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. However, this very colorful Marinoni was escalated to a higher rung whereas the bike was built to size and custom painted for the selling party.

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 (term used extremely loosely) I notice was the disintegrating Columbus decals. The fork decal was gone, except for a small sliver remaining, and the downtube decal was starting to flake off. A quick trip to eBay and the solution was en route.

The seller of this fine 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, however, this very well could be reminiscent of the Lemond Team Z bikes.

1990 Marinoni Special

Old Columbus decal

1990 Marinoni Special

Freshly 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 it was already crafted, finished and painted, so they stripped it from the original colors (at least I hope it’s been stripped and not just painted over) then repainted it in the original owners desired, custom colors. That, of course, is only my own speculation. Either way, the paint job is gorgeous and 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 may now be lost in time.

As for the rest of the bicycle, the groupset is 100% Shimano 600, including the hubs, headset and sexy aero seatpost. The single pivot Ultegra brakes date from 1988-1990, which is right in line with the vintage of the frame and other details.  Any newer and the group set would have included dual pivot brakes, brifters and an 8-speed.
For the time being, the Shimano 600 group set looks fantastic and functions splendidly, however, the future of this bike could hold an entire group set overhaul and replacement with a 7-speed Campagnolo setup.

The majority of the work was cleaning, lubing, greasing and providing an overall in-depth tune up. Overall, there wasn’t much to do other than replace the consumables (cables, housing, bar tape, tires, etc.) and clean and overhaul moving pieces. The more I worked on this gem, the more I fell in love with how well built and how much 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 my wife to decide as that, and saddle choice, is a very personal item. Agreed upon was Deda dark maroon, which comes close to the maroon paint near the bottom bracket shell. It looks better in person than in the pictures.

1990 Marinoni Special

Overall, I am very satisfied with not only the purchase but the way this gem turned out. This is one that will certainly be a permanent member of the stable that sticks around for a very long time.

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special

1990 Marinoni Special
1990 Marinoni Special

© 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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