Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Friday, March 9, 2018

Seminal Italian Bike Companies

What separates Italian bikes from all others is their pedigree. Few can match the status of these historically important brands that have richly contributed to the sport of road racing.

Alas, the aura and legend of bikes designed and made by Italian hands are increasingly under more and more duress. It's a pity.

Taiwan is now king but I hope one day Italian bikes reestablish their well-deserved reputation of excellence much like the resurgence we see in Italian motorcycles.

For now, the aura and mythical status of the 'Made in Italy' mark remains important.

Italy's economy, however, as a whole is not performing well and its current political situation is not helping matters. The parochial mindset gripping Italy (see soccer with the national team and Serie A dismal state at the moment) needs to change. This is why it's a good thing North American Italians proud of their heritage are willing to invest in soccer teams in Italy.

They bring with them passion, money and exposure to a wider audience. And how do Italians react? These are not 'real' Italians while making it hard for them to operate through the Kafka-esque, dismal Byzantium, myopic 'it's better to be a big fish in a small pond' mental posture that is Italian business as Mike Piazza is learning as owner of Reggiana.

It's an unfortunate way to look at things.

So this will be the challenge.

On a personal level, I own a 'Made in Canada' bike of Italian origin. The owner is a passionate Italian bike maker who settled here in Montreal. I'm proud to own it. I would also buy a 'Made in the U.S.A.' (Moots bikes attract me) and where I could find one a 'Made in Italy' before I buy one manufactured in Taiwan.

It just doesn't have the history, panache and soul. Honda makes fantastic cars that are reliable.

They're also boring.

Alfa-Romeo may not match the level of reliability but man oh man they more than make up for it on driver experience.

Same with the bicycles. A Pinarello is still a Pinarello.