1980 Olmo Super Gentleman

s-l1600-3 copy

Completely original, a complete Campagnolo Gran Sport group, the asking price wasn’t much more than a good pair of dress shoes, and it’s an Olmo. How could I say no?  The Super Gentlemen was to Olmo what the Gran Premio was to Legnano, a respectable club racer. Having said that, the frame is nicely finished with the Olmo logo pantographed into the fork crown and the top of the seat stays, Gipiemme dropouts front and rear, bosses on the down tube for the shifters and cable guides on the bottom bracket and top tube.

Without toe clips, straps and air in the tires, the bike as you see it above weighs in just under 10 kgs or 22 lbs, a tad lighter than the Team Raleigh that Zoop Zoetemelk rode to victory in the 1980 TdF.  In fact with the odd exception it wasn’t until the mid to late 90’s that winners of the TdF and the other grand tours were crossing the finish line on sub 9kgs/20lbs bikes.

I acquired the bike in August of 2016 from its previous owner, Mario Viotto of Villar San Constanzo, Italy, a small town about an hour from Turin. The overall condition of the bike is very good although the frame is definitely in need of new paint and decals, and the chrome plating on the fork crown may also need to be redone. Otherwise the Campagnolo Gran Sport group has very few scuffs or scapes and should clean up well. Here is a page from the Olmo catalog showing what the bike looked like when new.

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And a few more photos of the bike as it arrived.

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Here is a blueprint of the bike as it was received:

Model:   Olmo Super Gentleman ‘Z’
Year:   1980
Serial No:  none
Frame Size:
  57 cm (ctc)  58.0 cm (ctt)
Total Weight: 9.85kg or 21.72lbs (as shown above)
Frame Weight: 2.98kg or 6.57lbs (no bb or headset)
Tubing:  Columbus Zeta
Dropouts:  Gipiemme
Crankset:  Campagnolo Gran Sport (42/52) 170mm – both inside arms stamped 80
Bottom Bracket:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Pedals:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Toe Clips:  na
Front Derailleur:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Rear Derailleur:  Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport
Shifters:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Freewheel:  Regina Extra (6 speed)
Chain: Regina Oro
Front Hub: Campagnolo Gran Sport (Nuovo Tipo) LF 36H
Rear Hub: Campagnolo Gran Sport (Nuovo Tipo) LF 36H – Locknuts stamped 78
Rims:  Mavic Monthlery tubular 36 hole w eyelets
Spokes:  na
Handlebars: 3TTT TdF
Handlebar Stem:
  3TTT
Headset:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Brake Levers:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Brake Callipers:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Seatpost: Campagnolo Gran Sport (26.6mm OD)
Seat:  Olmo (per Selle Italia?)

 

Restoration Completed: Update of November 2017

It has a been a year and few months since this Olmo arrived in Toronto from Italy and most of my renovation projects usually take at least this long to complete depending on the condition of the bike. In this case the bike was completely original and there weren’t any significant parts to hunt down to put the bike right. Keeping the original paint colour was the plan out of the gate, however I had seen this deep, metallic red on a few bikes coming out of the Velocolour shop and it was too much too resist.  Pure eye candy and at the same time it spoke well to the period of this ‘Super Gentlemen’ model.

And needless to say, the paint and decal work by Noah Rosen at Velocolour is absolutely flawless. I particularly appreciate that Noah doesn’t ‘overpaint’ his frames, relying on many hours of careful frame prep to produce a perfect surface rather than trying to mask the imperfections with the spray gun. Noah has also developed a nice process and ‘touch’ with the polyurethane clear coat with staged wet sanding to avoid the plastic look that is not characteristic of the period. When you give talented people the time to engage their expertise you are never disappointed.


As previously mentioned, this was the number two road model from Olmo sitting just below their top-of-the-line ‘Competition’ road bike that came in a few different fittings and flavours. The Super Gentlemen was fitted toe to tail with the Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport group whereas the ‘Competition’ sported a full Nuovo Record group. Given that many riders were not destined for the grand tours, the Nuovo Gran Sport group was a lot easier on the pocket book and delivered a level of performance not that far off it’s pricier NR big brother.

A little bit of history here for the ‘weight weenies’ as they are affectionately known. The total weight of this Olmo as it is shown and ready to race (minus a water bottle or bidon as the French know it) comes in at 22.88  lbs. By contrast, the Raleigh that Joop Zootemelk road to victory in the 1980 Tour de France weighed in at 22.4 lbs.  And the Pinarello that Miguel Indurain road to victory in the 1993 TdF weighed 22.7 lbs.

A few of the original parts showed some wear and tear and these were replaced with NOS Nuovo GS parts that were in the part bins or sourced on eBay. The wheels were rebuilt with DT double-butted stainless spokes and the original Mavic Monthlery rims were replaced with a pair of the same in NOS condition. The outer faces of the brake levers were scuffed up, so the levers only were replaced at a relatively minor cost. The original seat was not in good condition and it was replaced with the re-release of the Sella Italia 1980 Turbo model. Nuovo record toe clips and Christophe straps were added as the bike came with neither. And that was pretty much it.

Here are a few more pics of the finished bike.




 

Here is a blueprint of the bike restored:

Model:   Olmo Super Gentleman ‘Z’
Year:   1980
Serial No:  none
Frame Size:
  57 cm (ctc)  58.0 cm (ctt)
Total Weight: 10.38kg or 22.88lbs (as shown above)
Tubing:  Columbus Zeta
Dropouts:  Gipiemme
Crankset:  Campagnolo Gran Sport (42/52) 170mm – both inside arms stamped 80
Bottom Bracket:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Pedals:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Toe Clips:  Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Toe Straps:  Christophe with REG pull buttons
Front Derailleur:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Rear Derailleur:  Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport
Shifters:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Freewheel:  Regina Extra (6 speed)
Chain: Regina Extra
Front Hub: Campagnolo Gran Sport (Nuovo Tipo) LF 36H
Rear Hub: Campagnolo Gran Sport (Nuovo Tipo) LF 36H – Locknuts stamped 78
Rims:  Mavic Monthlery 700c tubular 36 hole w eyelets (NOS)
Spokes:  DT double-butted polished stainless (2.0/1.8/2.0)
Tires:  Vittoria Rally 25-28mm tubular
Handlebars: 3TTT TdF
Handlebar Stem:
  3TTT
Handlebar Tape:  Brooks Microfiber w Olmo branded bar end plugs
Headset:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Brake Levers:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Brake Callipers:  Campagnolo Gran Sport
Seatpost: Campagnolo Gran Sport (26.6mm OD)
Seat:  Sella Italia 1980 Turbo (Re-issues)

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