A Collection of Girardengo bicycles and information
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. Constant 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: Constante 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!
Girardengo bicycles was founded by Constante 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 Constante 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.
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.
Rough 1950’s Girardengo
My 1959 Girardengo
This is how I got the bike, before dis-assembly and before any repair efforts were made.
This one appears to be a 1962 model. If it has its original parts then the rear derailleur is the key. It was a one year of manufacture version.
This frame is probably a second tier model from the late 1960’s. It is similar to the 1967 model shown above with the second badge on the seat tube.
This one was probably produced under license and has little connection with the original marque.
Another very similar model to the one above.
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.