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The Il Carbonario

Every now and then a small, cycling company will strike you with a genuine passion and love for cycling that verges on contagious. Hampsten Cycles is one of those outfits, and this year they have embarked on what they term the Maglia ROSA project: multiple outstanding builds, one focused purpose — commemorating the Giro d’Italia. Gaze upon the gorgeous “Italian” flair, next…

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The Superissimo

Brothers and co-owners Andy and Steve Hampsten have been crafting custom titanium and steel frames (welded and lugged) in Seattle since 1999.

Andy_Hampsten_1988_Giro_ChampionIf Andy’s name strikes you as familiar, ten points to you; Andy Hampsten remains the only American to have had the Giro’s championship pink draped upon his shoulders. Winner of the Giro d’Italia in 1988 (including the title of King of the Mountains), and Alpe d’Huez stage winner of the 1992 Tour, Andy’s pedigree speaks for itself.

Hampsten_Cycles_Il Carbonario_Giro_d'Italia_Project_2The Maglia ROSA project is a slight departure from Hampsten’s bread-&-butter of custom metals. This project is more about non-custom, carbon and steel, departures from the norm; a chance to let imaginations and creative juices lead where they may. These two models are first out of the gate for project Maglia ROSA.

Hampsten_Cycles_Il Carbonario_Giro_d'Italia_Project_4The carbon Il Carbonario’s origins are ADK Technology (from a place “where one might have noodles-not-pasta for lunch”), and made from Columbus Tubi’s Genius carbon. The ever popular Enve 1.0 graces the front end.

Hampsten_Cycles_Il Carbonario_Giro_d'Italia_Project_3Hampsten adds their paint and stickers to make it shine.

Hampsten_Cycles_Il Carbonario_Giro_d'Italia_Project_5Hampsten states that with the $2600 Il Carbonario, as a “light/strong/comfortable carbon racebike that won’t break the bank,” they are targeting those who would otherwise consider a “GianTrekalized.” We say, go ahead! Eschew the big brands and be different!

Hampsten_Cycles_ Superissimo_Giro_d'Italia_Project_2Moving on to steel with genuine Italian heritage is Hampsten’s Superissimo. Built to order by the Hampsten Cycling crew right in Seattle, the Superissiomo is a medley of Columbus tubing: Spirit HSS shaped top and down tube, MAX chainstays, Spirit seat stays, and Life seat tube — the attention to detail is evident.

Hampsten_Cycles_ Superissimo_Giro_d'Italia_Project_3Taking a page from the master Dan Dario Pegoretti, Hampsten has employed the D-11 headtube standard and a Falz carbon fork. (An increased diameter headtube allows for proper juncture with the larger diameter tubing Pegoretti — and now Hampsten — is known for.) The Superissimo boasts the D-11 Chris King headset that was developed with Pegoretti specifically for the D-11 standard (internal bearings are identical to established standards, allowing for any 1 1/8″ fork to be used). If you are interested in an excellent article covering the reasons behind and history of the D-11 standard, visit Embrocation Cycling Journal here.

Hampsten_Cycles_ Superissimo_Giro_d'Italia_Project_1Other build details include a Paragon PF30 bottom bracket and two different paint options. The Superissimo can be yours for $2850.


  1. i was just on hampstens blog and decided to chk in with bike rumor…and the same thing i was just looking at was the newest posting!

  2. @Gary – I don’t like PF / BB30 on steel frames either, but if you check the size of the downtube I think you’ll see it’s never going micely mitre with a std bb shell.

    The merits of that size tube will be more subjective. I’d be interested to ride one.

  3. @Bill B – the Carbonario has the Mad Fiber wheels, the Superissimo wheels look a bit like HED. That front hub looks like theirs, I think.

What do you think?