It may be a 1978 frame with 90s Campagnolo components but this De Rosa Professional doesn’t look anything like a slapstick pastiche. Rather, in a world of overbuilt ‘gravel grinders’ and adventurers, it is the very picture of combined elegance and speed.
Mike McGary knows the Campagnolo brand inside and out: he was, for years, the Campy guy at QBP and still holds a deep passion for Italian racing bikes, both old and new. Understandably, he is the very proud custodian of this rare and immaculate De Rosa.
When the opportunity arose to purchase this Professional from a deceased collector, Mike naturally jumped at it. Not much work was needed to bring it to a perfectly rideable state that was pleasing to the eye — regardless of whether you’re a purist or not.
This was the collector’s personal bike and it doesn’t bear evidence of use. The paint is perfect, as are the ‘elaoborata’ gold decals. Mike replaced the brittle tires, the saddle with a Selle San Marco Concor, and added dust caps on the cranks and bar end caps.
The cables and housing also needed replacing, but the 1993 Campagnolo Chorus 8-Speed Ergo gruppo was untouched and usable. Mike believes the seatpost and steel Record headset are original to the frame.
After being given a De Rosa identification chart Mike was able to discern, from the lug work and cable guides, that the date of manufacture was 1978, and was most likely built up by Ugo De Rosa himself.
It’s funny that a nearly-40-year-old bike can provide a much-needed reality check, as we appreciate the design and spirit in which everything seemed to work together. But it’s refreshing to know that bikes and cycling are, today, still evolving and pushing limits.
A huge thank you to Mike, and Jeff Frane for the tip and his wonderful photos of Mike’s De Rosa. These are a small selection — to see more, head to Jeff’s Bike Jerks blog.