Gilardi & Umberto Mascheroni Built Some Great Bikes Together, but Info About the Pair Is Hard to Come by. Here’s What I’ve Learned.

Lupo Finally Shows His Face and Gilardi May Finally Have a First Name

Lupo at MilanoSanRemo

I’ve been wondering who the man was standing to the left of Roger De Vlaeminck in  a photo taken at the finish of the 1973 Milano-San Remo since I first saw it posted somewhere on the Internet. The photo was important to me because it showed De Vlaeminck in the original Brooklyn jersey. Equally interesting was the Brooklyn training jacket the older man with glasses is wearing.

I had assumed the older man was Ambrogio or Egidio Perfetti, the owners of Perfetti, the confections company that makes Brooklyn Chewing Gum.

Today, I learned it is, in fact, the elusive bicycle mechanic and bicycle seller, Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni. This is the first and only photo of the man I have seen.

Mascheroni is part of the duo of Mascheroni and Gilardi who worked with the Dreher Team in 1972. Mascheroni, as the team mechanic, hired Gilardi to build the Dreher Team frames. After Perfetti bought the team and rebranded it Brooklyn in 1973, some of the Dreher frames were resprayed blue and used by the team until the new bike sponsor, Gios, could get frames built.  Mascheroni was the chief mechanic for both teams. Gilardi is reported to have retired in 1973.

My interest in the two men stems from the fact that I own one of those Dreher/Brooklyn frames. Mine was race day Belgian sprinter Julien Stevens.

Since getting my frame, I have found three other similar frames, as well as at least one other that may have belonged to Dreher/Brookyn rider Patrick Sercu. I’ve also found several “Lupo” branded frames and, recently, a track frame raced by De Vlaeminck, that were likely built by Gilardi.

This handful of bikes and frames not withstanding,  information about the two men has been difficult to find. This photo fo Mascheroni is exciting, to be sure, but I still have so many unanswered questions.

A new Google search for both men I did last week discovered a 2015 article in Italian by Giuseppe Figini for TBW (Tutto Bici Web) celebrating the life of Mascheroni. In it, Figini references a man named Luigi Gilardi, who I assumed was Gilardi the frame builder. It is not clear, however, that my assumption was correct.

Google searches for Luigi Gilaridi led to a man of that name who was a racer in the early 1900s. According to Wikipedia, he was born Aug. 12 1897  and died July, 19 1989, which is about right for the frame builder.  Figini’s article says that Gilardi was much older than Mascheroni. As a racer, Wikipedia said, Gilardi competed in the men’s 50km event at the 1920 Summer Olympics. It’s entirely possible Luigi Gilardi the racer and Luigi Gilardi the frame builder are one and the same. But, for now, I cannot say that for certain.

What follows is my semi-edited version of a Google translation of the original article. Some parts of it, however, were just too poorly translated for me to confidently correct, so they are left in the original Google English. A link to the article in it’s original Italian is here.

On December 23, Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni, a legendary mechanic of post-WWII cycling and more, will have been dead for twenty years. His name is mainly linked to the olive color, or lizard color, as it is often called, and red-outlined lugs of the legendary Legnano. Director Eberardo Pavesi formed the company with mechanics Umberto Marnati and Mascheroni who, with the Avucatt , lived in the “Norge”. It was so defined, like the namesake dirigible, the flagship of the famous House based in Via Cicco Simonetta in Milan, district of Porta Genova.

The recent book “Legnano”, written by Claudio Gregori and Marco Pastonesi  and published by Ediciclo, covers the rich and fascinating story of the team that boasts among its champions the greatest number of Italian cycling successes in the first half of the 20th Century and beyond.

Mascheroni was born in Cusano Milanino on Dec. 24, 1924. Unfortunately, also close to Christmas, on Dec. 23, 1995, died as a result of the accident with a car at the Bàcula overpass (better known as the Ghisolfa bridge) in Milan while riding his bike home several days earlier on the afternoon of Dec. 11.

He was still full of life and vitality, always active and always “electric” in his movements and in perfect line with the time when Faliero Masi, the great artist and his teacher, baptized him with the nickname “Lupo”. Lupo was known to everyone to have an inexhaustible appetite. As he aged, only his thick and vivid hair had changed color from black to white while his body remained the same.

