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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 07-28-20, 06:01 AM
  #151  
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Originally Posted by Old Fireleg View Post
Enzo was perhaps "just" an excellent manager, the geniuses were called Pininfarina, Colombo, Forghieri, etc.
You can't leave out Alfredo Focesi and Franchesco Galmozzi who pretty much trained all the other big name builders.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:25 AM
  #152  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
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..

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.
I do have to admit, both of my Ironmans were fine bikes but on the flipside, neither compelled me to keep them. For me (and that's obviously subjective) they worked but didn't speak to me. So off they went.

On another note, I've got a friend asking me to sell them a bike. As I mentally went over what I might let go it was the Fuji Opus III, or the Schwinn Circuit. I just couldn't wrap my mind around letting any of the Italians go even though my De Rosa is my second smallest bike and one I should move on. Funny that I'm good with letting the Circuit go too. In all honesty of the Strava sprint KOMs I accomplished have all been done on the '87 Circuit. For whatever reason it just explodes under my meager power when I sprint. Yet I'm good with letting it go over the Italians. Can't explain why. But to put in a plug for an American bike. My pink, girly Davidson Impulse isn't going anywhere. It is the equal to me of any of my Italians for the most part.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:55 AM
  #153  
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I haven't measured on Strava etc, but my Univega is a sprint machine. No idea how true it is, but I believe it's a same, or similar frame to a MIyata Pro, and a Bicycling review mentioned that they had a bit more weight than the other bikes in their test in the downtube and BB which may result in a sprint-happy feeling. Definitely a bike which wants to be hammered.

The De Rosa seems to wonderfully disappear under me when I put a lot of power through the crank on the flats (that "gliding over the road" feeling), the Univega feels like a high powered motocycle, hah. Different bikes for different preferences. May be down to tire choice too (or the awful Benotto cell-o-tape on the Vega, now that I think of it)

Last edited by sheddle; 07-28-20 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 07-28-20, 08:16 AM
  #154  
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followup: here's the review, though I don't think there's any actual way for me to check if the Vega is actually beefed up on the downtube like that Team Miyata.

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...aly-japan.html

Really amusing that the review seems to start the mistake of calling the De Rosa Professional a "De Rosa Super Prestige", a trick well-known to Craigslist/Ebay watchers.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:11 PM
  #155  
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
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.
I was referring to gentleman racers who, unless I am mistaken, are the guys that pay their own way to race at high levels because nobody is willing to pay them to drive. (Not that there's anything wrong with that)

Originally Posted by iab View Post
Let me get a shovel, it's getting really deep ....
So which part are you implying isn't accurate? That modern day F1 completely overshadows LeMans in every way conceivable? Or that I'm skeptical of your ability to tell us exactly what Il Drake was thinking? Come on...

Originally Posted by iab View Post
Actually, my real problem with Ferrari are all the gold chains you have to wear if you own one.
I know you are kidding, but I also know there is some truth there. Unfortunately, just about every luxury brand (not just autos) has become riddled with tacky jerks sporting their wears. Porsche doesn't have the high ground here.

In fact, when I had a summer job as a valet at a country club, for every jerk showing up with golf clubs in the passenger seat of his Ferrari, there were 10 doing the same thing (some put them in the front trunk) with their Porsches, and 25 with their BMWs (regular trunk).

Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
...others started paying more attention to affordable bikes that were as good as the Italians but cost 1/5 to 1/4 the price...
People have been saying this for years about sports motorcycles. It's bunk.

Originally Posted by Piff View Post
We are fairly well removed from WWII, so maybe you aren't aware, but that isn't a nice thing to say.
Check out the Ken Burns documentary about WWII, and particularly the contributions of Katherine Phillips Singer
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Old 07-28-20, 06:30 PM
  #156  
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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.
Italian ideas? Seriously, wtf? What ideas did the Italians invent? Who was the first Italian to do it? What is the lineage of that idea? Can you trace that idea directly to everyone after the Italian did it?

btw, all of the builders I listed above got and executed exactly the details you consider that matter with zero, zip, nada, zilch influence from any Italian builder. Including Oscar Wastyn. Kind of interesting you know so little about the history of bike building yet attribute everything to Italians.

