Updated: June 11/2020
This ca 1964 Bianchi Specialissima was originally sold by Peter Rich's Velo-Sport Cyclery (Berkeley CA). His was one of the first shops to import quality Italian bikes to the U.S. Bianchi was founded in 1885 (Milan, Italy) by Edoardo Bianchi. Besides bicycles, the company produced motorcycles (1897 - 1967), and has been associated with some of the biggest names in cycling history (e.g., Girardengo, Coppi and Gimondi, to name a few). The Specialissima was first introduced in 1956, but it is in the 60s that it became Bianchi's top model, replacing the Campione del Mondo. Coincidentally, it is also in 1960 that Campagnolo introduced its one piece Record alloy hubs, alloy seat post, Gran Sport headset and Record front derailleur, components that defined the next decade. It is interesting to note that the 1940 Bianchi catalog only lists two racing bikes, the Folgore and Freccia, the rest are all commuter bicycles. In the 40s and 50s the racing models were the Folgore, Folgorissima (1949), Paris-Roubaix (1950), Tour de France (1952), Fulmine, and Campione del Mondo (1953). Some of the name changes are a direct result of Coppi winning Paris-Roubaix in 1950, Tour de France in 1952 and the World Championship in 1953. The first example of a Specialissima that I have seen, was a 1960 model. The 60s Specialissimas have serial numbers starting with either 160*** (ca 1960) and 164*** (ca 1964). The example that I have is a ca 1964 model. One distinguishing feature between the two series of bikes is the number of chrome band adorning the seat tube. The 160*** series has 2 equal size bands, while the 164*** series has 5 bands (1 large band and 4 small bands, two on either side of the large chrome band). There is also an example of a bike sporting a 161*** serial number, but this is an exception. It was also made known to me that the leading 1 was reserved for Specialissimas. THE BIKE Frame: Bianchi Specialissima with Columbus SL tubing. Paint, chrome and decals are original, although the paint has been touched-up. Brakeset: Universal mo. 61 calipers and levers Handlebars: TTT Grand Prix Stem: TTT Grand Prix Special Headset: Bianchi proprietary Shifters: Campagnolo Record Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Record with cable stop Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Record with steel pulley wheels Crankset: Campagnolo Record No date code, 151 BCD. After 1966 BCD was changed to 144. Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record Pedals: Campagnolo Record Strada with NOS Binda straps and Christophe Special toe clips. Wheelset: Campagnolo "no Record" hubs (36 hole) laced to Fiamme green-labelled rims using NOS Robergel (France) spokes and nipples. Record was added to hub barrels in 1963. Chain : NOS Regina Gran Sport Freewheel: Everest G. Caimi-Castano 5 speed Seatpost: Campagnolo Record 27.2 Saddle: Brooks Professional from 1967 (B 67 date code).