Benotto 2700 Pista Professional
Restoration and Build
by Joe Atmore
February 2017 start
This page is devoted to the restoration and build of a classic 1970s Benotto 2700 Pista Professional Bicycle.
Yes, just like the one the great Francesco Moser raced to a world championship in the pursuit.
The cover of a classic Italian Benotto catalog with Moser riding the 2700.
Moser and Benotto, from the catalog and just like mine!
And here is another version of the 2700; note the difference in the decals from the Moser bike.
|I sourced my frame and fork from Germany in size 59cm and now I need to source all the period parts. I'll be documenting that process and the build to the final test at Hellyer Park Velodrome in San Jose.|
I have always been a huge fan of Francesco Moser, love track racing and like restoring classic steel frames. In my stable are currently a 1974 Masi Gran Corsa, mid 1980's custom Dutch road frame (which I am building up), a 1979 Bottechia professional road bike I built up with all Campy, one of the first Specialized Allezs when they first came out and were custom built in 1983 of Ishawata tubing and a 1984 Allez SE. I also have a handful of more modern bikes - but all steel.
So I began my search for the Benotto 2700. And since I need the largest size they make, it was a long wait. I also wanted the frame in very good condition for I didn't want to have to respray and decal with reproduction decals. Finally, after a long wait, I found the perfect frame in Germany. The right size: 59cm and almost perfect condition. It looked like it had only been ridden a few times by the look of the drop outs and only a very few nicks here and there. You couldn't ask for a better frame. Wonderful painted accents throughout and unique chain stay tubing. The Campagnolo dropouts seriously look like they only had wheels tightened in them a few times. Fully chromed fork.
After ordering, it got lost somewhere in Germany or the US. Well over a month without any postal service knowing where it was. Then one day, the van pulled in front of the house with a large box. The box hadn't been damaged and the frame was better than I could have imagined.
From the Benotto catalog
Okay, here we have pretty much the complete listing of the components that were used on the 2700. I am trying to locate not only the exact part, but the correct period - late 1970s. During my search, sometimes only used was available, other times I found great NOS. Prices though are not exactly cheap for the components! The good thing is that most track components that are used have seen little use like some of the components described below. All of the Benotto threading is Italian.
Not listed is the seat post binder bolt, which should be Campagnolo (10mm) which I was able to obtain NOS. And I don't want to hear any complaints about my choice of headset. Just try and find a Campagnolo Pista Italian thread headset and you will see the outrageous prices they are getting. I wasn't about to pay more than I paid for the frame. But I will keep looking. So what did I do? I found a Tange pista headset that is a replica of the Campy model. Seriously, you have to get up very close to notice that it isn't Campy. But the day will come when either I decide to drop a boat load of money on the right headset or find one at a reasonable price.
Here we have all the components for a great track set of pedals. First off are the Campagnolo Record Supperleggeri pedals. It took me roughly four hours to complete each pedals. First was the replacement of the bearings (24 per pedal) and repacking with grease. It took a lot of cleaning internally for the old grease had dried up and was rock hard. After completing the bearing work, it was on to polishing. I used Wenol first by cloth. Then using my dremal with the appropriate polishing head, I worked all surfaces. Then another round with the Wenol and I now have a mirror finish on the pedals.
The straps are Christophe which deviates from the original Binda straps. (Have you seen the price of a Binda strap that looks fairly decent?) I went for brown straps for I felt that was probably more period appropriate.
Finally, NOS Campagnolo bolts and washers.
|The original specifications state that the chain is of course track dimensions 1/2 x 1/8 made by the Italian firm Regina. From all the images I have found, it looks black as opposed to silver or the Oro gold. The Regina chains are still available if you look hard enough. I use the road version on some my classic bicycles and some even have the Oro Gold. Though the Oro wasn't specified for the 2700, I thought it would look nice and was able to locate a NOS Regina Oro track chain. It came with the special joining link/pin, so no need to pull out my chain breaking tools. It needed some polishing up since it had tarnished over the decades, but still looks pretty good.|
| Specifications state that the Benotto factory installed a
Cinelli Buffalo Number 3. From the same era, I chose a Cinelli Unicanitor
|The Record seatpost was used in the original. I found a what I believe to be a generation 3 seatpost. The fluting is like the generation 1, but mine has the newer 1 bolt instead of 2 bolt. I polished it as you can imagine. If I find the exact model seatpost, I will swap it out.|
A beautiful set of high flange Campagnolo Pista Hubs. They were in excellent physical condition, though the grease inside was hard as a rock from decades of inactivity. Cleaning took forever and of course I replaced all the bearings just to be on the safe side, though really, they had very little use.
