Re: [CR]Re: Fake GIOS -> Miele -> Gardin?


Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 21:10:30 -0400
From: "Edward Albert" <Edward.H.Albert@hofstra.edu>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>, <patrick-ajdb@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: Re: [CR]Re: Fake GIOS -> Miele -> Gardin?


I have to agree with Grant on this. When I lived in Toronto Jim Miele owned several stores called Internationa Cycle Sport and was also invovled in building a track north or toronto. He only carried the best stuff etc. But he was always cutting corners and was always over-xtended. And, it seemed, always going bankrupt. A good friend of mine actually layed out the track. He is a surveyer, and Miele gave him a Fully pantographed 1972 or so Colnago as payment. Everything was Pantgraphed including the rims. He still has it and will not sell it to me.the B........ But, Miele was a wheeler and dealer and his Miele bike company, at least in IMHO, was the last resurection of a very checkered economic career. Edward Albert. once from Toronto now in, Chappaqua, NY, USA

Edward Albert, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Sociology
>>> David Patrick <patrick-ajdb@sbcglobal.net> 06/28/07 8:13 PM >>> I think Grant's post helps to paint a somewhat inaccurate picture of Miele. As far as Grant's statement that "my impression is that it was a fiasco" is far-fetched, in my opinion. Both my younger brother and I bought Miele road bikes around 1990, for the reason that they represented very good quality for a very good price. I had gone back to grad school around then and needed something to race on without draining my pocketbook, and a Miele Latina fit the bill perfectly (Columbus SL tubing w/Campy Chorus group, Sikkens paint and full chromed fork. Cinelli bars & stem, Ambrosio rims). My brother had a Miele Lupa, which was named after the Miele's dog. Yes, Guiseppe Ferrara was the designer and oversaw framebuilding, but the Miele family (Jim and his wife Vicky) oversaw the day-to-day operations (Vicky Miele was the person who answered the phone).

Jim Miele sold the business at one point to a larger holding corporation and there were problems and disagreements with the new owners over product/marketing etc. After 1-2 years, Jim Miele regained control of the company and focused on trying to get things back on track, but I do believe the market worked against him and the company was unable to keep it's head above water. It was then, to my knowledge, that the only bankruptcy occurred, with the company liquidated and parts/bikes etc sold off at auction.

I have to say, I always found the Miele family to be very friendly & extremely helpful. I had a bad accident while racing on my Miele Latina, which caused my frameset to be totally trashed, and Jim & Vicky Miele sent me a new replacement frame, painted in my color choice, charging me only the cost of shipment between Toronto and Michigan. Not many companies would do that for damage caused by racing, so Jim Miele will always be 100% in my book.

Dave Patrick Chelsea, Michigan

Grant McLean <grant.mclean@sympatico.ca> wrote: I believe Jim Miele started working for his father, who had an import business in Italy, and then in Canada selling Bianchi. As that was going along well, it appear that then they decided to start making frames. (as i outlined in the other post).

Around '85/86 was when Miele opened the big production factory, something like 30,000 units/year capacity. A web search pulled up the name "Guiseppe Ferrara" as the designer and builder who came to Canada to run that place. My impression was that it was a fiasco. Mountainbikes hit the market in '86-'87 around here, and the Miele image was tied to Italian road bikes (even though most never saw Italy) and quickly Miele had to start producing ATBs.

Lots of cheap mountain bikes were available from Raleigh Canada, as well as most of the American brands, and the Miele thing started to tank. I'm quite sure there were several bankruptcies.

Joe Gardin started as the Canadian importer of Cambio Rino bikes, around '82ish, and they were made in Ossona, Italy. Again, similar to Miele, Gardin set up a framebuilding facility in Toronto (which still has the largest population of Italians living outside of Italy) The Gardin bikes varied in quality. As a shop wrench at the time, I considered them junk. They were mostly a mess, and the cambio rino parts that many had were crap. Mostly, they were designed to be priced against Japanese stuff, which at the time, and less expensive than the "real" Italian stuff like a Colnago with campy.

A high end Gardin was rare. By the later 80's, the Gardin's that we saw on the streets of Toronto were gas pipe frames with Shimano Exage components by the truckload. There were photos of expensive Gardin's in the catalogs, but i don't know how many they really sold. Certainly the Pantograph bike that Mike Barry displayed is not a bike i've every seen in my 25+ years of riding in Toronto. Gardin missed the mtb thing completely, and there were money problems.

Somehow, there was still a Gardin company that was holding on until '94ish. I had a friend working there, trying to get things going again, but it folded, and they had a big sale. I got some Dura ace track parts real cheap! That friend went to work with Mike Barry for a couple of years after that. All this stuff really takes me back to those days!

The other Toronto name from the time that jumps out is Mike Mulholland of Cyclops, who bought the business from Jocellyn Lovell (was paralysed in a training accident in '83) Mike eventually moved to Vancouver B.C., and passed away in 2005

http://www.pedalmag.com/index.php? module=Section&action=viewdetail&item_id=5224

Grant McLean Toronto, Canada

On 28-Jun-07, at 6:53 PM, oroboyz@aol.com wrote:
> << This source for these copies was found to be Jim Miele.
> When he went out of business a couple of years later, there were
> all kinds of decals and lugs in boxes in their warehouse. >>
>
> So... that was before his reincarnation and second (?) run as a
> bike builder? I sold Miele bikes in the early 1990s IIRC. They were
> "very Italian" style. And it seems not so very long ago (5-6
> years?) that a huge pile of Miele bike "makings" were sold off...
>
> Now, Gardin was started up about what year and went out of biz
> when? The Gardin bike that Mike Barry brought to the Cirque this
> year (It won the "Best Pantographing" award) was really cool. I
> wish I had taken a bunch of pics of it!
>
>
> Dale Brown
> Greensboro, North Carolina USA
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Grant McLean
> To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
> Sent: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 5:42 pm
> Subject: [CR]GIOS story as told to me
>
> Stephen,
>
> That story jives with what i've heard.
>
> Some more digging around, and I came up with a contact who
> purchased about 100 of these frame copies. He had been getting
> authentic Gios stuff for a couple of years in small qty's from the
> American distributor shipped to Canada. Around '88 or '89,
> the frames that showed up were suddenly poor quality copies,
> and phone calls to the distributor went unanswered, and then they
> disappeared. This source for these copies was found to be Jim Miele.
> When he went out of business a couple of years later, there were
> all kinds of decals and lugs in boxes in their warehouse.
>
> Earlier I suggested Gardin may have built some frames, but now i'm
> thinking that's not the case. My contact worked at both places,
> and as both guys had gone out of business a couple of times, i think
> i mixed up some parts of the history. He assured me it was Miele.
>
> Grant McLean
> Toronto, Canada
>
>
> From: "The Maaslands"
> Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 16:14:57 -0400
> Subject: [CR]GIOS story as told to me
>
> I worked for one of the German distributors of Gios in the late
> 80's and
> early 90's and spoke to Alfredo about this. He told me that a North
> American distributor had (illegally according to him) registered the
> brand GIOS in the US without him knowing. When they dropped the
> distributor, the distributor felt it to be his legal right to continue
> to sell Gios bikes. It took an expensive legal action to resolve the
> matter. I don't know if it went to court or an out-of-court agreement
> was reached, but for many years the rights to the GIOS name in North
> America were in doubt.
>
> Steven Maasland
> Moorestown, NJ
> USA