This pristine 1967 Roma Olimpiade came to me from Peter Rossbaum of Collingwood, Ontario, a fine gentlemen and the original owner of this Legnano. The condition of the bike and particularly the original paint and decals are as good as it gets for a Legnano of almost 50 years. With the exception of the Mavic Monthlery rims that were replaced in the 70’s due to wear, everything about this Roma is original to the day it rolled out of Bloor Cycle in Toronto.
As this Roma Olimpiade does not have the traditional serial number stamped on the back of the seat lug (more to follow on that), the lug work, frame details, decals and original components all support the 1967 production year that Peter provided. I popped the lock nuts on the front and rear hubs to have a look, the front is stamped 67 and the rear is stamped 64, referencing the year of production. The Campagnolo lock nuts are not always a true measure for dating purposes however if the lineage is known to be solid it can usually be trusted to ‘substantiate’ the bike’s production year along with the frame details, components and serial number.
And that brings me to another reason I wanted to add this bike to my collection, the Bloor Cycle decal on the seat tube. Bloor Cycle in Toronto was owned and operated by Paul Kent and then jointly by Paul and his son Peter. I believe Bloor Cycles was also the sole importer of Legnano bikes to Canada in addition to the great road bikes from Cinelli, Bianchi, Botteccha, Holdsworth and Singer. Without question, Bloor Cycle was ‘the destination’ for the cycling enthusiast in Toronto in the sixties and seventies.
Peter Rossbaum told me he was 14 years old when he purchased this Legnano. I asked Peter if his dad helped him pay for the bike and he replied confidently “No, did it myself”. I was also curious why he chose a Legnano and he said, “My friends had Cinelli’s and I wanted something different and I really liked the colour of the Legnano.” It’s a colour that some believe is best kept for fishing lures but for those that do appreciate this unique hue, it’s real ‘eye candy’.
The other thing that captured my attention on this Roma was the Columbus tubing decal. Legnano built the Roma primarily with Falck tubing and also some production with Reynolds 531 tubing in the late 60’s and 70’s. This is the first Roma Olimpiade that I have come across with what appears to be an original Columbus decal on the top tube just in front of the head lug. It is also the same location where Legnano placed the Reynolds decal for the 531 builds at that time. Could it be true?
It’s a boy! And his name is Columbus.
Well the nod on this one goes to T-mar on BikeForums who suggested I check the inside of the steering tube for the five helical ridges that were a patented feature of Columbus tubes at this time. And sure enough, there they were. The photo above is not the best however you can see one of the five helical ridges at the top of the circle where the steering tube exists the underside of the fork crown. Easier done with a flashlight than my iPhone.
Timing is a funny thing and within a couple of days of T-mar shedding some light on the Columbus question I received a number of Legnano sell sheets from a fellow enthusiast, Sergio Aquilina in Malta. And lo and behold if one of those sell sheets isn’t for a 1966 Roma Olimpiade! On the back is the detailed spec along with the following statement, “By request we can supply also bicycles with tubes Reynolds 531 double cone shaped (DB) or with tubes Columbus“. (fyi . . . you can find the sell sheet in PDF format for download under the heading ‘Legnano Catalogs’ on the menu bar to the right of this page)
So there it is, Roma’s were built with Columbus tubes however this is the very first one that I have come across in my many years of collecting and researching these bikes. As a build by special request, the 101 stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket may suggest this Roma was also one of the first to be constructed with Columbus tubing.
The cantle on the Brooks Professional saddles is stamped 66, indicating the year of production. As with many components it is not unusual for their production year to predate the production year of the bike by a year or even two depending on inventory in the factory.
Here is a blueprint of the bike as it was received from its original owner:
Model: Roma Olimpiade
Serial No: 101 (stamped on the underside of the BB)
Original Retailer: Bloor Cycle, Toronto Canada
Total Weight: 11.02 kg or 24.3 lbs (with pump)
Frame Weight: 2.980 kg or 6.57 lbs (without b.b. or headset)
Frame Size: 57.5 cm (ctc) 60.0 cm (ctt)
Tubing: Columbus SL
Dropouts: Campagnolo Strada 1010
Pump: Silca w Campagnolo head 1030/2
Pump Clip: Campagnolo Record 632
Crankset: Campagnolo Record (42/50) 144 b.c.
Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record 1046 stamped 70 – SS – 120
Pedals: Campagnolo Record 1037
Toe Clips: Christophe Special
Toe Straps: Record w REG buttons
Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Record 1052/2 (slot on cable stop)
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record 1020/1a
Shifters: Campagnolo Record 1014
Derailleur Cable Guide: Campagnolo Record 626/a and 636
Freewheel: Regina G.S. Corse – 14/16/18/20/22
Chain: Regina Extra
Hubs: Campagnolo Record HF 36H 1035 (engraved Legnano)
Rims: Mavic Monthlery Sport 21.5mm tubular 36 hole w/o eyelets
Spokes: Stella double butted 20/18/20 (radially forged)
Tires: Hutchinson Super Sprint tubular
Handlebars: T.T.T. Gran-Prix engraved Legnano
Handlebar Stem: T.T.T. Gran-Prix (Tecnologia del Tubo Torino)
Handlebar End Plugs: Gaslo for Legnano
Headset: Campagnolo Record 1039
Brakeset: Universal Mod.61 Centerpull
Brake Cable Clips: Campagnolo Record 649
Seatpost: Campagnolo Record 1044 (27.0mm OD)
Seat: Brooks Professional (copper rivets) cantle stamped 66