in 1893 by Carlo Borghi, Olympia is the second oldest Italian
bicycle manufacturer still making bikes today (Bianchi dates
"In 1959, the firm was bought by two bicycle makers, the brothers
Antonio and Pasquale Fontana, to compliment their
exalted marques. These included Winter, Willes and San Remo. Olympia
gave them an opportunity to compete with the best bikes on the
market. Frame builder Augusto Daniele built their Competizione
model, which was equipped with the top Campagnolo components. It
featured carefully filed lugs, excellent torch work, short, upright
geometry and a variety of bottom bracket cut-outs. Visually, it was
distinguished by its long chromed, concave seat stay caps. The three
top models (Comp, Special Piuma & Sprint Junior) had an unusual,
fragile pearlescent finish. Unlike modern finishes, it used natural
pearl essence, as found in nail polish, instead of metal or mica
flakes. These bikes were antique white through the early 70s, then
other base colors were used under the pearl (yellow, copper, blue
and possibly others)."
"About 500 Olympias were brought into the US in the early
1970s by Hagop Hakissian, who owned Charlie's Bike Shop in
Eastchester, NY. These were mostly good, entry-level 10-speeds:
alloy hubs & rims, bars and stems, steel cottered cranks, Valentino
derailleurs, Universal CP brakes, lugged straight-gauge frames. They
were imported to compete with the Peugeot U0-8."
"A smaller number, maybe 50 of the better models were
brought in: Sprint Juniors (similar specs but better finished frames
and tubular tires), Special Piumas (Falck double butted frames,
Record derailleurs, Campy Sport cranks, Sheffield Sprint pedals,
Universal Super 68 brakes, TTT bars & stems, Nuovo Tipo hubs) and
Competiziones (all Campy NR, Columbus tubing)."
"An unknown number and mix of models were imported to
Ottawa, Ca. by Pecco's Bike in the mid 1970s. At that time the
Olympia factory produced about 20,000 bikes/year."
"By the late 70s, the hand painted head badge and
natural pearlescent paint were gone, replaced by a decal and a more
prosaic (and durable) top coat. The quality of the frames remained
very high, however."
"More recently, Olympia was taken over by Vittorio
& Paolo, the sons of Antonio & Pasquale. They have kept up
with the times and now manufacture highly competitive CF bikes, as
well as equip and sponsor road racing and mountain bike teams."