Umberto Scapin founded his eponymous brand in 1957, following a highly respectable career as a professional cyclist. From the very beginning, it was his intention to make incredibly unique bicycles, made by hand and finished with a fastidious attention to detail.
Early models from Umberto’s workshop are rare and unusual. Cromovelato paintwork was occasionally used, lugs were highly refined and some models included superb pantographs. Not one, however, was the same. Some were even gold plated, and as far as bicycles are concerned, Scapin created the most precious frames in history.
In a cotemporary context, Scapin is regarded as potentially the most prestigious and flamboyant brand in the Italian bike industry. Both in production and design, Scapin bikes are the choice of only the most obsessive connoisseurs. Nothing has been lost from Umberto’s philosophy; quality, detail and individuality are the cornerstones of modern Scapin bicycles. Craftsmanship, despite modern production methods, remains at the forefront of Scapin products, which are still made in Italy to this day.
Benotto was founded by Giacinto Benotto, in Torino, Italy, 1931. Like so many Italian bike manufacturers of the era, Benotto himself was a passionate racer and had first hand experience of the competitive world of racing. He knew of the need for high-quality designs.
Giacinto, together with his brother, researched extensively into the development of racing bikes for the future. However, early in 1948, the story of the brand took an unusual turn. Having read about the newly discovered oil in Venezuela, Benotto was keen to travel to South America in order to set up his classic bicycle brand and capitalise on this new found area of wealth.
The Benotto brothers reached port La Guaira in the summer of 1948, along with 200 newly designed Benotto bikes. As they went through customs, Giacinto explained his concept of introducing bikes to Latin America. Despite his best efforts, they weren't convinced. They maintained, 'here in Venezuela we don’t ride bicycles, we drive Cadillacs'. Despite this initial opposition, Giacinto became a successful bicycle pioneer. Benotto developed the first Venezuelan folding bike, the first tandem and a five person bicycle which became famous through television appearances.
Alongside the pioneering business vision of the Benotto brothers, their synonymous brand would also sponsor a series of successful professional cycling teams. 11 World Championship titles have been won by riders of Benotto bicycles, the most most notable winner being Franscesco Moser in San Cristobal, Venezuela, 1977. In addition, Ole Ritter set an hour record on a Benotto bicycle in 1968; 48.653 km in Mexico City.