Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1975 Cinelli Super Corsa

It's probably healthy for everyone to lust after a few unattainable things. For me, one of those things is the Cinelli SC. Some will argue that DeRosa, Masi or Colnago were also top builders, but for me Cinelli was "THE" Italian racing bike. The Cinellis were not show bikes with exquisite detailing. The finish on a Cinelli is okay-no better than is necessary to get the job done. The job, in this case, is to go as fast as possible on a human powered machine. I've heard the SC described as a weapon, an attack weapon. If it is a weapon, it isn't something crude like a gun or knife; it is more like a samurai sword honed to a razor edge. A simply wonderful machine. In 1978 Cino retired and sold the company to the Columbus tubing company. They still manufacture bicycles with the Cinelli name on them, but they aren't "real" Cinellis. They have become souless machines.













This particular bike hangs from the ceiling of Rydjor Bikes, my local bike shop. It was originally imported and built up by Spence Wolf at the legendary Cupertino Bike Shop. When new, this was somebody else's dream bike. It has all the bells and whistles. Not only does it have the Cinelli Unicantor seat and Cinelli fenders, it has the industries first clipless pedals, the M71 "death pedals"; so called because of the difficulty of disengaging one's feet from them in a panic situation. It also has Cinelli Bivalent hubs, a feature which allowed the front and rear wheels to be interchangeable. The rear derailleur remains attached to the frame when the rear wheel is removed. Yet another feature of this bicycle is a custom Pino Maroni titanium bottom bracket, made at a time when titanium was an extremely exotic material. All the bells and whistles, and obviously ridden a lot and well cared for. Somebody else loved this bike.


I fell in love with it years ago. It is a perfect fit and rides like a dream - of course I only had a chance to ride it around the block one time. Whenever I came into the shop I'd pause, look up at it and ask Dan when he was going to sell it to me - a kind of joke. He never sold one of his collection. Then one day he said, "I'll sell it to you, because I know you'll ride it instead of hanging it on the wall." He said that he wouldn't sell it to me until he had found a replacement Cinelli for it in the collection. A few months went by, and then he died suddenly. At the time a damned bicycle didn't seem very important. As time moved on, I was afraid the collection would be sold and I'd lose the Cinelli. It now seems the collection is more or less permanent. I won't ever own the Ulwelling Cinelli, but I can still stop by the shop anytime I need a Cinelli fix or to remember Dan.

11 comments:

Paul said...

Gunnar. I HAVE A 1975 CINELLI CORSA. If you are interested send me an Email. pauldwilson99@yahoo.com paul

paul wilson said...

Gunnar. I HAVE A D1975 CINELLI SUPER CORSA bby Spence WOLF . if you are interested in buying.email me...pauldwilson99@yahoo.com.

Anonymous said...

Cinelli cycles are nice, but built with mediocre craftsmanship. They have very little race history, aside from the 1960 and 68 Olympics, and I would ask anyone to point to one pro in TdF history who actually rode one (maybe one or two). As much as I like them, they are the product of marketing over substance.

Gunnar Berg said...

You have to understand, I do not want any Cinelli bicycle, I want one particular Cinelli bicycle. For a long time, Dan and I both knew he was going to die. I want his bike.

Anonymous said...

In regards to what the Anonymous stated ; Besides missing the point of Gunnar's comments, your own heretic comment of Cinelli's being over rated is very ignorant. The reason these older Cinelli SC's are so sought after confirms to Sheldon Brown's observation and statements. "Exquisite mitering, smooth even brazing, beautiful lug thinning" are just a few quotes. But that is only part of it, the real test is how incredible they ride. Many many people will attest how they ride to perfection. I personally own many incredible hand-built light weight classic road bikes, ...and the Cinelli out shines most, and is equal with the best of the best.

Gunnar Berg said...

I'm letting this slide without the required name or initials, because I apparently also missed the comment which triggered it.

JS said...

It's a long time since this thread but I hope as time has passed you've somehow managed to acquire Dan's bike.

I'm in the process of restoring a 1974 Cinelli SC, bringing it back to it's original condition. They are a beautiful bike - the frame detailing, holey lugs, old style fonts and quirky head badge are just some of many things that make them unique. And they do ride beautifully. Until the late 70's Cinelli handbuilt their frames to the highest standards which meant they were strong and stiff, but not the very lightest frames available which as time went on is one reason they weren't always the first choice of the pros.

Researching and sourcing the various missing parts so the bike is as authentic as possible has also been a fascinating part of the process. I can't wait to take her for a spin again when all finished and pristine. I'll share a pic with you.

Gunnar Berg said...

Looking forward to the pictures.

I never got the bike. It's still hanging at Rydjor. With the escalating prices of vintage bicycles I think it's out of my price range now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gunnar, I've just finished restoring my Cinelli. The project took nearly 2 years in total but has been worth it. The bike looks fantastic.

Pics as promised on the link below (wasn't sure how to insert directly)

Jonathon

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151883489001580.1073741829.591971579&type=1&l=914454f287

Gunnar Berg said...

Wow, that's incredible. I know it's perfection, but it would be a shame to relegate it to being a wallhanger.

Anonymous said...

My wife's gone and bought me some vintage cycling shoes so now I have to ride it! I've entered L'eroica Britannia so it will get an outing there too.