MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

GIANNI MOTTA - INTRO

FINDING THE GIANNI MOTTA

BUILD/RIDE THE G MOTTA

SELLING THE GIANNI MOTTA 

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

FINDING THE GIANNI MOTTA "PERSONAL"

Few "finding the bicycle stories" are more exciting, or scary perhaps would be a better word, than that of the Motta "Personal".  The only other "scary" purchase was that of my 1975 CCM Tour du Canada which proved to be an exercise in sending hundreds of dollars through the mail, to a complete stranger, for a bicycle that I had never seen in person.  But finding the Motta was a different kind of frightening.  The kind where one fears for his or her life...

I try to make the three thousand mile, round trip, journey to visit my mother, once a year, if at all possible.  It was on just such a journey that the Gianna Motta revealed its near quarter of a century hiding place.

Though there is a Craigslist page for Thunder Bay, Ontario I have never seen even a single bicycle listed there.  Not one!  Some have reached the pages of Kijiji for Thunder Bay, but that is about it.  However, as I travel across Canada, I check out Craigslist listings in each major city, as I am passing through.  When I come to rest in Calgary, I peruse the Calgary Craigslist every day.  And I am always rewarded and rewarded handsomely.  The last trip to Calgary netted me six very high end bicycles and a nice assortment of vintage parts, to boot.  I even had to leave a gorgeous Pogliaghi and a Concorde behind, because I did not have room enough to carry them home.  But I know where both bicycles are and, hopefully, I will pick them up next visit.  Anyway...

While going through the list, one morning, I noticed a Gianni Motta road bicycle for sale.  Until that moment in time, I was pretty much unaware that Gianni Motta bicycles even existed.  But here was one listed for sale and listed moments earlier.  Luckily, the advertisement even contained a phone number.  Needless to say, I called...

A short conversation ensued and, within a few minutes, I had an address, coupled with a set of "how to find the house", verbal instructions, that I had no hope of remembering.  Fortunately, I had a map of Calgary, which I quickly checked, and decided that the journey was short.  I could easily be there, and back again, before supper time.  Boy, was I off of the target.

I invited my wife to go for the drive and the two of us set off in a light, misty rain to see the Gianni.  That light and pleasant rain turned into a downpour, shortly after entering the first freeway.  Did I mention that supper was but an hour and a half away.  In other words, speaking traffic language, it was rush hour.

Rush hour, in a big city, is a serious situation.  Negotiating big city rush hour in the pouring rain, is a bit intimidating.  And that particular rush hour in Calgary proved to be down right scary.  The further I got from familiar roads and streets, the more nervous I became.  And then, all of those problems that are common to the rush hour, became even worse when my wife and I ran into construction.  We were inching forward in bumper to bumper traffic.  Everyone else was in a hurry to get from here to there, all but forcing their ways into the next lanes, while all I wanted was to get the hell out of there.  Time passed, the Ranger inched its way forward through the pouring rain and I gripped the wheel, white knuckled, as I made this horrible journey.  My wife and I would definitely not be home in time to prepare supper!

Time grew longer and my patience grew shorter.  Finally, after taking chance after chance to negotiate the river of steel, we cleared the construction bottle neck.  A couple of minutes later - yes, literally two minutes after passing the bottle neck, the off-ramp for our target destination, appeared.  I , thankfully, negotiated the pick-up off of the Death's Row and into the sanity of reasonably normal traffic flow.  Relieved, I pulled over to review the map, hoping to sort out the final stages of this unusual and unforgettable journey.  Amazingly, the address I sought was about five blocks away.  We were off again, still filled with anxiety, but of a different and better kind.  I would soon see my first Gianni Motta.

Thankfully, the rain eased off considerably, as I made the final turn and pulled up in front of the defined address. I could almost feel my butt muscles relax as I slid out of the Ranger.  The house I approached appeared to be well kept and of middle class quality.  The door quickly opened, in response to my knock, and I was instructed, by a middle aged fellow, to go around back.  He would meet me there.

In the back yard, the most noticeable feature is a green house.  And leaning against one of the walls inside the green house was the Gianni Motta.  My hopes shrank.  Bicycles should not be stored in damp environments.  Bicycles should not be stored in areas with great temperature swings.  The Gianni had probably suffered from oxidation, thanks to its storage location.  But I was here, and it was tough getting here.  The least I could do way have a look.

And it was good that I did look.  The owner had transferred the bicycle to the green house only moments before I arrived, in preparation to show me the bicycle.  With the sun just beginning to peek through the overcast sky, the fellow wheeled the bicycle out of the green house.  Leaned it up against a stone bird bath and stepped back, admiring the bicycle, perhaps for the last time.

First glance suggested that the Gianni was in great shape and, as is usually the case, not my size.  None the less, I took the time to carefully inspect the bicycle, doing all that I could to ensure that no structural frame damage had occurred.  The search revealed no issues, other than those of a cosmetic nature.

The bike was a mixture of Italian components commonly installed on mid lever road bicycles.  The beautifully maintained drive was a combination of a Campagnolo Nouvo Record transmission, coupled with a Gipiemme 52/42 crank feeding the chain to a six speed, mid range, cog set.  Both the bottom bracket and head sets were pristine in presentation and, like the cranks, of Gipiemme origin.

The wheels set was, perhaps, one of the nicest component features of the Motta.  Stainless steel butted spokes laced the later model Campagnolo hubs to a beautiful set of Mavic MA4 rims.  Though I cannot recall the maker of the tires, I do recall that they looked to be in reasonably good shape and bore the name "Golden Boy".  The wheels, as found, were pretty darn close to bang on true and the hubs turned smoothly, showing no sign of excessive play or rough rotation.

Other nice features presented themselves, as I continued to inspect the bicycle.  The lovely Mundialita suede saddle was perched atop a near mint TTT alloy seat post.  The controls feature an all but unblemished set of ITM Mondial handlebars, supported by a lovely alloy stem that bore no manufacturer's name.  The ITM bars were still encased in the original bar wrap.  About the only thing to distract from the control center's beauty, and perhaps functionality, was the split hoods on the unscarred Modolo Flash levers.

All in all, pretty decent components fitted to this clean old Italian road bicycle.

Though the asking price in the Craigslist listing was more than reasonable, it is my nature to negotiate.  The owner and I discussed this and that, finally settling on a price that was about three quarters of what was asked.  I had managed to talk my way into a really good deal.  And the reason I did so began the day the original owner bought the bicycle...

In the early eighties, mountain bicycle interest was on the rise.  The fellow who bought the Gianni Motta back then, also purchased a brand new mountain bicycle at the same time.  Needless to say, as a novice rider, he found greater comfort riding the mountain bicycle, and the Motta was left to sit.  Actually, he told me that he hung the bicycle up in his basement, where it remained for most of its life.

With the deal made, and money exchanged, the bicycle and I were ready to head for my mother's place.  Fearing the the sky just might open up again, I asked if I could have a plastic grocery bag to cover the suede saddle with.  No problem and minutes later, my wife, the Motta and I were headed for home.

NEXT - BUILDING & RIDING THE GIANNI MOTTA

 

 

 

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