1950's Bianchi Campione Del Mondo Racing Bike: 58cm - Restored! Magistroni 5-Pin - 1st Universal 51 - Campagnolo GS - Ambrosio - Nisi - Brooks - Madonna Del Ghisallo Medallion - Celeste
Rare opportunity to own a restored and fully rideable top level 1950's Bianchi racing bicycle at an attainable price, in the right shade of Celeste! This is a true piece of history, with a lot of legends attached to it. It would be a killer L'Eroica bike to draw the stares, or to take to bike shows! In fact, this is the bike the modern retro Bianchi L'Eroica model is based off of! This one was restored (I was told in the 1960's), with a very loose aim of being a tribute to Fausto Coppi's 1953 Giro D' Italia winning bike (the first major race win with Campagnolo's new Gran Sport gruppo!). The paint and components are in primo condition with only a handful of blemishes, it's in pure show bike condition but not so immaculate that you're scared to ride it (or so immaculate that you couldn't afford it).
Most of the parts on this bike are difficult to find, but there are two that are extremely rare. First, is a very first year 1951 set of Universal Mod 51 brakes and levers, inexplicably with original hoods in wonderful condition! The levers are identified as 1951 by the pointed blades with flat back with brown conical hood (later ones were black, early were brown or white). The brakes are ID'd as early via the wrap around return springs (later versions had retaining pegs) and no engravings on the quick releases. These Second, the Magistroni 5 pin cottered crank was their top model, and very hard to find. It even has the original Magistroni branded chainrings, while most you'll find have TA chainrings. The frame is adorned with a period Madonna Del Ghisallo medallion from the famed patroness saint of cycling's chapel. Many famous Italian racers who visited this chapel upon a hill of the same name took a medallion for their bike as protection.
The restoration was done with the aim of loosely replicating Coppi's bike, with a few variations. The specific variation of celeste is perfectly replicated. Many reproduction paint jobs come out leaning towards blue, this one is spot on. The decals are a bit curious. Downtube and seat tube decals are spot on. The Campione Del Mondo decal on the non-drive side is in the wrong location. The head tube decal has font below it, which was correct for some years of the 50's and incorrect for others. There have been a few "race" mods to the frame itself. The chainstay cable stop & fender eyelets have been removed, and the top of the seat tube opening has been profiled into the more common "U" shape (stock was flat on top).
The components are strong. The build at first glance is exactly what Coppi rode. The Magistroni 5 pin crank was a common upgrade from the stock Bianchi "B" crank (and it even has the rare Magistroni rings!). Brakes, levers, derailleurs, rims, saddle, & bottle cage are spot on. The Ambrosio stem and 3-piece Campy hubs are correct, though these have the Campagnolo/Ambrosio logos instead of the Bianchi logo that came on the production Campione Del Mondo (I'm unsure if Coppi's bike had the Bianchi logos or originals). The pedals are Sheffield Sprint, which are a racier pedal than the Sheffield/Bianchi B pedals, cages/straps are appropriate. The Brooks saddle is a customized B17. The side skirts have been trimmed down, and the nose side rivets have been replaced with small rivets (the usual racer mods). Bottle cage is stock, bottle is a reproduction aluminum. Rare and correct Campagnolo 626 downtube cable guide & 636 chainstay stop. One of the three Campy cable clips are open-C. Tires are NOS 1980's Vittoria tubulars, fully rideable!
The ride quality of this 70ish year old bicycle is quick, surprisingly supple, and precise. It feels more like a modern steel racing bike than one would expect, yet it's still different enough to be unique and novel. The fit is remarkably similar as well. If a 58cm frame from the 1980's fits you, this one will fit you very similarly. One thing is for sure, you'll draw a lot of attention riding this beauty! Note that the brakes are set up Euro style, left is rear right is front (easy to change back to US standard if you wish).
Nailing down the exact origin of this frame remains a mystery. Part of the serial number was trimmed off when the seat tube was profiled. 25110 is what I can definitively read. The axle nuts on the Campy hubs are 1957. The frame features are consistent with both the mid 1950's Campione Del Mondo, and if the frame actually didn't come with a chainstay cable stop, this would be a 1951-1952 Tour De France model. It is definitely one of these two options, and this bike has been known of and discussed for years. See this old thread discussing this exact bike
Near mint restored show bike condition!!! This machine is just gorgeous from the frames to every single component. From 5 feet away it passes for showroom condition! It seems to have been ridden extremely little since it was restored. Driveside chainstay shows zero chain damage. The frame is straight and has zero dents/rust/bends/cracks. No pitting on the chrome! The paint is glossy and clear with just a handful of touch up spots. The largest is at the very top of the driveside seatstay at the cluster, and there's a few smaller ones on the seat tube, rear tip of driveside chainstay, and a couple on the rearward facing edge of the seatstays, a few chips on insides of stays. Aside from these there are a few very insignificant marks here and there but none worth mentioning. Red and blue infill on the crown and stays are just about mint. Decals are very close to mint, with the only wear being a couple small scraped spots on the driveside "Bianchi" bottom right on the h & i, and a couple very light spots on the Campione Del Mondo decal. The photos represent the condition very well.
The components throughout are mint or very close to it. The crown jewel is the Magistroni crankset which appears nearly NOS. Campagnolo parts are all among the cleanest examples I've seen. Stem and bars are pristine. Brake levers have fairly significant scratching on the blades, hoods are original (not repops!) and in surprisingly nice shape aside from the right has a ~12-15mm split at the rear on the outside. Brakes are excellent to near mint with a few marks, pads are original and almost unused but dry. Rims are true and near mint. Saddle is barely ridden. Super supple leather with just a touch of that surface cracking patina plus some dye worn spots where you can see the bare leather top and non-drive side,, rivets are minty. Rails have a bit of paint wear from the clamp. Brooks saddle clamp is mint. Tires are NOS from the 80's, supple, and pristine. They were completely unridden when the bike came to me, and I rode around the neighborhood to get a feel for the bike.
- Top tube:58cm
- Seat tube:58cm c-t (56cm c-c)
- Head tube: 161mm
- Wheelset: Campagnolo Gran Sport 3-piece low flange, nuts dated 57, Open C QR Skewers, Nisi Toro rims, 36H
- Brakeset: 1951 Universal Extra Mod 51 Brev 453949, red washer, wrap around springs, pointed levers, flat back, brown conical hoods
- Crankset: Magistroni 5-pin w/ Magistroni rings! 170mm x 52/46t
- Derailleurs: Campagnolo Gran Sport 1st gen
- Shifters: Campagnolo Gran Sport open C
- Stem/bars: Ambrosio Champion, lacquered cotton tape, Gaslo Capsula Brevettata end caps
- Headset: Bianchi integrated chrome headset
- Pedals: Sheffield Sprint 673, Galli toe clips, Alfredo Binda toe straps
- Tires: Vittoria Competition Rally Tubular