DINO ZANELLA "Special"

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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Great frame built by Dino Zanella who was a master frame builder for Colnago (both production and specialty frames). Fairly hard to find Zanella frames nowadays (I have not seen another of this version), and they are much more expensive than they were about 10 years ago. I'm not sure when Dino passed away, but I don't think the shop has produced any handmade racing frames for some time. The shop is still open, but selling shop branded factory commuter bikes. If you have a Colnago from the 70s-80s you may very well be riding a Zanella frame.

This "Special" model frame has Columbus "SL" tubes and a Columbus "AIR" fork; Cinelli BB shell. Campy rear drop-outs and Gipiemme front drop-outs. Engraved head badge, BB shell, and top tube signature. Since I just stripped a bike I have full set of parts ('91-'92 Campy Chorus/Croce d'Aune) to throw on it and get it on the road in a week or so. It takes a 27.2mm post, and has a 127.5mm rear fork so it is either an odd size, or has been cold set previously; I assume the latter.. I do not find it to be an issue since it was probably 126mm, and it should not affect me whether I use a 6 or 7 speed cluster. Excellent paint work that I would assume was outsourced since is rather custom work. Earliest Zanella frames had decal head badges and not engraved ones so I assume this to be mid to later 80s, possibly very early 90s; I don't know when that style "Air" fork was in use, but that would also help date it. I have yet to contact the shop
for possible information. This frame will be in the stable for quite awhile unless I find another one of smaller stature (51-53mm), but I've ridden larger frames for decades; ST 56.5mm c-c, TT 55.5mm c-c.

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HBSyncro

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sweet frame and just my size! Haha. Did he make his own branded frames while still working at Colnago or he left to start up his own shop?
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sweet frame and just my size! Haha. Did he make his own branded frames while still working at Colnago or he left to start up his own shop?
I know he made self-named frames in the early 80s (circa '82-'83), but I don't know the exact timeline between him leaving Colnago and his starting his own business. I doubt that there would be much overlap (maybe a year?) with him having to build frames for 2 companies unless he was limiting production to a great extent for one or the other. I would still like to know when Ernesto last built a standard production frame, or for that matter even a specialized steel frame. I like the fact that many of my bikes were built by the man whose name is on the head badge; not something that can be done with a company that needs to outfit professional teams and the general public on a fairly large scale. I think that is why someone like Pelizzoli sold off Ciöcc circa 1980 (retired from Ciöcc circa '91) just after that brand collected some big wins. I believe he wanted to maintain his integrity with producing high quality frames which was probably becoming difficult with increasing marque fame and a growing business.
 
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Jake1

Look Ma, No Hands!
Never even heard of the name before. I would love a frame with that fork style. What years were those being used? I read that the Air tubes were introduced in 1980. I have an 80s (mid?) frame that says Air on the fork, but it looks different from yours; pretty normal design so it might be completely different or much earlier.
 

bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Very 90s-looking steel frame. My '98 Moser Forma has the fork (sans pantographs), and was one of the last lugged-steel frames available.
Pretty sure mine is a re-badged DeRosa Primato, though the dropouts are stamped Moser (obviously Aldo didn't make his own dropouts).
My Forma and the OP frame share a common graphics theme.
 
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Jake1

Look Ma, No Hands!
Nice looking bike @bulldog1935 . Looks like a different fork though. I saw a similar Zanella fork on a Tommasini Air frame, but Tommasini also had another "Air" fork that might have been a proprietary design and not Columbus blade.
I believe that is what I have. A Tommasini Prestige with their Air fork. I think it is mid 80s.
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I believe that is what I have. A Tommasini Prestige with their Air fork. I think it is mid 80s.
If you could post a photo of that fork/frame I would be interested to see it. I have a weird Tommasini frame, but it has no model name, and although Tommasini only made high end racers folks somewhat decry it as a contract build. I personally have a hard time believing that Irio let anything bear his name that didn't come from his shop; possibly an apprentice built range of frames that didn't get all the bells and whistles, but still high quality nonetheless. I have seen only a few examples and all have a decal implying it was made directly for the US export market: "la bicicletta italiano per il corridore americano" (the Italian bicycle for the American racer). I don't have a Tommasini fork for it (yet!); had a Bottecchia fork when purchased. I got rid of a Prestige model due to size and profit!
 
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