Since 2009 Mario Cipollini’s new range of monocoque carbon road and track bikes have been conceived and marketed. Cipollini’s concept attempts to set new benchmarks in Italian craftsmanship combined with performance enhancements. In marketing the Cipollini RB 1000, or RB1K as it’s now defined, Cipollini identifies the move to Asian based production as counter productive to the aims of the “Made In Italy” Moniker, with this.
“For many years now the historical Italian brands have had to make a pact with the devil in order to survive; they had to move production abroad.”
If you’re a collector of Italian steel road bikes then names like Bianchi and Colnago amongst others will get your heart racing. Frame building purists will come at it from another angle, claiming that Bianchi’s and Colnago’s etc, were still mass produced and therefore not the perfect symbol of Italian craftsmanship. The perfection obsessed pedant will default to Dario Pegoretti as an example of the true Italian artisan. Then there’s Marco Bonfanti who designed the carbon C4. Carbon innovation was alive in Italy during the mid 80′s with the C4 project founded in February 1986. As early as 1987 C4 produced ground breaking monocoque time trial frames, for Bianchi, and their assault on the Giro d’ Italia that year. With so much history in steel and carbon production, there’s still the question of Italian pride and Italian made. If the traditional notion of “Made In Italy” is now a weakened vision, why setup from scratch a company based on an obsession with authentic “Made In Italy” branding? Yet with so many international competitors now in for their share of the carbon road bike market, Cipo’s offer of a hand crafted Italian carbon masterpiece that performs, might just set his new brand apart.
On the 30th of September Mario Cipollini unveiled his latest monocoque creation at Eurobike. The new “Bond” carbon road bike was released together with a film titled Open Your Eyes, a take on the 007 bond theme, featuring Super Mario as the lead actor, who else! With most of the world production of carbon frames located on Asian assembly lines, Super Mario is asking you to “Open Your Eyes” to the new possibility that he’s orchestrated. A new wave of Italian carbon bikes, hand crafted in Italy by dedicated artisans. Open Your Eyes is based on the premise that other carbon bike manufacturers are at their wits end when it comes to innovation and marketing, not Mario he’s got the patent on the hottest new bikes, and his competitors are out to steal the plans. Inevitably he races a Cipollini Bond down the side of a mountain. Fast downhill action footage was shot outside his home town of Lucca, chased by two Ducati mounted riders, one on a Hypermotard the other on a Diavel. Ultimately Cipollini is faster downhill than the two powerful cornering machines, to escape with his plans.
Go to M.Cipollini BOND for more details.
Mario guards the project of the new BOND-ATOMLINK innovative construction system, original patent BO2012A000253, and protects it from the industrial imitators. The chasers, the false craftsmen, will use any means possible to obtain the Bond secret,but the true innovative Italian craftsmanship will always be one step ahead.
The number one secret: original ideas, which we patent (we don’t copy anyone).
The second secret is the maniacal Italian craftsmanship (unlike the Asian industrial assembly line).
The third secret is my endless pursuit of perfection. I guard these three secrets closely, but will grant them to you, enthusiasts like me”
“We don’t reply with words, we don’t serve ‘smoke’ talking about a so-called ‘quality’ and a vague ‘Made in Italy’. We simply unveil the experimental results, the effects, the real advantages the frame generates; and we show you, as it exactly is, one thing nobody dares nowadays: the production line. It’s our way to make you open your eyes on the real Made in Italy”.
Key Cipollini concepts are that the bikes should be “elastic in the descent and aesthetically sexy.” In 2010 when marketing the RB1000, Cipollini stated that the, “RB 1000, the result of a project strictly desired by Mario Cipollini, to take pleasure from the instrument he always dreamed : a racing bike to dump to the ground all your power”. The Bond concept further enhances the concept of dumping all your power to the ground with a new bottom bracket configuration. Addressing function is one thing, Cipollini production manager Federico Zecchetto, says “Gather the best Italian craftsmen to keep on creating Italian works of art”.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph an RB1000, the owner expressing his desire for a top end race machine combined with his own panache for styling. This Cipollini RB 1000 is equipped with a 2012 Campagnolo titanium ensemble. Deda M35 TRENTACINQUE Carbon bars and M35 TRENTACINQUE Ti Stem. Deda Elementi bar tape. Lightweight G3 Tubular wheel set. Vittoria EVO Slick 23mm Tubular tyres. Selle Italia Flite Team Edition Saddle. TIME ICLIC2 Carbon Ti pedals. TISO Bike upgrade kit (green). K-Edge Garmin mount, check this out if the sight of your Garmin clutters up your cockpit. K-Edge Chain Guide. M Cipollini Carbon Cages. There’s an extra set of wheels· ENVE Smart System 3.4 Carbon Clinchers shod with Vittoria Open EVO SC 23mm tyres.
The owner of this green themed RB1K summed it up this way.
“I thought it’s out there it’s so ugly it’s beautiful, the bike’s like a speed whip really fast responsive, a lot of other bikes you can just ride, not this one you have to think, you have to concentrate , it feels like it just wants to race.”
This coming from a very experienced rider who is emphatic about the RB1K being a whole lot of fun, but he reminded me that you can’t let your guard down or it will catch you out, it truly is a race machine.
The range of Cipollini bikes look exciting, and when you see and hear about what these machines are capable of, it makes you want to run out and test ride one. Italian pride, form and function in the guise of the new Cipollini range, looks set to ignite the passion of riders who want a bike that’s not off an Asian production line and delivers beyond expectation. Perhaps you just want to have a bike that no one else has, built on maniacal Italian craftsmanship. This new no bull approach to marketing, devoid of multitudes of acronyms, with a focus on what counts most, riding, may well usher in a new commitment to Fatto in Italia.
If you like your downhill action served up fast check out the videos below, with some “edge of your seat moments”, not a closed road in a race, there is a police escort but the cars only have a second or two to pull over. Cipo carves it up on the ‘Cipollaio’ descent outside Lucca, in the time honoured Italian tradition of quick descending riders like Il Falco – Paolo Savoldelli. Cipo’s ability to deftly flick a bike onto a line at each change of direction, keeps his corner speed high and watch his execution on the right hand apexes, leaving just enough room not to bang his head on the armco. No helmet and the video comes with a warning – Warning do not imitate! Well we can all try, what do we ride bikes for otherwise!