Established in 1893 in Milan, now in Piove di Sacco, in the Veneto.

Updated 10.31.2013              Current web site

    "Founded in 1893 by Carlo Borghi, Olympia is the second oldest Italian bicycle manufacturer still making bikes today (Bianchi dates from1885)."
   "
In 1959, the firm was bought by two bicycle makers,  the brothers Antonio and Pasquale Fontana, to compliment their other, less 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.
"

                                                                   Michael Shiffer

Michael Shiffer's Pista
 

Fred Yavorsky's bike in progress

            

                

Michael Shiffer's model Special Piuma

  
          
             

Vijay Mahrra's early 1980s bike with Galli componentry



               
                                

Back to Classic Italian