SERIAL NUMBER HISTORY

I receive many requests from readers asking to date the production year of their Legnano and I am happy to help with as much information as possible. However it is increasingly difficult to come across a Legnano that is completely unchanged from the day it rolled off the assembly line.  In some cases as many as 70+ years may have passed and parts may have been replaced due to normal wear or perhaps the original owner’s desire to improve the performance of their bike as new products came available.

As an example, I came across a Roma Olimpiade recently from the early 60’s that was being sold by its original owner however the Universal 61 brake callipers had been upgraded to the Universal 68 model when they were released in 1968.  I have seen similar upgrades with Campy brakesets when they came available to complete the ‘gruppo’ on Roma models from the early to mid 60’s. Wheels also came and went, particularly on road bikes that were raced competitively. Chains and freewheels are two other components that are commonly not original on most vintage bikes.

Keep in mind however that bicycle parts or components were not changing up every year or two as they are today and many parts stayed in production for decades with little if any change beyond a production date stamp (in some cases). So it is best to keep this in mind when dating vintage bikes and acknowledge it may only be the frame that can be truly dated to a production year, and even then it is not an exact science.

A number of years back I decided to begin compiling a list of Legnano serial numbers that I am posting here as reference for anyone trying to date a Legnano frame.  The Legnano serial numbers presented in the link below have only been included if supporting photography of the bicycle was available, including an image of the serial number. The objective was not to question anyone but rather to ensure as much authenticity and accuracy as possible.  As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and also much more interesting than just a long list of numbers.

LEGNANO SERIAL NUMBERS     This listing is current as of July 4, 2016

If you have a Legnano that you would like to add to the listing, comment at the bottom of this page and I will send you an email address were the photos of your bike can be sent. In addition to the serial number listing, I hope to add the supporting photo documentation for each of the bikes to this website when time permits.  This will also provide an interesting visual history of the various components and companies that Legnano worked with over the years in building their bikes.

A special work of thanks and acknowledgement to the RSC or translated the ‘Historical Cycles Registry’ of Italy for providing the background on the Legnano serial number sequences, and also to Dale Brown and the Classic Rendezvous website that has maintained a voluntary listing of Legnano serial numbers for many years. In addition, a personal word of thanks to both Dale and the RSC for returning emails and helping this effort.

According to the RSC registry, Emilio Bozzi S.p.A. used a common or shared sequence of serial numbers for all three of their brands: Legnano, Wolsit and Perla. This is understandable as all three of the Bozzi brands were produced in the same factory. Legnano was also the last of the three brands to be acquired by Emilio Bozzi, originally founded by Vittorio Rossi in 1902.  As an aside, Legnano’s long time rival Bianchi was founded in 1885.

The RSC registry shows that the Bozzi serial numbers began in 1920, about the time that Emilio Bozzi acquired the Legnano brand, and were ‘reset’ or redefined in format at several points in time.  Here is how it all plays out.

Legnano Serial Numbers Stamped on the Head Lug: 1920 – 1938

LEGNANO_31017
1920 – 1924:
 five numbers only stamped horizontally on the upper head lug (e.g. 31017).

LEGNANO_M5767
1925 – 1934:  one letter followed by four numbers stamped on upper head lug (e.g. M5767).

LEGNANO_5521R
1935 – 1938:  four numbers followed by a letter stamped on the upper head lug (e.g. 5521S).

 

Legnano Serial Numbers stamped on the Seat Lug: 1939 – 1967

a2729_1000px1939 – 1941:  one lower case letter followed by four numbers (e.g. a2729)

019-21 copy1941 – 1967: two upper case letters followed by four numbers stamped vertically, reading top to bottom ((e.g. AB2367 in 1941, EX3632 in 1961, GO3530 in 1967).  All Legnano models except the Tipo Roma and Roma Olimpiade models.

58_LEGNANO_02
1941 – 1967:  two upper case letters followed by four numbers stamped horizontally on the back of the seat lug for Tipo Roma and Roma Olimpiade models only (e.g. EB1056 in 1958).

4621

The Association RSC states that the two letters were dropped and only the four numbers were stamped on Roma models produced for Legnano teams and sponsored competitors from as early as 1937.  Above is Roma Frame number 4621 that was built by Bianchi Uno (Bianchi Dino’s father) for Gino Bartali in 1946, the year he won both the Giro and the TdF.

Lastly a word to those readers that may have a Legnano bike that they know was purchased post-1967 and carries a two letter, four digit serial number on either the side or back of the seat lug.  Consider that Legnano bikes imported from Italy could have remained in the hands of the North American Legnano distributor or the local retailer for some time before being sold.  Although bikes today change up paint paint schemes on a yearly basis to define model years and entice customers, this was not the case in the 1960’s.  Also, bike shops in the day would sometimes strip an imported bikes of its components, particularly if they were Campagnolo components, to service a good customer if their part inventory was low and/or to realize a little extra revenue. So potentially a Legnano Roma Olimpiade manufactured in Italy in 1967 may not have been sold until 1969 or even 1970+ to a customer in California.

