Artemio Granzotto's Ital Cicli Systems, Italian built and Zurich finished frames equipped with re-worked Campagnolo and Cinelli components are now rare and highly collectible. Sometimes gilded with the most sumptuous gold, ICS bicycles represent decadence par excellence. Just as rare, is information about ICS bikes and finding items like Ital Cicli Systems Catalogues, near impossible. When Joe Cosgrove visited the Milan Bicycle Show in late 1985, he stuffed his suitcase full of Catalogues and trader's paraphernalia. When he returned to Australia, like a Bowerbird decorating it's nest with all things coloured, Joe lined his workshop shelves with his new found bicycle catalogue treasures. You just have to ask Joe for a catalogue from a particular era and he's bound to have something filed away. Thanks to Joe he does have an Ital Cicli Systems catalogue that he collected and saved, from the 1985 Milan Bicycle Show.
The 1985 ICS catalogue exhibits what Ital Cicli Sytems call Campagnolo First Class. Ital Cicli Systems Zurich released this catalogue in an era when some racing bicycles, destined for bicycle collectors, were generously coated in gold, Colnago another manufacturer conspicuous among them. Frames were finished in the Cromovelato style, and some components were adorned with Swarovski crystals. Highly impractical for racing yet in this catalogue ICS suggest that some of their innovations are squarely aimed at the racing market. It's a contradiction when bicycles clearly earmarked for the carriage market are also equipped with Campagnolo components that will never see the start line of a race. Many of Artemio Granzotto's bicycle creations were custom made for their owners. Anyone who appreciated fine bicycle components and had deep pockets, could visit Hardturmstrasse 135 in Zurich and commission Granzotto's artisans to build up a gold or chrome masterpiece.
Granzotto was renowned for transforming Campagnolo components and some Velo Aficionado's have claimed that he'd improved their efficiency above anything that didn't take a detour via his workshop in Zurich first. Marketing his Swiss handwork as "Superb accessories for the forward-looking cyclist". The 1985 Campagnolo Super Record re-worked groupset was plated in either 5 micron thick 18 Karat gold or high lustre chrome and complimented with a Cinelli 1-R quill stem.
Innovations which Granzotto instilled into the Campagnolo Super Record groupset included what he called a 3-D, diagonally adjustable rear derailleur. In theory the 3-D derailleur assisted in reducing chain wear and it's extra mechanical efficiency achieved through what Granzotto called "greater chain winding". The 1985 version of the Campagnolo Super Record ICS 3-D rear derailleur was designed specifically for six and seven speed freewheels, especially with 11, 12, 13 or 14 teeth.
Matching chain ring sets to the 3-D Super Record derailleur using external chain guides, and a chain catcher attached to the front derailleur, plus the Campagnolo anatomic Super Record gear shift lever, completed the efficiency of the ICS - Campagnolo Super Record drive train. The idea was to achieve perfect chain alignment and chain tension, delivering extra watts at the rear wheel. ICS recommended their drive train system to anyone who required reliability or wished to go racing. The special ICS version of the Campagnolo Super Record chainrings with chain guides were available in 52T, 53T or 54T.
ICS also developed other products to compliment the needs of serious bike aficionado's. ICS Art #501 was a comprehensive kit designed to aid with glueing on singles (tubulars). A special combo detergent kit for drivetrain and frame cleaning, ART #502, consisting of Indurol for drive train components and Isotol for the frame. You could purchase Indurol and Isotol shampoo separately. At the time "isotonic" drinks were becoming popular for athletes. ICS designed Indurol bike cleaner to neutralise the effect of sweat and Isotonic drinks. I remember these, in those years they were sticky and sweet, supplied in powder form in tins. Sometimes if the mix was too much, you'd end up with the top tube coated in sugar and sweat. Art # 503 - Disolverol, the name says it all, designed to remove excess mastic from tyres and rims. No stone was left unturned with Art # 504, Gutarol, old dry rim cement could be re-activated for use or a 5% solution of Gutarol with rim cement was claimed to provide greater adhesion.
ICS didn't stop at cleaning products, they threw their hat in the ring to solve the problem of over-heating rims on long fast descents with ICS patented Thermotal. ICS Thermotal ribbon was developed using "Space Age Technology, apply the anti-thermic ICS THERMOTAL-ribbon on your wheels and you can be at easy of the most extreme descents". ICS graphed some curves to prove the worth of their space age rider saver.
More on ICS in an upcoming post, with some other ICS components that I've had the chance to photograph this year.
Title image by Robert Cobcroft