got that - whether I was told at the store, or whether I read it in a catalogue. I doubt it was on the sales receipt, which, I promise, I will find. Anyhow, what does the seatpost diameter tell us? In the meantime, Iíll do some research on Chiorda and Calibrati. First I hear of them.
Hi Walter,
The seatpost diameter is the distance across the seatpost, as shown by the red arrow in this pic. It should be between 25mm and 36mm, 8.5cm is far bigger than any seatpost out there.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:55 PM
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oh, man, i measured the circumference. let me go back and fix that. sorry, folks. (It's 30 mm)

Last edited by walterb; 10-20-20 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 10-20-20, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
oh, man, i measured the circumference. let me go back and fix that. sorry, folks.
Lol no worries Walter. Some quick math says your diameter should be 27.07mm which seams right on. Now the real question; is it 27.0 or 27.1?
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Old 10-20-20, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bOsscO View Post
Lol no worries Walter. Some quick math says your diameter should be 27.07mm which seams right on. Now the real question; is it 27.0 or 27.1?
So let's call it 30 mm, plus or minus 1 or 2 to account for the thickness of the metal. What does this tell us about the bike?
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Old 10-20-20, 03:19 PM
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I'd bet T-Mar can answer that, or Bianchigirll
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Old 10-20-20, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
So let's call it 30 mm, plus or minus 1 or 2 to account for the thickness of the metal. What does this tell us about the bike?
Unfortunately, he diameters people usually look for are 27.2 mm (columbus SL or SLX. the good stuff), 26.8 mm (Columbus Aelle the medium stuff), or smaller the cheap stuff. so you cant tell much from mm level measurements, you need to get a precise measurement, to help you identify the level of frame tubing material.

EDIT: the circumference measurement is a pretty accurate method for measuring the diameter, as was indicated earlier. (any measurement error is divided by pi, so it helps to buffer the errors associated with imprecise tools like a tape measure).
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Old 10-20-20, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mgopack42 View Post
Unfortunately, he diameters people usually look for are 27.2 mm (columbus SL or SLX. the good stuff), 26.8 mm (Columbus Aelle the medium stuff), or smaller the cheap stuff. so you cant tell much from mm level measurements, you need to get a precise measurement, to help you identify the level of frame tubing material.

EDIT: the circumference measurement is a pretty accurate method for measuring the diameter, as was indicated earlier. (any measurement error is divided by pi, so it helps to buffer the errors associated with imprecise tools like a tape measure).
Good info.
Walter can you pull out the seat post from the frame and have a close look for a diameter? They're often stamped into the post like the pic below
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Old 10-20-20, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
Thank you , t-mar. The seatpost seems to be 30 mm in diameter. Though my memory is beyond fuzzy, I’ve somehow retained this fragment of information from that time: chromoly frame, steel forks. I honesty don’t know where I got that - whether I was told at the store, or whether I read it in a catalogue. I doubt it was on the sales receipt, which, I promise, I will find. Anyhow, what does the seatpost diameter tell us? In the meantime, I’ll do some research on Chiorda and Calibrati. First I hear of them.
Bianchi of this era use an imperial standard seat tube with an outer diameter of 28.6mm. Once we know the seat post diameter, we can apply the standard clearance and calculate the thickness of the seat tube wall. This allows us to estimate the grade and composition of the tubing with a quite high probability based on known tubesets.

Based on your description, I'd be surprised if the post turned out to be larger than 26.6mm . As noted, seat post diameters are usually stamped on the tube portion of the post, either at the top or just below the insertion mark.

Baring a size stamp or caliper measurement, it is possible to accurately determine the diameter by calculating it from the circumference. Tightly wrap a strip of paper (1cm x 10cm) around a clean, unmarred section of the post and mark where it overlaps with a very sharp pencil. Remove the paper and measure the longer segment, from the end to the inside edge of the mark. This is the circumference. You should be able to measure this dimension accurately to within 0.5mm, which will result in the diameter being accurate to within 0.2mm. Divide the circumference by pi (3.14) to calculate the diameter. Always repeat the entire process to ensure the result is accurate.

In the 1980s, Canada sometimes imported European spec, entry level models. Pending pictures and/or the seat post diameter, my leading candidate would be one of the Sprint variants.

Last edited by T-Mar; 10-20-20 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 10-21-20, 11:58 AM
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I'm an idiot. The diameter is stamped right there at the top of the seat post. Didn't even have to pull it out; just squint a little. So it's 26.2. This tell us what, exactly?
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Old 10-21-20, 01:00 PM
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A seat post diameter of 26.2mm is typical for Bianch Calibrati 1-20, which was a lightweight hi-tensile steel. That would be consistent with one of the Sprint variants.
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Old 10-21-20, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
A seat post diameter of 26.2mm is typical for Bianch Calibrati 1-20, which was a lightweight hi-tensile steel. That would be consistent with one of the Sprint variants.
Thanks T-Mar. I found an example of a Bianchi Sprint in a 1981 catalogue (I saw no Sprints in the 1982 catalogue) and I must say it looks nothing like my bike, and the listed parts don't match at all. The available colours listed don't include celeste, which is the colour of my bike. ... And now that I'm approaching 10 posts, presumably I will be able to give you a better idea of what my bike looks like through photos.
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Old 10-21-20, 03:42 PM
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I've been perusing vintage Bianchi catalogues online in my efforts to ID my own bike — in particular, the components found on various models. I've seen nothing that matches the antipasto of Italian parts that came with my bike, not even close (Campagnolo, Miche, Gipiemme, Ofmega, Modolo, Ambrosio.) Which leads me to ask: What are the chances that the folks at the bike store put on whatever components they saw fit (or had lying around) after a few glasses of homemade vino? Did that sort of thing happen? Would Bianchi care what a small shop in Montreal fitted on its frames? Would the sales reps be watching?

