italiensk professionell tävlingscykel.

Pinarello  1981

Historical Models

The Pinarello Montello SLX was a landmark model for Pinarello as this was the frame with which Pinarello achieved their first major pro victories. This model frame was one of the most responsive of the mid to late 1980s as shown by wins in events such as the 1984 Summer Olympics Road Race, Vuelta a España, the Giro d'Italia and stages of the Tour de France. The Montello had a brake cable through the top tube, chrome sloping front forks and chrome on the drive side chain stay; later models had the full rear triangle chromed. The Montello SLX was in red, blue and Spumoni.[9] Pinarellos from the mid-1980s often have the decals restored by collectors as factory-applied decals where prone to flakeing off.[10] The Montello was fabricated from Columbus SLX butted tubing with rifling down the inside center. The bottom bracket was investment cast with the Pinarello logo and the dropouts were by Campagnolo. Braze-ons for down-tube shifters, front derailleur and two water bottles were provided. The GPT logo (for Giovanni Pinarello, Treviso) appeared in many locations.

How Pinarello found an extra, Giro winning, gear for Giovanni Battaglin.

Photos by Chris Catchpole

It’s not that Pinarello is secretive about its bikes that have been ridden to famous victories — it’s just that the Italian company doesn’t really know what to do with them.

When an embarrassment of riches such as this goes on display the bikes, which start with founder Giovanni Pinarello’s battle-scarred 1951 Bottecchia and go all the way up to Chris Froome’s 2013 custom yellow Champs-Elysées Dogma, are drooled over by the cycling world. Then they are quietly returned to their very spartan retirement home — a rail at the back of a mezzanine floor at the factory in Treviso, where they hang like unfashionable suits in a charity shop.

These machines have won epic Grand Tours and Olympics under some of the most legendary riders in the world, but in between their glitzy public engagements they are stored unsentimentally, perhaps even irreverently. Life has come full circle for them and they’re back at the factory where they began life.

Nestling somewhere in the first quarter of Pinarello’s timeline of success, but interestingly not in its correct place on what you might expect to be a High Fidelity style, chronologically arranged filing system, is Giovanni Battaglin’s 1981 Giro d’Italia winning bike. Next to the jelly-mould monocoque of Andrea Collinelli’s 1996 Olympic pursuit-winning Parigina or the wavy-tubed Dogma 65.1 of Sir Bradley Wiggins, this plain red bike looks conventional — boring even.

But this machine has a special place in the Italian company’s heart; not just because it was the second Pinarello to win the Giro, the home race, but also as it was thanks to Pinarello’s intervention that Battaglin was able to win.

Secret weapon

Battaglin had been threatening to break into the big time for his entire career. He won the amateur Giro in 1972, turned professional, and the following year, aged 21, he finished third in the professional version. However, it didn’t happen for him until 1981, the year he turned 30.

Battaglin won the 1981 Vuelta a Espana, at the time held in April, then three days later started the Giro. He wasn’t expected to win — Giuseppe Saronni was the favourite. However, his form continued to improve and he won stage 19, a super-hard, big dipper through the Dolomites to San Vigilio di Marebbe that included ascents of the Palade and Furcia passes, to put him second on GC.

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But this was just a warm-up for the tappone, the Giro’s queen stage, which finished at the top of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, an appallingly steep and dramatic climb whose last four kilometres average

over 10 per cent. And, although Battaglin had won stage 19, he had not distanced his contenders.


At this point in Battaglin’s 1981 Grand Tour campaign, with the likes of Silvano Contini, Giuseppe Saronni and Tommy Prim snapping at his aching heels, his legs might have decided enough was enough.

After all, the Vuelta didn’t have a single rest day. But Pinarello had a secret weapon waiting for him: a climbing bike designed especially for the Tre Cime stage equipped with a custom triple chainset that would enable him to spin up the ramp-like final climb, while his overgeared rivals burnt all their matches as they laboured up in pursuit.

In those days every pro rider had his frame custom built for him. Pinarello’s own frame-builders and sometimes specially selected contractors — the artisan builders the Veneto region is famous for — hand-made every bike to each rider’s measurements.

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In a far corner of the Pinarello factory is an old grey filing cabinet full of Campagnolo Record chainset boxes containing the geometries for every Pinarello-sponsored team. There’s a box in there with ‘Inoxpran’ scrawled on it in felt-tip pen. Inside it you’ll find a card for Giovanni Battaglin’s 1981 machine — a diagram of the frame with the angles and measurements handwritten in.

