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1972 Legnano Restoration

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1972 Legnano Restoration

Old 06-21-22, 11:11 PM
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Brad L
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1972 Legnano Restoration

I thought I might post the restoration of my 1972 Legnano Olimpiade Record Specialissima and show the steps it took from purchase to having it receive Best Italian at the 2022 Eroica California Concours.

I've wanted a Legnano in its signature Transparent Green (Lizard Green to aficionados) but catalogs of the time show the smallest frame size made was 55cm. And, since I ride a 52cm frame, I held little hope that I would find one. I found this Legnano at the end of 2020 in Seattle through a post on one of the vintage bike FB pages that I'm on. The photos were grainy, but I could tell from the head tube length that it was closer to my size than any I'd seen. I posted the photos here on the Appraisals forum to get a sense of its value. I thought it was worth a closer look.




I contacted the seller for more photos and info and found it was indeed a 52cm frame. The photos I received showed a bike in pretty good condition, though with a mix of parts as far as I could tell. The most interesting feature is that the frame did not display the typical red lining or decal set seen on almost all other Legnanos that I'd seen. In fact, this one has gold lining and fewer decals. Could this have been an incorrect repaint? More research was needed. I found the Condorino website, which is a treasure trove of all things Legnano. In their list of frame numbers I found frame 1502R, just 39 numbers after mine, displaying the same gold lining and decal set. I'm not sure what the significance is of this difference, but it verified that it is original paint. I decided to buy the bike.




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Old 06-21-22, 11:49 PM
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I bought the bike and made arrangements for a friend who had just moved to Seattle to pick up the bike and ship it to me. This was just before Christmas of 2020, and with the state of shipping deliveries during a mixture of the pandemic and the Christmas rush, I had them wait until after New Years to ship it. I had my friend send me more photos during what seemed like a long, agonizing wait. The gold lining is more apparent in their photos.







I had already noticed the elusive Universal rear brake cable hanger was missing so the search began as I waited. Surprisingly I found a NOS one on Ebay.it and received it before New Years. It's probably the luckiest thing to happen to me in years.

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Old 06-21-22, 11:59 PM
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I received the bike on January 7 and quickly unpacked it and took an inventory of its needs - and there were many.




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Old 06-22-22, 12:10 AM
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Besides the missing brake cable stop, it had an Avocet Touring W1 saddle, Mathauser pads on the front calipers, a Dia-Compe side-pull rear caliper, Suntour Superbe large chainring, Shimano 600 front derailleur, Shimano cartridge bottom bracket, budget Union pedals, a Mirrycle mirror attached to the left brake lever, a 27" front wheel with a Sunshine hub, and a correct Record large flange rear hub but laced to a Rigida AL 1320 clincher rim. The parts shopping could commence.










More to come.

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Old 06-22-22, 04:21 AM
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What a great find for you! Looks so great!
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Old 06-22-22, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad L View Post

I had already noticed the elusive Universal rear brake cable hanger was missing so the search began as I waited. Surprisingly I found a NOS one on Ebay.it and received it before New Years. It's probably the luckiest thing to happen to me in years.

-----

ricambi nr. 106/B -



---

shall look forward to reading the account of the Gaslo quest...

-----

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Old 06-22-22, 07:45 AM
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Nice find and build! Congratulations on the award.

There was a Roma listed in the CL ads here on BF a couple years ago. There seemed to be several interested parties. A month later, the ad was still up, so I contacted the seller, and drove up to Vineland NJ and picked it up. The only undisclosed issue was a small handlebar ding on the top tube.

I was able to find 2 of those Legnano style brake QR's, also on Ebay Italy. They are hard to find.

The Roma I picked up has Campagnolo brakes, but the Frejus I picked up last year, is being built with Universal Mod 61's.
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Old 06-22-22, 07:59 AM
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Great looking bike!

One of my Legnanos is also a mish-mash of components. 27” wheels with no-name hubs, no name bars, Avocet saddle and Universal 68 brakes on a circa 1960 bike. The rear derailleur hanger is stripped so I have that going for me…

Keep the pics coming.
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Old 06-22-22, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad L View Post
I had already noticed the elusive Universal rear brake cable hanger was missing so the search began as I waited. Surprisingly I found a NOS one on Ebay.it and received it before New Years. It's probably the luckiest thing to happen to me in years.

