Category Archives: vintage
A Weekend with De Marchi: Italy’s Cycling Apparel Heritage
De Marchi's storefront

Heritage is not something that can be bought, or self-prescribed. It’s grown and nurtured over time. Heritage is not a by-product of the self aware, or the overly ambitious. It can’t be self-stated either. Not unless your company began in 1946 and the whole time, has had a presence both locally and internationally in this world we so often call the cycling industry.

De Marchi apparel was started by Emilio De Marchi shortly after WWII. It began as a motorcycle and cycling store in an era where there were no cycling-specific jerseys. If you cycled, you wore the same jersey that you played futball in, or wore while you rode your motorcycle.

It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that De Marchi stepped away from motorcycle apparel to focus solely on cycling. This was after multiple cycling brands had offered to buy De Marchi for a hefty profit, yet Emilio stuck to it. Again, heritage.

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Jun 1, 2015 12 comments
As Is: Early 80’s Bottecchia Road with Campagnolo
As Is: Early 80's Bottecchia Road with Campagnolo

With events like Eroica and the reason why I’m currently in Italy, the Emilio De Marchi ride gaining popularity, more and more vintage road bikes are making their way out of garages and storage sheds all over the world, onto the road again.

Italy has no shortage of vintage road bikes. With so many framebuilders in the areas surrounding Conegliano where De Marchi has been based for around 70 years, it’s not hard to track down a frame or a complete for a couple hundred euro. One such builders is Bottecchia, a name most of you will recognize. Coincidentally, Emilio De Marchi was the team manager for Bottecchia some years ago, so the brands have a joined heritage.

Onto this bike, which at first glance is a real looker, even with the small idiosyncratic build mishaps. Sure, the bar tape is frayed, it’s missing a few bolts and the tires are mis-matched, but as-is, it’s a more than suitable steed for a 100 kilometer ride. My favorite details are the way the head tube cluster lugwork merges effortlessly into the headset, the head tube badge and that ostentatious red and white paint.

Bikes like this, as-is need only a few hours of maintenance to make them road-worthy and in Italy, they’re a dime a dozen. Something us Americans can appreciate or lust after… More on De Marchi’s heritage and the Emilio De Marchi ride coming soon. For now, just check out this piece of Italian pedigree.

Jun 1, 2015 11 comments
Andre’s Road Shark with Shimano 600
Andre's Road Shark with Shimano 600

The allure of the eBay score is strong, especially after so many Landsharks have been recently featured here on the site. Such temptation was too great for Andre. After looking on eBay for a few months, he finally scored this Road Shark with Shimano 600 for $400. It came as shown, minus some dry-rotted tires and no saddle, which were easily replaced. It’s in ok overall condition, just don’t look too closely at the bar tape!

The future of this bike is uncertain. There’s been talk of long-reach calipers, 650b conversion with porteur bars, or a modern 10-speed group, and my vote goes to keeping it as-is, just overhaul the damn thing a bit. For now, Slawta’s crazy personal touches shine regardless as to how much patina is present. My favorite detail is the chomping shark mouth on the internal cable routing exit…

May 25, 2015 33 comments
Justin’s Serotta T Max Commuter MTB
Justin's Serotta T Max Commuter MTB

Fluoro and functionality. That’s what caught my eye when I first saw Justin‘s Serotta T Max mountain bike. That and the big ol’ Columbus Max OR sticker (I have a crush on that tubeset). Justin took what many would consider an obsolete 26″ frame, added mustache bars to it, a rack with a Wald basket and flat pedals, resuscitating it back to daily use. Of course it still shreds dirt, but it also shreds to and from work. Now we gotta find you a front derailleur dude.

Bum tracks, fire roads, singletrack beware, this Serotta T Max is looking for lunch!

May 15, 2015 35 comments
203 Bicycles from the Embacher Collection to be Auctioned at Dorotheum
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You know the saying “there’s something for everyone?”

The Embacher Collection is an esoteric ensemble of 203 unique bicycles. From the classic Molteni Merckx to a ’47 Alex Signer, and even one of those weird ice-skating bikes, this cross-section of cycle design is sure to make even the most obsessive collector’s heart skip a cog.

The auction officially opens on May 19th, but you can preview the collection at Dorotheum now.

May 12, 2015 3 comments
DJ’s Dirt Shark Landshark MTB
DJ's Dirt Shark Landshark MTB

Vintage mountain bikes can provide just as much excitement as modern mountain bikes on your local trails. Sure, modern tech trumps clapped out forks and squishy brakes, but any trail shaman will show you the way to the wakkiness if you know how to summon your inner Tomac.

Not that DJ is going hucking anytime soon on his Dirt Shark frame, but in the meantime, it’s making a meal of his local one-track. Even if it’s hobo trails lined with syringes and scratch tickets, there’s still a good amount of dirt to be found in between Long Beach and Los Angeles for jibbin’.

Duder picked this bike up for a song and with that Kooka Stem and blue Sid fork, it’s one that I’d tune my ears to hear. With that paint, those components and the vintage fit philosophy, this bike will offer a truly unique experience on the trails. One that even your lightest 1x setup would have a hard time to rival.

You see, it’s not always about smashing KOM’s or blasting berms, sometimes it’s about just making it down in one piece… Keep her pretty DJ, but let her rip!

May 8, 2015 29 comments