A Collection of Girardengo bicycles and information

Girardengo_Italica1

I gained an interest in the Girardengo marque innocently enough, by stumbling across one in a listing. It was in rough condition when I saw it but I took it home anyway. In my search for information on this bike it became clear that very little was known about them, just bits and pieces here and there. In what is probably a character flaw, I took it as a challenge to find out more. I felt that with a little effort I could certainly find out a bit more. The information I find will be compiled here along with any photos for at least a minimal record of the brand. Your contributions are welcome, just send me a link in the comments section below and I will upload any relevant photos and add the to the collection. Please provide any additional info you can with the link, the year of bike, it’s location, any other relevant info etc.

Any comments I make on the bikes below are not meant as criticism, they are meant to identify what may or may not be a “period correct” part or component. If for example, a frame is said to be from the 1950’s but the brakes are from the 1960’s then that should be noted. As to how any particular bike should be built, well ultimately that is up to the rider. There is no reason that an older frame cannot have upgraded components. There is no correct build for a Girardengo that I am aware of.

This page is in its infancy but will be an ongoing project, updated as new information is acquired. As stated above, your contributions to the knowledge base will be greatly appreciated.

The original Il Campionissimo

Born in northern Italian town of Novi Ligure on March 18, 1893, Costante Girardengo was blessed with a great natural physical talent, a talent which manifested itself in his first year of racing as a professional cyclist, 1913. Girardengo was only 20 years old at that time, and he had become the Italian National Road Race Champion. He went on to accumulate an impressive number of wins throughout his career, which lasted until 1936. Two Giro d’Italia wins, three Giro di Lombardia, six Milan-San Remo, nine times Italian National Champion and there would have been many more victories but for the war.

He was known for his dominating his fellow competitors, often having time for interviews before his nearest rival would finish the race. Costante was the original Campionissimo or Champion of Champions, a title bestowed by Italian cycling fans of the era. Only two other riders have ever shared that honor, Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi!

Girardengo passed away in February of 1978 near the place of his birth. He was 84 years old at the time.

An interesting side note: Costante Girardengo won the longest stage ever of the Giro d’Italia in May of 1914. It was a mountain stage of 430 km (267 mi) from Lucca to Rome!

The bicycles

Girardengo bicycles was founded by Costante and his two sons, Luciano and Ettore in their hometown of Novi Ligure. Their bicycles first appear in 1933 and they are a co-sponsor for team Maino/Girardengo-Clément. Maino likely collaborated with Girardengo on production of the bicycles since he had raced for them for many years and they apparently had a long relationship. Maino, no doubt also hoped to prosper from the association with the Campionissimo. Sometime in the late 50’s Giovanni Maino died and his companies assets were sold to Atala. At this time it is likely that Girardengo was entirely independent from Maino in their production. It is said that assembly of the bicycles was moved to the prison in nearby Alessandria in the 1960’s though manufacture of the frames may have been done elsewhere.

In the late 60’s there seems to be a lapse in the Girardengo timeline, though there are examples of Girardengo bicycles that can be found through the 1970’s, even some later mountain bikes have sported the Girardengo name. It is likely that in the mid 1960’s any proprietary production ceased and the name was licensed to other manufacturers, which marked the end of the era for the Girardengo marque.

There is a letter however dated February of 1969 that was recently offered on eBay. It was on Girardengo factory letterhead and signed by Costante himself answering a request about his racing past. It shows perhaps that there was still some activity at the factory office at that time.

Bikes and frames

Here you will find many examples of Girardengo bicycles that have been scoured from the web. The bicycles range from 1933, likely the first year of manufacture, on through the early 1960’s. When known the probable date of manufacture will be posted in the caption.


1933 Girardengo in Italy

This is perhaps the earliest Girardengo bicycle known. It is believed that 1933 was the first year of production. It shares many characteristics with Maino bicycles which supports the idea that Maino and Girardengo collaborated on their bicycles.


1935 Girardengo

An interesting display even if it seems a little staged, but appears to be original!


1936 – 38 Girardengo off eBay

This is an amazingly good early model. The only fault I can find is the stem and handlebars are from the 60’s, but still are a good choice for this bike.


1938 Girardengo


1938/39 Girardengo by Maino

At this point Girardengo was a sub brand of Maino, but when Maino was sold to Cesare Rizzato in 1939 Girardengo became an independent marque.


