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Italians have a long tradition of cycling as a sport which stretches right back to the end of the 1800s when the first official races were organized by cycling clubs. Cycling in Italy grew rapidly in popularity, partly due to the exploits of leading cyclists such as Gina Bartali and Fausto Coppi but also because it was a relatively cheap hobby that anyone could take part in.
Cycling used to be most popular in Lombardy, Tuscany and Veneto but in the modern world there are hundreds of thousands of professionals and keen amateurs all over the country. According to research conducted by Statista, 11% of Italians practice cycling on a regular basis while 18% used to practice and would like to take up the hobby again.
Italian Bicycle Brands Are Among The Best In The World.
Italy has a reputation of manufacturing some of the finest bicycles for both professionals and amateurs of all abilities. These specialized companies have built on long standing traditions but never stopped innovating and incorporating the latest technologies into their bicycles and cycling gear.
This, combined with expert design work and manufacturing skills, has led Italian bicycle brands to rank among the very best. So, whether you’re looking for a mid-range bike to get around town or for a top quality professional quality model, you should certainly consider starting your search in the catalogs of the top Italian bicycle companies.
The Best Italian Bicycle Brands.
The following are the best Italian bicycle brands:
Established in Milan in 1948, Cinelli is mainly known for creating specialist components for racing bikes but they also produce a great selection of mid to upper range road bicycles.
Founded by Cino Cinelli, a former professional rider, the company quickly built up a reputation for superb manufacturing and tireless attention to detail. Although Cinelli was not actually an engineer himself, he was a real perfectionist and insisted that everything in his brand reached the very highest standards of excellence.
The company was bought in 1979 by Antonio Colombo, an industrialist who used to be the president of a bicycle tubing manufacturer. His innovation led to a whole new range of bikes being made under the Cinelli brand, including the Rampichino, the very first European made mountain bike! Today, Cinelli manufactures bikes that are suitable for amateur enthusiasts as well as semi-pros and professionals.
Founded in Treviglio, Lombardy, in 1885, Bianchi is one of Italy’s most iconic bicycle companies that has not only stood the test of time but continued to set trends in the industry for almost 150 years. Bianchi has been one of the top suppliers of racing bikes for professional riders for over a century and has an impressive roster of clientele. Some of Bianchi’s most famous clients include Marco Pantani and Fausto Coppi while in modern times they have supplied the hugely successful Jumbo-Visma World Tour Team with their pro racing bikes. The company also produces electric bikes and mid-level road bikes that are suitable for all levels of expertise.
Traditionally, Bianchi’s bikes were coated with greeny-blue paint, something which became a trademark signature of the company’s excellent workmanship. The legend goes that Bianchi’s founder, Edoardo Bianchi, was so infatuated with Queen Margherita’s blue-green eyes that he decided to paint all his bikes in the same hue! Other people, who are less romantically inclined, claim that the color is supposed to represent the color of the sky above Milan. Either way, you can always tell a Bianchi bike by its unique paintwork.
Originally Wilier was an English company that was bought by the entrepreneurial Italian Pietro Dal Molin in 1906. He moved the small company headquarters to Bassano del Grappa in Veneto, where he started to manufacture bicycles for the Italian infantry in the 1st and 2nd World Wars.
At first, Wilier Triestina could hardly keep up with the demand from the military but after the war the company needed to reinvent itself as the infantry’s demand for his bikes dried up. In the early 1950s, the company fell on hard times and it was 18 years until the company was saved by Lino and Antonio Gastaldello. Following their purchase of the floundering company, the brothers reopened the factory, heralding a new chapter in Wilier Triestina’s story.
Over the following decades, the company saw massive success and currently manufactures bikes for the World Tour riders of team Astana. Wilier produces an excellent range of bikes including road racing models, mountain and endurance bikes as well as leisure and E-bikes. This makes Wilier an ideal choice for cycling enthusiasts of all abilities and interests.
