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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:08 am 
Old School Hero

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 11:24 am
Posts: 194
Location: London SW
Citoyen du monde wrote:
ugo.santalucia 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...


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:13 pm 
rBoTM Winner
rBoTM Winner

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:44 pm
Posts: 422
Location: at my computer
ugo.santalucia wrote:
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...


Memory can play tricks on you, especially when supported by assurances made by friends and family. Likewise, when one is young and impressionable, you can readily get drawn into believing things that are later revealed to not be true. I have done searches in all the major search engines and there is absolutely no mention of Cinelli Choppers anywhere. I have also spoken with one of my contacts in Cinelli in Settala and he too is not able to find any mention of any chopper model ever being sold by Cinelli. My guess is that you are confusing Gios with Cinelli. In fact, Gios' arrival on the international scene was largely due to their success in building a chopper bike which was used as a prize by a confectionery company. The owner of the confectionery company then asked them to build the frames for his new professional race team: the Brooklyn Gum team of the 70's. I have likewise looked back into time and not found any time when Cinelli bikes would have been delivered with Ofmega and/or Modolo parts. More than likely, you memory is tied to the idea of what you could get for your money when building up a bike starting with Cinelli frame or a Sannino or Boeris frame. If you had done this back in the 80's it is quite likely that you could have had a Sannino or Boeris with full Campagnolo Super Record for price that would have obliged you to use Ofmega/Modolo/Japanese equipment if you were starting with a bare Cinelli frame. As mentioned earlier, they were always relatively expensive frames.

As regards the quote from Gios, about Sannino trying to poach employees, it would not surprise me in the least. You shouild however know that this is also precisely what Gios has been rumored to have done themselves when they ramped up their production of quality bikes in the 70's. What is good for the gander is good for the goose. BTW, you should also be aware that "the" Gios that you visited in Volpiano is not necessarily "THE" Gios. Alfredo Gios was long the figurehead of the Gios company and holder of the brand name. Apparently he has had a disagreement with his brother and they have gone different ways. On paper, Alfredo has apparently retained full ownership of the brand, but his brother is continuing to build frames in Volpiano, so one can only assume that it is apparently with the OK of Alfredo.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:30 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 11:24 am
Posts: 194
Location: London SW
Citoyen du monde wrote:
ugo.santalucia wrote:
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...


Memory can play tricks on you, especially when supported by assurances made by friends and family. Likewise, when one is young and impressionable, you can readily get drawn into believing things that are later revealed to not be true. I have done searches in all the major search engines and there is absolutely no mention of Cinelli Choppers anywhere. I have also spoken with one of my contacts in Cinelli in Settala and he too is not able to find any mention of any chopper model ever being sold by Cinelli. My guess is that you are confusing Gios with Cinelli. In fact, Gios' arrival on the international scene was largely due to their success in building a chopper bike which was used as a prize by a confectionery company. The owner of the confectionery company then asked them to build the frames for his new professional race team: the Brooklyn Gum team of the 70's. I have likewise looked back into time and not found any time when Cinelli bikes would have been delivered with Ofmega and/or Modolo parts. More than likely, you memory is tied to the idea of what you could get for your money when building up a bike starting with Cinelli frame or a Sannino or Boeris frame. If you had done this back in the 80's it is quite likely that you could have had a Sannino or Boeris with full Campagnolo Super Record for price that would have obliged you to use Ofmega/Modolo/Japanese equipment if you were starting with a bare Cinelli frame. As mentioned earlier, they were always relatively expensive frames.

As regards the quote from Gios, about Sannino trying to poach employees, it would not surprise me in the least. You shouild however know that this is also precisely what Gios has been rumored to have done themselves when they ramped up their production of quality bikes in the 70's. What is good for the gander is good for the goose. BTW, you should also be aware that "the" Gios that you visited in Volpiano is not necessarily "THE" Gios. Alfredo Gios was long the figurehead of the Gios company and holder of the brand name. Apparently he has had a disagreement with his brother and they have gone different ways. On paper, Alfredo has apparently retained full ownership of the brand, but his brother is continuing to build frames in Volpiano, so one can only assume that it is apparently with the OK of Alfredo.


It must be hard living with you!
:lol:

The latest steel releases "made in Volpiano" are nothing but copies of the 1970s ones, they now use Dedacciai steel, not sure they used it at the time...
other arguable frames, like a Super Record replica with 120 mm dropouts for single speed... stunning to watch, but completely pointless as it's not meat and not fish (free translation from Italian ne' carne ne' pesce)

My Sannino in 1982 was priced at 2,000,000 lire, which was the same price of a Colnago 9Mexico, Master, can't remember) with the same groupset SR... we got it second hand for 700,000 lire in 1987... considering the inflation at the time was around 10%, it was a good deal!

Cinelli chopper... we use to call them "bici da cross", with the big gear stick... the most famous was the "saltafoss" made by... can't remember...


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