1979 Specialissima


Firstly, this  Roma Olimpiade ‘Specialissima’ is not a part of my personal collection, it was purchased by Steven Salemi of Santa Fe, NM from Eisenherz Bikes of Düsseldorf, Germany in November, 2014. The bike was listed as New Old Stock (NOS) which seems incredible after so many years and Steven wrote to me for my opinion as to whether it was original or a fake. It is amazing what remains in warehouses and shop storage rooms after so many years however it is my view that the bike is original.

There are no serial numbers on Legnano frames of this era, however the lug work on the frame matches the Reynolds 531 ‘Specialissima’ models that Legnano produced for a few years.  So I concluded to the best of my knowledge that this Legnano was legitimate.

As I have commented before, Legnano frames built from Reynolds 531 tubing are highly sought after by many collectors.  The Reynolds 531 Legnano frames that were built from the early 70’s through to the early 80’s are typically lighter than the frames built with Falck tubing, Legnano’s standard spec for their road bikes.

In any event, I wanted to add this Legnano to the Condorino site as a visual reference for the ‘Specialissima’ models.  You will also find a NOS 1976 Roma Olimpiade ‘Specialissima’ on this site that was also for sale by Eisenherz Bikes in November 2014.













15 thoughts on “1979 Specialissima

  1. of course this bike is not a fake. i sell only as nos when its profed. i sold a lot of nos bikes from one big storage in the south of germany. but you can imagine, these bikes dont become more….; )
    greetings from germany. klaus, eisenherz-bikes

    • Hallo Klaus,
      Thank you for your comment to the blog. Yes, the two Roma Olimpiade ‘Specialissima’ bikes that you sold are very rare and completely original. Absolutely beautiful!

  2. I still have my doubts about the authenticity of this bike. Please consider the following considerations:

    1. The paint seems too perfect to be 40 years old, NOS or not NOS.

    2. My previous Legnanos always had serial numbers — including one I own now, which I know to be authentic — usually at the very top of the seat tube, or on the bottom bracket. I can’t find any serial number on my bike at all! I find the idea of this bicycle lacking a serial number to be very dubious.

    3. Every single decal is perfect and every one is easily available in reproduction sets on Ebay — every one.

    4. My bike has “diamond-shape” cut-outs in the lugs. He just posted a “new” NOS Legnano Olympiade (yes, he found another!), and THIS one has oval shaped cut-outs in the lugs, not diamond shapes. This, from a same- or similar-year bike.

    5. The seller has been hostile regarding any polite inquiries I’ve made about the origins of the bikes he sells.

    6. He seems to have an unending supply of NOS Vintage bikes, but (read my lips) ONLY bikes that you can easily find complete reproduction label sets for.

    7. He wants buyers to buy the bikes “off of Ebay” and this way avoids negative feedback.

    8. The component mix seems to vary from bike to bike. Who’s been digging into these boxes and removing the original components?

    Any thoughts? Opinions are welcome, but surely there is some Legnano guy out there who can confirm specific items like what the serial number should be and where it should be located, what the lugs looked like on this bike originally, and etc.

    I do love my bike, but if I HAD to bet, I’d say it is fake.

  3. Hi Steven,
    That so many NOS Legnano bikes would surface in the hands of any one seller after 35 to 40 years would give someone reason to ‘think’ or question the authenticity and I must admit to some sceptical thoughts myself. And without actually having the bikes in front of me I still can not be absolutely definitive in my position (as I commented to you when you were looking for an opinion before buying the bike), however I would still ‘err on the side’ that the bikes are original and authentic with the exception of tires, bar tape, etc., plus the odd part that the seller sometimes mentions was replaced or added

    As for the missing serial number on your bike and others, Legnano serial numbers were gone by the very early seventies particularly the alphanumberic numbers that were stamped on the side or back (Roma models) of the seat lug. And the lug work and fork crowns also changed come the early seventies in part to reflect the introduction of Reynolds tubing in some construction and models as Emilio Bozzi had the Italian distribution for Reynolds.

