Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pelizzoli, Ciöcc, Gion Italia and John the Star U.S.A.

I posted a reply in a Ciöcc thread over at Bike Forums and thought it should be on here as well. I typically go in the opposite direction but the content from a long phone call was too good to pass up. Here is the post in all it's glory...

Yes, that's my old video of Giovanni finally pronouncing and translating his nickname. I just got off the phone with him and after a LONG conversation, have a few more things I can offer... I hope ANY of it is useful or at the very least, interesting!

Gio was born in 1942 and at 25 built his first Ciöcc in 1967.

Here's an interesting one... my friend Claudio wasn't the first Corti to win aboard a Ciöcc. His brother Mario won the Vuelta de la Juventud Mexicana in 1971 for C.S. Fiat as a dilettante. Check out this image...

The Corti's, like Giovanni, were born in Curno. The first Ciöcc frames had just a "C" decoration, taken not from the nickname, but from the town Curno, which then merged with two other locales to form Curdomo, a model name used today under the brand Pelizzoli. Evidently, as Italian towns expanded there was plenty of name shuffling - reminds me of the direction Iowa schools systems are going!

Branding: The "C" with tail was inspired when Giovanni saw a Cimatti model with a similar tail. His new logo was met with consternation by the moto brand but was easily explained away in that his tail was curved while theirs was straight. When asked the exact timing of this, his only recollection is "Certainly after Claudio's win". Take that with a grain of salt though. I have seen mixed frames where the seat stay cap has no tail while the original decals do. Italian inventory planning of small raw materials was never precise!

Iper: Yes, literal translation is Hyper, supposedly "better" than Super. BUT - this name was applied to bikes sold in a local Curno/Bergamo bike shop owned by a close friend of Giovanni's! If you see this on a bike... I suggest buying it, as it represents a very narrow production range for a local marketer, hence rare and likely of top production - reputation locally was everything!

He names his Golden period of Ciöcc as 77-81 or 82... top of his head, he can't remember exactly when it was sold! He still retains the rights to the brands Gion Italia (Italian spelling of John) and John the Star U.S.A. I've been in his shop a number of times and have literally spent weekends there fishing around his piles of old junk frames - I've never seen evidence of a John the Star frame. It also deserves a good story, and there is one...

He got a phone call from a company in Milan threatening to file a suit against his use of U.S.A. Not sure the legal validity of such a case - we're talking Italy here. Giovanni replies with a question... 'well, what do you think U.S.A. means?!?' and the reply is obvious, followed by 'well, what do YOU think it means?' to which Giovanni replies his unassailable use of "Unione Saldatori Artigiani". The agent goes silent and the Union of Artisan Framebuilders never hears another word about the case.

The crew...

Hope this was interesting!


  1. Hi, Rory - just a question for clarification. I can't find a location or reference for an Italian community named "Cumo". There are two options that seem like likely candidates: Curno (a suburb of Bergamo, about 6km west) and Como (a lakeside city about 90km west of Bergamo). Granted, teh Googul is far from all-knowing; but is it possible that spellcheck hijacked your post?