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.
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.
We are happy to present you a selection of rare and collectible vintage bicycles: