As always the over-sized "Italian Pavilion" at EuroBike was huge and filled with a wide array of bike brands from the old country. However, I'm sure the irony was not lost on anyone why once again the biggest booth in the expansive hall was taken up none other than that artisan Italian component maker, Shimano. Wait....oh, never mind.
So besides the fact that Shimano was the biggest player in "Little Italy", it's also true that some of Italy's biggest brands like Colnago, Campagnolo, Pinarello, and Fizik were spread outside the Italian hall throughout the multitude of other halls.
BUT FIRST, THIS MUSICAL INTERLUDE TO GET YOU IN THE RIGHT MOOD.
Despite no longer having the ProTour team street cred as some of their compatriots, De Rosa Bicycles
remain an integral player in the Italian bike game and the De Rosa 888 remains a player in any discussion
of Italian super bikes. Made with a blend of three different types of
carbon, the 888 is available in eight sizes and three different versions
- including one designed with Campagnolo that runs an internal battery for the EPS drivetrain.
In addition to their handful of carbon fiber bikes, the legendary De Rosa brand
is still a place to find beautifully crafted steel and titanium bikes. From the classic steel Neo Primato and Nuovo Classico (available in 14 sizes) to the two fixed gear models in your choice of either titanium or steel, De Rosa has a handle on Italian bikes made in a variety of frame materials .
Yes, Catlike is a Spanish brand and they had a wide array of their uniquely vented helmets on display. The 39 vent Whisper helmet is used by the Movistar ProTour team and is available in four sizes and wide range of cool colors. Besides helmets, Catlike
also makes a wide range of cycling accessories including shoes and sunglasses.
As we all know, there are plenty of Italian branded carbon frames in the market today. However, there are fewer Italian branded carbon frames that are actually made in Italy with Italian made carbon tubes. The family run Tommasini brand
however, is one of them. Founded by Irio Tommasini back in 1957, the brand remains as contemporary as any other with the new (updated from the VLC2) VLC3 sitting front and center in the booth. However, as unfashionable as it may be to admit openly, the real jewel in the Tommasini booth lay elsewhere....
The famed Tommasini Techno remains one of the most beautiful steel bike around. Handmade with Columbus tubing at the factory in Grosseto via Nepal, Italy, the Tecno is available in a paltry 16 sizes! Tommasini is also on top of the steel game with their X-Fire model made with stainless steel.
Read the Tecno test in Road Bike Action
is another famous Italian legacy brand that also offers a wide range of carbon and steel road bikes. The Ivor is their top of the line carbon bike that is available in six sizes. Check out the Scapin video from Interbike last year (that seems to double as a rap video!) at Road Bike Action/Scapin
Lo & behold, the Cipollini booth once again made its home against the back wall of the pavilion and as usual the brand (named after the iconic Italian racer Mario Cipollini
) was a huge attraction, especially when the larger than life rider was in the booth. There were also some eye-popping bikes on display, including the scintillating RB800, which like the rest of the bike line is handmade in Italy.
Mario would check in every once in awhile and when he did it was Italian mayhem as people swarmed the "Lion King" for photos and autographs. To paraphrase a conversation that the always prolific Mario had with someone, he lamented much of what & who he sees in Pro racing today..."if someone saw the skinny Schleck and Wiggins on the beach they would say they were sick and call the ambulance for them...and then they pat each other on the back at the finish of a climb...that is crazy, there should be smoke coming from their noses!"
THE RBA/EUROBIKE SCHWAG CONTEST
It's true, here at RBA we're pretty big fans of all things Europa and to help share in the celebration of the European cycle scene, and as the giving never stops at RBA, I'm going to pass along my sweet waterproof Eurobike musette bag filled with a couple of SRAM shirts I picked up at their Zipp 202 clincher
launch, a pair of Campagnolo EPS bib shorts (an easy $250+ value) and a copy of the October issue of RBA that features a Cipollini RB1000
test bike on the cover PLUS Mario's autograph that I was able to snag. All that will go to the person who answers the following question:
If you could build your ultimate Euro road bike, what frame/parts would you choose and why? Leave your answer on Facebook or send it along to Road Bike Action
and we'll pick a random winner. Thanks for playing and stay tuned for more, yes more, from the halls of Eurobike.
BTW, here's a Super Mario photo gallery and classic Mario Cipollini moment
Few riders have been as naturally suited for the rainbow stripes as Mario Cipollini.
Always a special rider, it wasn't until Mario shocked the traditional Euro slanted sport with a move to the Saeco Cannondale squad in 1997 that his stock as an all-time great was put to measure.
Long live the Lion King!