I performed my standard Wenol, buffing routine and they came out mirror finish. One of the lock nuts washer was stuck solid. Copious amounts of oil wouldn't break it free, so I ended up purchasing NOS lock nuts to replace the original.
I will be honest, never heard of Nisi rims before this project. (Sorry to all of those Nisi fans out there). But I was able to track down a pair from Italy, 36 hole and still wrapped up in their original packaging. The rims use washers in each of the nipple holes. After the wheels were built, I once again took the polishing act to them. Absolutely gorgeous mirror finish. Yeah, I polished the spokes too.
I eventually decided on three cross with double butted spokes. For a while I toyed with making the front radial and the rear radial off side and three cross drive side like the wheels that Ole Ritter used on his Benotto 2700 in his world record attempt. However, I decided to go a smarter route. And three cross was the original spec.
I also have a pair of Benotto chrome rims being delivered from Italy. Though Benotto branded rims weren't specified on this model, I heard a rumor that they might have actually been made under contract for Benotto by Nisi. So, I will be building them up in the future once I procure another set of hubs.
|And here they are! Polished and ready for action. As the Clement tires specified in the catalog are no longer available (and realistically, it isn't even the same company), I went for pair of Veloflex Handmade Criterium Tires. They have the same look as the old clements and are in fact made in Italy. I think they certainly look the part.|
|The catalog states that the 2700 model could come with either the TTT or Cinelli. In fact, on the last page of the catalog it makes note that they may change any of the components due to availability. I went with the Cinelli bar and stem. The stem is the proper 2A Pista stem and with oval logo with Cinelli Milan in the center. I had to locate a new keyed bolt for attaching the handlebar because the previous owner I guess didn't know you were supposed to use the proper sized allen wrench and stripped it. In case you are wondering, oh yeah, it was loads of fun getting that out. There is a little loss of chroming on the top of the securing bolt to fork which I will eventually replace. I thought I ordered the appropriate vintage bolt, but apparently it wasn't vintage enough for it didn't fit. Condition is very good. The marks from the headset will be hidden, still I might replace it down the road since I know they are there!|
|Cinelli Pista bars of course. Beautiful condition and 39 width. Someone actually cared inserting them into the stem fortunately as there aren't really any insertion marks. As you can see by the logo, the handlebars are newer vintage than the stem.|
Seriously! What do you think I would use?
THE BOTTOM BRACKET
Here we have the bottom bracket for the 2700. Due to the logo on the spindle, a little newer than the original, but it is Campy! The dust shield, for those that know their vintage parts, will realize it is not Campy but Cambio Rino. I couldn't find the original two piece Campagnolo at the time of the build and in all honesty, this one has a much better fit!
Not much prep work was necessary for this part: cleaning, polishing, replacing the bearings and all set to be installed.
A very nice used crankset. The length is 167.5mm. My road bikes are 170mm, but with my track bikes, I always go a little shorter. (My other track bike is a Specialized steel Allez).
The chainring is brand spanking new Campy Super Record, 49 tooth. New Campy pista chainring bolts (as opposed to the road version) and new dust caps. The bolts and washer are also NOS.
|I am sure you realize a consistent theme running through this project - Campagnolo. Adorning the rear wheel will be a 16 tooth Campy steel track cog. I had lots of cogs for my other bike, but none Campy. And I know you are all dying to ask this, so I will put your minds at ease: yes, the lock ring is also real Campy.|
READY FOR THE BUILD
Headset and seatpost bolt are already installed.
Hope mine will look like this!
Here she is in all her glory. Tires glued on, everything assembled.
Check out the clearance - just millimeters
A little side by side comparison
Need to weigh the completed bike and see if it comes in on target.
Then of course, off to Hellyer Park for final adjustments of seat and stem.
Finally a little racing with this vintage 2700.