At the peak of Miguel Indurain’s career, he rode a Pinarello Banesto steel race bike with impeccable Italian heritage. The Spanish Grand Tour-winning legend was an unusually tall and powerfully built rider, capable of producing huge wattages. Time trial riding was his speciality.
Indurain required a frame that was light but could provide the best structure to transfer his cranking power to the rear dropouts, without wasting energy due to flex. The Spaniard was on Pinarello steel for most of his famous Tour de France victories, and one of his 1994 Tour de France Banesto bikes has now resurfaced for sale on eBay.
The bid price reveals how celebrated Indurain's career is, even two decades on. Reserve is $59,000 and for that money you buy a bike with flawless credentials. Indurain used four Pinarello Banesto frames in his 1994 Tour de France campaign and the bike being offered for sale is one of those. It has specific provenance markings and Indurain's signature on the top tube.
Analysing the frame markings reveal that this bike is the fourth and final frame produced for Indurain’s 1994 Tour de France effort. It also carries HO 484 numbering, which classifies it as the fourth of 84 frames built for Banesto’s entire 1994 team bike inventory.
Although Greg LeMond had brought carbon-fibre frame technology to the Tour de France in the late 1980s, Indurain persisted in his commitment to steel.
There is an argument to be made that due to his size, the Spaniard felt safer riding on proven steel designs, which remain the most stable of all bicycle frame materials.
Indurain’s Pinarello Banesto was a 59cm frame and even in race trim, it rolled to the front of the peloton at a substantial 10.2kg.
Pinarello has a tremendous steel frame product legacy, but for the team Banesto frames, they used a subcontractor without peer. The late Dario Pegoretti is unquestionably the greatest steel bike frame builder in recent memory.
Using his immense welding skill and intuition for tube structures, Pegoretti fabricated this gorgeous TIG-welded frame for Indurain, constructed with a combination of Dedacciai/Oria tubing.
Pegoretti’s steel fabrication skills allowed him to create a bike for Pinarello Banesto which had excellent vibration damping. When you compound the mileages and riding intensity of a three week Grand Tour, vibration damping is a real issue. Pegoretti’s lugless frames had magical properties, which could soften the frequency of any road buzz.
One of the interesting features of this Indurain 1994 race bike are its cranks. This Pinarello Banesto rotates a Campagnolo Record crankset, with 39- and 53T chainrings.
It also has huge crankarms, at 180mm in length. Then again, at 1.88m in height, Indurain required long cranks and the Spanish powerhouse could turn them with an intensity unlike any of his rivals.
This 1994 Indurain team Banesto bike was never going to break tradition by using anything else than Italian finishing components. Campagnolo shifters, brakes and drivetrain components are present, all 8-speed C Record Group bits.
The stem is a 130mm length single piece item and this stem gave Indurain the best compromise between powerful flat terrain riding and balance when having to ride out of the saddle.
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Lance Branquinho is a Namibian born media professional, with 15-years of experience in technology and engineering journalism covering anything with wheels. Being from Namibia, he knows a good gravel road when he sees one, and he has raced some of Africa’s best-known mountain bike stage races, such as Wines2Wales and Berg&Bush.
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