This Bike at Bedtime dives into the world of cycling legend Fausto Coppi, and more particularly, one of his lovely Bianchi road bikes. This expertly-crafted machine, reportedly built by the legendary frame maker Luigi Valsassina in 1946, is arguably a true testament to Coppi's impact on cycling and his quest for technical perfection, and we've spotted it's available for purchase from steel-vintage.com... yours for £103,505 (or your very best offer)!
Dubbed the Fausto Coppi Personal Bianchi Road Bicycle, this masterpiece will have fans of classic steel bikes drooling. Meticulously reinforced lugs, Campagnolo Corsa shifting and other rarities adorn the frame, and Coppi's name is etched on the top tube. Imagine turning up for L'Eroica on this?!
The frame still has the serial number visible on it if you weren't convinced it was the real deal, and it's one of half a dozen frames (three for road, three for track) made for Coppi by Bianchi's 'Reparto Corse' elite manufacturing and engineering squad. According to the Steel Vintage listing the actual frame builder was Luigi Valsassina, a well-known Italian master frame maker most active in the 1940s and '50s, who also worked for Cinelli.
The frame's lugs, especially those securing the seat stays and steering tube, reveal 'unique design enhancements'. It's thought they could have been reinforced to deal with the extra force and power Coppi was laying down compared to your average cyclist in the 1940s.
A standout feature is the Campagnolo Corsa shifting, with a four-speed freewheel and a very rare iron crankset. This is one of very few Coppi-owned bikes with Campagnolo Corsa on it, as he was more associated with Simplex shifting at the time because it allowed him to change gears without counter-pedalling. Coppi even won the Tour de France on a Simplex-equipped bike in 1949, much to the horror of Tulio Campagnolo. Natural order was restored when Campag's revolutionary Gran Sport derailleur launched in 1951, and Coppi used it to win the 1952 Tour de France.
The wheelset is more of a standard affair, featuring a combination of 36 front and 40 rear spokes laced to high flange hubs and nisi rims, as was fairly typical at the time. The braking power is provided by top-of-the-line universal mod brakes, offering Coppi the assurance he needed during high-speed descents.
Adding a personal touch, the bicycle is equipped with F.O.M. pedals, a preferred choice of Coppi and reminiscent of his time spent in Legnano, so we're told.
The top tube bears the distinctive 'F. Coppi' signature. This detail is a nod to the cyclist known as 'Il Campionissimo' (the champion of champions) and his contribution to cycling.
Fausto Coppi revolutionised cycling, not just through his racing prowess but also through his innovation and trailblazing spirit. His collaboration with the Bianchi team reshaped cycling tactics, training methods, and technical advancements, laying the foundation for the successes of future cycling legends like Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Indurain and Froome.
This piece of cycling history was likely ridden to victories by Il Campionissimo himself, and it could be yours if you've got £103,505 hanging around.
Would you fancy riding this bike around town, or perhaps keeping it very safe behind bulletproof glass in your mansion instead? Let us know in the comments, and also check out our other Bike at Bedtime features.
Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops.