During a recent trip to Milan for Red Hook Crit, I visited the headquarters of one of the world’s most pioneering bike brands. My relationship with Cinelli goes back to 2012 when I bought my first carbon road bike, the Saetta (lightning in Italian). This summer I’ve been riding a Cinelli Experience that I built myself with a donated Campagnolo Record groupset from my brother (also a Cinelli fan) and Zonda wheels.
For my Everesting Etna challenge my friend Marcello, owner of 110+RPM in Catania, leant me one of top end bikes the Strato Faster. It was an awesome ride, fast and aggressive yet comfortable for over 16 hours in the saddle. I’ve got my eye on one for racing next year, the red matches my club kit nicely!
The guys at Cinelli had been following the Everesting on social media, so they were happy to show me round when I came to Milan. I was given a tour by vice president Fabrizio Aghito who has worked at Cinelli for over 8 years. He’s a really cool guy who knows his stuff, particular L’Eroica which he does every year on a beautiful Cinelli Gazzetta della Strada.
The company was founded in 1948 by Cino Cinelli, a prominent bike racer with a passion frame building. Other the years the company become synomous with quality racing bikes and components, particularly handlebars and stems. In 1978 the company was passed on to Anthony Colombo, the owner of Columbus tubing and the marriage between Cinelli and art was born.
Walking around the factory/workshop it was amazing to see the blend of heritage and modernity. The original Colombus factory trolleys holding piles of tubing, alongside top end carbon frames being stress tested with state of the art machinery. There are around 30 workers in the workshop, using the traditional methods to form the tubing by hand. A beautiful artisan process to witness.
Most of Cinelli’s carbon frames are produced overseas, as carbon frame builders in Italy are now few and far between, however they still use Italian frame builders for custom projects. Frame designs are designed on computer, then 3D printed in nylon to test the geometry before being sent to the factory for creation in the mould. He showed me the 3D print of the new Superstar with its distinctive kink in the top tube, designed to reinforce against the load on the head tube when descending at speed. One I’d love to test on Mount Etna at some point.
The showroom was so full of bike porn, I was in heaven. One of my favourite bikes is the steel framed Nemo Tig, especially in purple which was on display with Campagnolo Record and Bora wheels. For 2018 they will be adding a disc version with clearance for wide tyres, nice touch. There’s also a custom paint range for the Nemo Tig with 30 different pantones. You can have any colour, so long as it’s not black. Only joking, of course you can have black too. I currently own five bikes, all black. I think it’s time I broaden my horizons…
Next to the showroom is a custom bike fitting room, with a scanner to take exact measurements which can be used to inform custom builds and setup. Not cheap apparently, but well worth doing if you are riding thousands of miles on your bike.
Inside the office it was great to meet all the staff, many of whom I seemed to be friends with on Instagram already. A great bunch who knew me as… “Harry, the Everesting guy!” There were also riders from Team Cinelli Chrome about the office, it seems a very nice place to work. Antonio Colombo’s office is decked out with artwork, along with the famous Keith Haring Cinelli Laser. Troppo bello!
As a Cinelli fan boy it was a real honour to visit and hosted so generously. Watch this space on the Strato Faster build, hopefully I’ll be racing it and doing a few more challenges next season back in the UK.