Late 1940’s Girardengo, restored #7583

This is probably one of the nicest old Girardengo’s out there, beautifully restored!


1947 Girardengo


1947 Girardengo, resto

Paris Roubaix / Corsa dropouts


1949 Girardengo #37667


1952 Girardengo, #32484


Early 1950’s Girardengo


Mid 1950’s Girardengo, #41319

The inter-webs said this was a 1962 model but the head badge seems to be from an earlier year. I believe it to be a mid-50’s.


Mid 1950’s Girardengo, #42715.

Owned by Hans from Sweden

Before resto


Mid 1950’s Girardengo

This one looks like an older repaint to me, but nicely done. Also may be a bit of a parts bin bike with its mix of components. The components range from the late 50’s to early 60’s but the head badge is definitely 1950’s.


Rough late 1950’s Girardengo


1959 Girardengo


My 1959 Girardengo

This is how I got the bike, before dis-assembly and before any repair efforts were made.


1962 Girardengo, #60334

Before

After, also at this link 


1962 Girardengo

This one is incomplete but what remains appears to be original. Local license tag fixes this as a 1962. The seat tube badge is perhaps unique to this particular year.


Early 60’s Girardengo

 

Another early 1960’s model

A 1963 model from eBay


1963

This frame is probably a second tier model from the mid 1960’s. It is similar to the 1962 model shown above with the second badge on the seat tube. The seat badge version on the 1963 shows the “Champion of the world” wording.

Another 1963

This one has now ended up in my stable. It was generously offered by a follower of this page.


1970’s Girardengos

This group is harder to date but are likely later models. Most are probably produced under license and have little connection with the original marque.

 

Another very similar model to the one above.

This one is said to be a 1970 model.

Also a 1970 model.

Ditto for this one.


1973 Girardengo Vittoria Pro Team

This bike looks mostly original with the exception of aero brake levers which were added later. Also interesting are the unknown down-tube shift levers which I have not seen before. Rear derailleur (if original) dates this one to 1973.


1976 ?

Mostly unidentifiable components on this one make it hard to pin down. Brakes appear to be Universal Model 125 which would date this to 1976 or later.


1977 Girardengo, lower tier

This one is an example of a “licensed” bike, a Girardengo in name only. It bears little resemblance to previous models and appears to be low end in every way.


Known Head Badge dates


Head badges and Pantos


Publications and advertisements

*In addition to the various items below we have a scan of a complete catalog from 1950.


Misc Photographs

30 Responses to “Girardengo Barn”

  1. Jack Says:

    Hi, I have a Girardengo bike as I know nothing about it, it has dual headlights and a seemingly girls frame, I would like to know more information on thr bike and I can send you some pictures if I could just get your email.

    To Ryan

    Sincerely Jack

  2. Chuck Bentley Says:

    Ryan. Did you get my photos of the 2 Giradengos.
    Regards
    Chuck

    1. Oldairhead Says:

      Hi Chuck,
      I did get those and thought I had put them up but I guess that I didn’t yet. I should have them up soon!

      1. Jeffery Nye Says:

        Hello Ryan,

        Thank you for creating a website for the Girardengo!

        I got my frame set two years back from the original owner who raced the bike and had it chrome plated many years ago. The fellow didn’t keep the head and seat tube badge and lost track of its make.

        I am bow seeking the two missing badges.

        I plan to use a pair of my Girardengo fenders and period Italian parts to make a town bike.

        All the best, Jeff

        >

      2. Jack Says:

        Hey is there a way I could send you pictures to get some information on this girardengo I have, it is not in great shape but seems very old as the kickstand is a two post, it has a 3 speed selector, white tires with tan tubes, it’s green with Olympic Rings and has very odd material handle grips, I have never seen anything like it and I would love more information!