Alberto Masi, Faliero’s sont, remembered Umberto or Berto, as he calls him, with familiarity and affection. He said Berto lived with his family during the bombardment in their home at via Michelino da Besozzo 20 in the Ghisolfa-Certosa area, also the home of the first Masi workshop. At the time, Faliero, was the technical manager of Viscontea, another historic bicycle brand, and he set his sights on the young, wiry and quick-witted Mascheroni who had just entered Viscontea. Alberto said  his father “baptized” Lupo after he saw him finish off a whole pot of polenta all by himself.

And he cultivates it for his part in the craft indicating at the beginning of the 1950s, to Ugo Bianchi, master frame builder responsible for Legnano. Here Lupo finds another Umberto, Umberto Marnati, who was born in Bareggio, but soon moved to Milan, also in the Ghisolfa area. They formed a relationship that did not break for many years. And then there is another “Legnano d.o.c.” as the masseur or “masseur”, as we said then, Italo Villa. All three worked with the Italian national team when the great C.T. Alfredo Binda raced at the Tour de France and the World Championships.

Marnati was more canvasist than Mascheroni who preferred to carry out the assembly work, mechanical and that, for the loose talk, often in Milan, reflected more the image, perhaps borrowed from the avatar Pavesi, of added sports director and person of relationships with the racing environment. He also was a bit of a “alent scout (but then you did not use this definition) for Legnano and referred to Pavesi. After Legnano, he worked for GBC as a director sportive, then briefly at Salvarani and then at the Dreher and Brooklyn Teams led by Franco Cribiori.

It does not seem appropriate to remember the names of the well-known champions and racers, of various kinds, with whom Lupo has been in direct contact during the long years spent in the race. He used to remember the extraordinary nobility, in every sense and in every aspect, of the Swiss Hugo Koblet—the first foreigner in history to win the Giro d’Italia in 1950—with whom he collaborated, called by the director coach of the national team Red Cross Alex Burtin, in his victorious Tour de France of 1951. A judgment on the pédaleur de charme Helvetic widespread and common among those who attended it.

He also remembered the extraordinary strength and direct, overflowing, sympathy and vitality of Roger De Vlaeminck. The polyvalent Belgian champion, at the time of preparation and measures for the bikes, did not undergo the evaluations and the feedbacks of the meter. A ritual to which he gladly took away. He called Patrick (understood as Patrick Sercu) next to him and, shoulder to shoulder, with his leveled hand, he told the mechanics: “I like Patrick”. And he won, and how and how much he won.

Lupo was very close to another famous frame builder, Ugo De Rosa, often visiting his Cusano Milanino workshop. One —Lupo—very talkative. The other—De Rosa—rather taciturn. Here he also met Luigi Gilardi, for all “il nonu”, his grandfather, affectionately, much later with the years that had been the reference frame of the Bianchi in the shining years. After he retired, he lived near De Rosa and went to the workshop to breathe the scent (or perfume?) of welding almost daily.

A characteristic that distinguished Lupo and made him immediately recognized was the fast pace, the dynasty and the showy suspenders, often with floral motifs, that he wore with ease.

With his colleague and friend Marnati, Mascheroni opened a workshop to make “Lupo” brand bicycles, with a logo that included the image of a wolf’s head and the Milan coat of arms. The shop was in via Baldinucci, an area between the Milanese districts of Dergano and Bovisa, not far from the Certosa area where he lived with his family, Signora Alessandra, his wife who still resides there and their daughters Sonia and Sara.

With a tender, sensitive heart, very attached to his family and very passionate about his work, he was a wolf in name only.

 

A Closer Look at all the Gilardi Frames I Know of

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The various frames that are thought to have even built by Gilardi feature several different styles of lugs and different shaped seat stay caps as well as the smaller unique details. I have no way of knowing when any of theses elements was used or why or how they differentiate one frame from the other. Here, I simply give you a variety of photos to studying speculate on as I have.

Head Tube Lugs

The first style of lug is shown here on the mint-green Lupo frame and the Lualdi Dreher/Brooklyn frame. The common distinguishing feature of the lugs on these frames is the round “notch” cut into the sides of the lugs. Each of the lugs on these frames also show long points, but only those on the De Vlaeminck pista frame are filed thin. And only those on the mint-green Lupo frame have cutouts in the points. In this case, the cutouts appear to be something of an asymetrical diamond shape. Although they are difficult to see in these photos, the cutouts hint at the “tulip” shape of the cutouts on the fork crown and the head tube lug cutouts on the Stevens Dreher/Brooklyn and red, white, blue and green Lupo frames below.

