Atala bicycles were founded in 1908 by Guido Gatti, only a year before the first ever Giro d'Italia. The brand were direct rivals with Bianchi, who wanted to begin an Italian equivalent to the Tour de France in collaboration with the newspaper Corriere dell Sera. Gatti, however, found out and brought the story to the pink pages of La Gazetta dello Sport who undercut Corriere dell Sera and begun the story of the Giro d'Italia themselves.
Atala, therefore, were a key part of Italian cycling history. Gatti and Rizzato's brand sponsored teams from as early as 1910 to the late 80s, winning 36 Giro d'Italia stages between 1948 and 1987 and taking a series of track World Championships with the Swiss rider, Urs Freuler.
A period of crisis followed the late 80s as labour costs in Italy rose. The brand was sold to the Rizzi family in 2002 to form a new Atala franchise, but before long they too had to sell the Atala name to the Accell group, who continue to produce leisure bicycles with the Atala logo to this day.
Masi, or Masi cicli, was founded by Faliero Masi in 1949. Faliero Masi had been a professional cyclist since the 1930s and throughout his competitive career he had accumulated an array of knowledge about steel bicycles and their properties as racing machines.
Faliero had his own way of fitting racing bikes to their riders, becoming known as 'the tailor'. He built bikes for both Jacques Anquetil and Fausto Coppi, but as the popularity of the Masi brand grew, many professional racers had already signed contracts with other companies. This, unfortunately, meant that Masi bicycles were not in as much demand as Faliero had initially hoped for.
Cinelli’s story started in 1948, when Cino Cinelli was tired of mechanical failure during his time as a professional racing cyclist. He tirelessly attempted to sell his ideas of a number of companies, but no one was interested in his pursuit of faultless components; they seemed to forget his expert knowledge as a winner of Milan-Sanremo. Giotto – Cino’s brother – manufactured parts like stems and handlebars from steel in Florence; Cino saw the opportunity for development and together they moved the factory to Milan.
Through years of research and development of their craft, Cinelli produced the Unicator saddle in 1962, expanding the line of products and allowing the Cinelli name to grab wider attention as cyclists in Europe continued to seek the finest parts for their racing bicycles. This interest became worldwide when Japan required bicycles and components for their 1964 Olympics team; Cinelli obliged to supply them and at the following Olympics, Mexcio used Cinelli products too. In their history, Cinelli-supplied teams were awarded 28 gold medals at the Olympics.
At the heart of Cinelli is a desire to move bicycle design forward. Naturally, there would be some unusual designs along the way – Mario Cippolini’s alter stem adorning Pamela Anderson being one of them – but some would become legendary. ‘Legalise Spinaci’ is the cry of many nostalgic fans of the World Tour, and they refer to the notorious Spinaci bars of Cinelli – used in le peloton between 1993 and 1997. They were part of the revolution in aerodynamics, allowing riders to get lower on the bike and assume a faster position. However, the UCI began to see the dangers. Crashes were caused by riders unable to react to danger; they were preoccupied by their Spinaci position and couldn’t reach the brakes. This element of danger and their ban from racing in 1997 only adds to their legend.
Contemporary Cinelli components are some of the best available and their frames are always made with the finest Columbus tubing (including the infamous MASH Histogram and Vigorelli). It is a testament to Cino’s legacy that the winged ‘C’ is one of the most recognizable images in the bicycle industry.
We are happy to present you a selection of rare and collectible vintage bicycles: