1953 Marastoni with original paint and decals

Citoyen du monde

rBotM Winner
In Italy, the late 40's and early 50's was quite an important period for the cycling world. This bike built by Licinio Marastoni in Reggio Emilia is a great example of this period and shows many fundamental evolutionary changes.

The first thing that is visible on this bike is that compared to the bikes made in the 30's and 40's the frame geometry has a shorter wheelbase and tighter gaps. After riding on a nice 70's racing bike and then riding this one, I am always surprised at how similarly they ride.

The second thing is to look at the workmanship. The brazing was done very cleanly and the filing of teh BB shell, fork crown and lugs have all been cleanly done and the overall details of the bike are very nice. I also get a bit of smile when people realize that the internal rear brake cable was original already in 1953.

Another interesting this is to look at the rear dropouts. Before you look at the detail photo, you should remember that Campagnolo had only come out with their first "modern" derailleur in 1951 with the launch of the Gran Sport. As many will already know the first two years of production were somewhat haphazard with many running modifications as Tullio learned about production and received feedback from the racers. It would seem that 1953 was the first year of full-scale "production". Gone are the more artisanal aspects of the components, things like the "custom" pivot bolts on the rear derailleur, the extensive use of chromed brass and many other such things. We also see the Gran Sport rear derailleur maintain its appearance and function without change for a number of years, rather than months. So on this bike you see the rear derailleur that was current from approximately 1953 to 1956. The rear derailleur has the new regular production pivot bolts, the low shoulder flange on the spacer between the derailleur body and teh derailleur cage. This spacer was increased substantially in about 1956. As regards the rear dropouts, you can see that they are marked Brev° Campagnolo and not Brev Campagnolo which is seen later. The rear dropout adjuster screws are also different. In these first generation dropouts, Campagnolo had used 4 mm adjuster screws. Apparently this made the dropouts prone to damage when subjected to overheating as there was not much "meat" left to the dropouts at the point where teh screw passes through the dropout. To the best of my knowledge this style dropout was only available from Campagnolo in 1952 and 1953, making them quite rare and interesting. The BB is also rather unique. Up until the advent of Gran Sport front derailleur, virtually all racing bikes in Italy used a single chainring up front. With the arrival of this new front derailleur builders found that they needed to modify he BB's to fit the new double chainring set-up. So people like Magistroni made "kluge" to allow builders to use their existing components and offer a double chainring set-up. This involved an ingenious "bulged" fixed cup for the BB. BY bulging the fixed cup outwards, the cranks were moved outwards meaning that a second chainring could be added without risk to the chainstays. There is also the custom Marastoni headset, the handlebar waterbottle holder, the original brakes, handle bars and stem plus much much more.

The colour green was selected to match a lizard that he had noted one day on his way to work. A local painter was able to match the colour. This colour scheme of green and blue continued for many years for Marastoni.


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    left side.JPG
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Citoyen du monde

rBotM Winner
The shift levers have the unusual combination lever clip with pump clip. You can also see that the levers are still teh very narrow ones used in teh early years. The pump is also original to teh bike and you can see the metal Silca pump end. It is also interesting to see that the lower pump peg is spring mounted.


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Citoyen du monde

rBotM Winner
Here you can see some details of the rear derailleur, plus more... It should also be noted that the cable with a grained surface is apparently original to the bike. The handlebar tape was found in the storage unit kept by the son of a former framebuilder who passed away in the early 50's. The tubulars are somewhat smaller than they should be but otherwise great.


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Retrobike Rider
Great write up, great photos, lovely bike, thanks for sharing your knowledge. A reference post.

Some lovely details, I especially like the work that has gone into the pump holder? how many operations in the spring clip at the lower end and then the shifter incorperating the top mount.

We never see enough bottle holders and that has always suprised me. When did the change to frame mounted come about?

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master
I think this bike is gorgeous. The whole style and proportions are correct - and an internal brake cable! I also like the colour combination along with the chrome lugs. The patina is just right, far better than a total refurb.

Excellent :D


Retro Newbie

Hi Citoyen du monde, I would ask you the autorization to use these images on my website frameteller.it - Marastoni's bio, with your credit.
Manuel Dall'Olio

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master

Old Ned":1k954rhx said:
I think this bike is gorgeous. The whole style and proportions are correct - and an internal brake cable! I also like the colour combination along with the chrome lugs. The patina is just right, far better than a total refurb.

Excellent :D
Revisiting this 'cos it's floated to the top again - and I haven't changed my mind! Still think it's lovely. The early Campag DT levers are hard to find these days - especially if they're straight! Being thin they tend to bend or even snap if used heavy-handlidly. One of my dream scenarios is to find something like this in a local shed - but that ain't going to happen :cry: