Formigli builds 3 steel frames. One is lugged, called the Classic. The second is fillet brazed, called the Cellini. The Cellini also can be made with TIG welds.
Although materials come and go in popularity, steel remains one of the best racing frame materials available. Steel frames are acclaimed for their crisp, precise ride, a ride that dampens the vibration of too often imperfect road surfaces. Steel’s ride is classic yet refined.
Gimondi, Merckx, Anquetil, Bobet, Coppi, and Cinelli rode steel to victory in grand tours and classics. Purists will tell you that nothing compares to steel. Tradition, handicraft, time tested perfection: all are present in a handmade Italian steel road bike. Representing more than a half century of Italian history, steel symbolizes the racing bicycle in its purest form.
When you see the fit and finish of Formigli steel tubes with lugs, fillet brazed, or TIG welds, you know that only a master could create something so perfect. Although materials and frame design have evolved since his time with Cinelli, Renzo still uses much of what Cinelli taught him as his foundation for design and creation.
The Italian Old Masters considered the teaching of their craft to carefully chosen apprentices as important as the legacy of their own 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 builders into their shops and pouring decades of knowledge into them. Despite so many builders’ desire to adopt mass production techniques, a few shops have kept the master frame builders’ flame alight.
One man, Renzo Formigli, who learned (at age 21) his craft at the bench of legendary cycling icon Cino Cinelli, still lives the legacy. Formigli builds steel road frames one-at-a-time.
Formigli is one of a select few like him left in Italy. He makes fewer frames in a year than major brands pop out of a mold in a single day. Formigli and a very few others continue to work as their masters did — in Italy, in small shops, creating bikes that foster a personal connection between builder and rider.