Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Stelio Belletti started TIG-welding bicycle frames in 1968, more than two decades before what is considered the start of TIG-welded bicycles. He closed his Stelbel company in 1990, but collectors of his bicycles have brought it back. Belletti himself, now 84 years old, rides three times a week and still advises Stelbel’s new owners. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
This photo is from a gallery of shots of stylish Italian bikes in VeloNews. Shown is a tig-welded road frame from Italy called a Stelbel.
In the '80s, an Italian refrigeration engineer visited Berkeley for a few weeks. He rode a bike called a Stelbel, a tig-welded bike in an era when Italian steel bikes were lugged and brazed. He loved his Stelbel.
When he heard that I was a bigshot cycling journalist, cough, cough, he arranged for Stelbel back home to send me a frame, so that I too could experience the magic. I'm not exaggerating much here. I rode the bike for a year or so, enjoyed it and its fade paint, then probably wanted something else I couldn't afford without selling it. I wonder where it is now.
I never saw another Stelbel until this morning....