1959 Roma Olimpiade – EO1935

EO1935_01

Model:   Roma Olimpiade Campagnolo
Year:   1959
Serial No:  EO1935
Frame Size:  58cm ctc
Frame Only Weight:  3.02kg | 6.67lbs.  (no headset or bb)
Crankset:  Campagnolo Record Strada 151mm b.c. (47/57)
Bottom Bracket:  Campagnolo Gran Sport 1046
Pedals:  Campagnolo Gran Sport with short thread 1037
Front Derailleur:  Campagnolo Gran Sport 1005/2
Rear Derailleur:  Campagnolo Gran Sport 1012/1
Shifters:  Campagnolo Gran Sport Bar End 1012/3
Freewheel:  Regina Extra 14-17-20-23-26T
Chain:  Regina Extra
Hubs: Campagnolo Record HF for Legnano 1035
Rims:  Fiamme green label tubular type 36 hole
Handlebars:  Ambrosio ‘Champion’ for Legnano 38cm ctc
Stem:  Ambrosio ‘Champion’ for Legnano 90mm
Headset:  Campagnolo Gran Sport 1039
Brakeset:  Universal Extra Mod.51 Brev. 453949
Seat:  Brooks B17  ‘Campagnolo Model’  (stamped Dec 1958)
Seatpost:  Campagnolo Record 1045 Narrow Rail 27mm OD

EO1935_05

EO1935_BB_SPINDLE

EO1935_07

 

EO1935_08

EO1935_09

EO1935_02

EO1935_03

EO1935_10

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EO1935_06

EO1935_04

And here is a photo of the bike restored, or should I say cleaned up, sorted and ready for the open road.

1959_ROMA_RESTORED

After stripping the bike and giving the frame a thorough cleaning, I also did a bit of careful handwork with a mild polishing compound to brighten the paintwork a little.  As I have noted before, the thin lacquer paint that Legnano used was not the most durable and the water slide decals are also fragile.  As with one or two of the other bikes in the collection, I decided to preserve the ‘status quo’ so to speak and Noah Rosen at Velocolour applied a light, clear coat to the frame to slow any further loss to the decals and paint finish. It is worth noting that the modern polyurethane clear finishes to not react with the older lacquer paints as they are not solvent based.  Having said that, it is always good to fully check the finish compounds if you are doing this sort of thing.

With the frame clear coated and all the components thoroughly cleaned and lubricated, I began to put 1959 Roma back together.  As mentioned on the front page posts, when the bike came to me from Eric Hoyer in California the tubular wheels had been replaced at some point in favour of clincher rims.  Thanks to an earlier purchase from Bikeville, the parts room had a correct set of wheels with the Legnano branded HF Campagnolo Record hubs and Fiamme green label rims.  The Campagnolo hubs were 1960 production, a year later than this Roma’s production date however close enough ‘for us girls’ as the expression goes.

1959_ROMA_RESTORED_02

Since I like to ride the bikes in the Legnano Collection, I wouldn’t get too far at my age with the 47/57t front chainrings that came on the bike when it arrived.  Also, the early front derailleurs of this era where not reliable on jumps of more than 4-5 teeth between the two front chainrings.  The parts bin and a bit of online searching helped me out with a nice set of period correct 46/49 Campagnolo chainrings (151 bc) that deliver the classic ‘half step’ gearing that was popular at the time.  The original 47/57T chainrings have been cleaned up, tagged and will remain with the bike.

TONY_06

There is a post and tribute on the front page to Tony Colgrave who did a spectacular bit of work in replacing the leather top on the Brooks B17 Campagnolo saddle, as the original was virtually torn in half and beyond repair. Thanks again Tony.

1959_ROMA_RESTORED_01

I also decided to replace the Campagnolo bar end shifters, never a favourite of mine, with a pair of period correct Campagnolo (open C) downtube shifters. The bar end shifters will join the 47/57T chainrings and be kept with the bike for posterity.  The bike was also fitted with fresh set of Vittoria Competition tubular tires, new bar tape, new brake and shifter cables and a set of replacement hoods for the Universal brake levers that according to the Italian supplier have been produced using the original moulds. With the project finished I managed to get a few miles in before winter arrived and I look forward to many more days on this classic Legnano champion when spring comes around.

 

 

11 thoughts on “1959 Roma Olimpiade – EO1935

    • Having just got back from a couple of weeks in Tuscany (compact gearing), it’s hard to fathom how they rode the hills and gravel roads with such limited gearing. Although despite the narrow range I am sure that 10 gears was seen as a huge step up from the 4 gear Cambio Corsa mechanisms. So when this ’59 Roma arrived from California with 47/57 chainrings and a 14/24 freewheel I was really shaking my head, and it was evident in disassembling the bike that this setup had been in place for a while if not originally.

