I think you are right. Those "replicas" are kinda milktoast compared to the original bikes. The graphics are replicas, but the frames are not.
I have built two pretty authentic replicas. It's not easy to do. But I gathered an many of the genuine original materials as possible and built the frames pretty close to what I was copying. I took a few small liberties on each one and needless to say, the workmanship is quite superior to the original bikes. I wan't trying to make counterfiets. I wanted to build a refined interpetation of the frames I love. The chrome 1961 Masi Special track bike I built won the Benchmark Framebuilders award at the 2003 Cirque, if I recall. They are chanllenging and fun to build and very satisfying to own.
Related to this topic, I was recently contacted by a well known name to possibly build a VERY limited edition true a possible replica frame for them. 25 frames will be the number (actually 26, since I'll make one for myself also). I believe, if this deal comes to fruition, will be the first time a classic bike company was tried to build a genuine replica the proper way. I'm excited. If it is going to happen, there will be an announcement sometime in 2005. Stay tuned!
La Mesa, CA
As I recall when I bought one last year, the original owner or some other
person whose opinion I really respected informed me that these bikes were
not built as replicas, but were some '80 vintage bikes that DeRosa found in
storage or something like that and just repackaged with graphics and paint
in order to sell them. They were in no way anything like a faithful replica
of the original bikes. They had all the touches of the '80s DeRosas, such
as hearts on various bridges and brackets, lugs, etc. Owning one, I found
no feeling at all that it was anything but a dolled up '80s bike. Still a
very nice bike, for all that. Certainly not a true replica, though.
If '80s De Rosa bikes are appealing to you, you'd probably like them. Mine
was a very smooth ride, if I recall.