Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Italian way.

I'm a classic Italian fan.
The retro Bianchi sticker on my toolbox.

The other day I came across the Italian handmade framebuilder, Zullo from this fine blog. Italian frames are my weakness and I admire the beauty, high craftsmanship and place in cycling history. In fact Italy’s rich history for the racing bicycle is worthy of a look...

Around the year 1500, Leonardo Da Vinci may have come up with the earliest drawings of the modern bicycle. However, critics intervene and say it was from one of Da vinci’s apprentices. We’ll never truly know. By the 1800’s, designer Edoardo Bianchi took the bicycle further. Bianchi envisioned the bicycle as sport. And he wanted to introduce this new sport to the uninitiated public. He was an innovator; the first bicycle with wheels of identical size and pneumatic tires. Bianchi sponsored a racer, Giovanni Ferdinando Tomaselli, in the 1899 Grand Prix of Paris. What was the predecessor to the Tour de France, Tomaselli won the event and Bianchi rose to cycling prominence. And, Italy was plunged to the forefront in bicycle design and construction.

Could this be Da Vinci's bicycle sketch?
www.artfactory.com

Thanks to Bianchi, many Italian master frame builders came to the fore and helped bolster the ideal of bicycles as an art form. I for one agree and I know that many others do, that the beautiful racing bicycle has that characteristic Italian swagger quintessential to her excellent designers.

Tiziano Zullo sponsored the Dutch pro team, TVM from 1986 thru 1992. Beautiful bikes, made of steel, with that classic Italian touch. I remember looking at images of that strong TVM team with stars: Phil Anderson, Robert Millar, Gert Jan Theunisse and Dimitri Konychev(just to name a few).

Dimitri Konyshev cruising on the classic 'Tour 91.'
www.cyclingwebsite.net

I was pleasantly surprise to discover that the 1991 replica TVM frame, ‘Tour ‘91’ is currently produce. Made with Columbus Spirit tubes and painted with the gold marbled finish, it is a classic throw back of the nineties superb road machine. I'll just add this beauty to the others on my ever growing wish list!

With my love for Italian steel frames, I've found a  fundamental trait.  From the long, lineage of fine cycling craftsmanship comes;  polished, precision & enduring bicycles ... Italian style!

Bellissimo!

The gorgeous, steel TVM replica, 'Tour '91.'

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