Legnano Branded Components

Most Legnano aficionados agree that the best if not the most sought after Legnano bicycles were produced prior to 1970. Come the 70’s the alphanumeric serial numbers were abandoned, the unique inside position of the seat binder bolt that defined a Legnano frame disappeared and the beautiful brass head badge of Alberto da Giussano was replaced with a decal.  Without these unique markings it is also somewhat more difficult to accurately date and authenticate a Legnano bike or frame.

Campagnolo, Magistroni, Fiamme and Universal were the primary component suppliers to Legnano, well known names that are very familiar to North Americans as well. And it would not come as a surprise to anyone that there were very, very few if any non-Italian components to be found on a Legnano bicycle or any other Italian bicycle for that matter. This had a lot to do with the high trade tariffs that existed between countries at that time. So much so that Campagnolo and F.B. established a production facility at Cognin, France in 1948 and some Simplex components were manufactured in Italy.

What was also common to the Italian bicycle manufacturers of the era was the ‘personalization’ of their components from the various suppliers including Campagnolo. Hubs, cranksets, pedals, handlebars, stems, brake levers, and saddles were all moulded, stamped, badged or engraved with the Legnano logo in lieu of the original maker’s mark. Whatever the reason for this total branding, it added a truly unique quality to the bicycles of the era that is highly sought after by collectors today. However this practice pretty much came to an end in the late 60’s and coincidentally about the same time that many of the Italian component makers started to disappear, with the exception of Campagnolo of course.

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Atala_Record_Hubs

Campagnolo
To the best of my knowledge, the only components that Campagnolo ‘cross-branded’ were their hubsets (early Gran Sport and Record), including such famous marques as Legnano, Frejus, Atala and Bianchi however there were probably others. This practice seems to have disappeared by the mid to late 60’s as Campagnolo began to realize the commercial importance of promoting their own brand exclusively. It was also about this time that Campagnolo began to put pressure on their sponsored riders to use only Campagnolo components in competition. I should mention that not all hubs stamped Legnano were supplied by Campagnolo. Gnutti and Atom also engraved their hubsets for Legnano going into the 70’s on some of the lesser models and as the traditional Legnano quality began to fade.

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Brooks of England
Before we leave Campagnolo, it is worth referencing the Brooks Campagnolo model saddle that was produced for only a short time between 1958 and 1963 and exclusively for Campagnolo. The 1950 Emilio Bozzi catalog shows quality leather saddles from the maker Italia, however Brooks leather saddles had a worldwide following with racers.  The Brooks B17 Campagnolo model had narrower rails that provided a great deal more fore and aft adjustment for racers than the conventional Brooks B17 saddle. To facilitate the narrower rails, Campagnolo made a special narrow rail seat post during these same years to bring it all together.  The top of the B17 was also embossed with an oval mark with the words Campagnolo Model.  This saddle and post combination was used on some Roma models but not all models.

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Magistroni
Magistroni was the main supplier of cranksets to many of the Italian bicycle manufacturers including Legnano. Not only where the crank arms stamped with the Legnano logo (just below the bottom bracket axle), the steel chainrings themselves on the single speed and 3/4/5 speed ‘Condorinos’ were also webbed to include the ‘L’ in Legnano. Magistroni provided a similar customization to many other prominent Italian bike brands. It is worth noting here that through the 50’s and 60’s, Magistroni stamped the back of both crank arms with the year of production (ie. 63 to denote 1963).  Magistroni also supplied bottom brackets and headsets to Legnano however these were not branded with the Legnano logo.

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Balilla
Balilla centerpull brakes branded for Legnano on this 1971 Mod..50 Sportivo. Although Universal brakes were the most widely used brand by Legnano, Universal never personalized their brakesets with the Legnano logo.