  3. Chuck Bentley Says:

    Hi. I am glad I found your site. Thanks for putting it together with such good info and photos. I would like to add to your knowledge base with info about 2 Girardengos that I have. Both were bought in “61” for 2 brothers that were friends of mine. The bikes were identical when new but lived very different lives. Both are unrestored. I am figuring out what to do with them. The George bike was stored well and would probably be a pretty easy restoration. The Bill bike was stored poorly and is rusty. I have lots of photos that I will share if I figure out how to do it.
    Regards. Chuck from Freedom, California

  4. Ryan Bontrager Says:

    Hello, Thank you for cataloging history and Girardengo’s frames so well. I have two friends who have his bikes. My buddy Randy has 2 with serial numbers 616 and #09737 with Alessandria Badge seat post tube badge. He’s hoping you might be able to help date these frame. I would be happy to send you photos is that would help. Thank you from Santa Cruz, CA

    1. Oldairhead Says:

      Hi Ryan,
      Pictures are the key to trying to date any Girardengo bicycle. Currently as far as I know there is no known database of frame numbers for Girardengo’s.One thing that adds to the challenge is that the frames were built in several locations, even during their most productive years. One thing that might help is that frames where the number is displayed on the lower head tube lug may have been manufactured by RIH of the Netherlands under contract to Girardengo. I believe they did the higher tier frames for a number of years.
      Really all I am doing here is to offer as much information as I can along with photographic examples. It will be up the the user to try and assess the common elements with their own examples. If you have any images that you have have that you would like for me to include on the site please let me know.

      Good luck!

      Lonnie

  5. Joe Rannazzisi Says:

    Good Morning. Thank you for providing a great resource. I am fascinated by the history of Girardengo. I purchased a late 1950s Girardengo pale yellow/red road bike (basing the date on the late 1950s badge) that I am restoring. It has one pedal that is badly rusted with a toe clip attached (also rusted) . It has Gran Sport derailleurs universal extra side pull brakes, an ambrosio adjustable stem and a Girardengo stamped crank set. I am trying to identify the make of the pedals for this bike. My question is whether Girardengo made/used its own pedals or did they come with campy or another brand. If so, any idea what pedal would be appropriate for late 50s Girardengo bicycles? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to stay period correct so I repairing components but one pedal is missing and the other is too rusty to salvage or determine the make. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!.

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Hi Joe,
      Girardengo used many suppliers to outfit their bicycles and as a result there really is no “correct” spec of components. The variety of vendors they used was probably based on cost so you would often see some lesser known brands. They would also use Campy or TTT but probably in lots that were being sold at a reduced cost and not the newest items. The pantographed components (like the crankset) are most likely built by another company like Magistroni for Girardengo. I personally believe that any mix of Italian parts from the 50/60’s would be appropriate. The parts you have mentioned all sound like good choices. If you are looking for components that would be period correct for the build then I would look to Velobase. They list pretty much everything that was made for bicycles in most categories. It may take some time to sort through the pedal choices to find something Italian from the period you want but there will be something there. Keep in mind that pedals designed for steel crank-sets have a shorter threaded shaft on the spindle than those made for alloy cranks. An alloy crank-set needed the longer threaded area to be sound.

      You will likely find more Campy pedals if you want Italian but Atom and Lyotard made some nice period pedals as well. If you need something just so that you can ride it until you find what you want then MKS or some other Japanese brands look good too. Good Luck!

      http://velobase.com/

      1. jtrannazzisi Says:

        Thank you for your guidance/advice! This is the first Girardengo for me so I will take my time with it. Hopefully I will have it in riding shape by spring. Thank you again for the help. BTW, is there a registry for these bikes?

      2. oldairhead Says:

        Joe,
        There is no registry that I am aware of. As you have probably realized there is very little that is known about Girardengo bicycles other than surviving examples.

  6. Rui Says:

    Hello, I’m totally new to Girardengo, but I started doing some digging today because my Motobecane died and a friend had this in his shop..
    It looks like one made after the decline of the brand and under licence somewhere, but I never saw that thing on the back and the colour scheme looks like 70s?

    https://www.karpett.com/girardengo

    (its just a page i made on my website because I couldnt find a way to upload the image..)

    if anyone has any idea of what this is, would be appreciated, I like to know th story of things, thanks in advance

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Hi,
      Interesting, is that some kind of a town bike? It’s not a great pic but it looks like it has some kind of luggage rack attached to the rear. Is that original or added on? Anyway keep us posted on what you are doing with it.
      Lonnie

      1. Rui Says:

        Hi,
        yes it looks like the rack is original, it has the same finishing as body, its strange, I wanted to keep the original decals and paintwork because I prefer that, 🙂

  7. Kevin V Powers Says:

    I have a Giardengo Alessandria which I’ve had since 1970. How do I determine when & where it was manufactured? Thank you, Kevin

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Kevin,

      To the best of my knowledge there is no definitive way to determine this kind of information on Girardengo Bicycles. These bicycles have been manufactured at several locations by contract builders over the years, and later were even sold as “licensed” Girardengo’s after their production had ceased. Even dating a frame can be difficult without a definitive code to refer to! Until more info comes to light we are all guessing. Good Luck!