What a coup. And I thought it was challenging and expensive) enough finding the Cinelli-specific one (106/c). Your bike deserves it.
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Old 06-22-22, 11:54 AM
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I was in the middle of restoring my 1959 Fiorelli at the time, so while the Legnano waited for attention, the searching began. I decided since the paint was in good condition, and it would be impossible to touch-up, I would leave the paint in original condition. And, since the paint would show a slight amount of wear and tear, there was no reason to search for NOS parts (unless they just happened). The fun part is finding another box on my doorstep with a new jewel inside. These are the various parts that arrived in the next few months:










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Old 06-22-22, 12:06 PM
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Another lucky find was this NOS Brooks Professional saddle from the 70s. The price tag was still on it. I suspect it was one of many removed from a new bike and swapped for a new, lightweight plastic saddle that was all the rage at the time.






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Old 06-22-22, 12:46 PM
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Great find and project! This is what restoration means to me.
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Old 06-22-22, 01:39 PM
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As you probably already know, those Universals will shine up nicely.
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Old 06-22-22, 01:49 PM
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Seven months later the restoration finally began on July 8th. The frame was stripped of everything but the headset cups. Don't worry, the frame is not clamped on the top tube. It's just resting there.




The frame and fork were washed thoroughly. There was a thick tape wrapped around the chainstay bridge which left residue when removed. Fortunately a bit of mineral spirits removed the residue easily without harming the paint.





Once it was clean and dry, I treated any exposed metal with a metal prep containing phosphoric acid. This will remove any rust and leave a rust inhibiting coating. I then treated the inside of the frame and fork with Frame Saver. Then it came inside where I used Meguiar's Cleaner Wax to thoroughly clean the paint. Then a final coat of wax to seal it all and make it shine. I think the paint looks amazing for its age.




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Old 06-22-22, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
As you probably already know, those Universals will shine up nicely.
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Absolutely!
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Old 06-22-22, 01:56 PM
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One unfortunate discovery during disassembly was the left brake lever had been ruined when a PO installed the Mirrycle. They cut off the threaded part for the adjuster.



So another set was found. It all works out in the end.

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Old 06-22-22, 02:01 PM
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I am green with envy! Long have I hoped to find a Roma for myself. The top dog Legnano is, perhaps, the only Grail bike on my list. The OP is, indeed, fortunate.

I am a die hand Legnano fan! I have owned two, both Grand Premios, and loved them both. I still have my Grand Premio and have had it for many years. I bought it as a frame/fork set and have been acquiring Legnano specific bits and pieces ever since.


What bits and pieces did I pick up for my Legnano..?


An embossed Legnano head set...


A NOS Legnano crank set and bottom bracket...


A nice set of Legnano Campy high flange hubs,,,


And a Legnano steering stem (sorry no pic).

It has been a true pleasure getting my Leggy fitted out with all of these components. Sadly, my old legs are no match for the narrow and high gearing of the bike...


I might add that I will be buying another Grand Premio on Monday and for the paltry sum of $20.00 CND. Mind you, it is rusty and does sport a bent frame and fork. But for the twenty dollars I get a set of Universal 61 brakes (calipers and levers), a proper Legnano seat post clamp bolt, a rear brake cable hanger, another steering stem and, lucky me, a lovely Legnano head badge. I will add a pic or two when I get it home.
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Old 06-22-22, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I am green with envy! Long have I hoped to find a Roma for myself. The top dog Legnano is, perhaps, the only Grail bike on my list. The OP is, indeed, fortunate.

I am a die hand Legnano fan! I have owned two, both Grand Premios, and loved them both. I still have my Grand Premio and have had it for many years. I bought it as a frame/fork set and have been acquiring Legnano specific bits and pieces ever since.


What bits and pieces did I pick up for my Legnano..?

An embossed Legnano head set...

A NOS Legnano crank set and bottom bracket...

A nice set of Legnano Campy high flange hubs,,,

And a Legnano steering stem (sorry no pic).

It has been a true pleasure getting my Leggy fitted out with all of these components. Sadly, my old legs are no match for the narrow and high gearing of the bike...

