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HomeCyclingPEZ Bookshelf: Reliving Biking Historical past with Corsa Traditional

PEZ Bookshelf: Reliving Biking Historical past with Corsa Traditional

For many years, racing bicycle know-how didn’t change very a lot. Certainly, the bicycles that Fausto Coppi was driving within the late Nineteen Fifties wouldn’t have appeared old-fashioned to riders on the Giro or Tour de France three and half a long time later. However then from the Nineteen Nineties onwards the whole lot modified. The introduction of recent supplies—aluminum, titanium, magnesium, carbon—changed that previous dependable cromoly metal in frames. Listed shifting was adopted by built-in shifting, in flip supplanted by digital shifting; toe clip pedals fell to clipless ones; rim brakes grew to become disc brakes whereas tubular tires gave solution to clinchers after which tubeless. However there are those that nonetheless see worth within the achievements of the previous and the appeal and even fantastic thing about previous bicycles and elements can nonetheless enchant.

de rosa

Whereas it could seem that the Web’s main operate is to current cat movies and to allow us to argue with strangers, immediate international communication has been an unlimited boon for the previous bike interest. Even these fans outdoors of the standard bike racing heartlands of Italy, France and Belgium can share historic info, search out uncommon elements in addition to the bicycles of their desires, and study occasions (or watch them on YouTube) catering to their pursuits. The place as soon as good bicycles rusted away and had been forgotten as a result of they had been simply previous, occasions like l’Eroica and its counterparts the world over have meant a surge in curiosity in traditional bicycles, to say nothing of their rising collector valuations.

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Andrea Bonfanti, who lives in Milan, got here to the accumulating scene in 2012, and has develop into a writer of supplies for traditional racing bicycle fans underneath the title Corsa Traditional. The agency’s web site states: “Our mission is to analysis, create, and share high-quality content material supplies that present information and insights in regards to the classic bikes world.” To this finish, Corsa Traditional has produced a lot of engaging and helpful publications.

De Rosa

Signore Bonfanti approached the accumulating interest in a really clever method, deciding after buying his first De Rosa bicycle in 2014 that he would focus on that marque for its storied historical past in addition to its geographical proximity to him. Many collectors are actually accumulators, with no actual focus of their acquisitions, however that isn’t the case right here as demonstrated by Corsa Traditional’s wonderful ebook that includes 9 De Rosa bicycles from his assortment, ranging in manufacturing from 1957 to 1983.

de rosa

“Traditional De Rosa” is subtitled as a “Collector’s Information,” and fulfills that goal impressively. There are detailed descriptions of every of the bicycles, indicating its componentry and weight but additionally displaying in color images (from seemingly each angle and focal point) how every mannequin is exclusive. That is very helpful to anybody wanting to gather a De Rosa, the costs of that are appreciable, and anxious about its originality and authenticity. Italian framebuilders are infamous for fixed minor modifications to their work, in addition to missing enthusiasm for serial numbers. Lots of the De Rosa bicycles within the ebook could be dated by their Campagnolo componentry, which at one level started to characteristic a “Brevet” or patent date—even when they weren’t truly patented!

de rosa

Andrea Bonfanti has clearly put an excessive amount of effort into his analysis, helped maybe by being not distant from the De Rosa workshop and so in a position to get some affirmation from the supply. He’s clearly pleased with the truth that the primary bicycle featured within the ebook, a 1957 Strade Gran Sport, is the oldest recognized surviving De Rosa. An fascinating reality is that within the interval coated by the ebook, which the writer calls “the heroic period,” De Rosa’s bicycles had been both street (Strada) or observe (Pista) and solely differentiated by the componentry, therefore that early bike is supplied with Campagnolo Gran Sport elements, whereas we see later street bikes utilizing Document, Nuovo Document, or Tremendous Document drivetrains.

The ebook additionally contains info on water bottles utilized by De Rosa, together with equipment. There are even copies of De Rosa catalogues protecting 4 years. Textual content of the ebook is in Italian and in English.


