Italvega

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Italvega
TypePrivate
IndustryBicycle production
Founded1970; 52 years ago (1970)
FounderBen Lawee
Defunct1977; 45 years ago (1977), restart 2016; 6 years ago (2016)
FateProduction moved to Japan under new name
Headquarters,
Area served
World
Products
  • Viva Sport
  • Nuovo Sport
  • Nuovo Record
  • Super Record
  • Super Speciale
  • Super Light
OwnerNicholas Hurenkamp

Italvega is a brand of road bicycles designed, specified, imported and marketed by the California-based bicycle distributor, Lawee, Inc., founded by Ben Lawee, who also created the Univega and Bertoni bicycle brands.

Italvega bikes were designed and hand-built within the noted Torresini workshop at the Torpado factory in Padua, Italy. They were built beginning in 1970 and continuing through the mid- to late-1970s before manufacturing was moved to Japan under the name Univega. All Italvega bicycles were made in the Torpado factory, but not all were high-end bicycles. Torpado made a broad variety of bicycles for different uses (including worker, comfort, BMT, ATB, and even motorized).

Ben Lawee[edit]

Ben Lawee, born in Baghdad, Iraq, immigrated to the U.S. at age 19.[1] Lawee attended business school at Columbia University,[1] and in 1959 purchased Jones Bicycles, growing the single store into a multi-store chain.[1] He sold the retail chain in 1965 to begin importing Bianchi and Legnano bikes,[1] and became the national distributor for Raleigh and Motobécane. Lawee, who had two children, David and Monique, with his wife Ariela, died November 8, 2002.[1]

Models[edit]

Models manufactured under the Italvega marque include (in order of increasing quality):

  • Viva Sport
  • Nuovo Sport
  • Nuovo Record
  • Super Record
  • Super Speciale
  • Super Light

The top-end models were built with double-butted Columbus tubing and Campagnolo Record and Nuovo Record components. The low-mid level framesets have the inverted triangle Columbus foil decal, while the better models have the rectangle Columbus foil decal. The lowest models have no Columbus decal.

2017 Restart[edit]

In 2017, the brand was re-registered in the Netherlands by Nicholas Hurenkamp, who is seeking to fund a production facility in March 2018 through crowdfunding.[2] The new brand markets two models - the Super Speciale and the Nuovo Supersport, both of which are completely hand painted.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Cancer Takes Univega Founder Ben Lawee". Allbusiness.com, Bicycle Retailer, November 12, 2002.
  2. ^ "Bring beautiful bikes back to life". GoFundMe. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  3. ^ Zijlma, Thomas (23 January 2018). "Italvega Nuovo Supersport – Review van een fiets die we liever wilden houden". Bicycling Magazine. Retrieved 29 January 2018.

External links[edit]