      From your comment it sounds like you are very familiar with the early Campagnolo Gran Sport and Record groups. 44 teeth was the smallest chainring available for the 151mm (bolt circle diameter) Campagnolo Record Strada crankset and while the Gran Sport rear derailleur is stamped with a range of 13T-26T, I have found that 26T can be a little precarious if the setup isn’t well done. The other issue with the Gran Sport rear is the recoil tension of the derailleur and the overall chain length that it can take up and let out.

      When I received the ’59 Roma a few months back I did a quick reassembly out of the shipping box but I did not ride it given the state of the tires amongst other things. And I am only now putting the bike back together following a complete disassembly, frame check and cleaning/greasing of the components. Although I wasn’t planning to leave the 47/57T gearing in place, I will put it back temporarily to see if it actually functions as both rings and freewheel appear to have seen a good number of miles over the years albeit perhaps in the flats of California rather than the hills. That will also provide the best answer to your question.

      Up until the introduction of the Campagnolo Nuovo Record crankset in 1967 and the popular 42T/52T chainring configuration that prevailed for well more than a decade, most Italian bikes including Legnano used ‘half step’ gearing with a relatively close ratio on the front chainrings (e.g. 47/50T, 48/52T). With an interest in riding this ’59 Roma (as I do with all of the bikes in the collection), I will replace the 47/57T configuration with correct 46/49T Record Strada chainrings that along with the original 14/26 Regina Extra freewheel will produce the traditional ‘half step’ gearing of the era.

  1. Those comments make sense,the Gransport was only really happy with a 24t bottom sprocket, although it specifies 26t, and I think it may be possible to get a 26t if one uses the adjuster spring on the gear in its forward position, although the gear change may be a bit chunky and it may need a 23t sprocket next to it to reduce the jump. As you say, the Gransport front was designed for half step gearing and is only really happy with a 4t chainring gap, although the Record front was designed to take a 42/52 gap and can be difficult above a 6t jump. The Record rear specifies, from memory, a 13/36t range which is quite ridiculous but I beilieve it will cope with 28t, which I am fitting soon hopefully. Hope this helps,
    Mike Baker VCC.

    • Hi Jeff,
      From the Legnano catalogs that I have, the blue Roma and Gran Premio models used both white and a more-or-less matching blue (cloth type) bar tape. Have fun with your build and stay in touch.
      Mark

  2. Thanks for the reply! I’m still gathering parts to build up my 55cm blue EY prefix frame and was thinking of getting a vintage chrome lugged replacement fork in good condition, as only the dropouts and crown would be salvageable from the original one. The rake on my damaged one measures pretty high, and I suspect it was bent back too much when it was straightened after a crash. I would like to match the original fork geometry to ensure good stability and steering.

    Have you, by chance ever measured the rake/offset on a 60’s Roma Olimpiade?

    • A good frame builder could replace the forks and use the old crown, dropouts and steering tube. Not huge and a good option to consider. I will measure the rake for you on a couple of my bikes from that year to confirm.

  3. That would be great, if you can get the rake!

    I’ll hang on to the original fork and look into getting new blades and steer tube on it. Can you recommend someone to repair it?
    Thanks,
    Jeff

  4. Hi Jeff,
    Using the front forks from a 1967 Roma Olimpiade, the rake of the front fork is 1 1/2 inches from the center of the forks where they meet the crown to the center of the dropouts. The measurement was taken with the forks laying flat (gravity) on a test block, back side down.

    Off the top, I can’t remember where you are located however a quick google in your area should turn up some custom builders along with some threads on customer reviews. And make sure the builder duplicates any/all details including the stiffeners on the inside of the forks if they are such on your bike. Definitely the way that I would deal with these forks, if you can’t locate a good pair of used ones and particularly if you are going to make any investment in this project.

    Like a modern day bike, it really all starts with the frame. Have fun.
    Mark

  5. Beautiful bike. I just inhereted the same exact bike, I believe you posted on the bike forum regarding the price I was asking for it as it is for sale. My grandpa took great care of his things, and the paint does not have a a blemish or scratch on it. Has a bit of dust and crud on the chrome, but the bike is complete, and all original. I would love to keep this wonderful bike but unfortunately I need the money. Is $4000 obo too much to ask for this all original, roma olimpiade? I would say the bike is a 9.5 out of 10. Also will this bike keep going up in value? One more thing, should I take everything apart and put a clear coat on the bike to protect the delecate original decals? I guess if I sell it I wont but if i keep it I will def do the clear coat.

    • Hello Nick and thanks for writing. Regrettably, I do not valuate bikes on this site. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I have a couple of bikes that are truly “priceless” in my eyes however if they were to be sold, the market would ultimately determine their monetary value. And then there is also the expression, “No harm in asking”. Best regards, Mark.

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