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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am constantly amazed at the number of Italian lugged steel frames that appear on this site, and to some extent, on ebay. I admit I'm not an expert on frames by any means, but aside from the "big guys" there seems to be an endless supply of frames out of Italy from that era!

Are they all good frames, worth buying and riding, or were there any bad framemakers in Italy as well?
 

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There were some horrifically bad cheap Bianchi bikes in the seventies. I remember my bicycle shop buddies laughing like loons about how the frames were so out of true they could never, ever get into certain gears, even after several several sessions with the wrench they dubbed the "gentle persuader." I seem to remember some rank-looking lower-end Atalas, too.

Being a total Italophile at the time, the sight of those frames made me reach for the antacids.

My 1973 Italvega Nuovo Record had some pretty severe workmanship lapses and share of cheapnesses, also. Things like lugs with random file marks and rough edges. Things like a two-piece bottom bracket welded together with what looks like an infected appendectomy scar. Lovely riding bike, though. I gave it to a buddy of mine back in the 1980's. Sometimes I even take it out myself.
 

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I think Torelli made some cheapo bikes, as well. Like Bianchi and maybe some other Italian manufacturers, they wanted to get some of the lower price points owned by Peugeot and Gitane.

Making low-end bikes probably gave the Italians ulcers.
 

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fast ferd said:
I think Torelli made some cheapo bikes, as well. Like Bianchi and maybe some other Italian manufacturers, they wanted to get some of the lower price points owned by Peugeot and Gitane.

Making low-end bikes probably gave the Italians ulcers.

They still do.
 

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Miele?

ClassicSteel71 said:
If that is a Miele, that bike was made in Canada. Fail
 

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I have to agree with Toomany, and not just becasue he was one of my steel mentors. I have several De Rosa and Merckx, and consider them among the best, but the consistent quality of Italian frames is vastly overrated. Few builders had the quality control, the precision toolmaking and the artistic vision to make a CONSISTENTLY great product. Also you can never be sure of the who what and where of some makers, as it was always changing. In my opinion, the consistently best bike manufacturers EVER are the modern North American builders, who combine all of the qualities above. And Dario.

b21
 
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Luigi Milani.

The best of the italian framebuilders, probably better than Ugo De Rosa.

Certainly the most unknown of the italian builders.

He was also Dario Pegoretti's father in law, and mentor.

Taught Dario how to make bike frames.

Is that Dario on the bike??
 

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toomanybikes said:
Luigi Milani.

The best of the italian framebuilders, probably better than Ugo De Rosa.

Certainly the most unknown of the italian builders.

He was also Dario Pegoretti's father in law, and mentor.

Taught Dario how to make bike frames.

Is that Dario on the bike??

Indeed
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
barry1021 said:
I have to agree with Toomany, and not just becasue he was one of my steel mentors. I have several De Rosa and Merckx, and consider them among the best, but the consistent quality of Italian frames is vastly overrated. Few builders had the quality control, the precision toolmaking and the artistic vision to make a CONSISTENTLY great product. Also you can never be sure of the who what and where of some makers, as it was always changing. In my opinion, the consistently best bike manufacturers EVER are the modern North American builders, who combine all of the qualities above. And Dario.

b21
I was at the recent Seattle Bike Expo, and saw proof that the new group of North American builders are making some beautiful frames that I think will be considered classic and desired in years to come. The work-manship I saw was amazing! Mostly steel...but there was a builder there making frames from hardwood! They were like work of art...but I didn't get to ride one, so I don't know how they would feel on the road.

I know I've plugged my Marinoni on here before, but for the price I paid, and even if it had been more expensive, I haven't seen much that compares as far as quality of build and ride. Mind you they aren't building lugged steel anymore...but there is still that Italian Heritage :D
 

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toomanybikes said:
Great picture.
Ok in the spirit of the OP's question, what OTHER not as well known, low production euro builders would fall into the camp of Milani and Confente? I don't mean "he made a very nice frame", I mean revered as the greatest of builders and "if you saw one in your size you would have to consider seriously selling something important to buy it because you may not get this chance again" great?

b21
 

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Johnny LaRoux said:
I was at the recent Seattle Bike Expo, and saw proof that the new group of North American builders are making some beautiful frames that I think will be considered classic and desired in years to come. The work-manship I saw was amazing! Mostly steel...but there was a builder there making frames from hardwood! They were like work of art...but I didn't get to ride one, so I don't know how they would feel on the road.

I know I've plugged my Marinoni on here before, but for the price I paid, and even if it had been more expensive, I haven't seen much that compares as far as quality of build and ride. Mind you they aren't building lugged steel anymore...but there is still that Italian Heritage :D
My stable includes a couple Kestrel carbon fiber bikes, which some say has a wooden ride. :p

Marinoni's have always been constructed in Canada. Although he was born in Italy. Great frames.
 
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