Jewel in the Forest
One misty spring morning I took a drive out into the forests of Washington State, on the borders of the Olympic National Forest. Though the clouds became darker and the mist became heavy rain as I drove across to the peninsular, I was excited at the prospect of buying a Super Mondia, which had been modestly priced and quietly advertised on Olympic peninsular’s Craigslist. I knew it was tall, too tall for me really, but it looked exquisite even in the small photographs of the listing. When I finally got there, two hours after leaving Seattle, I wasn’t disappointed. There on the deck of a small ranch, in the deep country of this timberland state, was a beautiful, gold, Swiss bike adorned with a gleaming Dura Ace RD 7400 groupset.
Meeting the Owner
As I imagined, the owner was a tall man, perhaps 6’4, and he made no song and dance about this wonderful bike. He had owned it since new and hadn’t taken it out for years. I remember him saying that it had spent too many years sitting quietly in his garage. “What a bike”, I was thinking, as we both got soaked standing in the rain admiring this Swiss piece of art. If memory serves me correctly, I paid $250 for the pleasure of taking this rare bike home with me. The owner’s cycling days were over, but yes, perhaps there was a tinge of regret in him as he watched me wheel it away, but he was ready to let it go. He even provided me his old racing shoes and a pair of spare Dura Ace hubs. I was thrilled.
I only have three pictures of this beautiful Mondia left, I wish I’d taken better ones and had many more shots of it. The imposing 63cm frame, in metallic gold, had lost none of its glossy finish. Even though my toes could barely touch the ground when I was on it, it was a fantastic ride and I spent a few weeks soaking it up on the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle. It felt comfortable, responsive and light, yet incredibly sturdy and as well made as any bike I’ve ever ridden. During those rides, I was regularly complimented for owning such a beautiful bike, and if I left it outside a cafe for a few minutes, people would stop to look at it with admiration. Mondia bikes are well known for their ornate paintwork and lugs, and in this era they produced some stunning frames with paint jobs to rival Colnago and De Rosa. However, this one to me is more appealing: understated, delicate and perfectly balanced with its half chromed forks and stays, stamped chromed fork crowns and hand painted decoration on the top tube and forks.
How the Story Ends
I would have kept this superb version of the Super Mondia if it hadn’t been such a large frame. What’s more, I would have hated for this beautiful bike to have ended up a fixie or mutilated into some custom town bike. Nevertheless I ended up selling the bike on Ebay for a modest price, certainly well less than it was worth, around $400. Large bikes are always more difficult to sell, but this had nothing to do with my Ebay pricing; I’ve always been one for selling things at a fair price. The bike went to a new owner in Tennessee, who was as thrilled with it as I was that day in the rain, somewhere in the wilds of Washington.
- 1984 Super Mondia
- Reynolds 531 DB frame and forks
- Dura Ace 7400 6 speed groupset
- Cinelli 1A stem, Campione Del Mondo Handlebars
- Suede Concor Super Corsa saddle
- Mavic GL330 clincher rims
- Weight: 20lbs ( 63cm frame )
I recently came across this frame (also in the Pacific NW) which is I believe is a Mondia but i’m not sure which model. It’s 55 x56cm and has Campy dropouts and nervex lugs. Any chance you could assist in identifying the model/year?
Thanks for the post, it’s difficult to say what year and model your frame is as I’m no Mondia expert. It seems to have bosses for downtube shifters but no top tube braze-ons, and it’s interesting that the frame has cantilever brake bosses. I presume it’s a cyclocross model, the Special, same colour as my old one but surely earlier than 1984. Is there no serial number on the seat tube cluster? A lot of bikes had clamp on shifters in the 1970’s, but as Mondia were often built with Campagnolo which produced braze-on shifters for high end Italian bikes through the ‘70’s, dating it by the bosses may not be accurate. Here’s one from the early 1970’s: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30331021@N08/4740274998/in/photostream/