Thursday, October 7, 2010

Meeting Masi

So my l'Eroica weekend started off with a trip to meet Alberto Masi at the famous Vigorelli velodrome shop. Ciocc invited me along, as he does a lot of work with Alberto (such as building most of his steel frames, and finishing most all new Masi products).

The shop itself is just a large workshop, with a hidden hallway leading into the back room, where Faliero must have done all the framebuilding back in the day. Alberto himself is obviously proud of the storied history that has its roots in this shop. As roads in Europe improved, post-war, bicycles had the ability to get faster and faster. It was Faliero who pulled the seatpost out of the frame and created what we consider modern road bike geometry. He built for most of the great champions.

Alberto told me a story of Hugo Koblet, who came in to pick up a racing bike built by Faliero. He leaned it against the wall, eyed it, asked for a cm lower saddle height, slapped his hands together, "perfect!". He grabbed it and walked out. This was in contrast to today's standards of millimeter-perfect, scientifically studied geometries and positioning. Alberto also told of Koblet's pink Studebaker waiting for him at the finish of the Giro that he won!

He was kind enough to give me a judgement on the two bikes in my car (the Legnano and the Galmozzi), which he was impressed by. The Legnano is not a reparto corsa frame, but was a high-end road frame to be sold in a shop. The Galmozzi was surely a high level frame, and he had nice things to say about it. From there, he saw my obvious passion for cambio corsa and pulled out a legendary piece of tooling...

Faliero's cambio corsa dropout alignment tool! He showed me the file marks on the side that his dad had customized.

Here is a similar tool that Steve M. sent me. It's a dropout jig for building a cc frame.

Alberto is aware of the American passion for the Masi steel frames. He also gets lots of requests from Japan and had a number of restorations on display, awaiting shipment to the far east.

In addition, there are a number of bikes hanging on the far wall from the racing days. A Faema frame, a Fuchs and a few other restorations.

Alberto was in a hurry to get to a lunch appointment, so he excused himself and invited me back when we could have more time to talk about the oldern days... I think I'll take him up on the offer.

2 comments:

  1. Neil M Berg (Gunnar)October 13, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    My fine young friend, you are walking in the tall corn now. Wish I were with you.

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  2. Very cool, Rory. Thanks for sharing. Walking into those magical shrines transforms one. I remember all the angst over a "real" Masi and a "US" Masi back in the day. Maybe you've seen this:
    http://italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.com/2009/07/masi-identification-american-or-italian.html

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