In 2005 I took a trip to Germany to visit my friend Kevin who works on a U.S. Army base in Bavaria.  I bought a bike on ebay.de and had it shipped to him.  I think I payed only a few hundred bucks for it.

I rode it around the countryside when I was out there, and then had him ship it to me from the base, as that's considered domestic shipping and is pretty cheap.  The Army also gets special rates, because everything having to do with the military is heavily subsidized.  Remember that about a third of the federal budget goes to the military.  That's a lot of fucking money, and you can only buy so many $900 hammers before you have to look elsewhere to unburden yourself of excess capital.

So I shipped it back and sold it to some guy who looked like Moby, and probably would have been better off with a 54 cm frame, but who seemed to really want it.  I think I broke even or made a small amount of money when all was said and done.

It was not an extremely high quality Atala, but it looked nice.  The components were Shimano 600.  I wish I'd held on to it.  The bike I use now for club rides and exercise is actually lower quality than this, or at least the parts are a slightly lower grade - Suntour Cyclone was maybe the equivalent of 105, whereas Shimano 600 is the equivalent of Ultegra, supposedly.

Atala has a certain cachet for me, since it was one of the high quality racing bicycle brands that were common when I first started getting interested in bicycles. Messengers I knew, and the local NYC bike stores, had the higher-quality Italian brands: Atala, Bottecchia, Pinarello, Olmo, Ciocc, Colnago.

Here's the text of the original ebay ad:


Feiner Columbus Rahmen vom Typ TRETUBI AELLE in der Rahmenhöhe 60 cm (Mitte Tretlager bis Oberkante Stützrohr gemessen) - verchromte Gabel / Shimano Schaltung 12-Gang - ich meine es ist Shimano 600 / 28er Mavic Alufelge hinten mit Shimano 600 (ultegra) Leichtlaufnabe - vorne Nisi Alufelge

Atala Road BikeAtala Road Bike c. late 1980s