Gino Bartali’s frustrations with the Italian back-peddling derailleurs encouraged him to approach the Vittoria Company, makers of the Margherita derailleur, and propose that he finance the production of a derailleur similar to the very popular French Super Champion Osier. At the start of the 1949 Tour de France, he had a Vittoria Cervino derailleur fitted to his “Bartali” bike.
The Cervino is very similar to the Osgaer. There is a sprung chain tension arm mounted under the bottom bracket and a fork positioned under the chainstay selects the sprockets. A cable from a lever mounted on the down tube operates the fork, a second smaller lever adjusts the chain tension. No more back-peddling or twisting back to reach difficult to operate levers, as was necessary with some prior generation derailleurs. Bartali didn’t win the 1949 Tour, he was beaten into second place by his archival and compatriot Fausto Coppi. Coppi’s Bianchi bike was fitted with a French designed Simplex derailleur.
The Cervino derailleur was in production for a very short time. In 1951 Campagnolo introduced their Gran Sport model that revolutionized the derailleur market. The Cervino and Osgear disappeared and although the French companies Simplex and Huret survived, they both had to bring out models similar to Campagnolo’s Gran Sport.
The Cervino, having been in production for such a short period, is now highly desirable by collectors. This 1950 Praderio bicycle was acquired by Mike Barry Sr. in 2005 fitted with a Cerbino. It was in very poor condition with some of its tubes rusted through. Mike replaced the rusted tubes and restored the frame and all the components.
The unusual brake levers fitted to the bike are Gloria “Roi des Grimpeurs” also known as Bartali levers. The interesting protruding finger grip is unique.
This bicycle won “Best Restored Bike” at the Cirque du Cyclist. The Cirque du Cyclisme is an annual gathering of cyclists and bike enthusiasts held in Greensboro, NC, USA to celebrate classic steel bikes and their builders. Awards are presented to the owners of the best bikes shown.
Specifications: Praderio. Gallarate, Italy. 1950.
- Size:Seat tube: 58.5 cm Centre to Centre
- Top Tube: 60 cm Centre to Centre
- Chrome head and seat lugs, bolt in front of the seat pin. Drop-outs / Stays chrome front and rear 6”.
- Paint: Celeste and chrome with read head tube and seat tube panel
- Fork chrown chrome, drop outs flat steel.
- Headset: chromed steel (Agrati?)
- Wheels: Hubs: Gnutti QR SF Chrome barrel alloy, Rims: NISI, Spokes: Chrome 36H/36
- Tires: tubular Clement (dry and need to be replaced before riding)
- Crankset: Single 48T x 1 1/8, 5 PIN, 170mm flutted cottered crank chromed steel
- Rear Derailleur: Cervino Torino (rare)
- Shift Levers: Cervino Torino, double
- Freewheel: Regina 3 speed, 1-1/8, 15-17-20 Teeth
- Chain: Regina 1-1/8
- Brakes: Universal S.P. Alloy Brev 361666
- Levers: Alloy Gloria (Bartali)
- Cables: White – Campagnolo TT Clips
- Saddle: Brooks Pro Leather
- Seatpost: Alloy Straight
- Handlebars: Cinelli Steel Chrome Giro d’Italia 38 cm
- Stem: Cinelli Steel Chrome 8.5 cm
- Tape: White cloth
- Pedals: Sheffiel Quill Alloy – Steel Barrel