A HUGE Thank You to BOTH Peter Rich And Brian Baylis !!
That is very much a story worth saving .
I'd heard the smashed top tube part of it before . But now I know the context , background , and some details .
> Subject: "The Masi Story"
> Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 11:21:23 -0700
> From: brian baylis <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Finally a few minutes to tell this great story. It was presented as part
> of Peter Richs' talk at Velo Rendezvous this past weekend and is very
> interesting. It also explains how he came to be one of the very first to
> import Colnago frames. Here is the story as I remember it.
> Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1961 Peter Rich was in Italy, racing I
> believe, when he was exposed to the highly regarded frames of one
> Faliero Masi, from Milano. He was very impressed with these beautiful
> machines, so he decided to bring them to his customers in the United
> States. 1962 was the year that his first order of Masi bicycles arrived
> in his store in Berkeley, CA. I think there were about 20 bikes in the
> order. From what I understand, the bikes sold like hotcakes and soon
> there was another order brewing. As I recall there ended up being
> between 2 and 3 orders per year sent to Masi. I would assume the number
> of frames varied from time to time. Peter would take deposits from
> customers for the size and color of bike they wanted. When the bike came
> in the customer would pay the balance and pick up the bike. Appearently
> this routine continued for a number of years where Peter would send 1/3
> payment up front for the bikes, 1/3 when the bikes were ready to ship,
> and the final third when the bikes arrived. Peter relates that as time
> went on the deliveries took longer and longer until they were waiting a
> year for bikes that were ordered. His "exclusive" dealer arrangement
> eventually ended up being one of "about 19 exclusive dealers", according
> to Peter Rich. Masi was selling bikes to anyone with money and hanging
> the original dealer out to dry in the process. The final straw happened
> when one of his customers walked into the shop one day with a Masi
> EXACTLY like the one she had ordered from Velo Sport and wanted her
> deposit money back for the bike she had been waiting a year for. When
> asked where she got the bike she responded with " I bought it off the
> shelf directly from Faliero/Alberto Masi in Milano". Peter knew that it
> was one of the bikes he had ordered for the shop, for this customer, and
> one they had been waiting a long time for. Masi sold her the bike at
> retail in Italy using Peter Riches money and order to stock his shop, so
> to speak. Needless to say, Peter was a little miffed!
> Peter told us that he hopped a plane to Italy the very next day and went
> directly to the Masi shop at the Vigorelli. When he arrived, there were
> a bunch of pro riders hanging around shooting the bull with Faliero and
> Alberto. As Peter relates, there was the word MOULTINI on the jerseys;
> yes folks, it was Fast Eddy and the boys paying a visit. They were not
> riding Masis at the time and the bikes said Moultini on them as Peter
> took note. Peter walked in and demanded to know why Faliero was selling
> HIS bikes to other people. Both Alberto and Faliero were present and
> they told Peter they were busy with something at the moment and to come
> back later that evening and they would discuss the situation. Peter
> tells us that his patience had run out with Masi, I believe this was
> 1968 by that time, and so he wanted to get their attention and some
> immediate satisfaction. He picked up a hammer from the Masi workbench
> and SMASHED the top tube of a bike sitting there! THAT got their
> attention and it apparently made Eddy and the gang a little nervous. The
> riders sort of decided to hit the road so the two parties could "talk",
> but not before one of them tipped Peter off with a little friendly
> advice. One of the guys told Peter to go to a particular town, Peter
> didn't remember the name, and ask around for "the local framebuilder".
> He was told that this guy made nice frames AND was more businesslike.
> That man was Ernesto Colnago.
> After the crowd left, Peter, Faliero, and Alberto spent the entire rest
> of the day and into the night packing up the bikes for shipment to Peter
> Rich. Needless to say, that was the last order to Masi from Velo Sport.
> Peter paid a visit to Colnago sometime in 1968 and I hear the bike may
> still be around. I'd really like to see it. By 1970 some of the very
> first Colnago bikes and frames were making it to the US through Peter
> Rich. I bought one in 1972 (it was a 1971 modle) and raced it in 1973
> until a crash shortened it's life. I now have a suitable replacement
> that almost certainly came from Peter Rich, complete with my favorite
> bike graphic, the 1970-'71 "playing card" style decals.
> So there you have it. A wonderful story from the person INSTRUMENTAL in
> bringing both Masi and Colnago to the forefront in the United States. I
> personally deeply appreciate Peters' vision and awareness about cool
> racing bikes from the 60's and 70's. I have a Masi special from probably
> the first batch brought in in 1962. She's a great bike in great
> condition. My colnago collection has my personal favorite vintage ride
> amongst them, for which I credit Peter Rich. Thanks for the talk and the
> great stories you passed along to us. Priceless in my book.
> Brian Baylis
> La Mesa, CA
> Serious struggle to write as I try to get work completed here. Where the
> hell do all of these bikes come from??