2015 Interbike: Chesini and Zullo

Well, it is a relief to get this post done, the final one from 2015 Interbike, bringing coverage of the big event to a close for another year. And did I save some special bikes for the grand finale! No typo there, that is an emphatic statement, not a question. I may not have awarded them Best of Show honors (as you know, the winner of that prize went way over the top), but there is no question, these are some beautiful creations.

Shown below are three bikes from Chesini, and another from Zullo. Both manufacturers (or maybe "makers" would be a better term in this case) are Italian, producing custom, and handmade machines.

Chesini falls into that category of makers I like to call venerable, 1925 being the number of the year in which Gelmino Chesini built his first frame. The first bikes were produced in a small workshop in the town of Nesente, but in the aftermath of World War II, production boomed and Chesini acquired a bike factory in nearby Verona.Throughout the passing of years Chesini has taken strides to remain innovative and relevant in the ever-changing world of bicycling - as recent as 2013 Chesini supplied bikes to the Italian World Championship team.

Tiziano Zullo began racing bicycles, road and cyclocross, at age fourteen in the Veneto region of Italy. Zullo never garnered international acclaim as a racer, but his bicycles have. He built his first bike, in the basement of his mothers' home, in 1973. It took a mere five years for the quality of Zullo's bikes to spread their fame around the world; by 1978 Zullo was exporting throughout Europe, to the United States, and to Australia. Between 1986 and 1992 Zullo supplied bikes to the Panasonic team whose champion-calibre riders, during those years, included the likes of Phil Anderson, Robert Millar, Erik Breukink, Eric van Lancker, Allan Peiper, Gert-Jan Theunisse, Eddy Planckaert, Urs Freuler, Danny Clark, Steven Rooks, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Eric Vanderaerden, Maurizio Fondriest, Olaf Ludwig, and Jens Hepner.

While best known, perhaps, for their classic steel bikes, Zullo has also produced aluminum frames since 1973, as well as custom carbon frames since 2003. To this day, Tiziano Zullo remains involved with production, mostly the steel framed end of things.

This is the XCr925, built with Columbus XCr tubing, claimed to have a greater stiffness to weight and UTS/weight ratios than aluminum or titanium alloys, making the frame exceptionally light and resistant to corrosion. 

This is the X-Uno, Chesini's limited-edition Anniversary bike. Chromed accents, from the lugs to the raised lettering contrast brilliantly with the finishing of the tubes. That is what originally caught my eye - it is this raw, matte finish that Chesini compares to Corten, or weathering steel, that stabilized rust appearance you see in the highest quality architectural and landscape architectural design. Beautiful crank set with chainrings, head badge, and red accents (check the chain stay). Custom only, no stock sizes.

You might be hard pressed to find a more elegant urban bike than this, the Vispula. Touches of classicism such as the geometry, swept-back bars, hammered fenders, flask holder and custom leather saddle are mated with modern function as seen in the disc brakes, belt drive and lighting

The color scheme, graphics and components all come together; this frame is put together so well, among the best of Italian handmade.

It is in the details, isn't it? The details may often be small, but when done right, like these rosettes, they really stand out.