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  1. #1
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    Italvega Superlight "restification" thread

    I was looking for an older DeRosa (which I could afford?) when I ran across this Italvega, I was not real familiar with them but I do remember them as being very expensive back in the day (way out of my budget then) The Italian pedigree of this frame is rock solid but it does not have the current popularity/market value of other brands of the era (most likely due to its being created and distributed exclusively for and to the American market only) so I was able to get it for a very fair price. As the snaps show, the previous owner had resprayed the entire frame so I had no Idea of the condition of the plating on the fork,stays or dropouts and therefore staying with the original finish was impossible. Although the respray was pretty well done (more on that later) I was not particularly enamoured with the color or the complete coverage of the stays and dropouts, so I decided to have the entire frame and fork stripped and replated. And thats when the real "fun" began
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-%24-kgrhqn-q0e88gihgflbpzst3y-sw%7E%7E60_57.jpg   Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-%24-kgrhqf-nce9fwnrnsnbpzst9kr3q%7E%7E60_57.jpg   Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-%24-kgrhqnhj-se9bzigyg-bpzsuokeo-%7E%7E60_57.jpg   Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-%24-kgrhqv-nke9c7esr2ebpzsu0uryq%7E%7E60_57.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Yay, new project bike.

    My guecerotti is now my princilpal ride, older bikes just ride so much better.

    Bill

  3. #3
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    I agree that the paint job ain't so hot, but the frame is interesting. Those cut-outs from the bottom bracket do look kind of home made, though, and if you notice, the bottom bracket itself is of the two-piece welded variety...which shows it was not a top of the line frame. BTW, I'm reporting all this in the most sympathetic possible way. I had an Italvega Nuovo Record (welded bb, circa 1973) for a long, long time. I gave it to a friend, who still has it. I take it out and ride it occasionally. Heavy but amazingly comfortable. Geometry looks weird but feels well-nigh perfect when I ride it.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  4. #4
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    Actually the Superlight was in fact the top of the Italvega line, it eclipsed the Superspecial in 73-74 or so (basically the same frame with drilled dropouts, the extreme cutout bb and drillium NR group) I agree that the bb is far from the best cinelli product available at the time and the hand thinning of the lugs isnt very precise or uniform. Just sort of adds to the individuality of the frame I guess. I havent run the serial #, but it appears to be a later frame, with the braze on cable guides vice the clamp ons of earlier versions.

    It was harder then I anticipated to find an affordable plating service here in Socal and I knew how much Joe Bell (a neighbor) gets for this. I finally chose a company down near the border, and that is when things went south (sic) I dropped off the frame and fork as they were with specific istructions as to how I wanted it done. I was promised a one week turnaround. . . .
    Three weeks and several phone calls later I was invited to come collect my project. I was horrified to discover several pits and dings which they had simply plated over. Either they had oversripped the frame and eliminated any previous repairs (it was over 35 years old after all) or the frame had been kicked around the shop for a while before being worked on. Needless to say I was very unhppy and refused to accept the frame. The owner was not around at the time (big surprise) and the employee had no answers. I rescued the fork which appeared acceptable and left before I lost my temper. I took the fork over to Joe Bell and proceded to cry on his shoulder. Joe was a lot more sympathetic than I anticipated and was very pragmatic about the affair, he inspected the fork and pointed out that they had not only plated the steertube but also the bottom bearing race landing as well and I was going to have fun getting the lower race to seat. He went on to recommend that since they clearly did not know bicycle frames that I should bite the bullet, get the frame back and cut my losses before they do any further damage. I then called the previous owner and asked what filling and frame prep he had done before painting, Turns out he was a former welder by trade and did acknowledge having filled a couple dings but insisted the brazing was done properly and the platers had clearly overstripped the frame. Even though it was just a phone conversation his statement had the clear ring of truth to me. When I was finally able to speak with the owner of the shop, he insisted that the damage was preexisting and not caused by his shop. When I asked if anyone had inspected the frame after stripping the paint he just shrugged. He finally offered to fix the offending areas for an additional 40 dollars. Remembering JBs advice I agreed. One week later I went to pick up the frame only to have the employee bump the additional charge to 50.00. That is when I lost it and went off. There were 2 other customers in the shop at the time (one of whom left immediately when I got angry) The employee quickly got the owner on the phone (big surprise) I heatedly pointed out that as far as i was concerned I was basically paying extra to fix damage that his people had caused, he quikly went back to the
    original extra charge. I paid the man and rescued my frame.

