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 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 Ofmega 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. In addition, the Competizione groupset came anodised in red, blue or gold, as well as plain aluminium: The anodised components included hubs, chainrings and pedals.
Ofmega made or rebranded components for other bicycle brands, such as Bianchi, 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 were 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), and some Simplex derailleurs were labelled Ofmega. 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, Vantage 2 (some of these may be after the period). The "BMX" kit that Ofmega made in the period are smaller "Mundial" pieces. The carbon mountain bike cranks and the glorious "Nuovo Mistral" carbon cranks were the last things that Ofmega took to bike trade shows.
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 the 1960s. 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.
Michael Sweatman (the author of the Disraeli Gears website) writes that 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.
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 currency 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 an article on Bike-Europe (http://www.bike-eu.com), Ofmega had closed by mid 2006 (http://www.bike-eu.com/news/bitaly-2006-b-more-bicycles-sold-less-import-2458.html).
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 subsidiary was called P J Bike S.R.O., which was based in Humenne. As yet, no P J Bike components have been seen, other than the vaguely tragic "Sierra", Ofmega branded, plastic wrapped cranks. It is not clear whether P J Bike had their own branded components nor is it clear whether the company still exists.
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. No amount of searching (or calling the, now defunct, telephone numbers - +39 030 891160 and +39 030 89 341) has been able to find out the companies current status, whether it has been taken over or just went bankrupt. In 2004, one website recorded that they employed 250 people in Italy, alone.
Ofmega had a series of patents granted. The following list is not exhaustive but goes some way to giving the range:
FR2444607A1 (see IT1103504B, below, used, 12/06/1979),
FR2444843A1 (see GB2038249A, below, possibly used, 12/06/1979),
FR2514717A3 (see GB2109892A, used, 15/10/1982),
FR2515604A1 (the Mistral dérailleur, used, 21/10/1982),
FR2628383A1 (top spring for the Mistral dérailleur, not used, 29/11/1988),
FR2637249A1 (guide plates for the Premier dérailleur, possibly used - this design was used for the "Vantage" rear dérailleur, 20/08/1989),
FR2639313A1 (top spring for the Mistral Dérailleur, not used, 30/08/1989),
GB1245848A (an alternative to cotters for cottered-cranks, possibly used, 02/12/1969),
GB2038249A (sealed-bearing bottom bracket, possibly used, 31/05/1979),
GB2109892A (the Mistral crankset, used, 16/10/1982),
GB2110322A (bottom spring design for the Mistral dérailleur, used, 06/10/1982),
IT1053056B (an alternative bottom bracket and chainring mechanism, possibly used, 21/11/1975),
IT1082042B (an improved freewheel, possibly used, 17/06/1977),
IT1103504B (the original patent for the two-way bearings used in the CX headset, used, 22/12/1978),
IT1120682B (an alternative braised-on hanger for front dérailleurs, unknown, 23/07/1979),
IT1136016B (the CX headset, used, 02/10/1980),
IT1172013B (a refinement of a single-piece crankset, possibly used, 11/03/1983),
IT1194862B (the Sintessi pedal, used, 15/11/1979),
IT1194863B (a refinement of cassette extraction tools, unknown, 16/11/1979),
IT1195001B (same as GB2110322A, used, 29/10/1981),
IT1199008B (a hydraulic brakeset for road and cyclo-cross bikes, possibly used, 15/05/1980).
IT1206183B (more refinements to the Sintesi pedal, used, 22/02/1980),
IT1217001B (an indexed gear shifter for the Premier groupset, not used, 24/03/1987),
IT214727Z2 (see FR2628383A1, not used, 18/06/1990),
IT215965Z2 (see FR2637249A1, unsure, 20/03/1991),
ITBS930065U1 (the Urbana BMX crankset, used, 17/07/1993),
ITBS970001U1 (bottom bracket improvements, unknown, 29/01/1997),
ITBS970030U1 (bottom bracket improvements, unknown, 19/03/1997),
DE1945108U (a folding pedal, unknown, 12/05/1966) - it is this patent in which Ofmega is referred to as Of. Me. Ga.,
DE8226686U1 (the German patent for the Mistral crankset, used, 23/09/1982).
This list doesn't include their US patents.