"A true legend in the world of cycling, Cino Cinelli was an illustrious professional racer who competed against the likes of Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. In 1948 Cinelli founded the company that bears his name, producing innovative products and racing bicycles that became the standard to which all others were measured. These legendary cycles are arguably the most desirable of any classic racing bicycle."
--From www.theracingbicycle.com 

IMG_0181_800.jpg (99431 bytes)January 20, 2006--Thanks to a great friend, Larry Robinson, we have become the proud owner of a 1972 Cinelli frame originally owned by Sacramento cyclist Frankie Kincannon.  Frankie was very well known in the Sacramento region for her long years of service to local cyclists, and we are honored to have her Cinelli (Frankie passed away in 2004).

Here's what we learned about the frame from Guy at the Cinelli Registry:

The frame is a 1972, the original color was red with chrome stays and forks. The measurement was 22" / 56cm. The frame cleared customs the same day it was picked up by the owner. It was sold through Cupertino Bike Shop on 10-13-72 to a person who lived in Sacramento for $444.68 (cash). The buyer originally ordered the bike on May 15, 1971. I got this information from Spence Wolf's sales logs from the shop.

With the frame came a bag of parts, including the (apparently) original brakes and rear derailleur (with the "Patent 72" stamp), and the Nuovo Record crankset.  The front derailleur was lost somewhere along the line and will be replaced.  

The Project

Our goals:

  • Produce a beautiful, rideable machine
  • Stay as correct to the age of the bike as possible, 
  • Use the original parts wherever possible, but ...
  • Use modern parts for reliability and safety (eg, handlebars) where necessary or where the originals are missing or damaged.

With the frame in hand, we immediately embarked on a project to get this great machine back on the road.  Campy Only sponsor Joe Bell is handling the frame refinishing; the great folks at Phil Wood will be restoring the 1971/1972 hubs (quite possibly from the first year of Phil Wood production) to their original appearance.  We'll have a new set of rims built onto the hubs by Myke and Velo City in nearby Winters, CA.  Myke is our favorite wheelbuilder--a true artist.

Also coming are a new seatpost, a Brooks saddle, some odds and ends from Branford Bike, and some newer Cinelli bars and stem to replace the original, now 30-year-old, set.

Presented below are the "before" photos.  Click here and here for "after" shots.

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Side view, shown with wheels built on those early Phil hubs
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Rear triangle. Rear clearance reminds us of our Sachs
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Chrome fork and head lugs
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These hubs may date to the dawn of Phil Wood. They'll be back on the Cinelli when we're done
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Classic Cinelli fork crown
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Cable guides brazed onto the bottom bracket. Other than this, there are no braze-ons for bottles, cables, shifters, pump ... nothing!
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The chainstay bridge, tapped for fender mounting. Richard Sachs says many "racing" frames from this era were set up to accommodate fenders for year-'round use
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Classic Cinelli seatstay mounting
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View down the top tube
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The brake bridge, also tapped for fender mounting
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Eyelets on the long Campagnolo dropouts. Many US racers filed them off; we're glad they're still there
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View of the head tube.
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Cinelli decal. Detailed records from the Cupertino Bike Shop show that the frame was originally red; this is a repaint
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Look at the point on this lug and you'll see it has been thinned out--one of the touches that make Cinellis great.
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Front view. Feel inside the tubes and you'll find that the frame was pinned together before it was brazed-- another great touch.
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No cutouts or Cinelli logos on the bottom bracket. Serial number 1214 is stamped on the bottom.
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Looking up at the seat cluster.
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Head tube.

January 21, 2006--The head badge that came on the bike had lost all of its colors over the years. We located a good photo of an original badge online (thanks, Google!) and used it as a guide to repaint ours. An hours' work with a very small paintbrush resulted in the results shown below. Joe Bell will be adding a coat of clear over the entire badge to keep it from tarnishing.

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The "before" photo with the original colors behind it.
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The finished badge. From a few feet away, it looks perfect. We used Testor's paint and a 10-0 brush (the smallest we could find)

January 21, 2006--Campagnolo's alloy shift levers weren't anodized, so they always polish up very nicely.  These band-on levers came with the Cinelli, and even though they weren't attached they look appropriate. In the photo below, you can see a few details that place them in the 1970s--the words "Vicenza" and "Italy" above and below the "Campagnolo," the knurling along the edges, and the fact that the letters are raised and not stamped (we show a mid-1980s version of the lever for comparison). Less obvious is the flat adjusting washer (later versions had sloping shoulders) and different internal parts.  (You can find a complete exploded parts diagram in Catalog 17)

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Our Cinelli's shifters, with a later version of the lever for comparison

January 24, 2005--Here are some "before" photos of the Phil Wood hubs.  Brent at PW assures us we will be amazed at the improvement when he sends them back to us. Note the correct straight quick release levers--in later years, the levers were curved (and a little thicker).  There is no "Phil" logo on these hubs. Very early versions did not have a trademark; this was followed by a silk-screened logo, and finally by the familiar stamped logo on modern-day hubs.