The profitable publication of “Traditional De Rosa” was adopted this 12 months by one other ebook, however this one is trilingual! “Campagnolo Assortment,” with textual content in Italian, English and Japanese, options the treasures of famous Japanese collector Hiroshi Ichikawa, whose hello,campy alias is well-known to E-Bay customers (who’re typically outbid by him). It is a fantastic deep dive into Campagnolo historical past, with many extraordinarily uncommon gadgets options. The Gran Sport collection of elements was a giant technological leap within the early Nineteen Fifties, placing Campagnolo on the summit of racing bicycle elements, famend for innovation and high quality. Sadly, 2024 will mark the primary time in seven a long time that not one of the skilled racing groups on the highest degree will likely be utilizing elements from the legendary Vicenza supply.


“Campagnolo Assortment” will not be a lot a information for collectors as a lot as a manner of unveiling Ichikawa-san’s non-public assortment in its appreciable scope however the detailed images—of which there are a whole lot—are a worthwhile useful resource for these making an attempt to establish the variations of their elements. He notes within the introduction that in Japan youthful individuals are not displaying the identical curiosity in these historic elements however it is a solution to get them out to a broader world. Apparently he did have an internet site at one level however was in all probability overwhelmed with technical points.


Starting with the primary Campagnolo quick-releases within the mid-Nineteen Thirties, the ebook’s first 65 pages deal primarily with Gran Sport elements that first got here onto the scene in 1951 (so nothing in regards to the earlier and terrifying shifting techniques just like the Paris Roubaix derailleur). There’s a nice deal in regards to the evolution of the quick-release, one thing Campagnolo efficiently licensed, however strikes onto much less acquainted merchandise, starting from pedals to seatposts to hubs to chainrings to dropouts to pump heads! And that’s only for bicycles…


Campagnolo is well-known for having made alloy wheels for unique vehicles (verify your Ferrari Daytona!) however marketed different gadgets as nicely, together with corkscrews, that are nonetheless out there from the corporate, but additionally nutcrackers and garments hangers too. And who has ever seen a Campagnolo tennis racket? An alloy racket should have been extremely cutting-edge in 1974 however appears to have been a single 12 months effort by the agency.


The gathering contains different gadgets, corresponding to printed supplies together with stickers and decals. Campagnolo is so cherished that even its empty packing containers have collector worth and plenty of are proven right here as nicely.

“Campagnolo Assortment” represents a long time of accumulating and is a pleasure to leaf by and one can perceive how the corporate’s merchandise nonetheless retain that highly effective and maybe magical picture.

italian map

Corsa Traditional first got here to our consideration after we found its collection of fantastic maps on E-Bay. They’re described as “illustrated atlases” and now cowl traditional framebuilders (and plenty of element corporations) in maps for Italy, Britain, France and the USA.


Wanting on the map of Italy, there are one thing within the order of 220 companies listed, with the map indicating the place every firm is (or was, within the case of now non-extant ones). Alphabetically they vary from 3ttt to Zullo and are organized by area in addition to title. Many are acquainted however even the much less well-known have their place of honour. Opening up the map takes one into an Aladdin’s Cave of reminiscence, with all of the historic associations that make the classic bicycle interest so rewarding. It’s a mark of the analysis concerned that some traditional And people Italian craftsmen, and the big and small organizations that equipped the bicycles and their elements, have their counterparts set out equally nicely on the opposite maps.


Corsa Traditional’s merchandise are usually not cheap however this comes as no shock contemplating the area of interest market, even within the restricted world of high quality biking right this moment, that it addresses. However it’s undoubtedly a labour of affection to seize the previous because it has been achieved right here. Corsa Traditional’s merchandise can be found by E-Bay in varied permutations and the agency additionally has a nicely-done web site.

de rosa

“Traditional de Rosa” by Andrea Bonfanti
253 pp., profusely illustrated, softbound
In Italian and English
Corsa Traditional, Milan, 2023


“Campagnolo Assortment” by Hiroshi Ichikawa and Andrea Bonfanti
207 pp., profusely illustrated, softbound
In Italian, English and Japanese
Corsa Traditional, Milan, 2023


Corsa Traditional Illustrated Atlas Collection:

  • Traditional Italian Bicycles/Biciclette Classiche Italiane
  • Traditional French Bicycles/Vélos Classiques Français
  • Traditional British Bicycles
  • Traditional American Bicycles/United States of America
  • For extra info, go to the Corsa Traditional web site right here:
  • Along with the merchandise listed, there are particular costs for bundles plus a ten% low cost when subscribing to their e-newsletter

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