The seat cluster lugs on each of these frames has similar side notches.

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The lugs on the two Patrick Sercu Dreher/Brooklyn frames below have simple, short-point lugs that look to be filed thin. Neither set has cutouts.

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The lugs on my Stevens Dreher/Brooklyn frame are the most “worked” if not the most elegant of all the frames. They feature long, thinly filed points and the “tulip” cutouts. The red, white, blue and green Lupo has similar lugs, although they appear to have shorter points. The fork on the Lupo (as does the mint-green Lupo fork above) has the tulip cutouts in the fork crown, as well.

Head Tube Lug Lower Comparison

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Although not filed and somewhat workmanlike, the The Witberg Sercu frame below has lugs that feature three cutouts. The upper cutouts have the tulip shape.

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These red and copper Lupo frames below have similarly shaped lugs, but different cutouts. The red frame has cutouts on the top and the bottom of the lugs. The upper cutouts look like “primitive” tulip cutouts, while those on the lower sides of the tubes are circles.

The copper frame has a distinctly diamond-shaped cutouts on the top of the long and beautifully filed lugs. But there are no cutouts on the bottom.

While the lugs of both frames have long, thinly filed points on the top, the bottom sides of the lugs are rounded off rather than pointed.

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Seat Tubes Lugs & Seat Stay Caps

Several of the Lupo and Dreher/Brooklyn frames have seat clusters made up of a lug with the same notched cutouts as those seen on some head tube lugs paired with flat and tapered seat stay caps. The mint-green Lupo and the Lualdi Dreher/Brooklyn frame have the noticed lugs front and rear, while the Witberg Sercu frame only has the notched lug at the seat cluster. In the front, the Sercu frame has lugs with long points and the most intricate cutouts. The white Sercu frame is are the only one of these with a nutted seat clamp bolt, as opposed to the more refined Allen type that came into vogue a little later.

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The Gianfranco Trevisan Sercu frame, the red, white, blue and green Lupo and my Stevens frame below have tapered round seat stay caps paired with long pointed lugs. The lugs of the latter two have tulip cutouts, while the Sercu lugs are uncut.

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Rick Sutton’s Sercu frame below appears to have unique caps. Unfortunately the photos I have access to do not clearly show their shape, however. They appear to have a hybrid shape between the flat tapered caps of the Witberg Sercu frame (and others) and the round tapered caps of the Trevisan Sercu (and others) above.

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This red Lupo frame’s seat cluster  also is unique. The lugs are cut out with long, nicely filed points, but the cutout, as with those in the front, is an asymmetrical diamond and the flat seat stay caps are clean, but somewhat standard looking. This is the only frame with this style caps and, taking the BB shell into consideration, I wonder if it may have been built by someone other than Gilardi. .

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The copper Lupo below has a seat cluster similar to the red, white, blue and green Lupo (and others), but has a less-elegant round “point.” Like the red Lupo above, I have my doubts that it was built by Gilardi.

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Fork Crowns

The fork crowns of these bikes vary quite a bit. It is known that when Brooklyn took over the Dreher Team in 1973, some time after Paris-Roubaix, Gios replaced the Dreher forks with their own. All but Sutton’s Dreher/Brooklyn Sercu frame have Gios “GT” logo forks. Even the Witberg Sercu has this Gios fork.

Two of the Lupo frames feature a fork crown with the letter “M” and a tulip cutout. The “M” presumably stands for Mascheroni.

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Sutton’s Sercu frame below may be the only Dreher/Brooklyn bike with the original pre-Gios fork. The crown is unmarked, but the side point is cutout with a small “tear drop.” If it is the original Dreher fork, it would have been red originally, then repainted blue by Gios and later chrome plated, perhaps, again by Gios.

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The Lualdi, Witberg Sercu, Stevens and Trevisan Sercu frames all have replacement Gios “GT” forks. Early-season photos of the riders show them riding blue forks (See photo below.). These may have been the original Gilardi-built forks, repainted by Gios with the frames. It’s unclear when Gios supplied the team with the new chrome forks, but De Vlaeminck can be seen racing with the blue forks until at least Paris-Roubaix 1973.

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Adding to my sense that the red and copper Lupo frame were not built by Gilardi ate their fork corns as seen below. Not only are they the only forks with chrome crowns paired with painted legs, but the crowns are unlike those on any of the other forks.