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January 25, 2006--Here are the (presumably) original bars: Cinelli Campione del Mondo with the old logo and a matching stem. These are too narrow (bars) and short (stem) for us, as well as being way too old (we try to limit bar use to a couple of years), so they will be changed out for the rebuild.

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January 26, 2006--Our hubs are back from Phil Wood .. and they are amazing!  The crew at PW put a mirror-like shine back on the hubs and even installed new bearings, so we're ready for another 30 years of riding.  Only one other manufacturer's hubs last that long and are worth rebuilding after three decades of use, and you who that is ...  Be sure to click on the photos below to see the larger versions--these are stunningly beautiful hubs!

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February 3, 2006--We've chosen a color!  We spoke at length yesterday with Joe Bell, and decided to go with a rich red--not as bright as our Sachs or Benotto, and hopefully close to the original red paint that came on the Cinelli.  We'll be leaving chrome on the lugs, fork crown, rear dropouts, and the right side chainstay, and painting everything else.  We won't be adding any braze-ons--levers, front derailleur, and brake cable will all be clamped on to retain the original look.  JB will be installing a full set of correct Cinelli decals.  ETA for delivery of the frame is mid-March. Here's a pretty good approximation of what our Cinelli will look like:

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February 5, 2006--Our wheels are back from the builder, and they look great.  We had our newly polished and rebuilt Phil Wood hubs mounted with a set of polished, box-section rims from Sun.  Not entirely period correct, but they look very close to the type of rims that would have been common in 1972.  The polished finish really sets off the hubs, and we're sure they'll look fantastic on the road with some sun in the spokes.  Click here for better photos of the wheels!

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February 6, 2006--A bit of coincidence today.  We had purchased a "touring" seat bag for the Cinelli on eBay.  The bag arrived today ... classic old stock likely from a bike shop somewhere ... and when we checked it out we noticed the date on the back of the hang tag.  This item was made in 1972, just like the Cinelli!  Pretty cool, eh?  Also today ... we picked up a pair of cool old-style Velox rubber handlebar end caps and a 5-speed Atom freewheel from two different shops in Sacramento.  Our box of parts is just about full.

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1972 date

February 10, 2006--This could be the very last piece we needed ... a NOS TA clamp-on bottle cage. Our Cinelli has not braze-ons for water bottles, and we didn't want to add one, so this is the best solution.  The cage is made of chrome-plated steel, and is at least twice as heavy as a modern alloy model.

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February 11, 2006--Here are some better shots of the new wheels, with a set of Continental tires mounted on them. We went with the tan sidewalls for a more old school look.  The 5-speed Suntour freewheel was donated by a friend.

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Compare the after (above) with the  before (below)
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February 11, 2006--A double dose today ... Here are a some shots of the new Brooks B17 saddle that we will be using, and the SR (Sakae) "Royal" seatpost.  OK, the SR seatpost isn't Campagnolo, but it's a very nicely made copy of a Nuovo Record dual-bolt post.  The post that came with the Cinelli was pretty scarred up from being put in and out of the frame, and was missing several parts, so it couldn't be salvaged.

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February 16, 2006--We visited the shop of Joe Bell to see where his magic happens.  Click here for photos from our visit. Here's a shot with the Cinelli, patiently waiting for JB:

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March 17, 2006--We have an updated ETA from Joe Bell.  JB was slammed with work getting ready for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show last month, so our frame had to wait a bit. New estimate: Early April.  Only a few weeks to wait!

April 18, 2006--Joe Bell informs us that our frame has been prepped for paint.  Color goes on tomorrow, and the paint job should be complete by the end of the month.  (To see step-by-step photos of JB's paint process, click here)

May 2, 2006--We spoke with JB yesterday. The frame has color, and is due for decals and clear. It should ship out by the end of next week (May 12).  Build day is getting close!

June 7, 2006--A bike-sized box from Joe Bell always has somethig wonderful inside.  Here are photos of the Cinelli with its new red paint.  More photos coming soon as we build up this classic machine.

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The box arrives!
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Starting to unpack
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Emerging ...
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Just before the unveiling
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JB re-did the head badge. His version looks better than ours.
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Cinneli marque on the seat tube
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Speciale Corsa
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We love red bikes!
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Distinctive Cinelli fork crown. Check out the detail painting.
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Head badge. Cinellis are very collectible--even the head badge is sought after. The screws that hold it on are special to Cinelli
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Rear triangle
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Campagnolo dropouts
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Nice finishing touches
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Cinelli on the down tube
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Bottom bracket with cable guides on top
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Seat lug
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Another shot of the dropouts
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Seat tube
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Classic, half paint/half chrome seat lug
More Photos Here of the Completed Bike

Just for fun, here are a few side-by-side comparisons of the frame as we received it and with JB's new paint:

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