And tubing metallurgy? You can divine the difference between Reynolds/Falck/Columbus/etc? I am willing to take that bet to any amount you wish.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:34 PM
  #157  
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The idea of Columbus being better than Reynolds was specifically American, iirc. Remember stories of overseas builders changing their tubes because Americans expected Columbus on a top line bike.
​​​
Anyway everyone knows Miyata made the best tubes.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:37 PM
  #158  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post


​Check out the Ken Burns documentary about WWII, and particularly the contributions of Katherine Phillips Singer
I'm no historian, but I seem to remember Italy being involved in the war in some fashion.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:41 PM
  #159  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post

So which part are you implying isn't accurate? That modern day F1 completely overshadows LeMans in every way conceivable? Or that I'm skeptical of your ability to tell us exactly what Il Drake was thinking? Come on...

r
Enzo is dead. He knows nothing of today. To say Ferrari is not Enzo is the height of ignorance.

And it's too bad you seem to know little about the history of Ferrari, considering you participate in a C&V forum. In Enzo's day, Le Mans was The race, I don't care about today. You should read a biography of his, it will be very interesting.

308 still sucks. The 512, while even uglier, at least wasn't a dog. Neither were nowhere near the 930 turbo.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:48 PM
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Ferrari leaving Le Mans is sometimes simplified by blue oval groupies as "the GT40 kicked too much ass so they left" but it was more a combination of that and the F1 team badly struggling at the time that led Ferrari to conclude they could no longer support both programs. They picked F1 (and finally figured out the whole "aerodynamics" thing in the mid 70s)


On the other scale there was Lamborghini, who famously viewed motorsport as a total waste of money.

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Old 07-28-20, 07:17 PM
  #161  
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incidentally im posting while doing a grocery run on this.


which is a completely inappropriate use of this bike when I have a perfectly fine hybrid/mtb but sometimes I can't resist...
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Old 07-29-20, 07:30 AM
  #162  
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Ferrari leaving Le Mans is sometimes simplified by blue oval groupies as "the GT40 kicked too much ass so they left" but it was more a combination of that and the F1 team badly struggling at the time that led Ferrari to conclude they could no longer support both programs. They picked F1 (and finally figured out the whole "aerodynamics" thing in the mid 70s)

On the other scale there was Lamborghini, who famously viewed motorsport as a total waste of money.
The Ford GT40 Mk. II in 1966 and the GT40 Mk. IV in 1967 both beat Ferrari rather handily at Le Mans which was the big prestige race in Europe. Ferrari had won previously by being reasonably well prepared and having sleek, sorted and reliable cars in the early 60's. Ford's first encounters with endurance racing and Le Mans in 64 and 65 failed due to the learning curves of creating, sorting, and proving reliability for long races like Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans, let alone the shorter handling courses like Targa Florio, Brands Hatch, Watkins Glen, etc. However, once 1967's endurance racing season finished, the group 6 over 5 liter engines and chassis (Ford, Chapparal, Ferrari, Mirage, Lola-Aston Martin) were effectively legislated out of existence by the French dominated FIA to essentially push Ford and the Ferrari P3 and P4 prototypes out and make room for smaller engined 3 liter Group 6 prototype cars and older group 4 5 liter "production" cars IF they had produced over 50 (IIRC) cars by 1968. It so happened that the old GT40 had those numbers so John Wyer and his JW Automotive Gulf Racing sponsored team took over the Ford Advance Vehicles facility in England and raced the GT40's and Le Mans and won there in 1968 and 1969. Porsche and Alpine brought the largest # of entries at Le Mans that year with 13 and 11 respectively, Ferrari ended his Group 6 prototype program and effectively boycotted Le Mans. Porsche was trying to move up big by pushing their 907 and new 908 3 liter cars and had 5 wins by the late Sept. Le Mans date to Ford's 4 wins. The GT40 won comfortably with a 5 lap victory leading a pair of Porsche's and a trio of Alfa's. 7th was the only finishing Ferrari of English Privateer (gentleman racer?) David Piper in an old 250LM (all of the other Ferrari's were run by private teams but they did not finish due to reliability or accidents). With the win, Ford won the Constructors championship over Porsche for 1968 with 45 points to 42 points.

