Citoyen du monde wrote:
I was living in Torino... and I do own a Sannino (see bike of the month). Cinelli was average for frames... at the time as kids we all had a Cinelli chopper. Those who had beautiful racing bikes had a Wilier ramata, Colnago, De Rosa, Sannino and later even Moser. Even Bianchi at the time was nothing special... 1940-50s Bianchi were the top dogs, but 1970s and 80s were pretty mediocre stuff.
Cinelli used to make good components, mainly stems and bars, but frame wise, nothing special.
I find it strange how much one's opinion can get subverted by peer pressure and lack of knowledge about what one is speaking about. You are simply wrong about every one of your statements. It is not a question of opinion, but rather a matter of fact.
I started working in the bicycle trade in the 70's. I have been directly or indirectly involved ever since. Of the companies that you mention, you may be interested to know that in the 80's and 90's, I worked as the liaison person between the German importers/distributors and De Rosa. I also handled a similar role with many other renowned framebuilders. In the decade following Y2K, I was to become the General Manager of the Colnago importer/distributor in the US. I spent a three year period in Torino myself, duing which I was fully ensconced in the bicycle culture of the city (which is how I got to know the owners and framebuilders of the Boeris shop as well as other frameshops). When you spoke to those in the know, which is to say the industry insiders (including Boeris, Mauro Sannino and others) Sannino was never considered higher than third dog on the totem pole in the province of Torino. His frames were honest and generally well-executed, but they were cookie-cutter frames with no personal identity. He used stock framebuilding parts and stuck exclusively to time-honoured geometries. His location not far from the main Fiat plant (just like Boeris), combined with his political leanings meant that he was a favourite of the trade unionists and this later helped him become supplier to various East Bloc cyclists/federations. If you came from his neighbourhood of Torino or your family was very heavily involved in the trade union movement, you would quite clearly enter his orbit of influence and you would be forgiven if you were led to believe that his bikes were the BEST.
Prior to living in Torino, I also lived in Treviso and Vicenza, where I was also fully ensconced in the bicycle culture. Given that Wilier is located smack dab in between the two cities, I also got to know them well. Just as in the case of Sannino in Torino, Wilier was never considered to be a leading light in the area. They built honest, generally well-executed bikes, just like Sannino. However when you saw ex-pros paying for a new bike out of their own pocket, nobody gave a thought to getting a Wilier. They all went to one of the many skilled framebuilders who could go beyond stock geometries.
As regards Moser, I have no idea as to where you could possible come up with the idea of Moser being a leading light. Their frames are generally of about the most pedestrian nature possible. They generally offered good value for money, but were far from being works of framebuilding art. Indeed they were more aware than most that a nice paint job and good marketing were worth far more than a well-turned file or torch.
Your comment about Bianchi is likewise completely erroneous. Bianchi produced a full range of bicycles. If you were to take one of their low-end bikes and compare it to your Sannino, it would indeed pale in comparison, but their high end bikes of the 70's and 80's were incredibly well made and well-regarded. You may have heard of Pietro PIazzalunga, Mario Confente, Luigino Milani, Dario Pegoretti... all built fames for Bianchi in this period.
Your comment about a Cinelli chopper also seems to conflict with fact. While I am far from being an expert about Cinelli bikes of the post-Cino period, I do not believe there has ever been a Cinelli chopper. There were indeed Gios choppers, but never that I can tell any Cinelli choppers. Cinelli produced the CMX model BMX frame in the early 80's, which was one of the most desirable BMX frames of its time. They were also in the forefront in Italy in the introduction of mountain bikes under their "Rampicchino" brand; while these were perhaps not high frame-building art, they were about as good as you could get at the time in Italy.
Cinelli bikes built during the Cino period tended to be on the technical forefront of their time and of generally high quality. You can fault them as rarely being a very good value for your money, but you cannot fault them on production quality. The "love" for Cinelli bikes is not something new, it has existed since the 40's; if anything, its appeal has waned of late due to the decline in appeal of their newer models of the last 20 years. But even here, you need to compare this to the fact that Mauro Sannino is now working in Germany and producing bikes under the Corratec name...
Well, you clearly know best and you've seen more than me... I only speak for what I remember of the time... I recall that the Super Record and Galli criterium groupsets were on the Sannino, Gios, Colnago, Wilier etc, while all the Cinelli I recall had various pieces of Ofmega, Modolo and Japanese stuff.
There was a Cinelli chopper, of that I am sure, it had a 3 gear system with a big gear stick on the top tube... then later the Rampichino came, but that was actually a very cool bike, the first MTB commercialised in Italy, in an amazing dark green, I really wanted one.
I spoke to Gios a few months back, now he has an outlet in Volpiano, near the Airport... he told me how Sannino used to wait for his employees to finish their shift to approach them and offer better pay... I fould it very amusing.
I also found very sad to see such an amazing piece of cycling history relegated in the outskirts of Volpiano and pretty much deserted... I think Sannino sniffed the air and realised it was time to move on, the age of steel and craft was well and truly over, although he told me he moved to Germany for family reasons.
Boeris still exists, like Olmo, but they didn't jump on the wagon at the right time (Wilier, Colnago and De Rosa did) and effectively they do (import) copies of main brands with nothing remarkable...