RE: <http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=22016851125 8&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=012>
Some off-list chatter has brought my attention to the fork and its crown, which does not look like a product from Masi in design or construction. It would be prudent for those who are seriously interested in the bike to ask the seller if he could provide information on any markings on the steerer tube, and perhaps some additional close-up photos of the crown.
It seems to me that a '72 Masi Special Pista would most likely have a twin-plate fork originally?
Tam Pham Huntington Beach, CA - USA
I'm fairly certain the fork is legitimate and original... I've seen this cro wn on one other Masi Pista from this period. Only one? Well, the fact that this crown has not appeared with more frequency is no real mystery... first off, there just aren't that many Masi Pistas around, at least not the kind of numbers you see with road bikes... so getting a reasonably large pool of examples from any given year is difficult at best. Second, it's no secret t hat Faliero never passed up a good deal on parts, so it should not surprise anyone that a crown would appear for a year or two and then disappear... sam e thing occurred with the "faux" twinplate of 1972 and the side-windowed lug s in 1969-70.
I agree it would be interesting to know if the steering tube has a stamp. I talian Masis frequently have a frame size stamp on the steerer, and often a date (mostly on '69-74 bikes) and occasionally you'll see a brake reach code on early 70's road forks.
Other details on the bike place it pretty firmly in the period that the sell er stated, around 1972. Some details do not show in the photos, but anyone who's seen the bike may remember at least one significant feature, the overs ize triangular window in the downtube socket of the BB. This detail was com monplace on frames from about 71-73 and aside from one or two examples on '7 4 bikes, does not show up at all after that. This is not to say that all Ma sis from 71-73 will have this large window... bikes from this era had the us ual oval, plus small triangles and an ellipse or two. But the large triangl e itself is exclusive to this period.
While nailing the specific date of this bike may be difficult, I think one c an rule out with complete certainty that it might be from the Alberto era. Alberto's "alphabet soup" of frame size prefixes that began in 1974 were nea rly always two letters and almost never repeated. Prefixes from the Faliero era were most often (though not always) single letters and were restricted to a relatively small pool of letters that repeated with some frequency. In addition, Alberto began placing a date right underneath the frame size (in a smaller 1/8" tall stamp) around 1974. At first it was just a single digit , a "4," but in 1975 he began using a two-digit year followed by a single or two digit month (written as one three or four digit number, no space). Whi le not all Alberto bikes have these date stamps, the ones that do not are ra re.
While I do believe this bike to be genuine and well worth bidding on, in the interest of fairness I should point out one anomaly concerning the paint. As far as I know, Faliero never exhibited any sort of fondness for all-chrom e forks... the forks were chromed up past the crown but he always painted ov er everything but the crown and dropouts. I believe I may have one bike in my photo archive that has a fully-chromed fork that the (original) owner say s was done that way at his request so it is quite possible that the all-chom e fork seen here is the original configuration.
On the other hand, I must say that it is very common for folks to strip a Ma si for a repaint and see all that chrome underneath and think, "Oh, that's j ust too cool, I'm gonna leave it like that" ... I know of at least six repai nts that have the all-chrome fork "treatment."
But let me emphasize this, lest there be a misunderstanding. Yes, the usual practice was for the entire fork to be chromed, then the blades were painte d, leaving the dropout flats and the crown exposed. But seeing an all-chrom e fork is by no means proof of a repaint... there are at least two other pos sibilities. It is easy to envision someone walking into the Vigorelli and s eeing a pile of chromed forks, liking the look and perhaps asking that the b ike he was being fitted for be delivered with an unpainted fork. Another po ssibility is that an original-paint bike that was otherwise pristine had the paint stripped off the fork because of scratches or flaking (remember, pain t usually does not stick to chrome as well as it does to plain steel... I'm sure we've all seen paint flake off of the chromed portions of a frame befor e it does so elsewhere).
Sorry to go on at such length, but I've gotten six emails about this bike to day and I figure it's easier to post here than answer individually. Oh, one more thing... a few folks have asked about the seller/broker because nobody seems to recognize this guy's eBay handle. Yes, the current owner is listi ng the bike through a broker/friend... I can attest to the fact that there i s nothing shady about the deal, the owner is a listmember whose reputation a s a collector and as a person is beyond reproach. Judging by how seldom he emails me and how few photos he's sent me of the bikes in his fabulous colle ction, my guess is he's just a really slow typist and lousy photographer who finds it easier to turn the listing chores over to someone else. ;-)
Bob Hovey Columbus, GA http://bhovey.com/masi