Custom chainset

And here was Pinarello’s problem. At the time the only way to achieve an exceptionally low gear was to fit a triple chainset — the step between double chainrings was too limited, and there were only six sprockets to work with.

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Campagnolo did not make a Super Record triple, but the real problem was that a triple chainset increased Q factor — the distance between the pedals — and Pinarello knew that it was crucial to ensure the position of Battaglin’s right foot was the same whatever chainset was used. All the measurements on the card in the cupboard had to be adhered to.

So Pinarello’s most skilled technician, Elvio Borghetto, was tasked with coming up with a solution.


Borghetto, who still works for Pinarello and who went on to design Miguel Indurain’s Espada carbon monocoque bike and who was most recently involved in the Team Sky Dogma F8 remembers: “Originally Battaglin was using a Campagnolo Record groupset, with 13/14/15/17/19/21 sprockets and 53/44 chainrings, 170mm crank. Our mechanic’s workshop took a 36-tooth chairing from a Campagnolo Victory groupset. They machined the inside of the original crankset spider making a series of holes at the right bolt circle diameter and flattening the surfaces around the holes for correct matching.

“We also machined a series of stainless steel spacers to assemble the third chainring at the correct distance. The third chainring was assembled using some original Campagnolo longer bolts.”

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The right chainstay was adapted to make space for the inner ring, the Pinarello workshop paired the 36 inner ring with a 24 largest sprocket and there it was — Battaglin had a lower gear than anybody else in the race with no change to the ‘stance’ of his pedals, and a perfect chainline to go with it.

The bike’s legacy

As planned, on the climb to Tre Cime, Battaglin dropped his chain onto his custom inner ring and attacked, spinning away from all his rivals. He finished in third but was well clear of danger men Saronni and Prim, was in the maglia rosa and now only had to defend his lead in the final time trial, which he did. It was still very close — Battaglin won by just 39 seconds. Prim’s actual time was less than his — the Italian had only won thanks to time bonuses. Nevertheless, Battaglin had become only the second rider after Eddy Merckx to achieve the Vuelta-Giro double in the same year.

What did Campagnolo make of having its flagship Super Record groupset adapted in this way? It was not the norm and Pinarello had almost certainly not given its fellow Italians notice, for fear of Battaglin’s rivals getting hold of a similar set-up.

Campagnolo responded by launching an ‘official’ racing triple while Pinarello marketed a replica ‘Tre Cime’ bike made from Columbus SL tubing that featured the same equipment used by Battaglin: Campagnolo Super Record groupset, Regina Extra chain and freewheel, San Marco Concor saddle, Cinelli handlebar, Mavic rims and Clement tubular tyres.

Pinarello has gone on to almost unmatched Grand Tour success, including five Tours de France in a row with Miguel Indurain and has most recently equipped Wiggins and Froome, but for Giovanni Battaglin 1981 marked the apex of his career. The following year he broke his collarbone then after contracting hepatitis during the 1984 Giro he retired.

The famous bike — just one was made specifically for the Tre Cime stage only — you’ll find hanging pristinely at the back of the factory in Treviso.

This article first appeared in the May 21 issue of Cycling Weekly 


Min Pinarello
En Pinarello från 80-talet är självklart en Ikon i min samling, och jag blev mycket glad när jag kunde få köpa den av min vän Marc. Cykeln är en Montello från början av 80-talet. Montellon var mycket modern för sin tid i de helt nya Columbus SLX rören som var bland det vassaste man kunde hitta då. Både Montellon och SLX rören introducerades för allmänheten 1983. Montellon var en utveckling på Pinarellos tävlingscyklar vid den tiden med bl.a bromsvajern neddragen i överröret.
Jag tror min Montello är en 83 eller 84:a baserad på bl.a frontdekalen som är av plåt och med den gamla loggon.
Efter som jag gärna vill ha mina cyklar att stämma in på historiska händelser, cyklister eller lag så fick detta bli en kopia på Giovanni Battaglins tävlingscykel från 1981 då han vann både Vueltan och Girot.

Giovanni Pinarello
Giovanni Pinarello was born in Catena di Villorba, Italy in 1922. He was the eighth of 12 brothers. At the age of fifteen, Giovanni began making bicycles at the factory of Paglianti. After a successful amateur career he turned professional in 1947, aged 25. Pinarello died on 4 September 2014.

Giovanni Battaglins 1981 års Pinarello

En ”extra” växel enligt Battaglin’s Tre Cime version.