Thursday, November 16, 2017

Paletti - Not Everyone Can Own One, Not Everyone Should

My earlier post about the frameteller site was an easy entry to post two recent eBay items and some innovations from Paletti. Always a sucker for Columbus MS and Max frames, these are three great examples from this builder, as well as a couple of examples of Mario Martini - painted frames.

Luckily for me, of the three, only the MS frame is my size. I have a feeling that at some point I'll end up with a Paletti and that one is a great example. MS, Martini paint (possibly), 56 - the check boxes are there, but it'll have to wait. $2700 is a bit out there right now!

With an orphaned Record OR group, this MAX OR would be a great fit... if only it fit me! Definitely Martini paint here. I have a strong feeling that lugged MAX OR is not a weight weenie bike, not even in the early 90's! At $1000, it's a great price, but not a great size!

The Paletti front derailleur direct-mount.

Internally routed down tube shifters!!!

Much like Somec, Paletti seems to have adopted the cavallo Baracca / Ferrari at least on this model!

Anyone else remember this ad BITD?

Frameteller - My New Favorite Website

The Milanese and Venetian schools of classic builders are fairly well known. You have Gloria, who begat Galmozzi and Masi and Colnago who begat Rossin and on and on. Venetian brands are fairly well known as well, even if their lineage is a bit murkier. A visit to Turin and my eyes were opened to that incredibly talented school, which is known locally but not as well worldwide, what with folks like Ernesto and Ugo hogging the limelight still to this day.

After my visit to Emilia Romagna's Somec, a favorite brand from my teenage years, my eyes were opened to yet another innovative classic Italian school of builders. I recently found, where regional pride has led to an incredible archive of this region's highly innovative and influential builders. Here, Manuel Dall’Olio has curated stories, innovations, publications and more, all with a narrow focus on the output from Emilia Romagna.

Known to serious collectors, but still fairly hidden from the "easy" collectors, names like Marastoni, Somec and Rauler rise to the top fairly quickly; however, the important contributions of Vicini and Dosi (two builders of Marco Pantani's early bikes) lead down the rabbit hole until you find a Paletti, an Ortelli and all of a sudden you're reading a long complete history of Neri e Renzo and then you find your saved eBay searches has doubled!

It is thanks to this site that I now know the creator of the greatest 90's paint jobs... Mario Martini. The amazing stars, neon argyles and fades created by Martini graced the bikes from this region and I now know the story behind it thanks to frameteller.

The list of innovations and patents to come from this region is in itself worth a visit. Too long to list here, but incredibly important are such items as internal cables, brazed on bottle mounts, shaped steel tubing, and even rollers for training!

One common thread from E-R to Milan to Turin to the Veneto is that the artisan construct remains: local "houses" doing business to finish a hand made work of art, with little regard to systemization beyond the idea that you've worked with this chroming house or frame painter for years. It's something worthy of many business theses and a way of doing business that still exists in il bel paese. But this is also lost to many new world collectors who can't wrap their heads around the idea that the hard rules of production are thrown out the window when working in this manner. Yes, this builder used this certain lugset for this period - until he ran out, lost interest, found something new or whatever... but then eight years later found the last box of them and used them again. These are the mysteries that are best appreciated by accepting and understanding the artisan environment.

A tip of the hat to Manuel, who has researched and listed 340 historic brands to emerge from this region since the 1920's. His completeness and dedication to the project sets the standard for the archiving of and lifting the covers off of a very narrow but important focus.

To translate the site into english, you can start at the Patelli link here and navigate around. Note that some of the flash pages won't translate in this manner, but most articles will. Also, be sure to enjoy the awesome photos and publication archive.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pierfranco Vianelli

Time to finish up an old post, now that a sale is pending and I need the images posted!

With the entire house sick and sleeping off illness I found time to retire to the shop to dress up my latest Italian build, an 80's Vianelli that remained in Basel after we moved (not sure why) and with the help of a few friends, found its way back to me last year.

After l'Eroica I stayed with close friends who live close to Vianelli's shop on the west edge of Brescia. I took the frame to its 'home' and to meet Pierfranco, who won the 1968 Olympic gold medal in the road race in Mexico City.

He was very gracious and left me with two interesting facts. One; when asked which model my frame is and which decal set on the sheet to place and where, he replied that there was no real rhyme or reason for the models or decal placements. The ones I've found online seem to show a little randomness but those with Olympic rings on the forks or in the legwork seem to be declared with "Mexico" so I'm going with that. Two; he has about 300 raw old steel frames in the basement just waiting to be finished and sold, but no real interest in doing so!

With a new fat bike project in the works, my Vianelli is now headed to that great auction site in the sky - I mean eBay. I built it and rode it a few times. It's very nice and typical of a workmanlike Italian 80's bike. Not fancy or with a lot of frills, but will get the job done. My example, in fact, can trace back to a dilettante who raced the 1981 Coppa d'Oro.