I’ve posted before about this Tom Crowther bike I have, but I thought I'd have another go in a new post as I’ve discovered fair bit of new info.
Ciocc and Tom Crowther are two cycling names that many people will recognise. Tom Crowther was one of the founders of Mercian Cycles and Ciocc pre 1980 were built by craftsman Giovanni Pelizzoli
The bike I have was bought by the previous owner new in 1981 from Tom Crowther’s shop at 165, Ulleries Road, Solihull. There’s not a lot of info about Tom after leaving Mercian but he did continue using Mercian to build his frames. I heard from a gentleman who’s parents had a cycle shop in Birmingham at the same time, and his father knew Tom Crowther well. He believed that all of Toms frames came from Mercian.
With that in mind, I contacted Mercian who were extremely helpful, but didn’t think they had built this bike. Although they have used Columbus tubing in the past it has only been for one off special customer orders and couldn't confirm having done anything like that for Tom.
There is a rumour that Tom also used a couple of frame builders in Birmingham. Tom was known for his exacting attention to detail so only used quality builders, but I’ve not found any info about who or where they were. After drawing a blank with Mercian and the other builders, the name CIOCC came up. This has been a step forward and a bit of googling shows the bike is very similar to the Ciocc San Crisobal. I found an excellent example that Ray Dobbins owned http://www.raydobbins.com/ciocc/index.html
I swapped a couple of emails with Ray who also thought this bike is very like the Ciocc San Cristobal.
With its extensive Crowther pantographing and Ciocc 4 ace's cut out in the bb shell, I thought I’d cracked it and I could assume that Tom Crowther had ordered some custom frames from Giovanni Pelizzoli, so I emailed Pelizzoli. The reply raised more questions than it answers, as they say they’ve never produced frames for anyone else. I’m not sure what to believe here as I’ve read some evidence that they have built for other people. So in a way, I’m right back to where I started, although with a bike that has all the charateristics of a Ciocc but badged as a Crowther.
There’s possibly two options left. The bike was bought new in 1981, I know Ciocc was sold in 1980. So it could be just possible that it wasn’t built while Giovanni Pelizzoli still owned Ciocc but built later.
The other option is its a fake Ciocc. I’ve read that there were a few fake Ciocc’s built, but to me it seems very strange to build a fake Ciocc and then pantograph it Crowther. I’ve also discovered the bottom bracket shell is identical to Ciocc’s. Their shells have some markings on the shell before they make the 4 ace's cut out in the bottom of the shell. This leaves some of the detail behind on the shell, which again is identical to the bb shell on this bike.
Anyway, I thought I’d make a new post in the hope of attracting some input from the Ciocc experts and anyone else who has any idea's or opinions http://www.flickr.com/photos/62249235@N ... 619728144/