Caution: These Two Digits are not Serial Numbers

However the four digit serial number stamped on a Legnano team bike is NOT to be confused with the two numbers stamped on the seat lug on Legnano frames from approx. 1967+ which were not serial numbers but some other form of production code.

s-l1600-10 copy

Above is an example of the two digit production code on the right side of a 1969-1970 Gran Premio model (horizontally on the back of the seat lug for Roma Olimpiade models only). I have yet to learn the purpose of this code however it was clearly not a serial number as the same two digit number can be found on many frames. These two digit production codes were also used for only a few short years in the late 60’s to very early 70’s based on my research to date.

Legnano Serial Numbers after 1967+

First a word to those readers that may have a Legnano bike that was purchased post-1967 and carries a two letter, four digit serial number on either the side or back of the seat lug.  Consider that Legnano bikes imported from Italy could have remained in the hands of the Legnano distributor or local retailer for some time before being sold.  Although bikes today change up paint schemes on a yearly basis to define model years, this was not the case in the 1960’s.  Also, bike shops in the day would sometimes strip imported bikes of their components, particularly if they were Campagnolo components, to service a good customer if their part inventory was low and/or to realize a little extra revenue. So potentially a Legnano Roma Olimpiade manufactured in Italy in 1967 may not have been sold until 1969 or 1970 to a customer in North America.

Serial Numbers on the Bottom Bracket after 1967+

At the end of the 1960’s, Legnano started to build some Roma Olimpiade frames with Reynolds 531 tubing. In the initial years of the Reynold’s production, the serial numbers with an upper case ‘R’ were stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket as can be seen in the photo below of the 1969 Roma Olimpiade that is in this collection.  There was also a Reynolds decal on the front of the top tube and at the top of each front fork, however these waterslide decals were fragile and may have worn away over time.  In the mid to late ’70s, Legnano also used Reynolds 531 tubing to build the Record Olimpiade Specialissima however there were no serial numbers on these bikes so an ‘expert’ should be consulted in verifying the build as the decals on the frame that may not be authentic.

IMG_5136

I recently acquired a 1967 Roma Olimpiade that is purported to be built from Columbus tubing based on what appears to be an original Columbus decal on the top tube. This Roma also has the serial number stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket but without the ‘R’ used on the Reynolds builds. Dimensionally the tubing looks true to the Columbus geometry however it is still to be fully validated so ‘stay tuned’ for the time being.

SONY DSC

 

Serial Numbers on Left Side of the Seat Tube 1970+

The remaining Legnano serial number format that I have run across is on the left side of the seat tube just below the seat lug.  This format and position shows up on the 1972 Gran Premio that is a part of the collection, serial number 32142.

32142

I have only seen one other Legnano stamped this way and it is owned by Paul Page in the UK with the serial number 32072, so most likely it was produced in the same year and the photos on file would suggest it is the same Gran Premio model. (fyi . . . both bikes have their original paint). Until more bikes show up with this serial number format it is difficult to say when it actually began, how long it lasted and if it was used on all or just certain Legnano models.

32072

In summary, this is the Legnano serial number saga that was best through to the end of the 1960’s and from there the trail goes a little cold as they say.  I hope this account is helpful to people working to date their Legnano bikes and also a bit of deterrent to those trying to ‘pass off’ Legnano bikes from the golden era that may not be quite so golden.  I will provide updates to the Legnano Serial Numbers listing as I continue to document these wonderful bikes.

32 thoughts on “SERIAL NUMBER HISTORY

  1. Hello, I am writing you about a Legnano Olypiade Record Speciaissima 55cm with serial #1328 R on the BB. The original owners son said it was bought in the mid 60’s, but the patent # on the rear derailier says 1970?. Bike is all Nuevo Record with Universal 61 brakes, 3t bars Legnano stem and Brooks Pro saddle. Write me back and I will send pictures Thanks Rob

    • Based on the serial number I would say that the 1970 date would be correct for this Olimpiade Record Specialissima and look forward to seeing the photos. Sounds like a great bike and thanks for posting!

  2. I have yet to locate any serial number on the Legnano frame I pulled from a junk pile. This page is very helpful, and I’ll scour all of the areas you identify where serial numbers have been stamped. But if I’m unable to locate a serial number, would you mind looking at some photos?

