I am totally with you on this one, Jose. I think Guiseppe (Pepe) Marinoni is one of the least recognised of the great builders of the '70s-'80s. Much of this, I believe, is due to the fact that his mission was to offer an extremely high quality product at a price that would be affordable for impoverished racers. His connections in Italy, where he raced as a youth, gained him access to materials and components at "insider" pricing, which he proceeded to pass along to his customers in the form of very afffordable pricing. (He made trips back to Italy at least once a year to visit family, maintain connections with pals like DeRosa, and barter for parts and such.) His frames exhibited workmanship that was at least the equivalent of the Colnagos, Bassos, DeRosas and other high-end production Italian bikes of the period. He did customs at virtually no extra charge and at one time repainted bikes for $35 Canadian! Of course, the Italian paint he used, while absolutely stunning, didn't tend to stay on the bike, but that's about the only flaw I have ever found in his product. The favorable exchange rate also worked to make his frames an exceptional value, even after the duty was added.
Marinoni's workmanship is not to be compared to a Sachs or other top-shelf US builder, but his market has always been different as well. The alignment on all his frames was always dead-on. Marinoni had all the same attributes of the revered Italian builders, with a few exceptions. First, he actually did the work. Did Ugo or Ernesto braze their own harps in the '80s? I don't think so. Second, you could buy your frame directly from the builder, or from a shop who worked with the builder. Repairs, etc., ditto. Buy a Guercotti and you were working with 10-Speed Drive, not the factory. Third, Marinoni has stayed personally connected to racing. He actually won his age category a few years ago in the Mt. Washington Hill Climb!
I imported Marinonis and other European bike goods through Canada into the US in the early '80s and fondly remember working with Giuseppe and his extended family on my many road trips across the border. My '82 Marinoni custom is still my favorite bike and I expect it always will be. I sometimes think that if Marinoni had moved back to Italy and doubled or tripled his prices, he would have captured the mystique that we tend to reserve for those who rip us off.
Steve Barner, Bolton, Vermont
> Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 20:28:37 -0700
> From: "Jose Fonseca" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
> Subject: [CR]Marinoni
> Hi all. Maybe this is a thread starter. Why is it I don't see much buzz about Marinoni? Last year I purchased a Marinoni from the original owner, and he told me he ordered the bike in '75 and got it in '76. I think the workmanship is on par or better than most "high end" bikes from the period, and the bike demonstrates typical "Crit" style ride and handling, without being too harsh. Overall, a really nice bike that you don't see everywhere. (at least not here on the west coast) Can anyone tell me more about this maker? I know they're still around, but I don't think they're hand building anymore. Just wondering if anyone knows much about this maker during this period.
> Just wondering in Whiskey Hill CA
> Jody Fonseca