    I took the frame straight to JB for his expert assesment and prayed for the best. On close inspection, the repaired areas were still identifiable but in all not too bad. the bottom bracket was a mess and they had been unable to remove the drive side cup and had simply plated over it. Joe worked his magic and got the bearing cup off. Unfortunatly his quote to do his magic on the complete frame (even with the friend and neighbor discount) would have blown my bike budget for the next two years. Although his artistry is well worth every penny, I still couldnt swing it.

  5. #5
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    A tale of woe, indeed. Frankly, I'd just write the whole sorry episode off. It's not as if the frame was personally brazed by Sr. Pogliaghi, Colnago or Pinarello. As a matter of fact, none of those guys would have ever let something as sloppily fnished as an Italvega out of their shop.

    And thanks for correcting me about the bottom bracket. I never actually inspected a SuperSpecial bottom bracket. I only heard about the investment cast, superior bb used in the top Italvega models from my buddy, who was a mechanic at Beverly Hills Bicycle Shop, and was the guy who sold and built the Nuovo Record for me. He and a fellow mechanic actually delivered it to me at UCSB! We all went riding. The Italvega was far, far superior to the Gitane Tour de France I'd been riding up 'till then. It actually weighed a bit more than the Gitane, but the geometry, the stiffness, and the Campy running gear put a smile on my face that lasted all the way to 1986, when I finally decided I wanted something new.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

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    Ironically Mapie, I also had a TdF back in the day, I rode it in my teen years and all the way through college. Frankly, I dont remember the finish on that bike being all that stellar and the artwork was so cheesy (they were not decals but stickers) and crookedly applied at that, I removed all but the headbadge and seatube labels.

    Anyway, back to the Vega, since I had never seen the original paint scheme or finish, and the quality of that even if I had was not highly regarded, I chose to finish it as I would have built it originally, that is with a full chrome fork, rear triamgle and lugs. I got the artwork from Cyclomondo down under, which I am happy with, but unfortunately he only had the superspecial script, not the superlight. I did talk to a guy in LA who would repop the superlight script, but I got tired of waiting and since this is not anywhere near an exact restoration anyway, I just truncated the script I had and called it a "super".

    So here it is as of today, with the final clearcoat applied, but not yet polished out. BB still looks like crap but I am dealing with it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-p1010009.jpg  

  7. #7
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    Actually the chrome is much better than it appears above, I was in a hurry this afternoon when I snapped the shot and should have dusted it off.

  8. #8
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    I've posted these pictures many many times

    but what the hey. Anyway, with the original finish on my Nuovo Record flaking off within a year, I decided to do a full-on repaint...and I decided to change the brand name, as well. Me and the same buddy who sold me the bike rattle canned the frame with Schwinn paint, and my artist sister painted the headtube logo. And yes, it looks like we chose generally the same color scheme. I got the scheme, BTW, from a Cinelli that was hanging at the Bev. Hills Bike Shop. Oh was that thing beautiful!

    Of course, one day while I was chugging along a road north of Santa Barbara (was it Cathedral Oaks?), a bicyclist came up behind me and asked, "Is that an Italvega you repainted?"

    The photos were taken about five years ago. Don't blame me for the saddle. A musician friend now rides the bicycle.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-fazio-left-inside.jpg   Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-fazio-head.jpg   Italvega Superlight "restification" thread-fazio-signature.jpg  
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  9. #9
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    It sucks, but look on the brightside. You now have a very good looking steel frame to have fun with, and alot more experience in restoring bikes.

    I would ride that sucker, and any isses with the BB area will be had to notice with a crank covering up one side of it.

    Bill

  10. #10
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    Update:

    This project is not dead, however unfortunately my life kindof got turned upside down recently and I lost my shop (among many other things) Top that off with getting slammed with that nasty ass flu bug this past winter and I am slowly getting back on my feet.

    I have accumulated most all of the components to complete this project in somewhat period correct fashion Purists may cringe but I will likely upgrade to indexed shifting of some manner, and I dont have quite as much drillium as it came with but I think it will come out nice and I want to ride it and not show it anyway.

    Still scrambling for a suitable workspace but am headed in the right direction. More soon. John

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