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Drop Outs

Generally speaking, the dropouts on all the likely Gilardi-built frames are the same. All the frames have long Campagnolo (1010A?) dropouts and a simple flat, scalloped cap at the ned of the stays. The white Sercu frame is the only one with an eyelet, which indicates it may have been built for him prior to 1972.

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While my Stevens frame has the same long Campagnolo dropouts as the other Dreher/Brooklyn frames, mine are drilled out in the way Gios famously drilled its dropouts. Marco Gios said this would have been done (along with the addition of cable guides) by Gios at the time of the repaint.

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My frame is the only one of the four with Gios-style drilled dropouts. Marco Gios said this, as well as the addition of the braze-on cable guides, was done when the frame was repainted Gios blue at the beginning of 1973.

The end cpas on the stays of the red Lupo below are yet another indication that Gilardi didn’t build this frame.

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Bottom Bracket Shells

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Gilardi-built frames is the drilled star pattern on the bottom of the bottom bracket shell. Many of the shell lugs have a circular cutout under the down tube. The serial numbers also are all three-digit numbers stamped on the left (non-drive) side of the shell.

The mint-green Lupo below is one of two frames with under-the-bottom-bracket-shell cable routing as opposed to Campagnolo guides brazed on top of the shell. The placement of the guides likely is the reason the drilled star is smaller than the others.

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The majority of the frames have this larger star pattern, above-the-bottom-bracket cable guides and a three-digit serial number like these below. The Sutton and Trevisan  Sercu frames do not have the circular cutout, but instead a larger oval-like cutout. These lugs extending up the lower side of the down tube appear to be longer than the lugs of the wheels with the circular cutouts.

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Neither the red nor the copper Lupo frame has a star drilled into the bottom bracket shell. This, as well as the other differences pointed out above, lead me to believe these frames were not built by Gilardi.

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Other Details

The Witberg Sercu is the only one with these split-cable brake cable guides.

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I decided not to comment on this silver Lupo below, which I wrote about here, because the photos lack any distinguishing detail. The owner said he bought the frame in 1972 directly from Umberto Mascheroni in Italy and that it has the star pattern drilled into the bottom bracket shell. He promised to send me photos showing more details. Note that the bike has a second set of water bottle bosses and the reinforced bottle cage bosses on the down tube. The owner said he had had these added in 1988 when it was repainted. I look forward to seeing more photos of this bike in the future.

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A Look at Four 1973 Brooklyn Team Frames by Gilardi

I’ve written much about my 1973 Brooklyn frame ridden by Julien Stevens in 1972 when it carried the Dreher livery and in 1973 when he used it for part of the season before Gios was able to supply the Brooklyn team with new frames. But there are at least three other similar Brooklyn frames, each slightly different from the other.

As a quick review, the story of my frame goes like this:

“When Perfetti, the owner of Brooklyn Chewing Gum, started the Brooklyn Team, he bought the complete Dreher Team and his mechanic, Lupo Mascheroni, who was in contact with Gilardi, a frame builder based in Milan. With the riders and the mechanics also came some bikes. Yours is one of those. So, in 1973, while we were making frames for the Brooklyn Team, we took the other bikes and repainted them because we didn’t have time to provide the full team with bikes,” said Marco Gios.

“The drilled dropouts were made by us for sure, when we repainted the frame. Concerning all the history of this frame, it’s impossible to say for sure if it is a Gilardi. Gilardi was just a man, not a brand. There are a lot of frames of well-known brands that are made by other guys. The nice thing about this frame, is that my father is alive and he told me all the history. So, for me, it is a Gios because there is a lot of my family in it,” Gios said.

The story of the three other frames is unknown to me. But it’s safe to say, it’s likely the same.

While all  four bikes share attributes, there may be more differences than similarities. The only consistent thing among the four frames is the star pattern drilled into the BB shell.

Bike 1.

The first frame I found, after mine, is this beautiful original-finish bike owned by Gianfranco Trevisan. He has an amazing collection of professionally raced bikes, including those ridden by Fausto Coppi. His Gios was one of of Patrick Sercu’s bikes, and of the four Gilardi Brooklyn bikes I know of, the one most likely to be the original build.

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It’s difficult to see, but there does appear to be a Sercu sticker on the top tube, next to the Record decal. The frame measures 59 center to top.