1969 saw the introduction of Porsche's first 917 race cars sporting a 4.5 liter flat 12 engine in a revised 25 car threshold Group 4 looking for an outright win at Le Mans, backed up by a gaggle of 908's. Ford / JW came back with the same GT40's from 1968, and Ferrari works team returned with the 312P prototype, similar to the CanAm 612P. Sadly, the infamous first lap accident of John Woolfe, driving a practically new but mostly unsorted 917 and its twitchy handling and aerodynamics (at the time), created mayhem at the start, killed Woolfe, and the Ferrari 312P ran over the burning fuel tank and caught fire and exploded too. Driver Chris Amon was lucky to escape uninjured. Such is long distance racing. It should be noted a number of drivers died in F1 and Endurance racing (as well as Indy and NASCAR) during the late 60's, spurring the rapid development of better safety measures throughout automobile racing worldwide. Not surprisingly, the 917's were very fast but all of them DNF'ed due to reliability or accidents. The GT40's ekeed out a win over the remaining Porsche 908LH by 120 meters after 372 laps. The highest placed Ferrari was a 275LM in 8th and the only one to finish, the second 312P gone with a gearbox failure at hour 16.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:58 AM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
308 still sucks. The 512, while even uglier, at least wasn't a dog. Neither were nowhere near the 930 turbo.

Is the 308 ugly?!
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Old 07-29-20, 12:28 PM
  #164  
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
People have been saying this for years about sports motorcycles. It's bunk.
Hardly. The lists below are hardly complete.

My Italians (own):
Cinelli SC and Equipe (for Centurion)
Basso SLX
Battaglin SLX
Colnago Super
Pinarello Catena Lusso
Cipollini Logos
Guerciotti
I’ll include Merckx “Professional”

My Italians (owned)
Cinelli SC and Equipe (foe Centurion)
Cinelli XLR8R2
DeRosa Pro
Pinarello Montello and Record
Simoncini
Mondonico
Torelli
I’ll include Merckx Corsa Extra
I’ll include Merckx MX-3

I think I can speak from experience on both C&V steel Italians and modern carbon Italians

Others (own)
Look KG196
Fiorini
Wraith Hustle
Trek Y-Foil
Klein
Litespeed (Lynskey)
Bob Jackson
Centurions Ironman (3), Turbo road, Comp TA, Turbo TT, Prestige
Paramount
Giant Cadex CFR-1
Teledyne Titan
Raleigh International

Others (owned):
Felt AR-3
Cannondale Six13 and SC-800
Kestrels Talon, Airfoil, 200 Series (3)
Giant MCR
Tisch Ti
Lotus Classique
Miyata TwoTen
Douglas’s Motive and Vector Pro
Fuji Team Pro (Aluminum)
Wraith High Street Pursuit
Wrath Hustle
Trek Elance and Y-Foils (2)
PDG Paramount Series 2, 3, and 7
Centurion Prestige, Semi-Pro (2), and Ironman (dozens)
Serotta And a couple of Pugs

I think I can speak from experience on the non-Italians, too, both C&V steel, Aluminum, and modern carbon.

The difference in the prices of these bikes is a wide net to have to cast, new and used.
The difference in performance, not so much, and certainly not by the factors relative to the pricing.
So I say “Not Bunk.”

You take an ‘89 Ironman and set it up with 9sp DA and pick your wheels.
You take an ‘89 DeRosa Pro or Merckx Corsa Extra and set it up with 9sp Record Ti and pick your wheels.
Or set it up with 9sp DA and the same wheels as the Ironman.

Little, if any, difference until you start counting the pennies. I know, I did exactly that.

Italians and Campagnolo created their “brand” before anyone was tossing the term around.
Then the market changed and that “brand” meant zilch to a whole generation of riders.
They will always have an appeal based on their character and history.
Doesn’t mean they are or were better bikes. Just that they carry a certain intangible. That’s all.

I only have 2 brands I’d ever consider Grail.
1. Wright Brothers-duh.
2. Primus Mootry-for performance, provenance, history, everything.

Sure I like Italian bikes. But they’re just bikes.

