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Question about Italian Steel bikes.

Old 08-24-19, 08:06 PM
  #1  
ironmirage
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Question about Italian Steel bikes.

I recently came about an eddy Merckx Professional and I love it. I dare even say it riders smoother than my Cervelo s5 team. Im thinking about buying an Italian steel bike such as a Gios Torino, colnago, Tommasini etc etc. But I notice that they have the same tube set I have. My bike has Columbus SLX tubing. So if I get a Tommasini super prestige and it also has SLX would it ride similar. Would the difference be more aesthetic than anything else? Guys Ill appreciate your opinions and look forward to reading them.
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Old 08-24-19, 09:04 PM
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It's not so much what tubing as what is done with it.

And you can never have too much Italian steel.
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Old 08-24-19, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
It's not so much what tubing as what is done with it.

And you can never have too much Italian steel.

Could you give me an example. And yes those Italian frames are works of art.
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Old 08-24-19, 09:45 PM
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Your Merckx is a design offshoot of DeRosa. Of similar construction styles too, at least in the lugged frame period.
For something different- a Primato with EL-OS by Columbus another would be a Masi Volumetrica, both having oversized tubing, not exactly the same but will ride a bit different than a standard sized tube set.

otherwise it is geometry that holds the key. Gios was an early adopter of short top tubes, more weight on the front axle as you generally needed a log stem to get a similar position. They kind of jumped to aluminum instead of doing much with oversized tubes in steel.

Colnago set his own course, I have bikes from the mid 70ís from him and 1968. Two different eras handling wise. The later bikes that only slightly differed from bikes in the 80ís are very entertaining but not the first choice for an all day in the saddle effort.
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Old 08-25-19, 12:47 AM
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...as stated so well above, the steel tubing from which a bike is constructed matters much, much less than geometry. Gios Compact and Merckx Century with longer top tube and chain stays to emphasize the contrast. Both SLX, but very different ride and handling characteristics.
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Old 08-25-19, 10:17 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I guess i will be getting an Italian bike soon if the price is right.
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Old 08-25-19, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ironmirage View Post
Thanks for the responses. I guess i will be getting an Italian bike soon if the price is right.
...the best deals on CL for Italian bikes are usually the ones that are great bikes from experienced frame shops with little name recognition. So bikes with names like Faggin, Rauler, some of the top line Atala's etc. all generally get listed and sold for less than Colnago, Masi, Cinelli, etc. There are a lot of miscellaneous threads here you can look through to see what people have noticed are great Italian bikes that fly under the radar.

And it's kind of a buyer's market right now.

Last edited by 3alarmer; 08-25-19 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 08-25-19, 11:49 PM
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Italian steel bikes went thru many transformations depending on the Decade of production.

The frame geometry and tubing greatly affected the comfort and handling of the bikes. Longer top tubes with a more relaxed fork rake were the norm for many years as the "stretched out " riding position created a more aerodynamic profile on the bike which was the standard of many Italian bikes of the 80's.

Greg LeMond discusses the longer riding position in his book ,and how his D.S. steered him that way when he first started racing in Europe as a rookie.

Take a look at any picture of Francesco Moser and you'll see what im describing.
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Old 08-26-19, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...the best deals on CL for Italian bikes are usually the ones that are great bikes from experienced frame shops with little name recognition. So bikes with names like Faggin, Rauler, some of the top line Atala's etc. all generally get listed and sold for less than Colnago, Masi, Cinelli, etc. There are a lot of miscellaneous threads here you can look through to see what people have noticed are great Italian bikes that fly under the radar.

And it's kind of a buyer's market right now.
You can even get good deals on Italian made Bianchis; since they made mid range and entry level bikes, unlike the prestige brands like Colnago/De Rosa/etc, they never really had the premium markup that the top brands had.

The absolute top models like Bianchi Specialissimas will cost you, but you can get something really nice like a Campione Del Mondo for a decent price.

Last edited by sheddle; 08-26-19 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 08-26-19, 08:33 AM
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Good advise above. I have three SLX frames, custom Davidson (from my goo fast years), Designer 84 CIOCC and a Tommasini Prestige, all with as close a fit to each other as I can get. All are 58cm but built with different intention, geometries and probably theories in addressing the customers needs. While I love the rides and have 60+ years on bikes I can't identify a meaningful difference in these frames, other than the Davidson does not sparkle like the Italians.
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Old 08-26-19, 09:21 AM
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As noted above, same tube set can make a different ride. Geometry, differences in BB construction and chain stay design can make a difference. If you note my signature line, I have a "thing" for Italian steel.

