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Gnutti Components

Author:- Steve Warne

Not much appears to be written about Gnutti Italian components but since many British lightweight cycle makers used their products extensively I feel that they are worthy of some study.

Carlo Gnutti established his business in 1920 manufacturing parts for agricultural machines from a factory (presumably in the same location that Gnutti are established today) in Maclodio near Brescia, Italy. During WW2 they were concerned with armament production. The manufacture of bicycle components commenced at some point after the war and continued until the early 1960’s. Today, Gnutti Carlo S P A are an engineering multinational company with manufacturing facilities in Italy, USA, India and even here in the UK.
The range of bicycle components comprised chain sets, hubs (and q/r skewers), bottom brackets and head sets. The earliest advertisement that I have seen for Gnutti components is from October 1949.

Gnutti- Cycling 1949 Gnutti-Cycling 1951
Above - Gnutti advertisement – ‘Cycling’ – 3.5.1951
Left - Beretta & Penney advertisement – ‘Cycling ‘- 6.10.1949
Below: Aids to Happy Cycling 1951

Gnutti Aids 1951

A number of lightweight cycle makers quickly adopted Gnutti components, including Claud Butler and Holdsworth. It would seem that these parts tended to be used on higher end machines, presumably due to cost. In the 1951 Claud Butler catalogue the most expensive machine (Massed Start Model) had a Gnutti Decagon head set, a Gnutti hollow bottom bracket and a Gnutti chain set. F H Grubb used Gnutti chain sets on his top of the range ‘Perfection’ model in 1949.

Gnutti headset, BB

Gnutti decagon head set + Bottom bracket – S Warne collection

Beretta & Penney were trade only suppliers but a number of other wholesale suppliers offered Gnutti products including Hobbs Bros. Gnutti small flange hubs and chainsets were the most expensive stocked in the Hobbs 1953 catalogue. To the best of my knowledge Gnutti never made large flange hubs.

Hobbs catalogue Gnutti hubs

Above - Gnutti small flange hubs with q/r skewers – S Warne collection

Left -
Hobbs small flange hub price list from 1953 catalogue – S Warne collection

Gnutti chain sets were available with single and double chaUin rings. One irritating feature of the double ring set is that the 2 rings are generally riveted together which makes the choice of rings difficult and re-chroming almost impossible. Sadly, like most components of this era, finding examples that are not badly corroded can be difficult, possibly due to the shortage of nickel after the war. Chromium plating direct onto mild steel has a very limited life.

Gnutti double chainset Gnitti 5-pin

Above - Gnutti Export 5 pin RH crank – S Warne collection

Left - Gnutti 3 arm chainset with double ring – S Warne collection

In 1951 Gnutti offered a very high end chain set that included a splined axle with allen screw cap bolts. It was very expensive at the time and complete examples command high prices today.

Gnutti splined

Above - Gnutti chainset with splined  bottom bracket – S Warne collection

I suspect that Gnutti were possibly sponsoring professional cyclists about this time also. I am unsure of where and when the Gnutti vehicle image was taken, I would guess that it was either the Giro D’Italia or the Tour De France. I believe that it dates from 1950.

Gnutti support vehicle

Above - Gnutti support vehicle – ca. 1950 – Courtesy GnuttiCarlo S P A website

When speaking of Italian components of the 1940-50’s era the name Campagnolo always springs to mind. However, it is worth noting that back in 1950 ‘Campy’ offered only a small range of parts whilst makers including  Gnutti, Fratelli Brivio, Magistroni, Fiamme and others were actively selling their wares in the UK also.

10 Gnutti
Gnutti Tour of Britain advert (from Mick Butler)

11 Gnutti Alec Taylor
Gnutti team rider in 1954 Tour of Britain (Mick Butler)

12 Gnutti tour
1954 Tour of Britain advert (Mick Butler)

13 Tour Italy
1954 Tour of Italy (Mick Butler)

See also Gnutti - Aids to Happy Cycling

Steve Warne – February 2019