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Old 07-29-20, 12:40 PM
  #165  
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Ferrari leaving Le Mans is sometimes simplified by blue oval groupies as "the GT40 kicked too much ass so they left" but it was more a combination of that and the F1 team badly struggling at the time that led Ferrari to conclude they could no longer support both programs. They picked F1 (and finally figured out the whole "aerodynamics" thing in the mid 70s)...
The GT40's four consecutive wins at Le Mans definitely weren't the reason for Ferrari leaving Le Mans and sports/endurance car racing but they were the first straws on the camel's (or should I say Prancing Horse's) back. Ferrari would continue racing the series though to the end of 1973 though sometimes skipping Le Mans, resulting in an eight year drought at the series' biggest race. While the Ford victories hurt, I think the later wins by Porsche and Matra-Simca were more demoralizing. Ford really wasn't a player in the high end European automobile market like Porsche and Matra. Then, there was that other sports car series, Can-Am, where results were even more dismal.

While I'm sure that finances and concentrating resources were major factors in focusing on F1, there also wasn't as much to lose. F1 was compromised of mostly small independent companies and, at the the time, only Lotus could be considered to be in the sports car market. F1 is also more driver orientated, so wins by a non-Ferrari driver weren't as drastic as losing to a rival team in a sports car series.

Personally, I'm indifferent to Ferrari. I'm more a driver oriented. I used to root for Amon, Villeneuve, Tambay and Alesi when they drove for Ferrari. Conversely, I prayed for misfortune to befall Bandini, Schumaker and Vettel, be it driver error or mechanical.

I can't say I've been really enamored with any Ferrari since the early 1960s, I think they were at their car design was at its peak in the very late 1950s to early 1960s with cars like the 250 TR/LM/GTO, 275/330 P2 and, of course, the 156 F1 car. I've built many Ferrari model kits over the years but am still waiting to find a nice, decently priced model of one of my favourites.
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Old 07-29-20, 03:22 PM
  #166  
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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.
Construction of bicycles has been ongoing since the nineteenth century. Early safety bikes can be fantastically well constructed, but difficult to manage, due to drive trains from hell. We got most ideas about modern drive-trains (and what frame mods it took to make them work effectively) from the Italians. It's why the most OCD nation on earth (Japan) loves Italian bikes.

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.
Brennan, Waysten, Power were focused on track and six-day bikes. They were good builders. AD and Eisentraut were also good builders. Europe has a plethora of good builders that are not Italian. Nobody said the bikes any of these people made were poorly made.

At the same time, many of the non-Italian bikes used Italian built group-sets and Italian frame tubing and lugs. Why do you suppose that happened?

Again, everything you describe as "better" can be summed up with je ne sais quoi. Nothing else.
Again, it's tangible. I own bikes made from Reynolds 531 and Columbus SL. They ride similarly, but the edge (for me) goes to the SL. I don't enjoy feeling my bottom brackets sway back and forth when I ride, and I never get that experience on an SL bike. This comes down to the differences between the steel alloys, how they process, how they braze up, what their respective physical properties are. I can dig up the engineering specifications for both tubesets if you like. The SL is stronger, lighter and stiffer for people that need or prefer those things.

Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleurs were lauded for a reason, despite not being the first parallelogram mechs to the party. Their successor (Nuovo Record) owned the pro peloton for years, and the mech sets still chug along for millions of cyclists, despite being older than many of us are. The 10mm threaded dropout was adopted almost universally by the early 1980s for a reason. Short riding compartments with steep/fast geometries and shallow fork rakes were adopted almost universally for a reason. Braze-ons, internal cable routings, wild (though fragile) paint jobs, comfortable and lightweight seats, these things came to us in part because of Italian designers and their efforts. Italian bikes are their penultimate expressions, which is why some of us will always be misty-eyed around them.
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Old 07-29-20, 03:28 PM
  #167  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Ironically, the French said it best, je ne sais quoi.
I know, the Italians are just the best. They approach everything they do with passion, be it clothing, food, cars or bicycles. The design with their hearts not their heads. When was the last time you saw a cult German bicycle?
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Old 07-29-20, 03:30 PM
  #168  
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The French were almost certainly more involved with the origination of the derailleur (and with it, the modern racing bicycle) than the Italians. "French gears" is still an old-timey term for derailleur gears in the UK.