    • Hi Nick,
      Happy to help if you want to post one or two more pictures on your FB page. From the image that is currently posted of the seat lug area . . . I would say the frame is a Gran Premio model from the early to mid 70’s. The little threaded boss on the back of the seat lug is to secure the cable stop for a set of Universal 61 brake callipers. Best regards,
      Mark

  3. Hi Mark, a few days ago a found a Legnano frame and I would like to send you some pictures because I am finding a hard time figuring out the exact model of the bike, because beside a 2 digit number on the right side of the seat lug I can’t find any other serial number. Thank you, Balint

    • This is a Legnano Mod.02 Sportivo which was a city style bike fitted at that time with a 5 speed freewheel and a single Campagnolo downtube shifter that would have been coupled to a Campagnolo Sport rear derailleur. This bike, or should I say frame, is from the late 60’s (approx. 1967-1969) when Legnano stopped the practice of using serial numbers. The ’17’ stamped on the seat lug is not a serial number but a production number that supported the workflow in the factory. The Mod.02 Sportivo, as the number would suggest, was one of Legnano’s basic or entry-level city bikes. It was available in blue, grey, a plum red, and green. And the handlebars or ‘manubrio’ as they say in Italian would have been the Condorino style that you can see on this site.


      It appears that the only parts that are original to this bike are the single Campagnolo Sport down tube shifter and the headset, and the seat post bolt which you should take care not to loose as they are not the easiest to replace. You can see a small tab with a threaded hole on the right rear seat stay that was used to help mount the chain guard. Hope that helps. Best regards, Mark.

  4. I just picked up an Olimpiade Record Specialissima that appears to be 1973. Its quite dirty, with some surface rust and sun fade (typical AZ) but appears it will clean up nice and is very original. Its Silver, SN 6168R. All Campagnolo except brakes which are Universal Mod 61 (not 68.?). I am thinking 73′ due to triple record Crankset 73′, and Record high flange hubs with 73′ locknuts on Fiamme wheels. Rally touring RD,

    Did they make a touring model?

    • Hello Robert,

      Very interesting bike and thanks for posting and sharing the pics. I would agree that the bike was produced as early as 1973 and possibly as late as 1975 based on the serial number sequence and its location on the underside of the bottom bracket. Also, it is only on the early Specialissima models that you find this style of lug work. So if you wanted to pin the year at 1974, I don’t think that anyone could take issue with that date. The frame is also constructed from Reynolds 531 tubing, reflected in the R that is below the serial number on the bottom bracket.

      Legnano did not make a touring model in the proper sense that I am aware of. Although I was pretty young at the time, I remember when the Campy triple and Rally derailleur came on the scene. And while it found it’s place for a while with touring cyclists I don’t recall that being the main push when it was launched. The Campagnolo brand at that time was the brand of competition, be that the club scene or professional road racing. I doubt that anyone on the pro circuit every used the Campy triple at the time but keep in mind that the Legnano Roma bikes that were sold commercially where not the same bikes as those ridden by the Legnano team. Close perhaps but not the same.

      There is the possibility that the triple crankset and BB along with the Rally rear derailleur were swapped out when the bike was purchased or possibly a change that the owner made after a year or two. Take a look at the top of the rear seat stays to see if there is any marking on the paint that might suggest the original owner had a rack mounted for some light touring. And there is the possibility that this Roma was originally fitted with the triple and Rally derailleur, Legnano wanting to take advantage of the newly released Campagnolo products to maintain their sales numbers.

      Keep in mind that the bicycle scene was really heating up at that time with the introduction of the first Shimano Dura Ace components, and customers were starting to look at alternatives to the Italian benchmarks and particularly Campagnolo. Regrettably I do not have a Legnano catalog from this time period which would help to answer this question a little better. Having said that, if you wanted to refit the bike with a ’73 or ’74 Nuovo Record derailleur and standard NR double crankset, I am quite certain the Specialissima model was produced in that configuration.

      Enjoy your new find and thanks again for posting.

      Mark

  5. Hello, I am very much a beginner with bikes and have recently bought a vintage Legnano road bike. The seller said it was from 1978 and I wanted to make sure it was but I can’t seem to find any model name or serial number on it. The only embossed thing I could find was on the top of the seat tube and it was 72 and a small “c” next to the top part of the 2. Can somebody help me with my dilema?

    • Thanks for the post. I will need some photos of the bike to help you out with the dating. I will send you my email address if you would like to send along some pics and I will do my best.
      Regards,
      Mark

      • I am not sure about the 1978 dating that the previous owner provided to you as I would put this Legnano at early 80’s based on the Legnano decal on the down tube that changed from a trapezoidal shape to a more modern lower-case word mark in 1980.

        This Legnano is a sport model based on the lug work, brazing details, components and the mounting bracket for a kick stand on the underside of the chain stays close to the bottom bracket. I wouldn’t invest any serious money in vintage components beyond what is required to put the bike in good working order. Should make more a great daily ride or light weekend touring. Enjoy your new find!

