Saturday, September 22, 2018

Colnago Master Ibex

I've been searching for a Tommasini Monte Amiata to hang my Record OR group on for a number of years. One failed attempt with a Yo! Eddy that was too big got me to rethink my options. While any Columbus-tubed Italian frame could work, to really have something special, you need to start with a special frame.

I've disliked, or rather been non-plussed with, Colnago's 80's and 90's colors for quite some time. Most likely I was jaded by the silly top tube rider or their odd fades and color combos. Whatever they got wrong on their classic road bikes, however, they got totally right on their mtb offerings.

The Master Ibex is now something that I'm going down the rabbit whole with. They can be had for good prices (the latest Monte Amiata frame is listed for $1700) if you know where to look, and come in a variety of tubing configurations (toss in a Gilco tube somewhere in the main triangle or even find an alloy version). So long as it's post U-brake (so, 1988 and on), I think I have a winner. I mean, just look at those gaudy colors!

I've read that the Master mtb frames are heavy as can be. No worry, so was the Record OR group! Also, scroll down far enough and you'll see the shoes that MUST be worn with it!

Friday, September 14, 2018


99 years ago today, in a tiny village called Castellania above Novi Ligure, Fausto Coppi, the second Campionissimo, was born (the first being my hero, Girardengo, born just down the hill in Novi some 26 years earlier).

I was lucky enough to make a pilgrimage there in 2012. You begin to sense the history on the long road up the hill towards the town in the middle of (or on top of) nowhere. Around twisty bends, 100-year-old buildings are covered in mega posters of their champion.

I was able to talk my way into his childhood home, normally a museum and closed for most of the year and certainly on a January evening. A modest donation to the caretaker and the guided tour was on by a cousin of the great Coppi! Honestly, I think everyone in town claims to be a close relative. Why not?

The great Italian sports writer (and much more than that) Gianni Brera described Fausto Coppi:

“The bicycle is his the other half. He forgets about his looks, with his breastbone that could be stolen from a chicken, his short neck, his shoulders practically attached to his face, and his two feet that look like seal fins. The bike becomes a part of himself and his lopsided bones.”

Not what you would expect from someone who would become the most important sporting icon in Italy and the cultural symbol of a postwar nation trying to enter the modern age. He seemed fragile, but unbeatable on a bike. The kind of thing that every scrawny kid imagines when turning his pedals in anger...

Fausto and Serse's final resting place.

Fausto's childhood bedroom.

Serse's room.

Local shops still post his photo in the window.

Guide to monuments around Italy dedicated to Coppi.

To the left of il Gira, Coppi's wall at the Museo dei Campionissimi in Novi Ligure.