As a distributor and re-seller of high-end bicycles and components, we like to fully understand the production process and philosophy that sets the brands we carry apart. The best way to do that is to visit them in their factories, workshops and offices and see how they operate, to understand what inspires and drives them to create the products that they create. We know we are not the only ones who would be thrilled with the opportunity to take a peek behind the curtain, and decided to create a “Meet the Makers” section to our website.
We paid a visit to the De Rosa headquarters to interview them for our “Meet the Makers” section. Cicli Corsa has been selling De Rosa Bikes since we opened our online shop and, although we stop by the headquarters about once a week, each time we step into the workshop a feeling of awe, excitement and reverence falls over us. One of the wonderful things about this world-renowned temple of cycling is that it still remains very much a family business, with three generations working in unison, pooling skills and resources acquired over more than half a century together with the latest technological, aesthetic, and communicational techniques. They have an impressive history, an incredibly solid foundation, a deep understanding of custom frame-building, and a constant drive to push the envelope, forever developing and testing innovative frames.
With the 3rd generation of the De Rosa family is now of age and Cristiano’s eldest son, Nicolas De Rosa, has recently began training to become a custom frame-builder within the De Rosa workshop. Having grown up in the workshop he has always been fully immersed in the world of bicycles and cycling, and after working for the past few years as a mechanic decided to try his hand at welding. At first it began as a curiosity, test-welding (titanium!) tubes at lunchtime with the help of the Head Welder, but when people took notice of his consistent, precise hand they pushed him to continue.
Shy, humble and with a great eagerness to learn, Nicolas has been working towards becoming a custom-frame builder just like his grandfather. And what a grandfather to have! Make no mistake, Ugo De Rosa is right there with him; hovering around his grandson with his hands behind his back, sometimes teasing, always encouraging, and making sure to guide him, ready to teach him everything he knows. We’re looking forward to watching him grow, and can’t wait to see the influence that these fresh eyes have on the industry.
After spending some time with Nicolas, we sat down with Cristiano, Ugo’s youngest son and Chief Commercial Officer at De Rosa, to discuss what De Rosa has in store for 2016. We immediately began to talk about their latest and most top-of-the-line model, the SK Pininfarina: a mean machine that oozes elegance and screams to be ridden until your legs give out. Cristiano outlines a series of characteristics that define road bicycles: comfort, performance, weight, and aerodynamic efficiency. After having developed the Protos, their top-of-the-line model designed for competition and the King XS, the lightest model in the De Rosa line, the next challenge was to create a road bicycle that put the De Rosa know-how to work creating a bicycle with increased aerodynamic efficiency.
De Rosa SK Pininfarina is born out of of over half a century mechanical and aerodynamic experience within the bicycle and design industry. Developed in collaboration with the prestigious design firm, Pininfarina, the idea for this project started with a few sketches done in a hotel room on a trip to Japan. Father and son sat together brainstorming an new De Rosa frame with aerodynamic properties. From this sketch, De Rosa and the Pininfarina design team worked together to create the visually captivating and high-performance machine that is the SK Pininfarina. We’ve been told it may not be the only project that these two companies will be collaborating on together.
Lastly, we sat down with Ugo for a few minutes to catch up and bask in the warmth of his amazing cycling stories. Not many frame-builders can boast being the personal frame-builder to so many cycling legends. Naturally, we asked our favorite question: What’s your favorite story to tell? He thought about it for a moment and then a quiet smile came on his face, his eyes lit up and he looked up with a glow on his face.
“We were staying outside of Forte dei Marmi in a hotel, and Merckx’s team was there as well. At one point, Merckx came up to me and said “What did I do to get on your nerves? Why don’t you want to make me a bicycle?”. Ugo was taken aback, he had only ever had reverence for this great cyclist, which he immediately tried to make very clear to Merckx. Apparently, Merckx had given his measurements to an Italian cyclist who, out of envy perhaps, did not want Merckx to get in contact with De Rosa and had thrown away his measurements. When Merckx did not hear back from De Rosa, he assumed he was being slighted. Once the misunderstanding have been settled, De Rosa and Merckx became thick as thieves, embarking on numerous adventures together throughout their careers. To this day they are friends, or as Ugo says “Brothers…but I’m the older brother”.
Our visit to the De Rosa headquarters left us very happy to see that their heritage and incredible wealth of cycling and frame-building knowledge will continue to be passed down from one generation to the next.
As official De Rosa dealers, Cicli Corsa has an excellent working relationship with the company enabling us to provide professional and attentive service to customers interested in purchasing a frame or complete bicycle from this prestigious Italian brand.
For more information about our products, purchase and order procedures on any De Rosa products, please feel to contact us at [email protected].