Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bici d'Epoca - sort of cheap!

Decisions, decisions. Eroica CA in 2017? Why not? But what to ride? Fly back at the end of our 2016 season with the Bianchi that's in Italy? Just to fly it back again for future bici d'epoca events over there? That's probably $400 just in back-and-forth luggage charges!!

 Following our standard " a bike in every port" philosophy, let's see what can be found on ebay instead. How 'bout this SCAPIN, a venerable Italian brand created by Umberto Scapin in 1957? The brand was acquired by Italy's Olympia consortium in 2005 and are still in production today, though they all seem to be carbon fiber machines these days.

This one turned out be a "Frankenbike" once unpacked and taken apart - needing far more work than the seller indicated. (Yes, that's why you got terrible feedback Mr. Ebay seller!) but since it was a) perfectly straight,  b) rust-free, c) the right size, the decision was made to keep and restore the poor thing.

Based on the seller's description, paint-work looked to be avoidable, but the poor thing had some serious paint damage on the downtube, plus some knucklehead had decided to mount a second water bottle cage (this bike dates to the mid-1980's when two bottles were not so common) by simply drilling into the seat tube! No brazed-in bosses, just threads tapped into the .6 mm tubing!! Luckily, there were no cracks in this area, but proper braze-ons were needed, which meant a repaint as well.

So off it went to The Color Factory in NJ, our go-to for reasonably-priced paintwork on projects like these. They could braze in some proper bosses for the second bottle, bead blast the whole thing and lay on a nice coat of bright and shiny red paint. The chrome was in good enough condition overall to be worth saving and they did a nice masking job on the difficult seatstay/seattube area. Not only that, they painted in most of the details on the frame in contrasting white. GRAZIE MILLE!!!

Fresh paint of course means fresh stickers. The SCAPIN logo would have been tough for our local sticker guys to copy, so VELOCALS suppled some nice replicas, easy to apply over the paint and resistant to fading, since this low-cost project would not be clear-coated. Larry couldn't resist adding a Made-in-Italy and Columbux SLX sticker (once he verified the seattube did indeed have the special rifled butts characteristic of this tubeset) to complete the restoration.

A mix of components similar to the Bianchi project will be installed later, including a leather-wrapped NOS bar/stem from ITM. Now Heather's thinking of Eroica CA 2017 you might see another of these projects on the blog soon.

If you're interested in an EPOCA bike like this for yourself, let us know. Late summer/fall of 2016 would be a good time for us to put one together for you. That was the plan with this one until this bike came around on ebay and moved the schedule up by about 6 months.


  1. Ciao Larry - don't see many Scapins in the US. Plentiful in the Veneto when I was there 10 yrs ago. Even got measured for one when we visited the factory. They were still making steel then, though looked like production was winding way down. Steve F.

  2. Steve F. exactly the reason I bought this one! They always had a good reputation but were fairly rare in the USA. I wanted something different than the Bianchi in Italy - everyone likes it and I get a lot of compliments but there are dozens of 'em. Probably won't have this one built up until the fall of 2016?

  3. Nice bike Larry, I'll look for you at Eroica CA in '17. If you want to do a similar type ride next fall you should check out Cino Heroica, it's a 2 day event and great fun IMO.

    BTW, I have an early 90s Scapin MTB with Euclid.


    1. When is this event for 2016? Might be a good test-ride for this Scapin...and its rider?

    2. It's normally the weekend after Labor Day so it should be Sept. 10-11.