Bikes Of Champions: Wilier’s Private Collection Of Pro Bikes

October 21, 2019

– Whilst visiting Wilier,
I overheard a conversation. They’ve got a few special
edition bikes kicking around, so I thought I’d go in
and try and find them, but before I do that, make sure that you subscribe
to the GCN Tech channel, and also click the
little notification bell, so you get alerted each and
every time we put a video live. Right, now that you’ve
done that, we can go in. Come on, let’s go and find them. (upbeat music) That’s right. You know full well if
there’s some old bike around, I’m going to be pretty close to them, and well I’ve just walked into a few here on display at Wilier. First up, this old Wilier
Cento of Damiano Cunego’s. I’m guessing it’s from mid to late 2000s, just judging by the groupset on there, and also the wheels and the
color scheme and everything. The first thing that
strikes me about this, is the sheer size really
of the actual seat stays. I mean look at them. They are absolutely
ginormous in their depth. The width not too bad, but it’s just kind of the
rounded shape of them. These days we tend to see
really slimmed down ones, and it’s just also the big cutout here. No wishbone seat stay, which was quite popular back then too. Now they’ve obviously
swapped the wheels over from what he was racing on on the bike, because we got some carbon pads in there, and of course, as you will all know, I don’t recommend using
that with aluminum wheels, but hey, we’ve got a real
piece of history here. The cassette, 11-23, 39-53. So these days we tend to
see 39-28 as the ratios, but back then it was
almost unheard of really to have anything lower than a 23 sprocket. Some really cool details on the top tube, which I’ve noticed as well, is we’ve got a man, and woman, and a little baby as well there, and then we’ve got 1981,
Cunego’s year of birth, his height, and also his weight on there. And these little bits of customization, you don’t tend to find
on anyone else’s bikes, other than a team leader,
or a national champion, that sort of thing. Saddle as well, pretty much slammed back. Not really center of the rails. Not as extreme as some
bikes we tend to see, but yeah, there’s just not
really much integration going on back then, because
there just wasn’t really the desire for it, it would seem. Now, something really
neat, and quite different about this bike is the fact that it’s got a Chorus front derailleur on there, so we haven’t got Record on. Plus, mounted onto the
front derailleur mount, we’ve got a homemade chain catcher. Now I know these are homemade for a fact, because I remember meeting the mechanic, and him and also the mechanic
from Quick Step at the time, were making them themselves
to go onto the bikes, and he even gave me one, so
I’m pretty lucky to have that, and I’ll have to try to
dig mine out one day, just to prove it, because
I do have one of those. Nice. Homemade fabrication, great. (light music) Oh my word, check this one out. One of Marco Pantani’s bikes himself. Now, the nickname, obviously The Pirate, so we’ve got the pirate
on the top tube already, and we’ve also got this
very special saddle. I remember having one of these. I really do hope I’ve
still got it somewhere. It’s going to be covered
in mold in the loft, but from my hazy memory, I’m pretty sure I never ever sold it. Now, it was a fully integrated saddle, I’m going to try and explain it. So the actual shell and the rails are all built into one, out of plastic, and they are reinforced with a little bit of metal around them. It was so futuristic at the time, I had to go out and buy one. To be honest, it was
absolutely so uncomfortable, and it put me in total agony, but everyone else was jealous, so I was pretty happy with that. And being a bike tech
lover, even back then, I was so happy. Now I say even back then, this bike I guess is from
probably the mid to late 90s, at an estimate, because I
remember getting that saddle in about 97, I would say. Now we’ve got a really long stem on here. Pantani wasn’t a big guy. You know, I just remember his
looking absolutely minuscule, compared to everybody else. The frame looks almost too big for him, but look how much seat post
you had, hardly anything. Remember, this was before
the actual sloping geometry, and compact framesets were around. It’s built out of Easton aluminum 7005. This stuff generally was built in the USA, or it was sourced from
there, the Easton tube sets. We’ve got there a number mount. You don’t see these anymore on bikes. You at home, you don’t know
what you’re missing out on. Used to get yourself a number, and it would go inside
of this little grub screw that would go in there. It would just slot in place. No zip ties, or anything like that. The downside with this,
I’ve got one of these on an old Eddy Merckx, is that they used to quite often corrode, this aluminum, the salt and everything when you’re dripping sweat down, it would corrode and wear away. We’ve also got a cover here on the brake, on the inner brake cable
there for the rear brake. It’s quite unusual almost, because most pros, well they
don’t pay for their bikes, and they’re not necessarily
caring that much, but of course that’s going to cut down on any noise possibly rattling on there, and also stop any grime getting in there, giving poor braking. These wheels, they wouldn’t
have been his race wheels, but certainly a pair of training wheels, and well we’ve got tied
