Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Stelbel!

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....

1 comment:

unclechet said...

I love a nice steel frame. Unfortunately I've caved into the pressure and now have several modern bikes. And they work beautifully. But for me, now, they're just tools for a training ride or a race. When they've served their normal life for me I'll move them on. They won't get hung up to look at until I'm gone.