      Lonnie

  8. Fabian Arbizu Says:

    Good morning from Argentina, I want to know if it is original Girardengo, since it has decals instead of metallic insignia, all its components are Campagnolo, the handlebar and stem do not see what brand they are, and the brakes are weinnman, frame colombus.
    Everything is of very good quality
    But I don’t know if it is original Girardengo
    thanks for your help
    I have photos to show you

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Hello Fabian,
      I am not an expert, simply an enthusiast, but I will help if I can. You can send photos of the frame for me to look at. Please include close ups of the lugs and dropouts, along with locations where a badge might have been located on the head tube and seat tube. It will simply be my opinion and nothing more. Send to the following address.

      lonnie at oldairhead dot com

      Cheers!
      Lonnie Wolff

  9. Jeff Nye Says:

    What a great resource, thank you for sharing this.
    I have a frameset that I suspect is a Girardengo, it is missing both head and seat tube badges, and was fully chrome plated possibly in the 1980’s. Would you be willing to look at photos and perhaps advise me?
    Many thanks, Jeff Nye

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Jeff, you are welcome to send me pics of your frame. All I can give you is an opinion which will be worth what you pay for it. You can send them to
      lonnie at oldairhead.com

  10. rusty Says:

    I have a bare frame and fork (decal said Girardengo but is now stripped), serial either 590409 or 50409 (second digit indistinct), has the boss and the hole drilled in the dropout for a derailleur pivot spring. Can you estimate a date?

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Hi Rusty,
      Currently there is no known list of data or characteristics to help make definitive judgments about the age of any particular Girardengo frame. Photos are perhaps the best tool to use, and the best to hope for is to compare your frame to others and look for similar characteristics. Until more resources become available an approximate date is the best we can hope for. Send me some pics as well as other information you may have and maybe we can get you close to a date. Good luck!

  11. Dwaine Says:

    Hi. Very interesting page. Thank you for creating it. I have a Girardengo that my father bought for me in Hong Kong in 1987. I now have it for sale if you are interested. I fully restored it with Campagnolo C-record about 12 years ago and it has not been ridden since. I live in Australia.

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Send some pictures if you can.

  12. Rob Tornai Says:

    Very informative and interesting site! Thanks for the effort. I recently acquired a mid 1950s twin top tube Giradengo setup as a single speed with nice chrome lugs. Components seem to be mostly period correct/orginal: Universal brakes, Magistroni cranks, Ambrosio hubs/stem/bars, proper head badge and seat tube sticker, Sheffield Sprint pedals, Ideale leather saddle. Here’s a link to some pics: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zt1oeoomooxtmd5/AABj8Ld0R1jX5JsdGrGaP52la?dl=0

  13. William Lorenz Says:

    Great site. I have a Girardengo frame from the late 50’s. Looks like it has the period correct head badge and also has a seat tube badge that reads “Champion Of The World” stripes and “Trade Mark”. All the color has faded away just like the head badge. The only original parts that came with the bike were Universal Brakes, a 1959 Campy front wheel,and a ringed seat collar clamp. Have photos if you would like to use them.
    Thanks

  14. Hans Mirsch Says:

    Thanks for establishing this website. I have also been searcing for info regarding my Girardengo, which I bought in september-18. The bike is from the mid 50’s and will be renovated shortly. Please advise me how I can send you pictures of my bike.
    Kind Regards
    Hans Mirsch
    Sweden

  15. John Dowd Says:

    Couldn’t figure out how to respond to the author of Girardengo Barn. Just wanted to thank him for all the research he did. Brought back many memories. I had a Girardengo as a teen in the late 1950’s.
    If you could forward my appreciation to that author, I would appreciate it.
    Thank you,
    John D.

    1. oldairhead Says:

      Thanks for your interest! I have added a comment box to the bottom of the Barn page and moved your comment there. It is a work in progress still and I have more to upload. Cheers!

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