Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bikes I love: Benotto Modelo 3000 c1980

Between 2004 and 2007, the gang at R+R in Wellington NZ undertook a variety of vintage racing bike renovation projects.

The full story of the history of this Benotto will be told by Robbo at some stage, but needless to say it is a beautiful thing. To be accurate, they are beautiful things. In the end two bikes were completed - when in true Murphy's Law sense, after a year of searching the globe 2 came up in succession on eBay - one in Minnesota and one in California.

Robbo's intent was to rebuild a bike dear to him from the early 1980s in Europe - with his original Campagnolo 50th anniversary groupset, one of the few that must have actually ever been raced (as opposed to locked away in a cupboard to admire from time to time).

Having taken so much guidance on what was authentic on my restoration of a 1979 Bianchi, we knew the result with the Benotto would be spectacular. After securing the bikes back to NZ (most of the parts from which were set aside, as they'd been modified over the intervening decades), the hunt was on for NOS (new old stock) components to fill the gaps.

One of the most interesting was the Benotto handlebar tape. I took up cycling later in the 1980s when this horrible stuff had been surpassed by gaudy padded cork tapes, and never had to endure gripping the cold slippery, hard as nails stuff.

Some evil petrochemicals must lurk in the recipe for this tape as the package arrived in the mail with the colour unfaded after 25 years on the shelf.

New decals were prepared by Photoshop guru Brent Backhouse from scratch, the frame painted by the late Ross Bee (after much debate on the precise colour - Dave was pretty sure Ross had some left over in his garage from a respray of the original bike!) and suitable rims obtained for the hubs. A missing front hub from the 50th anniversary set took 9 months to find on the web.

All in all, I suspect Signor Giacinto Benotto would be as proud of the result as he is showing the world the Benotto 3000 Tour of Italy special edition on this advertisement. Bella!


Marcy said...

July 13, 2010
Wow, really enjoyed the article. I didn't realize my vintage Benotto Modelo 3000 was so cool. I had it custome made in Truckee, California in I think 1986. Rode it for quite a few years. It is in excellent shape, decals and all. The BB serial# reads 8-34-51 and 2033??? There is also a heart on BB. Over the years I did change the gimpienne pedals and the seat. Same 3t handle bars and Modolo rims. I don't ride anymore and was thinking about selling it. While trying to find out its value I came across your article. May I ask you if you know the approx. price I could get for it. If I choose to sell it. Thanks so much for all the info. Marcy Reno, Nevada USA

Unknown said...

Hi Marcy thanks for the comment. Vintage bikes are very much valued by their rarity, components and condition. We paid a few hundred dollars for the base bikes in this story, added about $1,000 worth of parts and labour (eg painting), dozens of hours searching for components... and the end result might be worth $1,000 for a perfect as new bike. In original condition, still only a few hundred I'm afraid. Polish it up, hang it on the wall with love!

Anonymous said...


The bike looks great - any chance of giving more details on the parts you used? ie what rims and hubs did you use?

I am just starting the restoration of my Benotto 3000. One thing I am struggling with are the downtube shifters - the shift bosses are round, and campagnolo shifters seem to require a square boss. Do you have a similar experience by any chance?



Anonymous said...

what would the same bike as in pic signor gianto benotto looking at be worth today

b4awl said...

The 'skinny'...All the catalog descriptions are mine. Mine and David Balkin's, circa 1975. I was living in Mexico City, befriended Benotto there and became his U.S. rep. Leah was his wife, two daughters Betina and Elizabeth. Gildo and Walter helped at the European trade shows and Nicasio Romero was his man in Panama. It did not take long to figure out that this guy was on a gigantic ego trip and had no intentions of ever delivering any of the bikes(sales we booked at any show) NYC, Cologne, Paris, Chicago etc. He was a millionaire, old and having fun. Heck, at the close of one Coliseum (NYC) show, the wine bill at Tavern on the Green was over $800. Giacinto was a 'trip'. If Garlian Jenkins is 'out there' (Conrad's)he will remember me selling him the '3000'show bike (built by Pela in Torino). Stories, stories..Laundering $$$ to Switzerland, getting laid, food. He liked a certain clothing store in Torino 'Olympic Fashions'. Giacinto bought a jacket, me too. Giacinto bought shoes me too. For nearly 4 years I lead a 'bicycle rock star life'. Sorry, mostly all 'Benotto' bikes are junk or fake or made in Panama or Mexico (shop was in Atizapan de Zaragosa. One year the pay clerk was shot and killed returning with the employee pay..Pick a decal, any decal..I named all the models. I know of only one real '2700' also Pela made for the Milan show in 77' the year Moser won the WC in Sn. Cristobal(OMG getting laid again)Look up 'Competitive Cycling' all my pics. The only 'real' bikes' even the '1500' were made in Italy for the shows. The rest, like I said, junk from Mex. or Panama(getting super laid there).Sorry to disappoint, Giacinto (RIP) was a fraud.

Anonymous said...

I should say that a 'Cecco'- Moser team-mate (with Sanson team) told me Francesco had his frames built/made by Ugo (De Rosa) and the official 'Benotto' decals were an addition.

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