Bianchi Super Leggera

Bianchi Super Leggera Specialissima
I’m not even going to tell you about the eBay auction where you could purchase this 1983 Bianchi Super Leggera ‘Specialissima’ for a measly US$2,650, because that would detract from the daydream of our father’s time when you would be approached by a farmer asking you to just get it out of his shed for him because it’s been collecting dust there for years and he needs the space for a new ride-on lawnmower. I guess this is the modern version of that story.

Aside from a couple of wear marks from a frame pump, a non-standard seat post quick release and some cracking on the gum brake hoods, this is one of the finest examples of a steed from this era. Bianchi bicicletta have the ability to inspire both passion and frustration with the bicycle connoisseur, you either get the whole celeste ‘thing’ or you don’t. Ambiguous color schemes aside, Bianchi is one of the world’s oldest bicycle manufacturers and you can almost sense the heritage oozing from every polished lug.

This ‘Specialissima’ is bedecked in pantographed Campagnolo Super Record from bars to hubs, hand painted where appropriate and it’s touches like this that make you realise this bike is as much a work of art as it is a machine. Upholstered in hand-stitched leather bar wrap and the original Turbo saddle, throwing your leg over this is the equivalent to sinking into the plush leather seats of a Ferrari Mondial Cabriolet.
So finally, who can explain the lead coils wrapped around the spokes?

The auction will have closed by the time of publishing, but thanks to eBay seller abikepeddler for the beautiful photography, and Alan from CMWD.

Bianchi Super Leggera Specialissima
Bianchi Super Leggera Specialissima
Bianchi Super Leggera Specialissima
Bianchi Super Leggera Specialissima
Bianchi Super Leggera Specialissima

  • steve poulter

    The lead wire coils would, on a classic motorbike, be for wheel balance; I assume they are here for the same reason.

  • I had one of those. Traded a Peugeot Ventoux for it when I was a kid. Mine wasn’t nearly as clean as this one, though.

  • Dan Westergren

    Like Steve said the coils are to balance the wheel. Specifically, these mavic rims are joined at the seam opposite the valve hole with an aluminum plug.(in some cases wood or plastic) So this particularly fastidious bike owner was trying to balance out the rim.

  • tragic days when gear shifters where placed on the main beam of the bike…
    my first guess/explanation for the lead coils was : “an eccentric system for speed measurement”.
    balancing the wheel in such a primitive way must be quite difficult since totally imprecise.
    leather on a sports bike.?. really.?. somewhat odd to me… despite being bit vintage enough…
    beautifly crafted. love the crankst. hate the color.