I have written to Mr. Trevisan several times, but have never received a reply, so I know nothing more about it than what I could find in the Gios Registry. It clearly shares some characteristics with the other three frames, most obvious, the drilled star pattern in the BB shell, which is likely Gilardi’s trademark. The clamp-on shifters are unique to this bike, however.

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The seatpost is interesting in that many believe the early Gios pantographed seatposts had the GT logo combined with a series of circles. If this is the original seatpost to the bike, it indicates that the GT seatpost may have come slightly later, perhaps in 1974 (?) when it appears on Roger De Vlaeminck’s bike in Gios promotional photos. The caps on the seatstays on this frame are similar to mine and other frames credited to Gilardi and unlike those used by Gios for other Brooklyn frames.

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Bike 2.

Recently, Rick Sutton, the founder of the Sea Otter Classic, purchased this Gilard-built Brooklyn-framed bike from the online, vintage, bike seller Premium Cycling in Serbia. Premium claimed the frame belonged to Patrick Sercu and that many of the parts not he bike are original. Sercu has a history with Gilardi and the frame is his size (59cm), so it’s very possible it was his. According to Premium’s ad, the frame also has the shadow of an old decal that appeared to be five letters long. I have not seen photos of the sticker, nor have I seen the bike in person, yet. I will, soon.

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Photo: Rick Sutton

The frame has similar attributes to mine and the Trevisan Sercu such as the seatstay caps, brazed-on cable guides (believed to have been added by Gios at the time of repainting in 1973) and the drilled star on the BB shell. Although it has beautifully long and filed lugs, they do not have cutouts like mine do. The paint is original.

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Rick Sutton’s bike is the only one without a Gios GT fork. Is this the original fork supplied with the frame when it was used at Dreher?

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Premium Cycling, which sold this bike to current owner Rick Sutton, claimed may of the parts on the bike were original. Among those is the pantographed seatpost, which features the Gios GT logo and a series of circles. Replicas of these seatposts, however, do exist. Mine, for example, is likely a replica. The pedals, toe clips and straps are claimed to be original, too.

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Sutton’s bike is the only one without a Gios GT fork. Could it be the original fork supplied with the frame when it was used at Dreher? Photos of the team in 1973, at least through Paris-Roubaix, show bikes with blue forks. The frames also feature clamp-on cable guides. It’s unknown when the frames were modified and the forks replaced by Gios. My frame, so I was told, was used as a back-up bike after Stevens received his official Gios. It’s possible that the Dreher frames were quickly repainted for the early season, then further modified and given replacement forks late, as they were used as spares, or perhaps, the main bike for some riders.

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The bike Roger De Vlaeminck used through the Spring Classics in 1973 had blue forks and clamp-on brake cable guides, unlike any of these Gilardi frames. Alberto Gios said the frames were later modified by Gios and the forks replaced. The details of when this happened, however, have been forgotten.

Bike 3.

The Gios Registry includes one other 1973 Brooklyn bike built by Gilardi. Like the Trevisan Sercu bike, I know nothing more about this bike owned by Daniel Gennacaro, other than what can be seen in these photo. The frame measures 54.5 center to top (mine measures 55 center to top).

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It’s the only one of the bikes with Gios-style seatstay caps, although they may not be real Gios caps. And, while it appears to have the original finish, the parts are clearly not from 1973 when it would have been used by Brooklyn Team rider Valerio Lualdi.

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Like Sutton’s frame, the dropouts on Gennacaro’s frame are not drilled like those on my frame.

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The Lualdi frame has Gios-style seatstay caps and lug, that are very much like those used on another Gilardi frame that is believed to have belonged to Sercu. (See photo below and story here.)

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The name Lualdi is clear on the frame.

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Although not filed and somewhat workmanlike, the Sercu bike’s headtube lugs (See two photos above) are cutout and more elegant than the lugs on the Lualdi frame. The two frames have almost-consecutive serial numbers–467 for the Sercu and 469 for the Lualdi.

 

Bike 4.

For comparison, here are some photos of my Julien Steven frame. To learn more about my bike, you can read my post here.

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The lugs on my frame are, by far, the most worked among the four frames. While the two Sercu frames have loner filed lugs, mine is the only one where all three main lugs are long, filed to a beautiful tapered and cutout. The lugs on the Lualdi frame are basic and workmanlike.

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My frame is the only one of the four with Gios-style drilled dropouts. Alfredo Gios said this, as well as the addition of the braze-on cable guides, was done when the frame was repainted Gios blue at the beginning of 1973.