I might add that I will be buying another Grand Premio on Monday and for the paltry sum of $20.00 CND. Mind you, it is rusty and does sport a bent frame and fork. But for the twenty dollars I get a set of Universal 61 brakes (calipers and levers), a proper Legnano seat post clamp bolt, a rear brake cable hanger, another steering stem and, lucky me, a lovely Legnano head badge. I will add a pic or two when I get it home.
I envy you in that you could ride a Legnano from the 60s back. I'm not sure if Legnano started making smaller frames in the 70s, or if this was a custom build, but I may never know. I do know that factory frames were no smaller than 55cm, leaving me and my short legs in the cold.
Also, that's an amazing collection of parts you've amassed. Hopefully you'll find the bike you're looking for.
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Old 06-22-22, 11:22 PM
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The first parts to be thoroughly cleaned, polished, and installed were, of course, the bottom bracket...



the headset...




and the rear brake cable stop/release. The lever for the release was extremely close to the seat stay, and rather than risk chipping the paint, I added a spacer behind the bracket. The spacer is simply an axle spacer that I bent around a piece of pipe to get an approximate curve. Then I bolted it together with a Campagnolo toe clip bolt. I did so without the seatpost in place so I could gage how much the bolt needed to be shortened so it wouldn't interfere with the seatpost once fully assembled.









At the same time I was cleaning and polishing other components. Everything gets completely disassembled and cleaned before polishing, assembly, and a final wax to deter oxidation.





I also found a replacement for the short 65mm 3TTT stem. I have short legs but a long torso, so I found this 95mm stem to get my handlebar reach to fit correctly.


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Old 06-23-22, 04:56 PM
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-----

question regarding the dating of two replacement pieces -

was trying to recall what date the derailment guard peg came on on R/NR outer chainwheels

the stamping on the Christophe toe clips is the later one, was trying to recall what date it came in
would have guessed it to be too late but obviously am mistaken since the bicycle won the concours prize and the judges are sure to be vastly more knowledgeable than meself...

my Poutrait-Morin knowledge is weak

thanks so much for this wonderful account; am enjoying very much following along


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Old 06-23-22, 06:00 PM
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1973, according to this.
Velo-Retro: Campagnolo Timeline
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Old 06-23-22, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by satbuilder View Post
1973, according to this.
Velo-Retro: Campagnolo Timeline
-----

thank you!

was thinking that '74 was the first year for the changed stamping on the Christophe toeclips

another reader is sure to know more accurately


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Old 06-23-22, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

question regarding the dating of two replacement pieces -

was trying to recall what date the derailment guard peg came on on R/NR outer chainwheels

the stamping on the Christophe toe clips is the later one, was trying to recall what date it came in
would have guessed it to be too late but obviously am mistaken since the bicycle won the concours prize and the judges are sure to be vastly more knowledgeable than meself...

my Poutrait-Morin knowledge is weak

thanks so much for this wonderful account; am enjoying very much following along
-----
I intentionally chose the chainring with the peg since this bike will be ridden, and ridden hard. It's a minor deviation that will protect the crankset from possible damage. I believe the correct toe clips have the underlined script, which I could not find in a medium size. I'd be interested if anyone has a nice set they could part with.
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Old 06-23-22, 08:45 PM
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All the brake bits were, as was everything else, completely disassembled, cleaned, polished, waxed, etc. I also repainted the text for a fresher look. When I first started restoring bikes, I would disassemble a part and lay it out in an exploded view so I could keep track of the parts. Then, after they were cleaned, I'd put them back in the same positions so I made sure I had completed all the parts. I've been a draftsman for over 40 years so I really liked the way it looked. I started laying the parts out precisely so I could take photos of these exploded views. I think they look kinda cool.






FYI - I found new straddle cables and replaced them before mounting the brakes on the bike.

The levers got the same treatment as well as new hoods.



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Old 06-23-22, 09:00 PM
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chainwheel peg -

thank you very much for the response

have always found it amusing that Verot first began adding this feature in the mid-'60's but it took Tullio & Co. ~eight years to decide it was a good idea and begin doing it as well

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61's -

recall an issue of Bicycling! magazine from the mid-1970's where Richard Jow wrote an article about a machine which came with 61's which he had polished to a chrome-like shine

imagine judges would have deducted marks for the colour, opacity and absence of the blue hotstamp on these hoods

1977 was the year the composition changed from the dark translucent material to a lighter opaque one and the blue hotstamp was eliminated

forget now if the vendor for the hoods was Gomma Ambrosiana or Gomma Vittoria


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