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.
A name that needs no introduction, Eddy Merckx is the most successful cyclist of all time. With 525 palmarès to his name, ‘The Cannibal’ shot to fame in the late 1960s, winning the 1966 Milan-Sanremo and becoming the first Belgian to win the Giro d’Italia in 1968; he would go on to win it another four times. Alongside his success in Grand Tours – including five Tour De France victories – Merckx took 3 World Championships, 30 Spring Classic titles and the World Hour Record.
After leading the Molteni team between 1971 and 1976 to countless successes, Merckx retired from competition in 1978 and founded his own eponymous bicycle company in 1980. The aim was to design and build the greatest racing bikes in the world. Ugo De Rosa, who had a close relationship with Merckx after building his legendary hour record bike, led the frame-building of the new brand. Ugo taught Merckx’s employees how to build frames – an area in which Merckx showed a keen interest whilst racing on De Rosa’s specially built bicycles.
The brand soon became revered by enthusiasts around the world. Merckx bicycles were highly regarded, and synonymous with prestige and high quality. 'The Cannibal' applied the same dedication that brought him numerous victories in running his own business, and many professional cycling teams used Merckx frames in the 1980s and 1990s – 7 Eleven, Motorola and Quickstep to name a few.
Despite the dominance of Asia in contemporary bicycle production, Eddy Merckx’s brand continue to operate in Brussels, Belgium, taking inspiration from the nearby sectors of pavé and the passionate following of cycling in Merck’s homeland.