Ofmega

Ofmega SpA was an Italian motorbike and bicycle components company producing high quality components in a variety of ranges: including Master, Mistral (for both road and track), Mundial (a cheaper, slightly later version of Mistral), Competizione, Super Competizione, Linea, Premier, Gran Premio and CX for the road and Sierra for mountain bikes. There were probably more, including at least one other pista/track range. They also produced children’s cranksets, individual chainrings and other small components.

The company had a reputation of making slightly (or really) innovative products that were made with to a very high quality. Their Mistral dérailleur range, made from a high density, strong plastic, were considered to be amongst the lightest on the market and, certainly, the most colourful. The Mistral range included five (possibly more) colour-coordinated groupsets (both front and rear dérailleurs and “Sintesi” pedals); Pink (“Maglia Rosa” – “Pink Jersey”), Yellow (“Maillot Jaune” – “Yellow Jersey”) and Blue (“Squadra Azzura” – “Blue Team” after the Italian national team), Black and Whitest/grey (it  would be nice to think that this was the “Milk Race” but probably not). There may have been a green variety but this may just be someone seeing a blue item that had been bleached out in strong sunlight – apparently the blue form was prone to bleaching. A cheaper version of the Mistral rear dérailleurs were produced as the “Mundial” range (with an aluminium jockey-wheel cage and no adjustable barrel spring) but only in black.

The Mistral range was not their only colourfull offering. From the mid-1990s Mistral started to produce the Sierra range, which was mostly appalling. However, there was a spin-off groupo called Sirio. Sirio cranks came in at least two colours, bright pink and acidic green, whereas, the Sierra range came mostly in black, grey and white. It was these groups that had their production moved in Slovakia in 2000.

Ofmega made or rebranded components for other bicycle brands, such as Colnago, Legnano, Regina and Avocet. At one point, most of the Avocet component range was made by Ofmega. Often, the rebranding is just an added pantographed logo (in the Colnago case, it is the singature of Ernasto Colnago). However, in the case of Legnano branded components, the logo is engraved into the item. It may be that some items made by other companies, such as the Simplex, in the late 1980s and 1990s. It is thought that the gear shifters for the “Mistral” range were made by Modolo; the cronos shifters look very similar. However, on close inspection, the two aren’t that similar and Ofmega claim to have made them themselves.

They made most of the sets, including hubs, cranks, headsets, freewheels, front and rear dérailleurs, as well as odd small parts.  Ofmega appeared to have outsourced their dérailleur production to Simplex in 1987 (Michael Sweatman, Disraeli Gears). This lead to an apparent lowering in quality. However, some of their latest items were of a very good standard.

Ofmega missing groups (a list of groupsets not yet represented on Velobase): Strada (may be the same as Competizione or Master), Nuovo Competizione, Vega, Acero, Motion, Rover, Sierra, Lusso, BMX, Nuovo Mistral (some of these may be after the period).
Ofmega SpA’s history, like many companies in the bicycle industry, is somewhat shrouded in the mists of time. It is known that the company was set up by the Perotti family, specifically Mario and Dino Perotti. Dino and Mario started to patent components (including and innovative non-cottered crank for cottered-crank bottom brackets) in 1972. They patented their distinctive crossed roller-bearing headset in the US in 1981. Both the Ofmega and, later, P J Bike companies were owned by the Perotti family.

The company may have had some relationship to the OMG company (Officine Mecchaniche Giostra), which, in turn might have developed into or from the Magistroni and Gnutti brands.  This is supported by the fact that some Legnano cranks are branded as Magistroni and others Ofmega. Joel Metz, from the Black Bird website, agrees. It may appear that OMG became Ofmega sometime in the 1970s. However, both sources note that Ofmega claim to have been in business for 50 years; although, this may be drawing on the history of its constituent parts.

However, some components stamped “Ofmega” do appear to have been from before the 1970s, which may show that Ofmega was independant of OMG and the other companies or that they used the Ofmega name as well, possibly for certain groupsets. However, the Gnutti brand still exists (as Gnutti Carlo S.P.A); they make parts for motorbicycles and cars but list bicycle parts in the history section of their website (http://www.gnutticarlo.it/history.asp). The confusion on whether the two companies were linked may have developed from their incredible similar logos (both having “Art Deco” eagles). However, this appears to have been common currancy for Italian logo designers.

The demise of the company is not clear. However, some details are known. Ofmega were certainly still active in 2002. Recent sales of child’s and Alpine crank sets, from 2002, on ebay have confirmed this. Their websites (www.ofmega.it and www.ofmega.com) are now owned by a holding company.  Trademarkia has their trade mark entitlement in the USA renewed in 2005.

According to BikeEurope, Ofmega planned to move its plastic coated steel and steel crankset  production line to Slovakia, 5 km from the Ukranian border in 2000. After a lot of searching, it appears that the Slovakian subsiduary was called P J Bike S.R.O., which was based in Humenne

Their last listed address was Via G, Gozzano 8 (or Via Gozzano Guido 1), 25068 Sarezzo (BS), Lombardy, Italy. This was the address on most of their component boxes.