eBay Finds: Bottecchia Equipe SLX vintage bike

We've been scouring the web for retro bike deals and found this Bottecchia vintage race bike for sale on eBay. 

Priced at AU$4,150 (US$2,495), with free shipping within Australia, but the possibility to ship it to wherever you are in the world (although with some exclusions), it's a classic Columbus steel Bottecchia road frame, similar to the frame that Greg LeMond would have ridden at the 1989 Tour de France.

While the seller states the bike originates from 1989, we've done a little internet sleuthing and, as far as we can tell, the frame is a Bottecchia Equipe SLX from 1990. While the bike may have been from the following year to that stated, it shares the same Columbus SLX tubing with Columbus dropouts that LeMond used on his '89 Tour de France road bike. The frame is a 57cm and comes in the classic Bottechia rossa – red – and white colourway, with a chromed fork, lugs and rear triangle. 

LeMond's original 1989 Tour-winning bike would have been equipped with Mavic's SSC (Special Service des Courses) components, pro-race spec groupset and wheels. This bike's groupset appears to be the original (or period-correct) Campagnolo C Record 7-speed, using 52-45 chainrings and possibly a 12-24 freewheel. 

The wheels are a non-original Campagnolo Vento clincher wheelset, which has been fitted with Michelin Dynamic Classic tan-wall tyres. The bike is finished with a new Cinelli Giro d'Italia handlebar and stem, a new Selle Marco white leather saddle and a new Campagnolo Aerodinamica water bottle.

One curious detail to note is that the seat tube/top tube lug is red, yet all the literature and other Bottecchia frames of the time have a silver lug that matches the rest of the lugs used. The seller states that the bike is in near mint condition, and while some parts are non-original, it is still a fantastic example. 

The decals on the frame celebrate past victories aboard Bottecchia bikes including LeMond's win at the road race World Championships at the end of August, 1989, following his iconic Tour de France comeback.

Greg LeMond on his fluorescent yellow Bottecchia at the 1989 Tour de France

Greg LeMond on his fluorescent yellow Bottecchia at the 1989 Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

That year, LeMond was returning to professional cycling after an eventful two years, during which he was forced to take a lot of time off the bike. An early season crash during the 1987 Tirreno–Adriatico resulted in a fractured wrist. LeMond took the time off and trained so that he was ready to rejoin his team in Europe and defend his Tour de France title that summer. 

Shortly before leaving the States, Greg was involved in a hunting accident on his uncle's ranch, which saw him shot at close range. With serious internal bleeding as well as damage to his lungs, heart and liver, LeMond underwent emergency surgery to save his life. But with his injuries and subsequent surgeries, his season was over.

LeMond was keen to return to professional racing, and joined the Dutch PDM team, but his 1988 season would prove unsuccessful due to injuries from overtraining that forced him to miss the Tour de France again. LeMond left the PDM squad and joined ADR for the 1989 season.

While his season started slowly, he began to find his form as the 1989 Tour got underway. Taking the win on the stage 5 individual time trial was rewarded with the yellow jersey, and what would subsequently result in a historical battle between LeMond and his former teammate, and two-time Tour winner, Laurent Fignon.

This dualling would culminate in a 50-second advantage in favour of Fignon going into the final individual time trial stage in Paris. LeMond averaged 54.5kph and took the overall win by just eight seconds – a win heralded as one of the sport's biggest comebacks, the closest winning margin and, in many people's opinions, one of the greatest editions of the Tour de France.

If second-hand isn't your style, and instead you want something more box-fresh, the Bottecchia Leggendaria (opens in new tab) is a modern tribute to their finest race-winning bicycles. The frame is hand-built from Columbus Spirit tubing and uses a finely curated selection of parts that compliment the retro throwback without sacrificing performance. There are a few available on eBay right now (opens in new tab) in three colour options for €2,928.56 plus €80 shipping to Europe or North America.

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