A Closer Look: 1972 Bottecchia Road Bike

25 Jul

“Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete. Collections allow people to relive their childhood, connect themselves to a period in history or time they feel strongly about, … and to keep the past present.” So says Wikipedia on the psychology of collecting. I agree, especially for bike collectors.

When Cindy and I stopped in at La Dolce Velo last week, I was quickly drawn to this classic steel road bike with a little tool pack mounted on the seat stays. Rob the shop owner quickly filled in details: it’s a Bottecchia road bike circa 1972 loaned to the shop for display. His friend bought it in the late 1970s as a museum piece for his personal collection. It’s never been ridden. It’s never even had its sew-up tires glued on the rims.

Despite my growing stable of bikes, I don’t consider myself a collector. But I do appreciate the elegant lines of a well-made bike so I shot these for my bike photo collection. Meanwhile, Rob told me more about the Bottecchia heritage: how Greg Lemond rode to his first Tour de France victory in 1986 on a Bottecchia and how he chose Bottecchia as the first builder of his LeMond brand bicycles before switching to Calfee and finally Trek.

Do you notice anything unusual about this bike, a part of its history that Rob didn’t mention?

Location: La Dolce Velo Bicycles, San Jose, California, USA.


Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Bike Gallery


15 responses to “A Closer Look: 1972 Bottecchia Road Bike

  1. Rachel Unger

    July 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    It’s never been ridden?! Poor bike. In a shop full of other bikes that will all fulfill their purpose, while it stays inside. 😦

    • ladyfleur

      July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      It is a little sad. But if you can ride a 57cm bike and have lots of $$ to spend, you can give this bike its inaugural ride.

      • Rachel Unger

        July 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        It’s funny – I actually had no idea if that size of bike would fit me. I bought my bike (a large) based on my height, and for once the internet wasn’t helpful in figuring out what that meant. I had to go to the garage to discover that I ride a 54 cm bike! 🙂 Alas.

  2. I Cycle (@I_Cycle_2)

    July 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Lovely bike, specially with the chrome parts.

    • ladyfleur

      July 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      Yes, I love chrome-tipped stays and the lugs–magnifico! Lugs are rare enough these days and chrome lugs a real find.

  3. Stephen

    July 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

    One of my oldest, dearest friends rode one of these in high school in the mid-1970s. I rode with her for miles, admiring both her and her beautiful Bottecchia. I learned from her how to repair sewups, clean chains, adjust derailleurs, etc. We and our friends Mark (Raleigh Competition) and Marcy (Raleigh International) used to ride for hours through the night along the beach on a Friday night when we were trapped in high school. Oh, those were truly the days…

    • ladyfleur

      July 27, 2012 at 4:53 am

      I’m glad the photos brought black such pleasant memories. Sounds like you had a bit of a crush on your lovely friend and her lovely Bottecchia. The 70s were a great time for teens and 10 speed bicycles. I can see all of you riding together along the beach. Which beach town was it? Santa Cruz? SoCal?

  4. Mike

    July 26, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Nearly identical to my own Bottechia – also bought in 1972. Mine was grey, with the model name “Giro de Italia”, but with steel Campy Record equipment. I rode it for 20 years, but rust claimed it… It cost $360 or so in 1972, at the time a weeks pay…

    • ladyfleur

      July 27, 2012 at 5:00 am

      Given how long you rode it, sounds like the bike was worth the weeks pay. You made pretty good money for ’72!

      Even after looking at the catalog, I’m not sure what model this Bottecchia was. That’s a clue to its mystery past that no one took a guess at…

  5. djconnel

    July 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Wow — can’t see what you’re hinting at. Guessing it’s a rebadge, but can’t see any evidence of that. I do note the rear rim appears bent, which is curious for an unridden bike.

    • ladyfleur

      July 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Rebadge is close, but I don’t think that’s it. I noticed something pretty obvious when I looked through the catalog trying to figure out which model it was, the Professional or the Giro.

      • djconnel

        July 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

        Ah! No logos on the frame, of course. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s missing.

      • ladyfleur

        July 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

        Bingo! I suspect the frame was repainted for some reason and they didn’t have the decals. It took me a while to realize what was missing too.

  6. jimhemphill

    November 3, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I have the same bike, which I bought used in 1974. Mine also has no decals. Don’t think it was repainted. A mystery.

  7. Camille

    June 15, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I also have the same bike. Mine has no Bottecchia decals, just the headstock badge. I don’t think mine was ever repainted. And it looks like the bike in this article has Cinelli Campione del Mondo handlebars – like mine came with. Thanks for posting this!


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