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…