There are few bicycle companies that better epitomize Italy’s cycling culture than Tommasini. Ever since 1957, when the company was founded, all of the company’s production and manufacture has taken place in Grosseto, Tuscany. The company’s founder, Irio Tommasini, began the company by manufacturing high quality steel road racing bikes which were famous for their superb performance and excellent finishes.
However, as time went on, the company branched out into a wider range of bikes that were designed with amateurs and cycling enthusiasts in mind. Today, Tommasini also makes steel, titanium and carbon fiber road bikes as well as rugged mountain bikes that are designed for trail riding.
Tommasini produces premade bikes although every single model can be customized and made to measure for you. So if you’re looking for a bike that fits perfectly then Tommasini is a great place to start your search.
Scatto Italiano manufactures hand-crafted bikes that incorporate the timeless beauty of Italian engineering with the elegance of the Dolce Vita. Combining modern, up-to-date innovation with the practical skills of their master artisans, Scatto Italiano manufactures an excellent range of well-made road bikes that are meant for everyday use. As the company’s motto goes, every bike is ‘light as a feather and strong as a rock’; so you can have the best of durability and efficiency in one superbly crafted bike.
One of the company’s most popular bikes for getting around town is the ‘Dolce Vita’ model which has the option of a frame for a basket on the front handlebars – perfect for putting your groceries in. Scatto Italiano is undoubtedly one of the best brands for Expats and locals who want a comfortable, well designed bike for getting around town in an environmentally friendly way while enjoying the fresh air and views!
How Do You Choose The Right Size Bicycle?
It’s absolutely vital to select a bike that fits you properly, otherwise, you can injure your back and cause long term damage to your calves and ankles. Even riding a badly fitted bike for a matter of hours can lead to serious aches and pains as well as minor stress injuries. You’re also a lot more likely to fall off your bike if it’s either too small or large!
To assess whether a bike is the right size you need to take the following components into account:
- The size of the bike’s frame.
- The position of the pedals.
- The height of the handlebars.
- The height of the saddle.
While it’s true that you can adjust most of the aspects of your bike you cannot change the size of the frame. This is the most important aspect to make sure you get right when selecting the right size of bike.
To find out if a bike fits you properly you should make sure that you can sit on the saddle with your legs almost completely extended with your feet on the pedal. This will make it easier to pedal and will stop you from hurting your ankles and calves as you cycle.
Once you’ve established that the frame and pedals fit you then you can adjust the height of the handlebars and the saddle. Every bicycle company will be able to provide you with a frame size calculator to help you choose the right size of frame based on your height.
After you’ve bought your bike you can take it to a local bike shop to get your saddle and handlebars adjusted if you’re unsure of how to do this yourself. It will only take a bike technician a few moments to get you properly fitted up on your new bike so it’s nothing to worry about, even if you don’t have any experience in bicycle mechanics.
Should You Get A New Or Used Bike In Italy?
If you want to get a bike then it’s almost always better to get a new one. This is because you’ll get a warranty that should include labor and parts which can last for several years. Many companies also offer you free tune-ups and checks for the first year that you have your bike. Newer bikes are always going to be more reliable and if you get a top quality bike you can benefit from the latest technological improvements and modern materials, such as carbon fiber.
On the other hand, buying a used bike will certainly save you money. Aside from the price factor, there are very few advantages of buying a second hand bicycle. For instance, if you have to take it in for regular repairs then the money you saved on the purchase can soon be spent in maintenance costs over the next year or two.
Cycling In Italy Is A Great Way To Get Around The Country.
There’s no better way to get around the historic town centers of Italy than by bike. Many of the streets are too small for cars and in other cases cars are banned altogether. So, if you don’t want to walk everywhere then getting a bike is the easiest way to do your groceries or drop by the local restaurant for lunch.
Cycling is fun, healthy and a great way to meet new friends. Not only can you cycle in the towns but you can also get out into the countryside and explore the surrounding areas. If you haven’t done much cycling before, you’ll be amazed by how much ground you cover on a bike! Of course, if you’re worried about not being physically fit enough then you can get an electric bike to help you build up your strength and stamina.