MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

BOTTECCHIA SP - INTRO

FINDING THE SPECIAL

RIDE & BUILD THE SPECIAL 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

BOTTECCHIA MODEL SPECIAL - INTRODUCTION

Bottecchia is a well known Italian bicycle manufacturer who has been in active business and production since the 1920's.  Ottavio Bottecchia, a two time Tour du France winner in the mid twenties, joined forces with Teodoro Carnielli and began building racing bicycles in 1926.  Sadly, Ottavio passed away in 1927.  Rumor, apparently confirmed many years later, had it that the once hero of Italy's sporting community had been murdered while on a training ride one day.  At any rate, it was Teodoro Carnielli who carried Ottavio's vision (and name) into the business community and then the annals of bicycling history.  The Bottecchia Bicycle Company has since survived in one form or another even until today.

Most collectors of vintage bicycles do not place the Italian Bottecchia on the pedestal of vintage Velo greatness.  The Bottecchia factory found its home in the province of Treviso, home also to Bianchi and Carnelli.   However, the Bottecchia was never considered to be serious competition to the quality defined by the Bianchi bicycle or other top builders of the day for that matter.  In the late sixties and early seventies, the Bottecchia Special would find competition with such other Italian brands as Torpado and Atala, neither considered to be pedestal worthy bikes either, unless you consider the likes of an early seventies Atala Professional, a quality bicycle all the way, in my opinion..

Bottecchia was to be a company happy to produce reasonably good bicycles for a reasonably affordable price.  Compromise!  Well, most of the time yes but there have been some pretty nice Bottecchia bicycles built in days gone by.  The question is, who built them?  There is a controversy surrounding where the really high quality Bottecchia's were built.

Having never been fortunate enough to own a high end Bottecchia, I cannot comment on ultimate quality.  I can, however, offer my thoughts on the mid level model, the Special.  I have owned several and spent one summer riding one too big and a second riding one, the beautiful candy apple red Italian beauty featured, that fit just right.  Both bicycles offered a pretty good ride but one that would fall short of the mark when compared to the Bianchi's, Colnago's and Cinelli's of the day. 

But the middle of the line Bottecchia Special was a very pretty bicycle and reasonably well fitted with a functional component grouppo.   Generous use of chrome plating is one of the things that most attracts me to these nice old vintage road bikes.  The copious chrome and bright candy colors work perfectly with the white panels on both the down and seat tubes.  The look personifies what a Bike Boom road bicycle should look like.  And these mid level Bottecchia's carry the whole thing off perfectly.  Even the name reeks of vintage appeal.

The bicycle offered a rewarding ride for the person who did not need the best of the best under racing conditions.  I found that both bicycles felt easy to pedal and acceleration seems crisp.  Handling is anything but twitchy, and still quick enough to impress.  In my humble opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way that these nice old bicycles do their job.

And such can be said of many mid level bicycles produced during the Bike Boom days.  Entry to mid level Torpados, Chiorda's and Atala's offered similar ride qualities at similar prices.  One of these entry level, Italian bicycles even offered me one of the most pleasing rides, I have ever enjoyed.  And, that same bicycle taught me to enjoy the virtues of the Bottecchia Special.

NEXT - FINDING THE BOTTECCHIA SPECIAL

 

 

 

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