        Forgot to mention, the ’72s’ that is stamped on the left side of the seat lug is not a serial number. Could be some form of a model number that they used to keep track of the frames in the factory before they were painted and assembled.

      • No, this bike is not a competitive model for racing. Most Italian bike makers had two top models, one for top competitors and one for club racers if there pockets were not quite so deep. In the case of Legnano, the top competitive model was the Roma Olimpiade . . . followed by the Gran Premio with a couple of the Campy components detuned and a little less finishing of the frameset. Your bike would have sat more in the middle of the Legnano model range for daily or weekend sport and recreational riding.

  6. Thank you Mark. I have broken the bike down and there are indicators that the cranks were added later. There were no marks for a rack. I am doing a soft restore and will leave as I found at this point. It much nicer than I anticipated and should come out looking quite nice.

    Not sure you want links here (feel free to remove) but thought you may want to read it. I will be cleaning it up and rebuilding in the next week or two.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/1079035-another-faded-az-bike-legnano.html

    Rob

    • Thanks for the BikeForum link Rob, and I may hop on this thread for a couple of comments as the contributions by ‘juvela’ are particulary insightful. And in general it speaks to the ‘originality’ of old bikes that we sometimes want to believe more than the reality. There is a possibility that the hubs may be original to the bike, not counting the rear skewer, and I would not go looking for Legnano branded Campy HF Record hubs for this bike. Campagnolo cross branded their Record hubs for Legnano, Frejus, Bianchi, Atala and many other top Italian brands. However this service came to an end in the late 60’s as Campagnolo ramped up their own branding efforts. It was also about this time that Campy also mandated that sponsored riders used only Campagnolo components with a full ‘gruppo’ in place as of 1968. Some Legnano branded Campy hubs may been fitted to 1969 – 1970 production bikes based on lingering inventory in the factory but that would have been the latest timeframe from my research and wanderings.

      • Absolutely, if you wish, please add any insight you have. I have a decent collection of bikes and typically do my restos on there as I like to detail every part. Any comments you have would be much appreciated.

  7. I have a Legnano, SN #31907, repaibtwd and rebuilt around 1980 in a touring bike style (as I understood it) by Frederick Neitsche of Cates Cottage in Columbia, SC. That’s about all I know of its provinence. I’d like to find out more. Any ideas?

  8. Hi, excuse me for my english. You jave a nice page. For your serial number list, I have a Legnano Olimpiade Record Speciallissima No. 31468 with all Campagnolo parts, exept the brakes (61). I saw in any interner page that this is 1969 year.
    Thank you
    Rafael Vettorazzi
    Guatemala

    • Hello Rafael and thanks for writing. A Legnano in Guatemala, now that is a first. If you have the time, I would enjoy having a few photos of your bike (including a photo of the serial number) for the registry. You can send photos to info@condorino.com Many thanks and I am happy the website has helped you out. Mark

  9. Can you give me any info on this model? Is this bike special in regards to it being in such great shape and not having a scratch or knick on it? Serial number is behind the seat post on the frame reads E03192 I will send you photos to your email

  10. I have a legnano Rental cycle?? or something I am having trouble finding information on it anywhere. I am only finding 2 of this model online one in Canada and the other in Scotland the serial number is
    modello depositato
    N. 23170-B-83
    Any information would be helpful

  11. Hi Mark. I’m Stefano from Milan. I bumped into your blog just trying to understand the serial of my Legnano and I love what you made! This is really awesome! I own a “should-be” ’65 Legnano Mod. 02. The serial number is one upper case letter followed by four numbers stamped vertically on the left side of seat lug. Do you know anything about it? Thanks!

  12. Hi there from Holland, great site! i am new here and became a Legnano fan a few years ago. A few weeks ago i found a legnano frame on EBAY in a very odd pink white color combination but in the size i was looking for. The number is written horizontal on the rear of the seatpost lug.The number is : EP1443. i was wondering what the age of this frame is, it does not have the little bolt hole for the centerpull universal brakes under the frame number and it was sold to me as a 1960,early 1961 frame can you tell me more?
    Also the frame came without the decals, can you recommend a suplier for high quality autentic (water) decals i plan to rebuild the bike the way it was ment…
    Help would be appreciated.

    Keep up the good work on the site,
    Kind regards. Rob.

  13. Hi Mark, you received the pictures from me?
    Tomorrow i will ask the paint shop if they can make the legnano lizard green, think this is gonna be not so easy. every tip is welcome, as for the frame number and adress for the correct high quality decals hope to hear from you.. cant wait collecting the needed parts..
    Kind regards ROb,

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