Saturday, January 16, 2010
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!