Edit: I need to update that thing; there's a Pinarello Montello and a Bianchi Specialissima too.
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Old 08-26-19, 02:58 PM
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Has any one ever ridden a ciocc?
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Old 08-26-19, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
Good advise above. I have three SLX frames, custom Davidson (from my goo fast years), Designer 84 CIOCC and a Tommasini Prestige, all with as close a fit to each other as I can get. All are 58cm but built with a different intention, geometries and probable theories in addressing the customers needs. While I love the rides and have 60+ years on bikes I can't identify a meaningful difference in these frames, other than the Davidson does not sparkle like the Italians.
How do you like the CIOCC? I just found a Designer 84 for a reasonable price and was wondering how do you like it.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ironmirage View Post
How do you like the CIOCC? I just found a Designer 84 for a reasonable price and was wondering how do you like it.
My Designer '84 is a mid 80s with full Campagnolo Chorus 8 speed update. It has been in my stable of daily riders for many years, usually ~8 bikes out of too many in the collection. Right now the daily rider company are two built for me customs, a Tommasini Tecno and Prestige, a Colnago Master, a Vitus 979 and a Pinarello Montello. I highly value handling in crisis situations (blown front tire, oil slick on a curve, etc. ) and the Master and CIOCC have proven themselves. It's the original brilliant red and I may hear more "Nice old bike" as the latest carbon rocket passes me than any of the others and certainly it draws conversation from folks who don't know the mark. It's not the lightest or fastest but not far off and one of the ones I take when I am trying to keep up with the kids. I have always found SLX a nice ride and while I would not choose it for a 40+ mile ride its classic racing geometry is not what I would call "twitchy".
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Old 08-27-19, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
My Designer '84 is a mid 80s with full Campagnolo Chorus 8 speed update. It has been in my stable of daily riders for many years, usually ~8 bikes out of too many in the collection. Right now the daily rider company are two built for me customs, a Tommasini Tecno and Prestige, a Colnago Master, a Vitus 979 and a Pinarello Montello. I highly value handling in crisis situations (blown front tire, oil slick on a curve, etc. ) and the Master and CIOCC have proven themselves. It's the original brilliant red and I may hear more "Nice old bike" as the latest carbon rocket passes me than any of the others and certainly it draws conversation from folks who don't know the mark. It's not the lightest or fastest but not far off and one of the ones I take when I am trying to keep up with the kids. I have always found SLX a nice ride and while I would not choose it for a 40+ mile ride its classic racing geometry is not what I would call "twitchy".

Thanks for the response. Yeah, I cant wait to dive into the world of Italian bikes. Some people want to sell really high but Ive been keeping tabs on ebay and craigslist and it seems no one is buying. So I'll just keep a lookout and keep searching.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:50 AM
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To me, there are tiers of Italian builders, and it does depend on the era of the bike...this is, at best, a rough guideline, and quite subjective. As others noted, they vary in ride qualities depending on model and era...and even can vary for riders of different sizes/weights.

Basically you have your top level big names, and depending on the era, it's usually some combination of:

Masi
De Rosa
Colnago
Cinelli
Pinarello
Pogliaghi
Bianchi (a bit different based on their extensive range)

^ These are the bikes with brand recognition and status.

Then you have higher end Italians that are less well regarded or valued for a variety of reasons. Often they were the slight budget alternative, or more available during shortage, than the bikes above. They typically had less profile on the racing circuit and/or less influence on design. They often tried to capitalize on markets and trends pioneered by others.

Ciocc
Rossin
Most Ten speed drive stuff
Basso
Scapin

You have the higher end stuff from companies that offer more of a full service line. Typically these are also less well regarded in the market than your top of market stuff. They also have mid-low level models. Sometimes you'll find high end examples of these that were contract built by very prestigious frame builders.

Olmo
Atala
Bianchi
The Bozzi brands
Bottechia

Finally you have less well known, but highly respected smaller builders:

Galmozzi
Picchio
Grandis
Marnati
Marastoni

You have the bikes contracted for others - and often these are great bikes. The BMZ catalog bikes, billato brothers lemonds, etc.

Different people would compile these classes differently, and brands changed categories at different points. Frejus in 1937 is not frejus from 1978. It's not a hard science. Some brands are well known in Italy and hardly known here...like Olympia.

Touch a lot of them, ride a lot of them and buy what you want. A lot of the differences are debatable and subjective.

Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 08-27-19 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 08-27-19, 10:30 AM
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A couple of builder that seem to punch above their brand recognition are Torpado and Casati

My first italian with a torpado, a super strada, one step below the top of the time the super light, and even with alelle tubing it was a great ride.

also watch the for sale section of C&V..... good people and good deals in general
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Old 08-27-19, 10:33 AM
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There's many, many brands that have little recognition in the US but were around for a long time. Low to very high end handbuilt, each having character traits to differentiate. Rather cheap to buy, plus makes cycling interesting and fun vs just getting on a generic modern Giant, Trek, etc..

Tossing a few more names out there-
Casati, Chesini, Viner
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Old 08-27-19, 12:35 PM
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I haven't ridden enough bikes to intelligently talk about the "Italian difference" if such a thing even exists. I think it comes down to the fact that my Tomassini says hand made in Italy on the BB shell is what makes it a forever bike for me. I studied in Italy during college and a high end Italian bike frame just drips good memories and a touch with the past. For the same reason I love my Lemonds. Named and designed by a true American hero who spoke truth to power, manufactured in the good ole US of A. None of these things have to do with frame materials, the frame dimensions, the groupsets I've hung on them. (Not to say that these don't make a difference) There is a higher secondary emotional response that I think people have to different bikes and provenance is one of them. If given a choice between two bikes of comparable dimensions, frame materials and groupsets… I'd always pick the one that hits that second note.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:08 PM
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Iíll second Viner... very little info out there on them, but the cromor frame that I got recently has a sublime ride.

not sure how it compares with the top tier brands, but it definitely has a different feel than the mainly Japanese bikes Iíve ridden.

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Old 08-27-19, 02:08 PM
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Old 08-27-19, 02:09 PM
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Old 08-27-19, 02:41 PM
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Don't forget Guerciotti and Gios, both are nice makes in the "just under high end" segment, I think.


What's up with Wilier, btw? I don't really hear much about them until the modern CF period when they became pretty well respected from their Pro Tour representation.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:06 PM
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Many good points of view.
but to cut to the chase and save money in the long run, buy a Colnago Super in your size and be done with it.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Many good points of view.
but to cut to the chase and save money in the long run, buy a Colnago Super in your size and be done with it.
I concur,but,,,,Easier said than done.
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