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Ofmega
An Italian parts manufacturer that supplied Legnano and other Italian brands including Bianchi and Colnago.  You rarely find Ofmega parts on Legnano bikes until the 70’s and on into the 80’s.  Headsets and bottom brackets were common to the Gran Premio and lesser models and sometimes the Ofmega cranksets.  The headset was a particularly attractive component that is sought after by collectors as Ofmega branded it for Legnano (and Frejus) in the knurling of the upper ball race as you can see in the photo above.

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. . . more to come  : ]

14 thoughts on “Legnano Branded Components

  1. Mark, what size seat post is standard for a Roma Olimpiade? Are there Legnano seat post pins available from a vendor?

    I have a ’62 Roma 55cm frame and fortunately recently found a Legnano fork to complete that portion of a restoration. I also have a complete ’62 Premio which will be the donor bike for parts. As I plan to ride the bike, I will put on a Velo Orange crank set 48/30 and find a Campy Rally rear derailleur. The rear five speed cluster is 12-26. I will keep the Magistroni original crank to go along with the bike to the next owner. The bike has Campy bar end shifters on a branded Ambrosio handlebar and stem. I have the branded wheel set ready to go with sew up tires. I hope to have the bike completed by late spring. Are there L’Eroica like events in the US?

    This spring I will be selling a ’73 Premio that I found on CL in Denver that had been on a garage wall for 37 years. I put on new tires and performed a general clean up and adjustments. I will re-invest the sale proceeds into the Roma. I will also sell the ’62 Premio frame, fork and head badge this spring for the same purpose. Hopefully, the buyer will want to bring that bike back to standards.

    Thanks for this great site for information. Jeff Lundberg

    • Legnano Seat Post Diameters
      You will need to measure the inside diameter of the seat tube to be certain, and do not take the measurement only at the very top of the tube as it could be a little ‘bell mouthed’ from the years. And if you have an old post, if just an old steel tube type, that measure what you believe is the correct OD then give it a try to be certain. Having said that, my guess would be 26.4mm OD. The ’58 Roma Olimpiade and the ’61 Gran Premio on this site are both 26,4mm diameter. However the 1966 Roma Olimpiade on this site is 27,0mm diameter. That is why measuring and testing is always best, particularly if you are sourcing what could be an expensive vintage part. Should mention that I have also got away with a 26,2mm OD post on the 26,4mm OD spec. You can do this because of how the unique Legnano seat post binder bolt function, bringing us to your next question.

      Legnano Seat Post Binder Bolts
      This detail was unique to Legnano and it is the one detail that will always define a Legnano frame (up to the late 60’s) even if it has been repainted or in miserable condition. However because it was a unique it is also difficult to source and there is no modern replacement part available that I have run across. The principal of the Legnano pin works to wedge the seatpost against the inner wall of the seat tube rather than the conventional method of squeezing the seat tube (thereby reducing its diameter) to fix the seat post. It is quite clever really and work as well if not better than the conventional method.
      The vast majority of the seat pins are 12,0mm in diameter and are in two parts plus a washer and nut. And on occasion they pop up on eBay. However there is also an 8,0mm pin that were used on the early Roma Olimpiade models including the ’58 on this site. These are like ‘hens teeth’ as they say. The one on the ’58 Roma Olimpiade that I am presently restoring is not in good shape and I may resort to having a machinist duplicate this part which is only one piece plus the washer and nut. In both cases, stay in touch if you can’t find what you need and I may be able to help you out.

      Lastly I would stay away from the Rally rear derailleur as it is not correct to the bike. Your ’62 Roma came with one of two derailleurs, most likely the Campagnolo Gran Sport (14-26T range) or the Campagnolo Record (13-36T range) that was produced between 1963-1966 just prior to the release of the iconic Nuovo Record rear derailler in 1967. The aforementioned Gran Sport is not hard to find however it may not quite handle your gear range. The early Record is also fairly easy to find, will probably be a little more money and it handles a very good range and shifts very well. Happy building!