    Lastly, your bike and the other NOS Legnano and Frejus bikes for sale by Eizenherz would be very, very difficult to replicate in this pristine condition for approx. $3,000 given the matching and period correct NOS Campagnolo, 3TTT and Universal components. And items like the Legnano bar end plugs made by Gaslo are almost impossible to find, let alone in NOS condition. In other words, there just wouldn’t be any money in it.

    It is important to keep in mind that a lot was changing at Legnano (and other prominent Italian makers) come the mid ’70s after decades of very little change in how their bikes were made and equipped. Had Legnano continued on with stamping their serial numbers on the seat lug it would have made things a lot easier all around. However I still maintain your bike is original along with the others that are currently for sale by Eizenherz. Having said that, if you still have doubts why not send a small paint sample to the lab for analysis while we run a small lottery on the outcome : ]

    Very nice bike. Best regards,

  4. I have this question posted on another forum, and one fellow, Norm, who claims to be a Legnano/Frejus expert, insists that the bike IS GENUINE! So, Mark, it appears that you are correct and that my skepticism was unwarranted (or, wrong, anyhow). I guess that’s good news! Best to you, SS

  5. Hi Steve-Norm Hellman from the CR list and a longtime collector of these bikes. Please rest assured Steve, that your bike is a Legnano Roma Olimpiade Specialissima model, totally original, and it is remarkable to see a bike like this in such nice shape. I found one just like it in a basement of a shop in Rome that is no longer there.Your bike was made at the tail end of Frejus/Legnano production. It came with either teardrop lugs or diamond shaped lugs. The teardrop style preceded the diamond shaped style. The shop owner in Rome told me that the frame was modernized and had a tighter wheelbase and shallower rake than previous Frejus and Legnano models. He also told me that the diamond shaped cutout paid tribute to the diamond shaped kite decals which were found on the forks of earlier Frejus models. The Frejus also came with these two different types of lugs but with Frejus decals,I know because through contacts in Italy I was able to obtain these models also. From what I heard, these bikes were no longer in production after 1981, and there were no serial numbers. Your bike is a beauty, in much better shape than the one I found that is similar. Yes, this guy is able to come with some amazing bikes which were probably sitting in people’s basements for all these years.

  6. I happened to stumble across this thread feel compelled to add a few thoughts that many may find challenging while others will find simply “preposterous”. Before I do however, many thanks goes out to the creator of this site as I can a great deal of time, energy and passion has gone into making it….Kudos to you kind sir. In regards to a bike being a fake or not and all the reason listed by the original complainant, in general and specifically, they carry little to no weight whatsoever.

    Living in North America, I know of maybe 5 people from the US that have actually travelled to Italy and actually spoken to the actual frame builders of Legnano, Ciooc, Colnago and Pogliaghi. Based upon this actual limited interaction, the precise building techniques, lugs or components used and similar information shared was Variable at best with the understanding that hand-made or even production bikes are built with whatever is available at the time. Should a Gipiemme brake-bridge be used instead of a Silva on 30 out of 100 bikes, so be it! Should 10 out of 100 bikes come with SR seatposts instead of NR, so be it! And as is the above complainant knows how these bikes were built better that the people who actually built them! What a terrible mental condition to be afflicted with! Regretfully this condition appears contagious in some circles and is the cause many broken discussions.

    BTW, I also know Norm Hellman and to his credit, he has never self proclaimed to be any type of expert on anything. So to the reader of this thread and the above complainant: “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing”. It is best to use it wisely.

  7. I have recently get a model very similar. I would like to show the picture ti everyone, to understand if it is the same model of this. How I can send the picture? Thanks in advance

  8. Dear Legnano friends, as a long time Legnano fan and rider it took quite some time to find this website this morning and i am more than happy to read all the stories and check all the detailed pictures.

