Odd Italian brand Lusa

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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I have no idea as to the history behind this name, nor have I seen the logo with 4 clover leaves (it is not a 4 leaf clover [w/stem]; all separate leaves in this case). Many "BMZ" built frames had actual 4 leaf clovers.

I don't know if Lusa is just a brand name or the name of the builder also. There may be no connection between the Lusa name and the clover leaves; one could be related to the builder the other to the marketing brand. All decal remnants and outlines show as "LUSA" including missing head badge. There are no discernable remnants of decals of the clover logo, but there are obvious signs of other missing decal hands on the seat tube.
Campy drop-outs front and rear (portacatena type). Columbus "SL" frame. Columbus steerer, but no helical ribs; Columbus dove logo stamped into steerer has the old 2 wing style logo.
Only marks I found are on the BB shell ("53" & "54") which are seat and top tube c-c lengths respectively. 122mm head tube, 125mm rear fork, 41cm stays, 27.2mm seat post.
Frame seems to be very well built; chrome is in excellent condition (one small blemish on fork).
Given the features I would date the frame circa '78 to '79. Columbus decal and portacatena drop-out would not be pre-'78; Columbus decals changed circa 1977, 1978, and 1979 (from 2 wings to one wing, and other design changes); steerer has 2 wing dove stamp (decals went to single wing circa 1978); under BB cable routing, recessed nut brake mount, bottle cage mounts.
During the mid to late 70s Columbus decals changed enough to date a bike frame to within a couple years, but that was only (like with old parts) if old stock decals were being used, especially by small builders. I suspect that the steerer tube was okd stock either from the builder's supply or fron Columbus themselves having to sell off their old stock still having the old 2 wing logo stamped on them.

Any guesses?

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This is a back back burner project. Just seeing what info might be had regarding this marque.
 
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juvela

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
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the portacatena provision when combined with the lack of freni incasso provision brackets the date fairly closely

shell appears to be a BOCAMA Professional with three reliefs added


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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Old Milani bikes with 4 leaf clover are one brand I'm familiar with, but definitely not the same.

Photos from Classic Rendezvous
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juvela

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
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you've really found a rare one here

checked for you at all the fora where am registered and none of their search engines turned up an instance of this marque

bf, veloretrocourse, tonton, veloagogo, retro.uk

have not checked the italian language fora

forum member @MauriceMoss is likely to be able to assist here...

he seems to be familiar with EVERYTHING 😄



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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
@juvela ,
You're correct, Maurice seems to come up with it on the first shot. I had something pop up on a search, but I do not have any internet in the sticks where I live except my cell which is spotty also. Before I lost the signal or battery died there was mention of Cinelli (raced for, apprenticed for and/or built for: no idea?), and seraphim or serafin. I never got to the site to check so waiting until after work (I can't search on the work computer). No hits yet for the name Lusa.
I had seen another example similar to the Milani clover logo, but on Biemmezeta/BMZ built frames under different brands names. I don't have a BMZ frame/bike to examine, but it is definitely not the same as this 4 leaf design.
 

MauriceMoss

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Thanks for the tag @juvela!

"Lusa" was at one time branding for a shop in Figline Valdarno (southeast of Florence) called Lusatti - a shop that that is still in business (and has been since 1946). The only name that seems to show up on these frames is Aldo Lusatti (not sure if that was the founder of the shop or not).

These are pretty rare - I think I've seen fewer than 10 examples over the years. Most of the ones I've seen are from a narrow period from mid-late 70s to mid 80s. Some were badged "Lusa," some "Lusatti," and some had both names, like the one below:

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Whether they actually built frames on premises or had them contract made, I don't know. Taking into account how infrequently these show up online, the short apparent time frame of production, and features of the available examples, I'd guess they were contract made.


As for @Jesper's frame - the way frame size is stamped on the bb shell is not something that was commonly done and I can think of only two companies that did it: Viner and Daccordi. The frame's overall features, including that bb shell make me think Viner here.
The fact that both Viner and Daccordi stamped size in an identical way is interesting. However, I'm not gonna hijack this thread with rumors that Daccordi built some of the Viner frames 😉.

This is what I was thinking of when I mentioned Viner - here is a bb shell from one of the 'stella' Viners:

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Anyways, this is a cool bike and definitely deserves to be restored and out of the road again.
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Thanks @MauriceMoss
I just finished trying to research this before I read the post. I found that the pantogragh is similar to that of the former Cinelli builder Serafino Tomi. I don't know if there is any connection, but in an interview I found, Tomi relates how; "During my time ('75-'80) ALL Cinelli bikes were made at the Cinelli workshop, there were no outside makers though there was sort of an agreement that workers at Cinelli could come in on the weekends and make frames for themselves, limited to two a week." Makes me curious if he made any frames for Lusa/Lusatti during his stay at Cinelli, and before he started building under his own name in the early-mid 80s.
I do have a mid-late 70s Viner Pro (w/star cut-out/pantos) so I can do a close comparison and look for similarities.
I am pleased to have found another fairly obscure brand, and I will happily keep the name alive. I like the clover decals and overall livery on the prior post's example; better than the one that was initially on the frame, but I will see if I can find a set to bring back the original look.
 
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Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
Image of Tomi clover leafs.

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Closest design as yet, but only outlines on the examples I've seen. Newer frame than mine so possible that the design evolved.

There is a 70s (?; per website statement, would presumably be working at Cinelli which makes pre-'75 dubious) Tomi on vintage steel bikes, but their photos are not displaying. That bike may be conclusive as to the logo design difference if it also has outlines instead of cut-outs or vice-versa.
I might then be able to conclude if the Lusa/Lusatti examples were or were not made by Tomi, or were possibly built by another of the multitude of small Italian builders who were seemingly running out of ideas for symbols to mark their frames.
 
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