The story begins in the middle Seventies, when Antonio Colombo joins his father’s company A.L. Colombo, a giant involved in producing steel tubes for bicycles, cars (like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, etc.), motorbikes (Moto Guzzi, etc.), aeroplanes (like Caproni, the very first plane to fly over Atlantic Ocean). Moreover, in the Thirties, the Columbus division manufactures high end steel tubes furniture, designed with the most influent designers as Breuer, Terragni, Bottoni, Figini, Pollini, etc.
In 1977 he resigns as A.L. Columbus president and separates Columbus from the rest to develop bicycle tubing production, giving birth to one of the most famous brand in cycling history.
In the Eighties Colombo takes over Cinelli, a small high end bicycle and components factory founded by Cino Cinelli, a former pro rider between Thirties and Forties, winner of three Giro d’Italia stages (1938, 1939), a Giro di Lombardia (1939) a Milano-Sanremo (1943) and many other races. In 1948 Cino decides to retire from pro cycling to found his own factory that will become a benchmark in the bicycle world. Someone may remember him as a rider, many others remember him as the father the first aluminium handlebars, the first seat with a plastic core, the first pedal straps, the first quick release pedals.
won by Cinelli at Olympics and Worlds
Antonio Colombo’s thinking is different, more visionary, with a gaze that sees beyond the present. The company is transformed, and the inventions of “design made in Cinelli” begin to find their way around the world. The bicycle changes, the vision of the bicycle changes too. People begin to talk about a total design approach. The result is Laser, the first to overtake joints introducing TIG welding for road-bike frames. This is 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. Champions like Lemond, Fignon, Hinaultand Chiappucci, not to mention Lance Armstrong and Mario Cipollini, all the way to Di Luca, Freire and Simoni, chose Cinelli handlebars.
With the Rampichino (1985) Cinelli brings the MTB to Italy. With Cork Ribbon (1987) the company reinvents the ribbon. The Spinaci extensions (1996) were used by over 800,000 cyclists all over the world. Bootleg (2000) breaks the rules, inventing the concept of urban cycling. With Ram (2002), Cinelli revolutionizes handlebars.
With Mystic Rats (2009) and later with Gazzetta (2010) Cinelli introduces 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 is become a “must” for all people with a bicycle “fixation”.
With MASH (San Francisco, 2009) the firm establishes an alliance of steel with the historic California bike messenger group.
Team Cinelli Chrome
Red Hook Crit World Champion
From 2010 to 2015 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.
In 2013 Rizzoli prints “Cinelli The Art And Design Of The Bicycle”, the book about Cinelli history and innovations from the early days to the present.
In 2014, together with clothing brand Chrome Idustries, Cinelli sets Team Cinelli Chrome, a fixed gear racing team that collects riders from allo over the world and makes them race in the most challenging Criteriums. Team athletes are always on the podium and in 2015 they become Red Hook Series World Champions.
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.