    Maybe, as a first reply, i can fill in some of the gaps in the the story of the NOS Legnanos here in Germany. The source of all these bikes are a defunct really large Legnano dealership named Neumann here in south Germany where i live. He was just 20 minutes away from my place, so i knew them quite well. The founder of the shop died a couple of years ago and is missed by all the old style racers here. The business went down a bit as the owner and his ever present and helpful wife were 70+ allready, it came to the point to sell a bit of the stuff collected as the sons had there own live and jobs. There were at least 50 – 100 NOS Legnanos (200 to 400 Euros each) of all kinds and heaps of unassembled frames (garages filled to the top). I bought about 15 of the NOS bikes after a couple dealers went through it and picked out the highlights taking truck loads of bikes and parts with them. Neumann sold 100s or maybe even 1000s Legnanos through his shop to Germany, Switzerland and Austria which is around the corner. And a lot of the bikes were assembled in his workshop, his two sons earned some pocket money to build up bikes on saturdays as they told me. So there is always a great variety / mix of parts on these bikes. The started putting Campa Grand Sport on it but used Universal brakes or Ofmega cranks to complete it as these parts came handy at this moment. As i came there after the big sale out around 2014 to the dealers Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf and Poland etc.. there were still approx. 20 to 30 NOS Legnanos and Gitanes, Olmos, Romanis etc. around so it was still a paradise for me. I still have a couple of the NOS Legnanos but gave some of them, as i had them twice, to friends for a small sum compared to the prices on the market. Two weeks ago i gave a 54 Special and a Competition away as i could buy (had to raise money) a Olympiade Record Specialissima with the Campa 50th Jubilee group on it build by Neumann in 1986 for a watchmaker from the black forest from whom i bought it. So there are still some around here and if all the NOS Legnanos would be on the market at once, there would be quite an inflation. So, for me, there is not a rigid specification of Legnanos possible as a very large number did not come out of the works in bits. I still have to NOS ones still wrapped up in masking tape with saddle, seatpost and pedals in plastic bags hanging on the frame.

    Thats it for today, of course i can offer to take some pictures of my bicis and send them, but they cover mainly the 70s/80s.

    Keep on the good work,, Claus

    • Many thanks for the history Claus and I will make a formal post of this information on the home page as soon as I get some time. This will answer a lot of questions for many people that have written to me regarding these NOS Legnano bikes that are surfacing to the market.

      • Hello Mark, hope i can supply some pics of NOS Legnanos from my side soon, need a mail adress for that as i can not add them here. I am going to take some pics of my two used Specialissimas which both came from Neumann and should be more or less the same age but have different frame lugs, decals etc.. My opinion to the whole, sometimes confusing Legnano puzzle, is to go for an early one where the specification is more clearly and dont take is to seriously as it should make you smile to sit on one and not get grumpy if not everything is dead original. I know that it was quite great luck to get NOS Legnanos for small money here, but i would prefer a good used one with history much more than a shop soiled one, as it has nothing to tell about a life on the road with all its many faces. We should see ourself as custodians more than collectors.

        Cheers, Claus

  9. by accident I found this page on today and it was very interesting to read all the opinions and feedbacks.
    I fully agree with Claus, as I knew Gerhard Neumann since my youth personally due to my (not very successful) career as bicycle racer . so my second race bike was a Legnano and my father had one too, whicch is still in my garage as well.
    I am the “missing link” from Black forest area where Neumann was situated to Düsseldorf, as I bought some NOS Legnanao/Frejus and others there and resold to Eisenherz bikes. So I can confirm the bikes/frames were really NOS.
    Gerhard told me once that he sold up to 1000 bikes a year, which was a lot at end of 70s/mid 80s here in Germany . He was importing directly from Milan and the max delivery he received was 116 bikes in one truck.

    I kept several of the NOS Legnanos, same like Claus, for myself if they had the right size and I still own some wrapped bikes/frames as well.
    My favorite is a small childrens race bike in team color……

    Claus: if you read this, are you a relative to Frank Riemann who was riding in same team like me?

    So cheers to all fans and riders of Legnanos!


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