My Denti road bicycle

Submitted by Jim Zaun on Tue, 08/13/2019 - 05:07

This 1984 vintage road bike is still in pretty good shape after more than 35 years.

Denti: whole bike with sunset

Click on the image to view at a higher resolution. In this 2019 photo, mini toe clips have replaced the full toes clips to make casual riding with street shoes a bit easier, but this setup can be reversed quite easily as the toe straps are still in place.

History: Mino Denti was an amatuer and professional cyclist from 1964 to 1970. However, a serious bicycle accident in 1970 ended his career as a professional. In the mid 1970s, he turned his passion into sports directing and eventually into frame building with guidance from Girardi (at Bianchi) and Pietro Serena. In the early 1980s, he teamed up with Salvi Ettore of Delta Bike S.N.C, who helped him turn the Denti brand into a larger enterprise. But, the manufacturing operation was never large enough for distribution outside of Europe. Mino left the bicycle industry in the 1990s following disagreements with Salvi over the direction of the brand and moved onto horse breeding. Mino later came back into the industry by reopening his Mino Denti Ciclismo shop in his home town of Travagliato, Brescia, Italy where he continues to produce quality racing machines on a small scale at Via Casaglia, 70.

This unique brand is not often seen in the United States and would make a perfect addition to an unusual collection. Or, it would be the ideal vintage machine to ride in a L'Eroica adventure. This model represents what Mino wanted to achieve in his early years as a frame-builder -- a refined, hand-crafted road racing frame made with lightweight Columbus SLX tubing. This is the work of a true artisan.

I purchased this frame from a pro bike shop in San Diego after my Masi was rear-ended by a car while waiting for a green light at an intersection in 1984. The bike shop owner had recently visited Italy and purchased a few of these Denti frames to take back to the states. The frames looked pretty nice, so I purchased one. I transferred most of the parts from the Masi to this frame. The wheels were completely rebuild since the rear wheel on the Masi was crushed in the car accident. However, my knees were starting to give out around this time when riding hard and I had to cut back. Therefore, the bike never got that much use. Instead, I went bicycle touring with my girlfriend on my Freschi which was less demanding on my knees.

In July 2019, the bike was completely stripped down and fully overhauled over a period of about two weeks. That included recleaning and relubing the crank/pedal spindle bearings, the headset bearings, the wheel bearings, the brakes and all the gearing components. The original white cork ribbon handlebar tape was replaced with Cinelli Cork Ribbon which has remained unchanged since 1983. The tires and tubes were replaced with 700c x 25mm Continental Grand Prix Classic clinthers in the style of the original 1982 Continentals. The previous SRAM chain was replaced with a new SRAM chain. A stripped seat bolt and a worn cable guide were also replaced with Campy equivalents to keep the bike as original as possible but in good working order. I had a bike shop recheck the frame, fork and wheel alignments and all alignments are spot on.

Condition: Used but in very good condition. The frame has no cracks or dents and is not bent. Paintwork and decals are original. There are a few small paint scratches. Some of the steel parts, including the forks, brake bolts and bottom bracket ring, have suffered a little bit of pitting over the years but all parts are working smoothly without any play.

Some of the components are unusual. The rear hub is from the original 1972 run of 500 Hi-Lo hubs made for the German Olympic team. (I have the original sales receipts for most of the components as proof. Campy produced another Hi-Lo run featured in their 1982 Olympic Catalog, but my Hi-Lo was purchased before that.) The 4-hole front derailleur was only manufactured for 6-months in 1978 and is somewhat rare. The Super Record titanium crank and pedal spindles are also uncommon.

Road frame #574 hand-crafted in 1984.

  • 54 cm seat tube;
  • Columbus SLX double-butted tubing;
  • to be completed...

Wheels were custom built by yours truly in 1984.

  • Campy Record hubs, low flange front, hi-lo rear;
  • to be completed...

Road Components are all original circa 1984 or before.

  • Campagnolo Super Record Titanium Groupo including a titanium crank set, a titanium petal set, a rear derailler with titanium bolts, brakes (with recessed center bolts), brake levers, a headset, and a 27.2 mm seat post (consistent with Columbus SLX tubing);
  • Simplex "teardrop" retrofriction braze-on shifters;
  • to be completed...