    • Thanks Philip,
      The seat post bolt for the Roma is very hard to come across, near impossible to be honest and I have been contemplating finding a machine shop to make up a few for me. This will save me the trouble and probably some expense so I have sent off an email to this source for pricing and shipping info, etc. Many thanks again.
      Mark

  2. The Legnano branded crankset with the L-web was not restricted to the Condorino bicycles. You can see them on surviving museum bicycles ridden by Bartali. They also appear on the corsa and mezza corsa models in Legnano literature as early as 1937. They do not appear in the 1935 literature, so their first use appears to be 1936 or 1937.

    • You are very correct T-Mar. Here is Bartali’s bike from his 1948 TdF win. I am not sure when it came to an end, perhaps in part with the introduction of the Simplex adapters and aluminium chain rings (Italian production) for the Magistroni cranks. And I believe that Magistroni also offered aluminium chainrings as well?


  3. I’m not sure exactly when they stopped using this crankset on the racing models. I’ve seen them in race photos reported to be from 1949 and they were definitely gone by 1952. It’s complicated by the fact that competitors would have different set-ups depending on the race. For instance, if you look at the classic picture of Bartali shifting the Campagnolo Cambio Corsa during a mountain stage of the 1948 TdF, you can plainly see that his Legnano is equipped (for this stage) with dual chainrings mounted to Simplex-style adapters.

    However, it should be noted that the L-web, single chainring may have continued in use on the Condorino/Sportivo style models for some time. I have seen one that was reportedly OEM on a Magistroni crankset with a 1961 date code.

    Regarding chainrings, I have seen Magistroni branded, aluminum chainrings.

    You may also want to consider revising the article to mention the Legnano branded products from Ambrosio and Gaslo.

  4. Thanks T-Mar. Yes, still some more work to do on this page including Ambrosio and Gaslo as you mentioned as well as Gnutti and Way-Assauto to name a couple of others. In addition to the brands of Legnano, Frejus, Wolsit and Perla bikes, Emilio Bozzi was also a major distributor of bicycle parts in Italy. Their 1950’s catalog, that I hope to have online soon, has more than 330 pages of everything from fender bolts to frame lugs and derailleur springs. The ink drawings of thousands of parts is a piece of art in its own right.

  5. Good evening, I congratulate you for the good and efficient web page concerning this brand of Italian bikes, I’m a new fan of your page, and thanks to her, I motivated to try on best of my ability, try to operate a bicycle Legnano brand that motivates me to buy knowing their website, I’m from Venezuela and here such reconstructions of bicycles is not common, I have been reading many articles to try to identify which model would be the bike, but I had many doubts, for this reason I said to myself, why not ask an expert?

    In principle you can send a photo of the bike at the time of the purchase, and also you can go ahead some of the components that have been identified through their website, these are:

    As standpipe or box (from the seat to the cranks tube): 55.5 cm.

    Manufacturing number: None.

    Brakes: Universal.

    Brake handles: Universal.

    Handlebars: 3ttt Olimpic.

    Stem: 3ttt, 38 cm.

    Cranks: Of Omega, Legnano 52/42 t, 170 mm.

    Hubs: Legnano.

    Shifters: Campagnolo.

    Wheels: Grand Prix.

    front and rear derailleur: Campagnolo Extra Valentino

    Game tubes: TRAFILATI falck

    Pedals: MKS

    Toe piece: Rapid Ale

    Seat: San Marcos

    Wheel release screws: Of Omega

    rear sprocket changes: Regina Extra Gold (13-15-17-19-21)

    Chain: Regina

    In principle, these are the components that have been identified, if possible, could send an e-mail to send the photos.

    Thank you very much.

    Cruz Alvarado
    Venezuela

    • Thank you for the kinds words and the information of your bicycle. You are welcome to send some photographs of your Legnano to info@condorino.com and I will do my best to offer whatever information is possible.

      Well Alvarado, this is what I would describe as a ‘good find’ in that it appears that the bike has all of it’s original parts despite its ‘well used’ condition overall. This Legnano appears to be a Mod.54 Special ‘corsa’ or road model that I would date to 1978-1979.

