If you are a cycling enthusiast, you have probably seen the classic 1979 coming of age, Oscar-winning film, Breaking Away. The hero is Dave Stoller, an Indiana cycling buff with dreams of riding with the Team Cinzano. Dave’s Masi is surely one of the most recognizable bicycles in the history of filmmaking, and was a huge part of the engine driving the US “bike boom,” getting so many people interested in cycling in the first place – and, if at all possible, with some Italian flair. At the cross section of cycling and pop culture, you’ll find this very bike. But even if it didn’t have such a prestigious Hollywood pedigree, this Masi for the 70’s – surely their golden era – would be a wildly collectible and desirable machine.
After racing in Monuments like the Giro d’Italia and Milan San Remo in the 1930’s, Faliero Masi took what he learned from racing bikes and started building them, having an almost “sixth sense” as to what a rider needed from his frame to insure a peak performance. This ability earned Masi a nickname – The Tailor – as he built his company renowned for their obsessive attention to detail. By 1950, Masi’s company – Cicli Masi –
was turning out frames for some of the most legendary riders in cycling history, all from a space located below the Vigorelli Velodrome in Milan (Italy).
Launched in 1970, the Masi Gran Criterium is one of the most sought after Italian bicycles ever manufactured. Inspired by the racing bikes that Masi had built for Eddy Merckx (many riders raced for other teams, though the steel they rode was actually built by Masi), the Gran Criterium is perhaps the pinnacle of Faliero Masi’s achievement. The exquisitely filed lugs and double-fork crown are clear indicators that this is a bicycle for serious racing.
Masi rarely disclosed which steel tubing he used for the Gran Criterium (or any of his other bikes for that matter), but it’s presumably made either of light and sturdy Columbus SL or Reynolds 531 tubes or a mix. It comes equipped with an appropriate groupset - the Campagnolo Nuovo Record, Nisi rims, Cinelli cockpit, and saddle.
In the early 1970s Faliero Masi started to produce his bikes in facilities in California, whilst his son Alberto continued the business in Italy which should be the reason why his name can be found on this 1972 pearl.
The bike has been fully checked in our workshop and is ready to be ridden. Of course it’s suitable for Eroica, and would look right at home at Eroica CA cruising along the California coast.