and soldered spokes here. If you look at, I love the craftsmanship when someone does this. A couple there that, you know, maybe it was a Friday afternoon, but there’s some really good, and you can see the strands
of that wire going around. Ambrosio Excellence rims. These were really hard
to get hold of as a kid, when I was growing up. I really wanted to get them, but yeah, they just didn’t
seem to be that popular. So they’re clinchers, and that’s why I say they
weren’t his race wheels, because you can see there the tires. Panaracer tires. They used to make some
really top-end tubulars. Cassette, check that out. 11-21, Shimano Dura-Ace. Yeah, that’s right, 11-21, 39-21. 39-28, modern day equivalent. No, no, not for Pantani,
he just dealt with it. This old Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, I think this was the first
Dura-Ace groupset I ever had. Sealed cartridge bottom
bracket, but was adjustable. Was angular contact bearings in there, and there was a lock ring,
and also an adjusting cup inside of the sealed unit. It was quite a weird bit of kit, really. Most people tended to replace
them with an Ultegra one that wasn’t adjustable, and
tended to last a bit longer. But yeah, this was the Octalink one, which has now been superseded
by the Hollowtech II. We got a carbon fork, but
I mean how skinny it is. Look at it. It looks like it’s totally
utterly slimmed down. Dura-Ace headset. So, we’ve got Dura-Ace headset cups, but the top cap, where it would
normally be a Dura-Ace one, this was when Aheadsets were starting to become popular as
well with road cyclists. We were very late to adopt the technology from mountain bikers, so
we got a Aheadset top cap from Dia-Compe, who of course patented, or invented the whole situation
there, the whole product. It’s really weird not to
see a Shimano Dura-Ace one, but I don’t think they ever made one. In fact, I’m pretty sure that that is just a Dura-Ace upper cup, and that the two adjusting
races are not in place. You got the locking nut, and then the adjustable one. They’ve just removed them. Lovely bike, that. I absolutely love it. Ah, look at this. Right, Igor Astarloa, World Champion 2003. Hamilton, in Canada. I remember that, because my parents went. This wasn’t the bike from that season, because he was riding for
Saeco, the Italian team, coffee machine manufacturer. Anyway, the next year, an
interesting story about this one. 2004 then, when this bike is from, because the previous year
he was on a different brand, but 2004 he rode up
until April for Cofidis, and after that Lampre, so I don’t know which team this is from. I would probably say Cofidis, because I reckon Lampre would
have been on Campagnolo. Just, just a thought,
I should know, I know, but hey, give me a break. It was a long time ago. So yeah, we’ve got full
Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, this is the 7800 one. We’ve already looked at a bike previously with this really elegant looking chainset. I loved it, it was just so beefed up. We hadn’t seen anything
like it up until then. 10 speed, like I said, and we’ve got a really
close ratio in there to. I think it’s a 21, might be a 23. Can’t see, there’s a little
bit of surface rust forming, but yeah, this bike, I don’t know why it’s
got these wheels on it. Xentis carbon wheels. Now I’m pretty sure he would
never, ever have used them, but I do like the way
this bike’s been done. I like this silver, you know the silver effect
on the carbon there. It’s got a few war wounds, where it’s obviously been bashed around and stuff like that, as a pro’s bike is. We’ve got also his name on top of the saddle there, Flite saddle. Selcof seat post, kind
of matching a little bit with the silver carbon. External cables though
still, from what, 2004? Yeah, they got hidden away in about 2008 with the generation that
replaced this groupset, but yeah you can see straightaway, the carbon fork compared
to that bike of Pantani, it’s been really beefed up. Again, no internal cables
here on the downtube. That was something which
nobody really wanted, but ah, I like this one too. I just, I don’t like those wheels. Got to be said. (upbeat music) Oh, now we’re talking, right. A time trial bike of Marco Pantani. Not really renowned for his
racing against the clock, but I think we should
definitely check it out. We’ve got sort of slightly
aero looking tubes here. We’ve got quite a funky
design on the seat tube, where it goes super narrow really, compared to the main bit here, where the back wheel is
getting a bit closer in, of course trying to aid and
enhance the aerodynamics. The downtube, that takes almost like a triangular shape to it, if you like. We’ve got a titanium bottle cage on there, just to save a little bit of weight. Interesting too here, is that it’s held on with screws, like a flathead screw,
rather than an Allen key. We’ve got the Dura-Ace 7700 groupset, again from the mid-90s. We’ve got a 54 outer chainring as well, paired up with what
looks to be a 39 inner. That 54 doesn’t look like it’s
come from the same groupset, because from memory the outer
one was just like the inner, in terms of its finish and everything, and the mechanic, well, obviously didn’t have as
keen eye for detail as me, because there’s a little arrow there. That arrow should actually
be behind the crank, but hey, Pantani, you know, a bit of a better cycling career than me, so I can’t really complain about that. We’ve also got a super short, look how short that front mech cable is. It’s been trimmed all the way, all the way down, it
couldn’t be any shorter. Back one, obviously, you