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Another Gilardi-Built Frame Surfaces

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.

Another Lupo Bike Surfaces, Including a First-Person Meeting With the Maestro

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Regular readers will remember that I own an unusual Brooklyn Team Gios Torino frame/bike (How I Came to Own a Very Special Gios) built by Gilardi and linked to Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni, the mechanic of the Dreher Team in 1972 and the Brooklyn Team starting in 1973. Information of both men is in short supply. When I find something new, I post it here. (More About Mascheroni and Gilardi) (I Found Photos of a Nice Lupo Frame)

Recently, Michael Salemi of Novi, Michigan, wrote to tell me he has a Lupo frame built for him in 1972, around the same time as my Gilardi-built Gios Torino. Not only does Salemi still have the bike, but he met Signore Mascheroni in person.

Here’s his story:

I have a Lupo road racing bike built for me during the summer of 1972. It cost me $350. I have never seen another one in the U.S. But yes he was a mechanic for the Birra Dreher team.

In the spring of 1972, my brother purchased a Legnano Super Corsa, a high-end Italian bike, at the legendary Harlem bike shop in New York City of Thomas Avenia that catered to racers. As I was planning to make a trip to Europe that summer, I figured I could pick one up when I was in Italy.

When I got to Milano on the train, I stopped at a pay phone, looked up the telephone number of the Legnano factory and called them. In my broken Italian, I ask where in Milano could I buy a Legnano bicycle? All they gave me was an address. I hopped into a cab and it took me to the workshop ofUmberto Mascheroni.

I remember Umberto giving me the once over visually to gauge my size”before he took out a tape measure. He then grabbed a bike hanging from the ceiling —there were a number of bikes hanging there—and indicated I should try it on and ride it around. I noticed on the top tube the signature of Roger De Vlaeminck.

We set up a deal and I was to return in two weeks. That I did. And the frame was beautiful.

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Somewhere in my files—I try not to throw things out—I have the original spec sheet, some postcards of the racers, perhaps the sales order, etc. These were items I picked up when I got the bike.

I knew the bike would be a forever bike, so when I got it, I also got several sets of decals. I had the frame repainted in 1977 and again in 1988 and used the extra decals. During the 1988 repainting I had braze-ons added, which were not common in 1972.

I have no idea if Umberto actually made the frames or not. I don’t recall seeing any brazing equipment around, but then again this was 46 years ago. I’ll get some photos when I can, but the bottom bracket is exactly as you picture it on one of your blog stories—the star thing. It was a distinctive patterning. My frame is SN 221. Built July 1972. The fork has very little rake. The wheelbase is something like 38 or 39 inches (96.5 to 99cm) about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6cm) shorter than most. It rides like a sports car.

The bike I test rode in 1972 was similar to the one I got—one made for road racing like the Tour de France or Giro d’ Italia, which was called a Corsa. The track bikes he built were called Pista. I have never seen or heard of another Lupo in the U.S.

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After dealing with the infernal sew-up tires for some time, I built a set of clincher wheels which, to this day, I still use. The rims are Weinmanns. I built them in the late-1970s. They are rock solid. I’ve kept them true all this time and had to find a set of vintage NOS Robergel spokes when I busted some a few years back.

A few years ago I decided I needed wider gearing as I was no longer 16 years old and located an NOS Campy Rally rear derailleur and a wider Suntour freewheel. I love that bike.

Salemi’s story is amazing and, for me, it lends more evidence to the claims that Lupo was merely a legendary mechanic not a frame builder and mechanic. Like many Italian bike makers at the time, it’s very likely that Lupo used a variety of local frame builders. Gilardi was likely one of them, but Salemi has no idea who built his frame.

The lugs of Salemi’s frame (those that can be seen in his photos) clearly have the extremely long points that my Gilardi frame has. But this is nothing definitive. I hope to get more information and photos from Salemi in the weeks to come. When I do, I’ll post them here.

