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Edoardo Bianchi started manufacturing bicycles in Milan, Italy, in 1885. For their first 100 years, Bianchi bicycles won more races than any other brand. 1)2) Bianchi states that they're the oldest bicycle manufacturer in existence. There are a few older bicycle companies, such as Orbea (1840,) but they started making their bicycles after Bianchi. Italy retains the most active and productive road bike culture. Unfortunately, this cycling zeal hasn't spilled over into mountain biking 3).
Bianchi, divinely inspired, royally blessed pezcycling
Bianchi insists that Celeste is blue. It's certainly unique. Bianchi, without a doubt, owns the public perception that every handsome minty green bicycle in existence is a Bianchi. Other bicycles, such as Canondale and Huffy, which attempted to culturally appropriate the Bianchi “look”, end up merely looking, well, bad.
Celeste in a can bianchi.com
The first high end European maker to try their hand at making a mountain bike, Bianchi outsourced this work to Japan. The early 1983's were TIG welded in Japan, without lugs, and came in a single color: Sierra Blue. Lugged Grizzlies didn't appear until the end of 1983. The example at the right is lugged, made by Ishiwata of Japan. The 1983 catalog scan below is TIG welded.
Were there more color choices? The grey example at the right seems to be original paint. Catalogs are often out of date as soon as they're printed.
1984 Grizzlies came with lugs and probably all in red.
1984 Grizzly bikeforums
The 1985 at the right was the only mt. bike pic I could find from that year. It wasn't until 1986 that Bianchi enlarged their line of comparatively low end mountain bikes. No Celeste for Bianchi Mountain bikes until at least 1988?
1985 Grizzly offersgeeks
Deore MT-60 (1987-1988), lugged frame with Tange tubing. Presumably all 1980's Bianchis used Asian frames.
1987 Grizzly ebay
1988 Super Grizzly
Finally Bianchi blesses a mountain bike with Celeste. Full Deore XT M730 components (1987-1988), lugged Tange frame, 28 pounds.
1988 Super Grizzly bikeforums
1989 Super Grizzly
Full XT M732 cgruppo (1989 only.) Celeste seat and lettering, the rest was black speckle.
1989 Super Grizzly offersgeeks
1990 Sika bikeforums
1991 Project 7
700c mt bike weighing 25 pounds. Double butted and lugged Tange frame. SunTour XC Pro (1989-1991).
1991 Project 7 bikeforums
Bianchi Café & Cycles
Bianchi has opened a series of coffee & cycle shops worldwide, serving Italian goodness. Somehow Italy has come to own coffee, inventing cappuccino, latte, espresso and even the word “café” 4). Which is ironic, as Italy isn't even a big coffee drinking country, as that title goes to all of the Scandinavian countries who need more than just alcohol to keep them warm during their dark winter months 5). But, if Ikea is any example, if the Swedes owned coffee culture we'd be stuck calling our drinks Eyjafjallajökull and Äpplarös. Italian simply sounds better. See Bianchi Cafe.