Friday, February 11, 2011
Cino Cinelli - t.i.c.h.
He had instead become interested in the mechanical side of the bicycle industry. Several equipment failures during races had led him to believe he could create better products. His brother Giotto was already producing steel handlebars and Cino convinced him to move to Milan, the hub of Italian cycling activity. As well as producing their own products, Cinelli was a distributor of "qualified" bike parts. Meaning every product they moved had to be approved by Cino. Their main focus in production, as well as what they are most known for, was handlebars and stems. Cino resisted the move to aluminum fearing it didn't have the strength to withstand the abuses of racing. They eventually started producing cutting edge aluminum bars and stems for the best racers in the world. In the 50's their annual production numbers of bars and stems were in the 5000 range and by Cino's retirement in 1978, annual production had hit 150,000.
Cinelli's framesets were also very sought after as well. Production was very limited because Cinelli wanted every frame built "in house", and the possibility of getting put behind an Olympic track rider was high. Cino resisted putting his bikes in the pro peloton for fear of stepping on team toes, but track stars could pick their own rides. Thus, Cinelli's were ridden to many track victories represented by many different countries.
Cino dabbled in several other innovations. He acquired Alfred Binda straps in 1958. He master-minded the sloping crown fork in the 1950's. In the 60's he collaborated with a certain Mr. Campagnolo on a "bivalent hub" that would work on the front or rear of the bike. And 1971 would see Cinelli's creation of the first clipless pedal.
Although the man behind the company name has past, Cino Cinelli's legacy continues to steer the company into the future.