Since buying Julien Stevens’ Gilardi-built, 1972, Dreher Team-turned-Brooklyn Team frame a couple years ago, I’ve been gathering information on Gliardi, the legendary frame builder credited with building the frame, and the mechanic-turned-bike-seller, Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni he worked with.
Although I have found a little info about Mascheroni and have found a few of his Lupo frames and Lupo bikes, details that clarify just who he was and what he did as a mechanic and bike seller are scarce. Even more scarce is information about Gilardi.
Recently, this Witberg bike showed up on FaceBook. Like the other bikes and frames I’ve found, there was almost no information on this one. The drilled star pattern on the BB shell is Gilardi’s trademark, so it’s clear to me that it is a Gilardi-built frame. Based on the pantographed stem, it presumably was once owned by Patrick Sercu.
Gilardi and Mascheroni have both been linked to Sercu, who also was on the Dreher team where Gilardi built the team’s frames at the request of the Mascheroni. And there are at least two Gilardi-built frames know to have belonged to Sercu. One, a 1973 Brooklyn bike in the collection of Gianfanco Trevisan is confirmed to be a Sercu bike. The other, owned by Rick Sutton, has yet to be confirmed as such, but it also seems to be one of Sercu’s 1973 Brooklyn bikes.
If the Witberg bike is actually one of Sercu’s, is unknown to me. If it is even a Witberg bike also is unclear. It has a Gios fork, so it could be another Gilardi-built Brooklyn frame repainted off-white, as mine was.
All I can find so far is that there is a bike shop named Witberg in costal Oostende, Belgium, about 40-minutes drive from Ghent. I also found another cream-colored Witberg bike and this brief note. “Witberg was a shop in Oostende (BE) and the first importer of Shimano in the Benelux/Europe. He also imported Ishiwata tubes.”
The second bike features an Ishwata-tube frame with the same head badge as the Gilardi frame and spec’d with an early black, Shimano Dura-Ace gruppo.
Looking at this Gilardi frame, I can make a few basic, but fairly useless, observations. The dropouts have fender eyelets, which some racing bikes had in the 1960s. The seat clamp bolt also indicates an older, pre-1973 frame. The split brake cable braze-ons, however, are interesting and something I cannot explain. It’s the first time I’ve seen them on a race bike of this era. Most bikes pre-1973, used clamp-on cable guides. Many still did into the mid-1970s.
The components are clearly Campagnolo Nuovo Record, but no dates are clear. And I’m not enough of a Campy expert to note any special features that may help ID the year of the bike. They do appear to be early Nuovo Record, however. And by early, I mean pre-1972ish. But using components to date bikes is iffy. You never know if the parts were changed or updated later in the bike’s lifetime.
I do find it curious that the stem is a Cinelli with the oval logo and an Allen-bolt clamp. Cinelli used a 10mm nut until about 1972. The stem is paired with a set of 3TTT bars. Presumably, the stem clamp ID is 26.4 and the bar clamp diameter is 26.0.
As I learn more about this bike, any other Gilardi-frames, Gilardi and/or Mascheroni, you’ll see it here.