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THE MYSTERY OF STARS AND CROSSES

September 10, 2011

Sometime in the future I’d like to renovate an old 70s/80s Viner frame. To be honest I’d do one now but I don’t have the space – I need to move house first and get that all important garage. But in the meantime I’ve been doing a bit of research, seeing what’s out there and how much second hand Viner frames go for. With retro ‘fixies’ all the rage at the moment, old steel frame prices seem to have risen, and anything that is in decent condition is snapped up very quickly.

After doing quite a bit of research it became apparent that there were two types of Viner frame from the 70s and 80s – the Special Professional and the Special Corsa. But things started getting more puzzling when some of these frames sported ‘stars’ expertly cut into the lugs, whereas other had ‘crosses’. There is quite a lot of discussion on various forums about these differences, some people even saying that the ‘cross’ lugged frames were in fact copies produced to order by a Belgian retailer called Colnero. Which means that some Viner frames up for sale are sometimes headed ‘Viner/Colnero’. Very confusing if you’re wanting to get hold of a ‘real’ Viner.

I was determined to get to the bottom of this so emailed Serena Baldi at Viner’s Head Office. An hour later she had the answers.

Sadly a lot of info about Viner’s old frames and bikes were lost when Viner founder Viviano Nerozzi, and his son in law Cesare Baldi passed away, but luckily Mark the warehouseman who joined Viner in the 1980s is still around. He knew exactly what left the factory in those years.

Basically, the Special Professional was the top of the range, it had Star (Stella) cut out lugs (including a massive cut out star on the bottom bracket shell) and was built with Columbus tubing (more than likely SL). These were the frames that were usually exported to the UK and US.

The Special Corsa was the ‘cheaper’ model, and had cross cut out lugs and was built using Reynolds 531 tubing.

Now there are 531 frames out there with cross lugs that have ‘Special Professional’ decals and I’ve seen Special Corsa’s with Columbus tubing and stars! I suspect that these have undergone a renovation or respray, and the incorrect decals applied.

Either way, if the frame has stars or crosses, at least you know that it is a Viner!

Personally I prefer the Special Professional, and it’s this frame I’ll try to track down in the future, mainly for sentimental reasons. My first ever bike was built with Columbus SL, so it would be great to ride on this famous tubing again. Plus, I can’t imagine owning a steel Italian frame that isn’t built with Columbus!

All I need to do now is wait until the ‘fixie’ trend dies away, and I should be able to pick up a bargain.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan Lay permalink
    September 10, 2011 6:55 pm

    I have a 58cm Special Professional with stars , Columbus SL and SR BB & headset for sale .
    If it is your size get in touch. I also have a pantographed stem as shown in your last foto, about a 110. Frame is met. blue w/o decals. It should have straight band world champion stripes rather than the curved ones. Cyclomondo does nice repros of these.

  2. Josh permalink
    February 26, 2013 9:57 pm

    Hello- I just bought an 80’s era “viner” with no stars or crosses in the lugs. It is a mish mash of 70’s nuovo record globe label and later 80’s era dura ace. It has a Columbus label and all the frame logos are stickers above the top coat. Campagnolo lugs and some nice details but not nearly the build level of the bikes on your site. The lugs have heart shaped cut outs and the bb shell has two plain oval cut outs. Any thoughts on what this is or if it is even real? Weighs 20.5 lbs with pedals…

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