Bianchi Folgore 1948

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Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
16,225
17,095
Evans, GA
#1
At least that's what I think it is. Serial numbers seem to be a little confusing on these but this one matches up to the catalog pretty well except for the guard which I believe must have been an optional accessory. I always wanted a vintage Bianchi in Celeste with the Cambio Corsa drive train and when this one showed up I had to make the deal. Thanks to @juvela for advice prior to purchase. I'm not sure if I'm going to leave the guards (chain and mud) on it or make it more race looking. Pedals are on the way and as soon as I can get a decent set of levers, cables, and new tires I'm gonna give this thing a try. To shift you have to let it free wheel, flip the top lever out to release the wheel, and pedal backwards while moving the lower lever to a new gear. The you pedal forward and lock the top lever back. This is going to be like learning how to drive a clutch for the first time! I would call the paint pretty decent but still an amateur job and they used the wrong decals/stickers. I'll fine tune both the aesthetics and the mechanics to get this one right again. If anyone has a set of period Universal levers I'm in the market--one of these is broke. V/r Shawn

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rollfaster

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Dec 28, 2012
7,660
6,725
52
Ol' st. Lou
#2
Very cool bike Shawn, really dig these old Bianchis. Gonna make a killer rider!
 
Likes: dnc1

Blackbomber

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 23, 2018
189
245
43
Connecticut, USA
#3
So nice! I had a Japanese made Bianchi in the ‘80s. Would love to own a Celeste green one now. I’m not to picky on model and equipment, as I’m presently riding an electro-forged Schwinn lightweight.
 
Likes: dnc1

kccomet

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Mar 23, 2009
772
914
Independence, United States
#6
pretty cool, Cambio corsa, pretty seldom seen. I had a pretty rough unknown bike with cambio quite a few years ago. I sold it to an old racer, he got it up an running and would shift would little effort. I'm sure it would take a lot of practice to be fluid. great find, the one I had is the only one I've ever seen in person. I could do without the chain guard, but that's just my taste
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
16,225
17,095
Evans, GA
#7
pretty cool, Cambio corsa, pretty seldom seen. I had a pretty rough unknown bike with cambio quite a few years ago. I sold it to an old racer, he got it up an running and would shift would little effort. I'm sure it would take a lot of practice to be fluid. great find, the one I had is the only one I've ever seen in person. I could do without the chain guard, but that's just my taste
Yea I'll probably remove the mudguards and chain guard and go for the corsa look. I already have a restored Bianchi seat on the way and hope to resolve the brake lever situation soon. I learned how to ride a unicycle so learning how to shift this shouldn't be too difficult! V/r Shawn
 

non-fixie

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jun 5, 2011
28
31
Yurp
#11
Ah! So that's where those levers came from. Seeing that at least one previous owner lived in France, it reinforces my suspicion that that's where they came from.

Pretty bike! I'd keep the mudguards. So very Italian.
 

Sven

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 24, 2017
936
1,836
54
Mechanicsville, MD, United States
#12
Nice score!!! This has a real "suicide" shift.
 

juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
389
452
Playa del Rey, United States
#13
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Headset tip -

In case you have occasion to service the proprietary Bianchi integral headset it requires the use of two horizontal pattern pin tools as made by Park or VAR.

Do not attempt to hold or turn either the adjustable race or the locknut with pump pliers or similar tools, even with cushioning. This will only gall up the finish, as we can see someone has already done to the locknut knurling in this photo:

2pt5szt.jpg


The VAR pin tool Nr. 13 is a handy one to have in one's kit as it handles both horizontal and vertical pin holes. Its pins are made replaceable.

4kk4ep.jpg


jl3yj8.jpg


1zveh6g.jpg


An acceptable alternate tool for adjustable races is the VAR Nr. 78 headset plier. It jaws a specifically designed not to gall finishes.

2eg8bnn.jpg


---

This headset employs 1/8" balls.

Bearing cups are pressed in to the ends of the head tube. Their inside diameter is nearly identical to that of the inside of the head tube making them difficult to knock out in the usual manner. If one has the Campag head cup removal tool, or similar, one can wedge a socket into its open end such that the tines will gain purchase on the edge of the bearing cups for removal.

11i2rzm.jpg


Beginning sometime in the latter 1950's Campag started offering a headset in this Bianchi pattern. It is found on Specialissima model cycles of the 1960's era. Had occasion to service one - smoothest turning headset have ever encountered.

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FOLGORE is Italian for lightning or thunderbolt.