Last edited by walterb; 10-21-20 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 10-21-20, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
I've been perusing vintage Bianchi catalogues online in my efforts to ID my own bike — in particular, the components found on various models. I've seen nothing that matches the antipasto of Italian parts that came with my bike, not even close (Campagnolo, Miche, Gipiemme, Ofmega, Modolo, Ambrosio.) Which leads me to ask: What are the chances that the folks at the bike store put on whatever components they saw fit (or had lying around) after a few glasses of homemade vino? Did that sort of thing happen? Would Bianchi care what a small shop in Montreal fitted on its frames? Would the sales reps be watching?
At this point, it is still clear as mud, you've got your 10 posts now so bring on the pics.

And as this clearly illustrates any and all things are possible, this far down the line, many things could have transpired.
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Old 10-21-20, 07:23 PM
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The chances of Bianchi offering a Calibrati 1-20 frame for separate sale is very low and I doubt a shop would have rebuilt it. As I previously stated, this would appear to be an entry level, European spec model that was imported into Canada. Most of the1980s catalogues you'll find online are USA market catalogues. Bianchi could very significantly from market to market in the early 1980s, so I'm not surpised that you can't find an exact match. Even the entry level models offered in Canada and the USA were different from each other.

The Campagnolo, Ofmega, Gipiemme and Modolo mix was pretty common during this era on the European entry level models. Given that the post size is consistent with a Calibrati 1-20 frame, I'm leaning heavily to the Campagnolo derailleurs being low level, most likely 980.
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Old 10-21-20, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
I've been perusing vintage Bianchi catalogues online in my efforts to ID my own bike ó in particular, the components found on various models. I've seen nothing that matches the antipasto of Italian parts that came with my bike, not even close (Campagnolo, Miche, Gipiemme, Ofmega, Modolo, Ambrosio.) Which leads me to ask: What are the chances that the folks at the bike store put on whatever components they saw fit (or had lying around) after a few glasses of homemade vino? Did that sort of thing happen? Would Bianchi care what a small shop in Montreal fitted on its frames? Would the sales reps be watching?
Well, OK, but that soda-straw seatpost doesn't lie. No amount of wishful thinking, which is what I'm hearing here, is going to turn your gas-pipe frame into a long-disguised and overlooked thoroughbred.
Remember, people buying cheap bikes didn't care much (or couldn't afford to care much) about what selection of low-end parts went on the bike they were buying. An expensive bike sold for more money partly because of the cachet of the top-end parts it sported -- that's the only way many people would be able to know it was a good bike.. None of us knew what Reynolds or Columbus was back then, but this one girl in my high-school class was convinced her gas-pipe bike was better than all of ours because it had "better gears" --- Campag. Valentino!

Ride your bike. Have fun on it.
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Old 10-21-20, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by walterb View Post
Did that sort of thing happen? Would Bianchi care what a small shop in Montreal fitted on its frames? Would the sales reps be watching?
curious to know more about this too. Iím guessing this is what happnd to my Rossin. Owner who sold it to me swore the parts were original. Ofmega, Modolo, Shimano..
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Old 10-21-20, 09:26 PM
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OK, friends, the moment of truth - though I believe T-Mar has already cracked the case without the benefit of photos. He’s certainly bang on with his Campy 980 prognostication, judging by images I’m seeing online against what’s on my bike. Still, I’d appreciate any input / theories / objections anyone might want to add, particularly with regard to the metal badge I haven’t seen in any catalogue. Note all components are original except for the brakes/levers and rims. BTW, I am under no illusions that this is anything but an entry level bike. I would just like to know everything I can about it, period. And, honestly, I can’t believe how well it runs after almost 40 years of heavy use - as well or maybe better than the second Bianchi in our garage, a late-80s Campione d’Italia with Columbus tubing (27.2 mm!) Or maybe I’m just partial to the first bike I ever bought with my own money.









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Old 10-22-20, 05:48 AM
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The photos largely confirm the earlier assessment. It's definitely 1982 Italian manufacture. The frame is lower level and a lightweight hi-tensile steel, almost certainly Bianchi Calibrati 1-20. The derailleurs are level and era appropriate Campagnolo 980. Besides the previously mentioned rims and brakes, the pedals would also be replacements, as they are too new. I would have expected a swaged crankset.

Whenever we see these rectangular head badges, they always seem to be on European, early 1980s, lower level models. That would explain their relative rarity, as the comparable American models were sourced from Japan. As stated earlier, Canada sometimes imported some European spec models. Some larger dealers would also sometimes bypass the distributors and buy directly from Europe, in order to get better pricing.

Regarding the model, the degree of non-originality and an entry level European model complicates identification, as most forum members are American based and familiar with USA market models. A Sprint variant is still a possibility but it could also be one of the lower Rekord variants. Your best option might be an attic search for the elusive receipt.

Last edited by T-Mar; 10-22-20 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 10-22-20, 07:53 AM
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Thanks a million, T-Mar. You've told me more about my bike than I ever knew. I have no memory of changing the pedals, but, hey, I have no memory of many things. I'm attaching a couple more photos of the pedals, for a better view. Interesting that you mention Rekord, because to my untrained eye, my model seems a closer cousin to that than to any Sprint I've seen online. But the Rekords all seem to have an identifying sticker on the horizontal tube. Well, here's hoping the sales receipt will provide more clues - or maybe even a definitive answer - if I find it, though as I've mentioned I remember it being sparse with details. Then again, what did I just say about my sense of recollection?



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Old 10-22-20, 11:30 AM
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It's a gorgeous bike Walter, keep riding it and enjoy.
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