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Italvega logo head badge
|Fate||Production moved to Japan under new name.|
|Headquarters||Long Beach, United States|
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, who had been born in Baghdad, Iraq and emigrated to the U.S. at age 19. Lawee had attended business school at Columbia University and purchased Jones Bicycles in 1959 — growing the single store into a multi-store chain. He sold the retail chain in 1965 and began importing Bianchi and Legnano bikes, as well as becoming the national distributor for Raleigh and Motobecane. Lawee, who had two children, David and Monique, with his wife Ariela, died November 8, 2002.
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.
- "Cancer Takes Univega Founder Ben Lawee". Allbusiness.com, Bicycle Retailer, November 12, 2002.
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