This is the final installment for Interbike 2016 and in most ways the best. The people in the bike biz are what makes it great, especially when they're Italians.
Above are some of the Albabici folks (l-r) Robertino, Alessandro, Gianluca, yours truly and Pitz. We've been friends with Ale and Gianlu for a decade now.
Above is yours truly with Veronica of Vittoria Shoes. The sister of Edoardo, she spends most of her time as a flight attendent with Etihad Airways. I asked her to convey my best wishes to her parents back in Biella so we posed for this photo for them, CIAO AMICI!
And then Edoardo gave me a package of these wonderful biscotti, a specialty of the Biella region. MMmmmmm! And si, Edoardo, some were saved for Heather!
Next we have Dan Large of Campagnolo North America. He's the west coast tech guy, buona forchetta and MOTOGP fan. He's standing behind a test bike equipped with Campagnolo's new POTENZA 11-speed groupset. The new components look pretty good, a real return to Campy's philosophy of great performance at every level - paying more gets you nicer finishing, more exotic materials and lower weight - but the performance is the same. We're working on making bikes with this groupset available as part of our rental fleet.
What bike to put a new POTENZA groupset on? Heather likes her Athena 11-speed triple setup just fine (and it's still offered by Campagnolo) and Larry's happy with an older 10-speed triple setup so....perhaps a new bicycle? How 'bout a FAVALORO? A what, you say? A FAVALORO., as you'll see by watching the video via the link, is made entirely by Michele Favaloro in Italy. He's called FM-Bike in Italy but for the USA his name will be on the downtubes.
Many of you have asked for a full carbon-fiber bicycle to be added to the CycleItalia rental fleet, but our previous bike supplier doesn't offer any and Larry wasn't too keen on anything cooked up in Asia with merely an Italian-sounding name stuck on it in any case.
So we're working on custom-made, just-for-us 100% Made-in-Italy bicycles. We hope to have at least one example by next tour season, but we're not sure yet if we'll be able to offer a small fleet in addition to our current bikes.
The idea here is to show that for the same money you'd spend to buy a bike molded and baked in Asia featuring a big-brand name (one who spends millions to have the likes of Froome or Nibali ride 'em) that comes only in "t-shirt" (too big, too small and close enough) sizes, instead you could have a 100% Made-in-Italy, made-to-measure bicycle with all the features you want. Integrated seatpost, internal cables, internal wiring, aero shaping, special compliance for rough roads, etc. Totally hand-built just for you and created in weeks, not months.
This is something only the biggest stars of the sport can do as the bike sponsors want everyone to believe the Tour, Giro, etc. is being won on a bike just like the one you can buy. Despite this, for years many of the big stars have had custom, made-to-measure machines created just for them and then painted up in the team livery.
Now you can too!
Now you can too!
We'll have more details as we work to get our first example so keep checking the blog.
Mille Grazie to everyone at Interbike 2016 for their hospitality!