ITALIAN ROAD BICYCLES-THE LEGENDARY CRAFT
The Italian Old Masters considered the teaching of their craft to hand picked apprentices as important as the legacy of their art. Students would spend years in the master’s studio, honing their craft until becoming masters in their own right. The masters of Italian frame building followed the same pattern, taking apprentice frame builders into their shops and pouring decades of knowledge into them. With the advent of carbon fiber master frame builders saw the beginning of their end. Resin and molding replaced brazing and mitering and a century’s hard won knowledge was in danger of being squandered. Despite cycling’s obsessive desire to push mass production, a few shops have kept the flame of the master frame builder alive. One man, Renzo Formigli, studied at the bench of legendary cycling icon Cino Cinelli at the age of 21 and has applied the one-frame-at-a-time craftsmanship of steel to high modulus carbon. Formigli is one of the select few frame builders still left in Italy to make fewer frames in a year than many major brands pop out of a mold in a single day. Theirs is a desire to work as their masters did, in Italy, out of a small shop, creating bikes that maintain a personal connection between builder and rider.