There are very few frame builders that can easily say they have been running for over 70 years. Cicli Barco is one that can with great ease.
Having opened its doors back in 1947 it has produced some of the world’s most iconic steel road bikes as well as currently building for various well known brands.
“Since 1947 we dedicate ourselves to the production of steel frames for the professional cycling sector. More than 70 years of passionate work and experience have built our know-how. Passion still pushes us to new solutions aimed to maximize function and aesthetic at the same time.
We have the privilege of being the exclusive steel frames producer’s for several leading brands; this gave us worldwide visibility.
Sophisticate computer aided design combined with our side-by-side experience with renown bicycles builders make us able to deliver fully customizable frames, each one unique. Our passion for details is revealed in the way we finish our framed: any of them is collector’s item. Those who approach to our product make a clear choice: demanding the most from their bikes.
This makes our production of Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Lugged Steel frames a high quality niche of Made in Italy.
Commitment and dedication for a unique and timeless frame”.
As Gianluca and I make our way around the factory it is clear to see that that family run business know what they are talking about. His mum Fabiola is cutting tubing and setting up machines ready for another frame to be produced. While is father Alberto and uncle Maurizio work on brazing other frames ready for customers. The attention to detail, the in-house prototyping and testing and the passion clearly make them one of Europe’s better known production frame builders.
That being said they are more than happy to build a custom bicycle for anyone wishing to have something special made. They have worked on some very special bikes over the years and have built frames for legends past and present.
“The business was started by my grandfather, Mario. We say the business started in 1947, not the Cicli Barco name exactly, but that is when the Barco family started making frames, and we have never stopped since that period. My Grandfather was working in the Torpado factory. He made bikes for Freddy Maertens and Eddy Merckx, but to get extra money he would take frames away and do work on them at home in the evenings and weekends”.
Their understanding of how a frame should fit astounded me as they look me over asking about the bikes I ride. Their thirst for knowledge and learning is still developing as styles of bike change. The more they know the better bikes they can build I told by Maurizio.
They have worked in stainless steel, carbon and various other metals over the years. The equipment ranges from high end computerised jigs to cutting equipment dealing with more than one tube at a time. Old stands that have barely changed in fifty years still get used on a daily basis. The range of frames they build is almost like a history of the bicycle over the past sixty years.
“We avoid chroming, as to do it properly it adds too much extra weight. Instead we use highly polished stainless steel, mostly Columbus XCr”
As we walk around the factory with our espresso in hand (everyone dealing with bicycles seems to have a good coffee machine in Italy) the building has frames and forks dotted everywhere, all with brands tagged on them before they go off to their respected customers. It is amazing which companies they build frames for, and I’m kindly asked not to say or photograph. Racks of forks, pista frames freshly polished, you could spend hours looking at the craftsmanship that goes into each frame. Currently they are building various road bikes under their own name and have recently worked on a couple of gravel frames.
Producing their own rear dropouts to eliminate the rear axle issues many custom frame builders have allows them to keep everything in-house.
As the loud bell rings it is time to go. I could have spent weeks here discovering trinkets from years past. Test tubing that has long since been forgotten, prototype dropouts and an Aladdin’s cave of bicycle parts. The smell of oil, metal and brass still floods my memories.
For more information visit http://www.ciclibarco.it/