Okay...let's beat the zombie horse...
Benotto's made in Mexico with the following characteristics:
1. Made from roughly 1981-82-83 all the way into late 1980s... 2. Modelos:
850 1000 1500 2000 3000
3. The track equivalents in the Modelo 850-3000 range...
With regular use - from as little as a week to as much as a year WILL CRACK AND SEPARATE WHERE THE SEATUBE MEETS THE BOTTOM BRACKET SHELL.
I know because I used to sell 'em, and my own - a Modelo 2000 did the same. A dozen in the above model range from various years went out from my shop - all came back. Every last one...within a year of being sold.
Benotto upgraded their gruppos in 1988 and 1989 - but they did not resolve the frame issue - Benotto died in terms of its North American operations. Dealers just dropped 'em - period. Benotto never recovered.
The Modelo 5000 SL Turbo made with Gilco/MS was made in Italy and was unaffected.
The Modelo 800 made with Hi-Ten steel was made in Mexico and was also unaffected.
The Modelo 850-3000 range using Zeta, Aelle, Ishiwata 019 and SL and made in Mexico were the victims.
The Modelo 3500 made using Columbus SLX - up in the air as to the above noted issue. I did see one that suffered a downtube - heatube separation - but could not determine whether it was made in Italy or Mexico. So whether Modelo 3500's - assuming some were made in Mexico - are affected by the noted issue is inconclusive based upon my experience.
I love Benottos - especially the 5000. My suggestion to those who buy those Modelos in the affected date and model range - don't ride 'em. Pretty them up - wax 'em - hang 'em up for "oohs" and "ahs".
Also, some tips for those perusing eBay and looking at nice Benottos that appear to be alright.
1. If the seller does not flat out state the "Made In" specs and provide a photo with the decal to prove it - proceed with caution.
2. Pay attention to sellers who provide one or two dozen nice photos with tons of up close details and such highlighting the "WOW!" factor...
... BUT!!! ...
...somehow seemed to miss taking photos of the following areas:
1. Upper front of seatube. 2. Lower front of seatube. 3. Upper top of downtube.
..it is deliberate because knowing what I know...they are hoping you don't know and won't notice in the midst of a nice library of pretty convincing WOW! photos of the bike or frame. That's where the "Made in Italy" sticker is supposed to be IF IT IS MADE IN ITALY.
One thing you'll notice is that most Modelo's 850-3000s that are intact and have seen considerable use are located in Europe...you'll see quite a few on eBay European listings. Most of the Mexico production was for North and South America.
Robert Shackelford San Jose, CA USA
> To further beat a dead horse, I just gave away a very nice late 80s Mexican
> made Benotto frame simply because the previous owner had installed a Shimano
> headset and had cut the steerer tube too short to install anything else. I
> had wanted to fit it out with Campy components, but there weren't enough
> threads to accomodate a Campy headset stack height. As far as the quality of
> the Mexican build, I think it was pretty darn good and you would be hard
> pressed to tell that it wasn't Italian made if it wasn't for the made in
> Mexico sticker. The only gripe I had with it besides the headset was the
> decaled headbadge. I would have preferred a metal headbadge or something a
> little more elaborate than just the name in block letters. The fishnet fade
> paint job was a little quirky, but that was coming in to vogue in the late
> 80s with other Italian makes. The angles were all Benotto and it was built
> with Columbus SLX tubing, threading was Italian, lugs were very nicely
> finished. Depending on the price, I would say that a Mexican built Benotto
> would be worth considering. Others may have a different opinion.
> Fred Durrette
> Summerville, SC