Bianchi Centenario – 1985 Limited Edition Road Bike – 53cm – No. 244/1500
Fellini, Ferrari, Campari, Caruso...the most legendary of Italian icons need but one name to represent their embodiment of unmistakable style and unsurpassed excellence, and the esteemed bicycle builder Bianchi is no different. Their 1985 Centenario showed them at the height of their creative powers…a landmark achievement in cycling literally 100 years in the making.
While Magnum, P.I. and his moustache were behind the wheel of a red 308 GTSi QV, this bicycle, accented in trademark Celeste green, was rolling off the Bianchi line, marking the centennial celebration of 21-year-old Edoardo Bianchi’s beginning in the cycling industry at his little workshop at Via Nirone 7, Milan. Italy’s racing heritage and Bianchi bicycles came to be inextricably linked, with the victories of Fausto Coppi, Felice Gimondi, and Marco Pantani (to name but a few) all taking place astride Edoardo’s steel steeds.
To celebrate the first 100 years of their proud history—with undeniable Italian flair—Bianchi produced the limited edition Centenario, and this is No. 244 of just 1500 made. The Columbus SLX frame was developed from the previous Bianchi Specialissima X3, and to say that the gunmetal finish over fully-chromed tubes makes the frameset look racy is putting it mildly. This bike radiates “veloce” while standing still, and just wait ‘till you ride it. Our No. 244 was given the Full Campy treatment, fitted with a first-generation Campagnolo C-Record groupset, super scarce C-Record "Sheriff Star Hubs," and C-Record shifters, brakes and levers. Furthermore, we’d list all parts that have been pantographed with masterful Bianchi Centenario engravings, but it might be easier to list those that have not. As the pictures show, it is truly a work of art.
Original Almarc handlebar and pump covers give the finishing touch to this bicycle, emphasizing that, like all the best Italian design, form and function are working hand-in-hand. In 1985, a finer bicycle was not to be found, and 32 years later, this one still holds its own and is in remarkably clean condition—the frameset has never been bent, cracked or dented. The paintwork and decals are original, and it’s as sound mechanically as it is stunning to look at. After all, it’s a Bianchi.
Finding a Bianchi Centenario? Hard. Finding one in this exceptional condition? Near impossible. Worth the effort so we can stare at it on our lunch break? Absolutely. Letting it go will not be easy, but alas, that’s what we do. Make us an offer--all serious inquiries will be considered.