The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles

Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Corvallis, Oregon

1990 Marinoni Special

Purchasing a bike from an original owner is always a special experience. Even more when there’s a story to tell. This vibrant Marinoni was escalated to a higher rung, being purchased with a specific size in mind and with custom paint that came in a roundabout way.

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special

The frame came to me in superb shape, being almost flawless, with exception of a slight scuff here and there. Really, the only major flaw, and I use the term loosely, was the disintegrating Columbus decals. The fork decal had nearly vanished with exception of a small sliver remaining. The downtube decal was damaged and starting to flake off. A quick trip to my favorite decal vendor and the solutions were en route.

The seller of this lovely machine informed me that this Marinoni was built for his wife and was painted in colors which she picked. Apparently, they were the colors of a favorite Tour de France team at the time. To me, they are reminiscent of the Lemond Team Z bikes.

1990 Marinoni Special

Old Columbus decal

1990 Marinoni Special

Updated Columbus decal

While researching and receiving advice on correct replacement decals, I was informed of the “Riverniciato” flag on the original Columbus decal. This means “Repaint”. Curious, I contacted the Marinoni shop in Canada and was told that “the original colour was Silver, pink and blue. Columbus SL tubing equipped with Shimano 600 components”.

This makes me think that the frame was the right size for the original owner but may have already been crafted, finished and painted, so it was stripped of the original colors then repainted in the original owners desired, custom colors. That, of course, is only my own speculation. Regardless of the story, the paint is gorgeous and quite obviously done by the factory. The story adds some nice depth to the acquisition but I am afraid that the real details of what went on are now lost in time.

As for the rest of the bicycle, the groupset is 100% Shimano 600, 6400 series, including the hubs, headset and that very sexy aero seatpost. The single pivot brakes date from 1988-1990, which is right in line with the vintage of the frame and other details. Any newer and the groupset would have included dual pivot brakes, STI shifters and an 8-speed.
For the time being, the 6400 series looks fantastic and functions splendidly, but, there is a chance the future of this bike could hold an entire overhaul and replacement with a 7-speed Campagnolo setup. Only time will tell.

The majority of the work was cleaning, lubing, greasing and providing an overall in-depth tune up. In the end, there wasn’t much to do other than replace the consumables (cables, housing, bar tape, tires, etc.) along with cleaning and overhauling moving pieces. The more I worked on this beautiful machine, the more I fell in love with how well built and attention to detail was taken on its construction.

1990 Marinoni Special

This purchase, thankfully, fits my wife perfectly. I found it a bit humorous at the slight differences she felt compared to her former Univega Gran Turismo. The difference, to me, is night and day in every sense of the word.
I had a hard time with what color and type of bar tape to go with but in the end, I wanted her to decide as that, and saddle choice, are such personal details. Agreed upon was Deda dark maroon, which comes close in shade to the maroon paint near the bottom bracket shell.

1990 Marinoni Special

Overall, I am pleased with not only the purchase but the way this beauty has turned out. This is one I can see being a long time, permanent member of our stable.

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special
1990 Marinoni Special

This bicycle is currently for sale

Color: Blue, fluorescent yellow and maroon metallic fade
Frame Size: 54cm (C-T) seat post & 54cm (C-C) top tube
Frame/Drop-outs: Columbus SL; Campagnolo
Fork: Columbus
Bars: 3TTT Grand Prix
Bar Tape: Deda; Marinoni branded bar end plugs
Stem: 3TTT
Headset: Shimano 600
Saddle: Terry; Black
Seat Post: Shimano 600; Aero
Shimano 600; Shimano 52/42; 170mm
Front Derailleur: Shimano 600
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 600
Shift Levers: Shimano 600
Brake Levers: Shimano 600
Brake Calipers: Shimano 600; Shimano pads
Cable and Housing: Dura-Ace SLx; Gray
Cassette: Shimano Hyperglide 7-Speed (13/14/15/16/17/19/21)
Shimano Deore XT
Shimano 600
Wheels: Ambrosio 19 Extra Super Elite; 700c; 36 hole; Shimano skewers
Tires: Vitorria Rubino Pro; Black; 700×25c
Pedals: Unbranded city pedals; Champagne and silver
Special Features: Double bottle mounts; Exceptional lug work with pantographed Marinoni seat stay cap and fork crown; “M” bottom bracket cutout; Internally routed brake housing; Pump peg; Chain rest


My how time flies.

Just shy of a decade ago, this post was born providing my absolute delight in acquiring such a gorgeous, hand built machine. The years have ticked by, other bikes have come and gone, yet the Marinoni hung dutifully in the permanent side of the stable. It waits for summer in Oregon, which limited its time to only a few short months. Then it waited for the right time that my wife felt like climbing into the saddle. This, again, was limited to an even shorter span of months. As lovely and dreamy as the fade paint is, it has been clear that usage has slumped in favor of more comfortable, less aggressive, bikes with longer, lax touring geometry or the laid back, upright luxury of a fine city bicycle.

The Marinoni has been with us on a few different home relocations. Some small and insignificant. Some, well, large and complex. Although it has only been ridden a handful of times in its decade of ownership, it did receive a few small chips along the way. Mostly from moves and not ride rash. Marks of character, as I’d like to think of them. These are something I haven’t touched up and likely won’t. These small blemishes will be left for a new owner to work with. An hour out of a Saturday afternoon spent mixing tiny bits of Testors paint to find the right blend is all it will take. Once they crack the pigment code, they’ll have nearly a flawless time machine from 1990. Or maybe they’ll leave the frame as-is. It certainly won’t affect the ride. Bring the paint to perfection, or don’t. So long as it sees more time on the asphalt, I’ll sleep well at night.

Updated images are below. Pricing, purchasing details and contact information are on the For Sale page.

© Josh Capps and The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Josh Capps and The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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