      I would strongly encourage you to restore the bike using the original components, or at the very least keep the original parts if you are going to change some of them for personal reasons. An ‘original’ bike usually retains a much greater value if you ever decide to part with it.

      Have fun!

  6. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIMELY RESPONSE AND YOUR ADVICE ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BICYCLE, THAT WAS JUST WHAT I HAD IN MIND, TO PERFORM THE RESTORATION WITH THE ORIGINAL COMPONENTS, EVEN PAINT WILL REMAIN SUCH AS AFTER A CLEANING, BECAUSE HERE IN VENEZUELA IS ABOVE TO ACHIEVE OR ACHIEVE THE CHARACTERISTIC COLOR OF THIS BRAND.
     
    AS REGARDS IF THE TYPE OF RUBBER COULD SERVE YOU TO THE MODEL COMMENTED IN ITS RESPONSE (Schlauchreifen tubular tires boyaux rin 28 “x22mm CONTINENTAL brand), SINCE I HAVE NOT IDENTIFIED THE SIZE OF THE RIMS, AND ALREADY THAN THE RIMS THAT USES TUBULAR TYPE TIRES, THIS IS ONE OF THE COMPONENTS THAT IS DIFFICULT TO LOCATE HERE IN VENEZUELA. BEFORE, THANK YOU, AND WAITING FOR YOUR ANSWER.

    CRUZ ALVARADO

    • Hello Alvarado,

      I received the photos of the wheels for your Legnano, thank you. The rims are for tubular type tires, size 700c. Originally they would have been Pirelli tubulars, however Pirelli no longer produces bicycle tires in Italy. I have seen Pirelli branded tires for sale in South America however I am not sure if these are actually produced by Pirelli or if they are made by another company and branded for Pirelli. My guess is the latter. In any event, I tend to use Vittoria Rally tubular tires on my Legnano bikes as they are affordable and available with the natural sidewall colour that was typical of the period.

      The photos of the wheels are a little blurry, so if you could tell me the brand names that are on the center of the hubs, the quick-release levers and also the rims . . . I can give you a little more information to help you.

      Regards,
      Mark

      • Good afternoon Mr Mark, thank you very much for the information, the brand in the center of the wheels is Legnano, as for the quick release levers the brand is Ofmega, the tires if you can not tell much because you only have one Label with the photo of a cart wheel and the name Grand Prix.

        As for the Vittoria Rally brand, there is the possibility of getting these tubular tires here, albeit at a high cost.

        As for the previous emails, you write me that you think the bike model of the photo I send you is a Mod.54 ‘Special Corsa’ dated 1978-1979, as for the year that I Comments, I have a doubt, I read in their articles and comments, that from the year 1970 if I remember correctly the pictures of the bicycles began to place fixed supports for the guayas of brakes, levers of change and bottles of water, In the case of my bicycle does not wear these supports to which it refers in their articles, in this case carries a support for the water of the Italian brand name Ale if I am not mistaken, of tweezers. It is possible that this bicycle is from previous years to which I comment.

        Thank you for your information.

        regards

        Cruz Alvarado

      • Hello Alvarado,

        This is the brochure sheet for the Legnano Mod.54 ‘Special Corsa’,

        It is always a difficult to date some of the Legnano models during the 1970’s. Here is the reason I suggested 1978-1979 for your bike. The rear derailleur in the photo of your bike is a Valentino extra with the rectangular cage that Campagnolo released in 1978-1979. Also, the Ofmega crank set on your bike was introduced in the mid-70’s.

        It is possible that both of these components were upgraded on your bike and the actual frame is earlier however in truth, there is really no way to no for certain. It is unfortunate that Legnano stopped using serial numbers in the 1970’s as it would be a big help. Although I am sure that no one at Legnano thought that people in 2016 would be that interested.

        Enjoy restoring your Legnano. And most of all, enjoy riding your Legnano.

        Best regards,
        Mark

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