1978 Marinoni Special



In 1975 I was attending Carlton University in Ottawa and rode with a club across the river in Hull, Quebec. I recall being very envious of a rider who had one of the new frames built by Guiseppe Marioni in Terrebonne, about 30km north of Montreal. A year later Marinoni left another note in my mind on a two-day Ottawa-Kingston-Ottawa sportif.  Our group had just finished the climb at Wesport on day two and we were into the rolling terrain that follows when four women from the Saguenay riding pink Marinonis came out of nowhere and slipped over a rise in the road like a mirage. Egos in flames, there was just no catching them and worse yet their friendly smiles and ponytails were nowhere to be found when we reached the line at the end of the day. Quel dommage!

Guiseppe Marinoni is an Italian frame builder who learned his craft from Mario Rossin. Marinoni came to Canada in 1965 with the Italian team to ride in the Tour du Saint-Laurent, he never returned home to Italy and the rest, as they say, is history.  The year that that Marinoni built this frame is the same year that he built Jocelyn Lovell’s bike for the UCI World Championship. One of Canada’s most celebrated cyclists, Lovell won drawerfuls of medals, including a silver at the ’78 Worlds.

Cycles Marinoni celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014 and thousands of bikes have been built over the years.  However it took me quite a while to locate an original bike from the early years that sported Marinoni’s signature ‘fleur de lis’ pantographs on the fork crown and lugs, not to mention the extras on the Campy chainrings and Cinelli stem. Marinoni still has their builder’s log and they are kind enough to verify serial numbers when asked.  This Marinoni bears serial number 833 stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket, the 33rd frame built in 1978.



One question that Marinoni could not recollect is the word ‘cactus’ engraved on the side of the Cinelli 1A stem.  My best guess is that it is the nickname of the original owner however perhaps a reader may be able to connect the dots for me.  This classic Marinoni remains a beautiful bike to ride even in this age of STI shifters and clip pedals, and a true treasure from the hands of a great cyclist and frame builder.



Here is a blueprint of the bike:

Model: Marinoni Special
Year: 1978
Serial No: 833 (underside of bb — 33rd build of that year)
Frame Size: 55.5 cm (ctc)
Frame Finish: Original
Total Weight: 9.760 kg or 21.51 lbs.
Tubing: Columbus SL (frame & forks)
Dropouts: Campagnolo 1010
Crankset: Campagnolo Record 1048 (42/52)
Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record 1046
Pedals: Campagnolo Record 1037
Toe Clips: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Toe Straps: Alfredo Binda (laminated)
Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Record 1032/F
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record (’74)
Shifters: Campagnolo Record 1013 (braze on type)
Freewheel: Regina Extra (14/16/18/21/24)
Chain: Regina Extra
Hubs: Campagnolo Record 36h Small Flange 1034
Rims: Fiamme Ergal 36h
Tires: Continental Giro Tubular (new)
Handlebars: Cinelli Mod.65
Handlebar Stem: Cinelli 1A (110mm)
Headset: Campagnolo Record 1037
Brake Levers: Campagnolo Super Record 4062
Brake Callipers: Campagnolo Record 2040
Seatpost: Campagnolo Record 1044
Seat: Cinelli #2 (black suede)

9 thoughts on “1978 Marinoni Special

    • Sorry, I hadn’t seen your reply. Yes, original owner. I had it made for me. I chose an unusual bright green, very flashy. I already had a set of good wheels, so I bought the bike without wheels. It cost $500, which was a lot of money at the time. I raced a few years and haven’t used it since…

  1. So if my bike has the number 189 stamped on the bottom does that mean it was the 89th bike build in …what would the 1 stand for? I bought it from a friend who bought it new in late 90’s, 96 or 97 I think.

    • Hi Sherry,
      I would suggest dropping Cycles Marinoni an email ( info@marinonicycles.com ) to check the serial number against their production records. Marinoni began building in 1974 and I am not sure how the numbering sequence changes over the years. I find that if you are polite and patient, they are usually happy to check it out for you.

  2. I just acquired one in mint condition from the 70s I believe. Serial number is 57. Can anyone tell me anything about it?

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