know, is pretty standard. We’ve got 11-23 cassette on there too. These wheels, I’ve never actually heard of Eolic or anything. We’ve got a Veloflex
Record tubular on there. This is the sort of
thing actually normally you’d use on a track, because they’re super, super fragile. They’ve got like a silk
sidewall I think on there too. Same saddle as like on his other bike we’ve already checked out. The cockpit though, we start to get a little bit interesting here. It’s a big higgledy-piggledy,
if I can say that. It doesn’t really make sense, or translate into any other language, but it’s a bit of a, a bit
busy, we’re going to say. First up we’ve got some adjusting, adjustable bolts on the
lower part of the handlebar, and presumably if I was to
loosen those, not going to, this extension here you
could move slightly. They probably came in different
lengths and everything. And likewise we’ve got another
bolt here for these ones. Now, the bar end shifters don’t appear to be from the same era either. When pros start to go on time trial bikes, they do all sorts of
strange and weird things with their tech, and I enjoy looking at them
probably more than anything, because you find all
these weird little things, such as the elbow pads
or forearm pads here. They’ve been cut in half,
or not really in half, probably have had 1/3 removed from them. I don’t know, I can’t think
why it would ever be done, but probably saves some
extra weight or something. But I just love it, because the diameters on all these things are so small, because it was using a one
inch style A head stem. We’ve also got again a bit of, that’s actually hand painted on there. That’s beautiful, no
decals, nothing like that. Now to keep the brake
cables here in place, as opposed to using black insulation tape, which is the go-to,
really, for most mechanics, and the cables aren’t routed internally, not a lot of room really necessarily. They’ve just used cello tape on there, so they don’t spoil the beautiful yellow, and the Mercatone Uno decals, which have been, again, applied. They put like a water decal
that’s been applied there. Not painted on or anything. And just check out this. So we’ve got a magnet here
for the computer, zip tied on. Can you imagine in the
era of marginal gains, if a pro was to do that now? No, nor can I. They would be absolutely destroyed on social media, wouldn’t they? By all you people out there
wondering about aero gains. Just noticed as well,
yellow and red split fork. It reminds me of like a
jester’s outfit or something. Yeah, interestingly too, it’s a 26 inch front wheel on here, so, or a 650c, so that’s basically how riders tended to try and get super aero, was by putting a smaller front wheel on, to lower their frontal area, and it’s a Michelin
Service Course tubular. No, never had one of
those, that’s for sure. That’s lovely, classic. (upbeat music) All these old pro bikes are
pretty cool, let’s face it, but there is a couple of other bikes I just quickly want to show you, because well, I’m pretty jealous of any kid who got to ride the first one. Oh yes. Check out this. Now, if I was a kid, this in the 70s would have been an absolute dream. Imagine it, little child
wanting to be like mama or papa and have a cool bike. Well we’ve got a mini Wilier here, in that Ramata’d style paintwork. So, in case you’re unaware, the Ramata paintwork is done
through chroming the frame, and then you add through electrolysis a thin copper translucent style paint, which gives it this cool finish. Now this bike, believe it or not, has tiny little wheels. I’d say they’re 20 inch. They’ve got tubular tires on them. That’s right, so we’ve got
a pair of Clement tubulars. Obviously it is from the 70s, they’re perishing somewhat, but it’s got a downtube
shifter there for Campagnolo. Four speed freewheel. And well, it’s actually got
Campagnolo hubs on there too. It’s Nuovo Record on this bike. We’ve got a fluted seat post, kind of pantagraphed if you like as well, so manufacturers, they used
to shave off little bits, and then fill them in with color, just to try and make them
look a little bit cooler too. Now, interesting about this one, is that the brakes aren’t
cabled up the Italian way. So maybe it was destined
for me as a child. Although, it was before I was born. We’ve got a matching pump as well, that’s pretty cool isn’t it? I mean look at that. How nice is that? Everything on the bike has been done with such thought, including trying to make it a little bit lighter, so that the youngsters could
climb up the hills easier, by drilling out the chainring, saving a little bit of weight. The brakes have also been drilled out too, as have the actual brake levers. I love this. This is what I would dream of. I know I’ve said it, but
I’m going to keep saying it. Let me take this one home. (upbeat music) Here we go. The final bike. A wooden one, would you believe? I don’t really know too much about it, but I saw it hanging about, so I thought I’d shove it off too. I would quite like to ride this one. Let me know though which of these bikes has been your favorite to check out. I love it when they let me, well, rummage around inside of an old museum, or some old stockrooms. It’s amazing what you can find. Get involved in the Comments section. Also, who would you like
me to go and visit next? Don’t forget to check out the GCN Shop, at Now for two more absolutely great videos, how about clicking just down
here, and just down here. See you soon.

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