1947: an outstanding professional racer with 15 years of pedaling in his legs and a taste for mechanical things decides to develop the brilliant intuitions glimpsed during the course of many kilometers on all kinds of roads. His name: Cino Cinelli.
Some remember his racing career, but many others know about him because he gave modern cycling the first aluminium handlebars, the first seat with a plastic core, the first pedal straps, the first quick release pedals.
Thirty years went by, and in 1978 Cino handed the company over to a young industrialist, a leader in the field of steel tubing, with a love of cycling: Antonio Colombo.
The thinking was different, more visionary, with a gaze that saw beyond the present. The company was transformed, and the inventions of “design made in Cinelli” began to find their way around the world. The bicycle changed too, or the vision of the bicycle per se. People began to talk about a total design approach. The result was Laser, which did away with joints and introduced TIG welding for street-bike frames. This was the only Italian bicycle to win the Compasso d’Oro (1991) design award, as well as over 28 gold medals at Olympic Games and World Championships.
Competition has always been a part of Cinelli’s DNA. The firm’s handlebars have been chosen by champions like Lemond, Fignon, Hinault and Chiappucci, not to mention Lance Armstrong and Mario Cipollini, all the way to Di Luca, Freire and Simoni.
With the Rampichino (1985) Cinelli brought the MTB to Italy. With Cork Ribbon (1987) the company reinvented the ribbon. The Spinaci extensions (1996) have been used by over 800,000 cyclists all over the world. Bootleg (2000) breaks the rules, inventing the concept of street cycling. With Ram (2002), Cinelli revolutionized handlebars.
With Mystic Rats (2009) and later with Gazzetta (2010) Cinelli has brought the latest revolution in the world of cycling to Italy, the fixed-gear bicycle: born for the track and reinvented by American bike messengers, the “fixie” represents a necessity for urban cyclists thanks to its unique qualities of lightness, speed and agility. It has become a “must” for all people with a bicycle “fixation”.
With MASH (San Francisco, 2009) the firm has formed an alliance of steel with the historic California bike messenger group.
Since 2010 Cinelli is the official sponsor of the Red Hook Criterium, the most important nocturnal fixed-gear bike competition in the world, also taking the contest from Brooklyn to Milan.
These are the roots of Cinelli, and this is its spirit today: Cinelli is included in the Dizionario del Design Italiano (Rizzoli, 1999), in the ADI Design Index (2000-2001), and is considered a maker of cult objects in the USA, on a par with Ferrari, Vespa and Fornasetti.
Starting in 1980, Cinelli has been the first company to bring art into the world of bicycles. Over the years the company has had fertile relationships of collaboration with the world’s leading designers and artists: from the Laser by Keith Haring to the Cinelli logo designed by Italo Lupi, to the limited-edition Supercorsa by Barry McGee, or the accessories of Mike Giant, the art bike is the most authentic and exclusive expression of the Cinelli trademark.
Since 1997 Cinelli is a division of Gruppo Srl, and together with Columbus it forms a productive pole of worldwide importance in the sector of very high-end bicycles.
The new facilities at Caleppio (Settala, to the south of Milan), opened in 2012, include the production plant and the central warehouse, design and sales offices, and a new space for the exhibit and conservation of the most important Cinelli pieces that have made the history of cycling and Italian bicycle design.
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