Renzo Formigli is one of the few Italian frame builders who has managed to provide a custom product at the highest level of quality and still utilise the latest materials. Born in 1969, he was apprenticed to Cino Cinelli at the age of twenty-one and built the first Formigli racing bike at twenty-two years old.
Twenty-three years later, Formigli now supplies over 40 Italian shops and five racing teams, and offers not only the Columbus-tubed Classic frame seen here, but also completely custom aluminum and carbon racing frames — all made in-house from the design to finishing stage.
Bicycle racing and culture runs through the blood of the Formigli family. Renzo’s grandfather, father and brother were professional cyclists — Renzo attended his first race when he was three years old. He was aware of his path at eight when he informed his mother that he would grow up to build bikes.
In 1948, Cino Cinelli was invited to present a Florence-based cycling team that Renzo’s father coached. In the evening, Renzo asked Cinelli is he would instruct him the ways of frame building and Cino, seeing how young and eager he was to learn, invited him to his home.
This Classic is owned by the Australian distributor for Formigli International, Peter Banco, who also runs the superb memorabilia site Le Puncheur, offering a vast range of signed racing jerseys from Felice Gimondi’s Italian Champion jersey to Peter Sagan’s 2013 Tour de France green jersey.
It was built up by Ben Kamenjas at Cicli Spirito with an entirely appropriate Campagnolo 11-speed Record gruppo, Deda stem, bars and seat post, and a wheelset of PMP hubs laced to Ambrosio Nemesis rims. A custom saddle and matching bar tape by Busyman Bicycles ices the cake.
There are five models in the Formigli carbon range, all are sculpted Italian stallions, and all are costruito a Firenze. The same goes for the two aluminum frames in the catalogue, and the three women’s specific frames. To offer all as a complete custom, from fitting to finishing, is very impressive.
The steel Classic frame, of course, is the traditional frame material that both Renzo and Cino were brought up on, but further research reveals the Formigli carbon offerings are of a quality that far surpasses any Asian-made popout, and well worth considering as an investment in riding pleasure.
Read more about the frames and Renzo’s background on the Formigli website. Special thanks to Peter at Le Puncheur and Donald Sempken for the amazing photos.