Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Origin(s) of Bianchi Celeste, and more

BikeRadar recently had an article about a visit to Bianchi in Treviglio, outside Milan. I found the section about the origin of Bianchi "celeste" interesting:

"This Bianchi celeste green has many stories behind it. One tale spins it as the turquoise color of the Milan's sky, another suggest that it was the eye color of the former queen of Italy for whom Edoardo made a bicycle. The latter story is likely pure myth as there was never a queen Tiffany of Italy—and neither Queen Margherita of Savoy (for whom the actual Margherita pizza is in fact named) nor her daughter-in-law Elena of Montenegro had turquoise eyes.

The truth is less inspiring, but no less interesting. The most likely origin of the paint is that it was a mixture of surplus military paint from the First World War, it was cut with white in order to tone down its martial nature. Regardless, this color continues to evoke the tradition that is Bianchi, and in that is quite inspiring for riders of the famous bicycles."

While not mentioned in the article, at one point Bianchi considered changing their famous color (click to enlarge):

And, while we are at it here is a short video showing how Bianchi assembles bikes (virtually all bike production is in Asia now), not an assembly line process but each one is assembled individually; also, some frame testing:

Bianchi Movie from Bianchi on Vimeo.

By the way, frame testing in 1981:
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  1. Hey! I made that "Ugly Truth" spoof (it was from an 1984 ad) when they re-issued the Super Pista.

    It's gone all over the web since...

  2. Reminds Larry of the old story about Richard Petty and the blue color of his famous NASCAR racers - created by mixing a can of white paint with a can of dark blue! But the survey idea shown here would explain the change in direction with Bianchi's non-Italian ownership. Making decisions involving passion, like the historical color of the racing bikes based on a customer survey shows ZERO passion, only greed. If they could sell more bikes by ditching the historical origins and lore of the company, they'll pitch the whole works over the side - they simply don't care. If they can use the same history while actually respecting none of it, that's OK too with them. Very sad. We treasure the two Bianchi bikes we own as they were made in Italy back when Bianchi was a true ITALIAN bicycle brand. As they say, "they don't make 'em like this anymore". The current ones are no more Italian than the Masi's sold by the Haro bike company.

  3. And now, the original "Pantone" ad from 1983... not the Ugly Truth, but the one that started this whole thing!