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The 1985 Milan Bicycle Show:
A Photo Gallery

There was a time when professional racing bikes were made of lugged steel, wheels had a 32 or 36 spokes, quill stems were inserted into steering tubes and northern Italy had countless small artisan shops making beautiful frames, clothes and parts for bike lovers.

In the 1980s there were two important cycle shows. In odd-numbered years the bike show was Milan's EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori) and the Cologne show was held in even-numbered years.

The Milan show was held in November, after the bike season had come to an end, making it easy for the world to visit the huge exposition. And since it was held every other year, it was easier for the tiny artisan shops to display their work. Exhibiting at a trade show is an expensive, exhausting business.

In 1985 Carol and I journeyed to the Milan show with the express purpose of finding an Italian super-bike, one with unmatched beauty and performance. We found just what we were looking for when we stumbled into the Mondonico booth.

For decades we (meaning Torelli Imports) were Mondonico's largest customer and had the privilege of calling his family our good friends.

We took pictures at the 1985 Milan show, but they sat forgotten in storage for decades. My wife Carol scanned them and was able to restore their faded colors.

Come join us on a trip down memory lane as we look at what was the state-of the art in high-performance bicycle equipment several decades ago.

Ciocc bikes

Ciocc bicycles were started in 1969 by Giovanni Pelizzoli in Curno, northern Italy. I believe he sold the brand to Luigi Conti in 1979.

Colnago bicycles

The legendary Ernesto Colnago began working for the Gloria Bicycle company in 1945 when he was just thirteen.

Colnago bicycles

A row of beautiful steel Colnago framesets

Colnago bikes

A Colnago equipped with disc wheels with world globe graphics

Colnago bikes

Another shot of Colnago bikes

Battaglin

Giovanni Battaglin did the Giro/Vuelta double win in 1981. He started his bike business in 1982 and it's still going.

Benotto bikes

At one time Giacinto Benotto and his family were making bicycles in Italy, Venezuela and Mexico. In 1984 the Italian operation was closed and eventually all production was moved to Mexico City.

Bilatto bikes

Roberto Billato not only sold fine bikes under his own name, he built bikes for several well-known brands, including the early LeMond bikes.

Conti Bicycles

By 1985 Luigi Conti was also making Ciocc bikes.

Dancelli bicycles

Michele Dancelli was a famous racer of the 1960s and '70s. His most famous wins were the 1970 Milano-San Remo and the 1966 Flèche Wallone. I believe his bikes were made by Billato, so they were high-quality machines.

Essegi Clothing

Essegi Clothng. We imported Essegi clothing for a couple of years.

Clothing drawing

Essegi showed drawings of planned clothing for 1986.

Faggin bikes

By 1985 we had been importing Faggin framesets for a couple of years and were selling more than a thousand a year. Wholesale price of a three-tube Columbus SL frameset was only $149.00. They were an incredible deal.

Faggin steo-through

We sold more than a few three-tube SL step-through frames.

Girardengo

Costante Girardengo was Italy's first Campionissimo (Champion of Champions). He won Milano-San Remo six times, the Giro d'Italia twice and was nine times Champion of Italy. Costante and his two sons Luciano and Ettore began building Girardengo bikes, but they do not appear to be in business any longer.

Eddy EMrckx bikes

Eddy Merckx's bicycle company was started in 1980. A few years ago Merckx sold the company.

Mondonico bikes

These were the bikes that caught our eye: Mondonico. Antonio Mondonico can be half-seen on the right. At that time his framebuilding shop was a partnenrship between Antonio and Paolo Guerciotti. Both brands were built in the shop.

Mondonico bikes

Another view of the bikes in Mondonico's booth.

Mpondonico bikes

Imperfect lighting, to say the least.

Moser bikes

Francesco Moser bikes were there.

Francesco Moser bikes

Another view of a Moser bike.

Pinarello

And of course, Pinarello was there.

Viner bikes

The Viner shop was opened in 1947 in Pistoia, near Florence. In the '90s the shop equipped several pro teams, including Mapei and Navigare. The shop was another casualty in the world's move to Asian-made nonferrous bikes, and closed its doors in 2013.