I Found Photos of a Nice Lupo Frame, but Info Remains Elusive

On Oct. 11, I posted an article based on the research I found on acclaimed Italian mechanic Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni  and how it related to my “1973 Gios Torino” Brooklyn Team frame as used by Julien Stevens in 1972 when he was on Dreher and at the beginning of 1973.( https://wordpress.com/post/fortyfour16.wordpress.com/772 and https://wordpress.com/post/fortyfour16.wordpress.com/768)

Last week, Giampiero Leonetti posted photos of a Lupo frame on FaceBook.  He posted no description other than “Lupo Mascheroni,” but had earlier posted a photo of the same bike and BB shell with Fiorin stickers. My best guess (He failed to answer any questions I sent to him, so the best I can do is make some educated guesses.), he acquired the “Fiorin” and re-stickered it Lupo. I am not sure if the paint is original or not.

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Leonetti’s Lupo, as you can see in the photo below, has the same BB shell drilling as other Lupo frame I have found on the internet. The BB shell cutout on the down tube ( a circle) also is the same as the cutout on my Gilardi-built Gios. And, although I cannot see them clearly, the lugs look similar, as well. Mascheroni was the team mechanic at both Dreher in 1972 and Brooklyn in 1973. According to Aldo and Marco Gios, Mascheroni hired Gilardi to build the bikes for Dreher. When the team became Brooklyn in 1973, Gios was unable to get all the riders’ bikes built in time for the season. Instead, it repainted and modified many of the frames to look like Gioes and replaced the forks. Mine is one of these.

BB Comparison

The Lupo BB shell on the left is the same as my Gios frame BB shell.

Head Tube Lug Lower Comparison

The points on the lugs of my Gios are longer and more elegant than the Lupo’s, but the lugs and cutouts appear to be the same.

One of the best things about Leonetti’s photos is they also feature one of the original fork, which has an “M” pantograph in the crown. The original fork made for my Dreher/Brooklyn frame, was discarded long ago when Gios swapped it for one of their own in 1973. Exactly what the original Dreher fork looked like has been a mystery to me. Perhaps, the original fork on my Gios was the same as Leonetti’s.

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As I found out more about this and other frames, I will update this post.

More About Mascheroni and Gilardi

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This morning, I did more research on Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni and Gilardi and found a few mentions on various Italian and European cycling newsgroups.

In January 1997, La Gazzetta dello Sport pubished this brief article, confirming Mascheroni’s link to Julien Stevens’ Dreher and Brooklyn Teams , Roger de Vlaeminck and Patrick Secru.

“The family of Umberto Mascheroni, known as the “Lupo”, a popular mechanic of the Legnano who died in ’95, asked Don Luigi Farina, rector of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ghisallo, to place a stone to the side of the many remembering the many lost cycling champions. Historical figure of national cycling at the time of Bartali, Coppi, Magni and Alfredo Binda, “Wolf” Mascheroni was also a mechanic alongside Cribiori, De Vlaeminck, Sercu and Zilioli.”

In the Italian newsgroup, FixedForum, an 80-year-old man who went by the username “bimbogigi” in 2012, wrote the following as translated by Google Translate:

“I saw Gilardi personally working on my frame in the spring of ’72 at the workshop of Lupo Umberto Mascheroni in Baldinucci Street in Milan. He was already old-fashioned then and I would say abundantly retired. Since then I have never seen him again.” 

In several other posts, it is said that Gilardi also worked in Bianchi’s Reparto Corse “between Valsassina and Drali” and built frames for or worked for Fausto Coppi.

Mascheroni also is linked to Bianchi and Coppi: “Lupo Milano was a shop of Umberto “Lupo” Mascheroni, personal mechanic of Coppi and mechanic of Legnano and Bianchi. He was renamed “Lupo” by Faliero Masi.

Still another post offered this observation:

“Umberto Marnati and Umbereto “Lupo” Mascheroni (both from Milano, Italy) were the 2 master frame builders in the Legnano Reparto Corse frame building. In 1972 Mascheroni built the frames for the Dreher pro team. Umberto Marnati has been also Fausto Coppi’s mechanic together with “Pinella Pinza d’Oro”. Umberto Marnati has been a frame builder for many pros and for the Benotto team. In 1970 he built frames for the Salvarani Team, bikes labeled Chiorda, but made by Marnati, 2 holes under bb shell). He also built frames for Francesco Moser, and for many champions in the past. He is one of the greatest “not famous” names, like Mascheroni and Pela’ (he built Fausto Coppi’s frames).” 

Although none of the information offered in the newsgroups can be verified, it does seem that Gilardi and Mascheroni worked together, even in 1972 when the Stevens Gios was made. It also seem to confirm that Mascheroni built the frames for Dreher, some of which, including mine, were reused in 1973 at Brooklyn.