During the second world war Macchi designed and built a fighter aircraft of this name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchi_C.202

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Last edited:

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
16,225
17,095
Evans, GA
#14
-----

Headset tip -

In case you have occasion to service the proprietary Bianchi integral headset it requires the use of two horizontal pattern pin tools as made by Park or VAR.

Do not attempt to hold or turn either the adjustable race or the locknut with pump pliers or similar tools, even with cushioning. This will only gall up the finish, as we can see someone has already done to the locknut knurling in this photo:

View attachment 917927

The VAR pin tool Nr. 13 is a handy one to have in one's kit as it handles both horizontal and vertical pin holes. Its pins are made replaceable.

View attachment 917928

View attachment 917929

View attachment 917930

An acceptable alternate tool for adjustable races is the VAR Nr. 78 headset plier. It jaws a specifically designed not to gall finishes.

View attachment 917931

---

This headset employs 1/8" balls.

Bearing cups are pressed in to the ends of the head tube. Their inside diameter is nearly identical to that of the inside of the head tube making them difficult to knock out in the usual manner. If one has the Campag head cup removal tool, or similar, one can wedge a socket into its open end such that the tines will gain purchase on the edge of the bearing cups for removal.

View attachment 917973

Beginning sometime in the latter 1950's Campag started offering a headset in this Bianchi pattern. It is found on Specialissima model cycles of the 1960's era. Had occasion to service one - smoothest turning headset have ever encountered.

---

FOLGORE is Italian for lightning or thunderbolt.

During the second world war Macchi designed and built a fighter aircraft of this name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchi_C.202

-----

Good info. Thanks to Google translate I am picking up some Italian! When I go the I hand tightened the headset using a rag. Before I actually ride the bike I will invest in the proper tools and make sure it is set up properly. I am currently in the process of tracking down the correct parts and am awaiting some overseas parcels. I may have to throw a set of interim levers on it. I have a deal done on a set of Universal Model 39s but it will be April before the guy can get them to me. If anyone has a set in the meantime I'm interested--spare parts are not a bad thing! V/r Shawn
 
Likes: dnc1

juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
389
452
Playa del Rey, United States
#16
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Au sujet de la potence -

Nothing amiss with your excellent researches! ;)

As you suggested (via PM) the stem does indeed seem to be a product frankish.

Have located three other machines fitted with them, all were of French origin and all were roughly 1950's era. The firm evidently produced both steel and alloy stems and bars.

Here is one being worn by an Automoto dated by its owner as ~1950. Appears same model as thine:

2lksp00.jpg


Discussion thread on the machine located here:

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=24838&p=268275&hilit=potence+EMR#p268275

1950's era Broune berceau fitted with one is discussed here:

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=38236&p=395181&hilit=potence+EMR#p395181

This Terrort mixte ca. 1950 wears a steel welded E.M.R. stem/bar set:

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=14536&p=165111&hilit=potence+EMR#p165111

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Since you have established that stem is from a French manufacturer there is a good possibility that it will be of metric/french size, i.e. 21.9 or 22.0mm outside diameter. The bicycle's Italian dimension steerer is designed for a stem of 22.2mm diameter.

Stem's clamp , if unmodified, is likely to be the 25.0mm size.

Stem's original binder would likely have been produced by ALGI.

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Plausible stem for the machine would be a steel Ambrosio Champion. Two alternate makers would be Schierano and Varese. If alloy preferred Ambrosio did make alloy I-beam pattern stems at least as early as late 1930's. It was common in this era for sports/road cycles to be fitted with steel stems and alloy bars.

Edit, images added:

Ambrosio Champion steel stem a) .jpg


Ambrosio Champion steel stem b) .jpg


Ambrosio Champion steel stem c) .jpg


Ambrosio Champion alloy bar .jpg




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Last edited:

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
16,225
17,095
Evans, GA
#17
Here are what the correct bars and stem for my bike look like. I believe these were made by Ambrosio for Bianchi. The ones shown below are on EBay Italy now for $500--I'll keep what I have until I can find a more modestly price set. Actually I believe I just need the stem and if anyone has one they would sell please contact me. V/r Shawn

Bianchi stem and bars.jpg


Bianchi stem and bars1.jpg


bianchi stem and bars3.jpg


bianchi stem and bars4.jpg


bianchi stem and bars5.jpg


bianchi stem and bars6.jpg
 

juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
389
452
Playa del Rey, United States
#18
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No shortage of outstanding researches on your part Shawn!

Stem looks to be an early or proto Champion, lacking only the more commonly seen "AMBROSIO CHAMPION" markings on the side. This is the first Champion pattern stem have seen with the flat head binder. All the other examples have worked with or seen online have had the domed/bullet head binder as seen on the chrome stem posted above.

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