I am of the school that holds that cycling is an inherently stylish pursuit. The professor emeritus of that school is Mario Cipollini, the Italian (natch) world champion who dominated the peloton with blazing speed and and unsurpassed fashion sense. Renowned for his outrageous skinsuits, he was the first Tour leader to go all yellow: kit, gloves, bike, socks, the works. He racked up fines for this and doing things like beaning officials with water bottles. Off the bike he was bigger than life, his shocking good looks complimented by a wardrobe so vast he was rumored to never wear the same suit coat more than once. He was more Prime Time than Deion Sanders.
Now at the helm of his eponymous brand, “Cipo” is lending his flair for the dramatic to the decidedly staid domain of time trial bikes. Engineered for pure speed and minimal drag, I usually deign look over my nose at TT – or triathlon – bikes. I’ve struggled to find the soul in these machines, and their riders look only a trifle less silly than the slouching technocrats who pilot recumbents.
However, the Cipollini NUKE may change the way I think. The obscenely stiff black and white frameset is bedecked in the finest Italian componentry, and Cipollini’s name screams from every available centimeter of surface area. As to the prospective rider’s appearance, the man himself, looking damn swol for a guy a decade past his prime, albeit with his legendary locks tragically shorn, mounts up in a totally over-the-top promotional video that is weirdly reminiscent of the final shootout in Lethal Weapon 2. Seriously.
Get your diplomatic immunity revoked after the break…
Let me start with one small criticism: Cipollini would be more convincing about the bike being “handmade in Italy” if they shot the promo vid somewhere other than a shipping terminal full of cargo containers from Asia. However, I totally buy Super Mario going for a two minute spin and picking up a pair of supermodel toxic waste handlers: the guy testosterone doped during the Tour de France by taping a picture of Pamela Anderson to his handlebar, and after a Giro stage said in lieu of pro cycling he might be a porn star.
The second half of the video (if you deduct the 50 second credit reel) gives a pretty cool peek at some of the design technology. Cipollini integrates a brand new brake from a yet-to-be-disclosed manufacturer into the fork and chainstays to minimize drag. There is an integrated stem that can be “flipped” for 12 mm of height adjustment, the seatmast is adjustable and setback can be flipped as well. The rear triangle is also bonded to the frame via his “Atomlink” system. Cipollini claims that the design provides a much stronger bond than the “normal” way of mating the chainstays into a female receptacle.
The semi-monocoque frame and fork are built using a combination of extremely strong T800 and T1000 carbon fiber. It will be available in two configurations: Time Trial/Triathlon and Track. The former gets a full Campagnolo Super Record EPS gruppo – save the mystery brakes – and uses a
threaded 68mm BSA bottom bracket shell BB386 pressfit bottom bracket. The track bike has horizontal dropouts and a BB386 pressfit bottom bracket threaded 68mm BSA bottom bracket shell. Both bikes come with a Pro Missle EVO TT “aerobar” mounted to the aforementioned stem, Selle Italia SLR Teckno 90 gram carbon saddle, and Campy’s aero Bora Ultra crankset and wheels – 80 mm front and full disc rear – mounted with Vittoria Road CX tubular tires.
The bike will be available in four sizes, full geometry below.
Pricing and additional details will have to wait until Interbike.