I mean, we call them derailleurs, not "deraillilianos" or whatever, hah,

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Old 07-29-20, 05:49 PM
  #169  
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Originally Posted by Old Fireleg View Post
Is the 308 ugly?!
Absolutely. Horribly dated 80s dreck. Completely lacks any elegance. It's like a Flock of Seagulls haircut.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:57 PM
  #170  
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80s dreck whips ass
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Old 07-29-20, 06:13 PM
  #171  
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Originally Posted by kunsunoke View Post
Construction of bicycles has been ongoing since the nineteenth century. Early safety bikes can be fantastically well constructed, but difficult to manage, due to drive trains from hell. We got most ideas about modern drive-trains (and what frame mods it took to make them work effectively) from the Italians. It's why the most OCD nation on earth (Japan) loves Italian bikes.



Brennan, Waysten, Power were focused on track and six-day bikes. They were good builders. AD and Eisentraut were also good builders. Europe has a plethora of good builders that are not Italian. Nobody said the bikes any of these people made were poorly made.

At the same time, many of the non-Italian bikes used Italian built group-sets and Italian frame tubing and lugs. Why do you suppose that happened?



Again, it's tangible. I own bikes made from Reynolds 531 and Columbus SL. They ride similarly, but the edge (for me) goes to the SL. I don't enjoy feeling my bottom brackets sway back and forth when I ride, and I never get that experience on an SL bike. This comes down to the differences between the steel alloys, how they process, how they braze up, what their respective physical properties are. I can dig up the engineering specifications for both tubesets if you like. The SL is stronger, lighter and stiffer for people that need or prefer those things.

Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleurs were lauded for a reason, despite not being the first parallelogram mechs to the party. Their successor (Nuovo Record) owned the pro peloton for years, and the mech sets still chug along for millions of cyclists, despite being older than many of us are. The 10mm threaded dropout was adopted almost universally by the early 1980s for a reason. Short riding compartments with steep/fast geometries and shallow fork rakes were adopted almost universally for a reason. Braze-ons, internal cable routings, wild (though fragile) paint jobs, comfortable and lightweight seats, these things came to us in part because of Italian designers and their efforts. Italian bikes are their penultimate expressions, which is why some of us will always be misty-eyed around them.
I'd whole heartily agree about Italian (but let's be real, Campagnolo) groupsets from 1951-1983. Dominated, functioned the best.

Reynolds has a larger market share, why do you think that is? CIno Cinelli, and other Italian builders, used it. You saying they suck? Nervex wasn't used? Georg Fischer isn't Swiss and supplied Italian builders? So while you "prefer" Columbus/Falck/whatever, it is no means as a sign of anything. And that has been my point all along. You can prefer whatever, the very definition of je ne sais quoi, but to quantify the greatness or lineage to Italy isn't possible and you certainly haven't done it.

As for geometry, the track bikes Brennan, Powers, Waysten were making in the 30s/40s have nearly, if not the same tight geometry you describe. The reason why road geometry was relaxed prior to the 70s was entirely due to road conditions. Roads were rough and tight track geometry would be stupid. As roads got to be the silky glass you see in the Tour today, builders adopted geometry that already existed.

For braze-ons, you should really get familiar with the French technical trials of the 30s and 40s. Definitively not Italian. And I have no idea what a 10mm threaded dropout is. If you mean forged rear dropouts that accomodate a 10mm axle and have dropout screws, well, they should have changed to vertical dropouts like Rene Herse did in the 40s. Italians resistant to change? You betcha.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
80s dreck whips ass
A Mazda3 hatchback will drop a 308 like a bag of wet sand. So sad.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
A Mazda3 hatchback will drop a 308 like a bag of wet sand. So sad.
Sorry but this doesn't change the fact that 80s trash owns.


*rides away on this*

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Old 07-29-20, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
I know, the Italians are just the best. They approach everything they do with passion, be it clothing, food, cars or bicycles. The design with their hearts not their heads. When was the last time you saw a cult German bicycle?
I think need to add more cliches.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Sorry but this doesn't change the fact that 80s trash owns.


*rides away on this*

Nice!
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