Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A classic reincarnated.

This bike stumbled into our shop a little while ago for some long overdue lovin. It was once the beloved bike of Mr. John Eustice US Pro Champ 1982. He passed it along to one of the junior racers he was coaching in the late 80's. Paul, the current owner and former pupil of Eustice, had raced the crap out of it and had long since retired it. Paul decided to fixer up as a single speed to ride about town. I happened to run into John at interbike and told him that the bike was in my shop and was being repurposed. Needless to say he was jealous and wanted it back, I guess that's between them now. I love little pieces of bike history like this, thought i'd share it with you tonight.


  1. From John Eustice:

    And I remain, horribly, jealous...what a bike! 56 center/center with a additional 1.5 cm collar on the seat and head tubes making it a virtual 59 center/top. 58 top tube if I remember correctly with a 73.5 seat angle. The bike was "Freuler" style, after the great Swiss sprinter who introduced the concept of a smaller triangle for big frames. Urs (Freuler) used to have 55 c/c seat tubes but with 5 and 6 cm extended collars on them. This technical change led to the acceptance of compact geometry of today in the peloton. Marnati was a real "Servizio Corsa" builder from Milano. Tiny little shop, he hand built, using "pin and tack" instead of jigs. He also was very much against the using cast lugs, feeling that they fought against the tubing instead of working with it. So his BB's and lugs were all cheap pressed steel. And boy, did those bike ride nice! Vibrant, alive, snappy. The old man built the Servizio Corsa bike for Bianchi, and the son worked for De Rosa in the same function. So Coppi, Argentin, Merckx, Maertens, all had custom Marnati's painted up in their team colors. He used to show me his notebooks with all of their measures scribbled in them. Merckx once had an epiphany - he needed a very laid back bicycle with a short top tube. Marnati, father and son, worked through an entire night building the frame and getting the bicycle painted and built. It was ready for Merckx in 24 hours. Eddy, started the race, rode for about 10k..." good" that was it for that experiment. I think you can still get bikes from him, I used to import them for Kyle. Please take care of it, nothing like that exists anymore.

  2. Wow, best comment I have ever received. Thanks for the expanded story John, I certainly could not due it's full justice.

  3. Terrific post. It's a bit shocking how little information there is on the web about the Marnatis, and the wonderful frames they've produced. I've been running an 80's Corsa as my fixed/commuter for the past two years, it's magic. The craftsmanship alone is stunning. Sadly, it might find it's way to the auction block soon.
    Thanks for the post, these are getting more and more scarce.