History of Rossin bikes

The origin.

The Rossin bicycle brand enjoys widespread consideration and appeal. The history of Rossin bicycles is relatively short, but at the same time glorious. Rossin was born to win and astonish thanks to exclusive aesthetics and functional features.

The year was 1973, the promising Gibi Baronchelli of the Iclas Sports Group won the Giro d’Italia baby and Tour de France amateurs. Iclas and Itla are the teams of the munificent patron Vittorio Ghezzi. Using bicycles provided by Ernesto Colnago, a popular manufacturer. Ghezzi and Domenico Garbelli, sports director and manager of Itla, wanted to create a team of professionals, above all to promote Baronchelli and other home-made talents into the higher category. The idea was to continue working with Colnago. But the Milan manufacturer was also the supplier of Scic, a team operating at professional level since ’69. And instead of favouring the birth of Ghezzi’s new professional team with the most promising athletes of the Itla nursery, Colnago facilitated Baronchelli’s move to Scic. This occurrence made patron Ghezzi, Alberto Inzaghi, Garbelli and the other members of the Itla staff really mad. Competitive 1973 had not yet come to a close. Despite this, Ghezzi and Garbelli changed their cyclists’ bikes. “We’ll finish the season with Bianchi. And the team will also be riding Bianchis in 1974”, says Ghezzi. In fact, the creative Inzaghi and Ghezzi wanted to pull something new out of the hat. Domenico Garbelli, always full of ideas, gave them the input: “Instead of promoting Colnago athletes, already well placed on the market, why don’t we start making top-quality bicycles and frames? We must be the strongly advancing new players. We have the skills and the means to make it“. Ghezzi approved the project: “Colnago is clever. No doubt about it. Let’s show it that we’re also clever in the field. Let’s set up a company and manufacture highly competitive bikes”. Technically speaking, Garbelli’s ideas were very clear: “I have just the man we need to organise frame production - Mario Rossin – currently free. He worked for years in the Colnago welding department. He knows all the secrets of tubes and welding. He’s a wizard at measuring the athletes and making individually tailored frames”. Mario Rossin, from Cavenago in Brianza, with Verona origins, was immediately involved in the project. And on 14 September, 1974, Rossin officially saw the light in Cavenago. 5 partners were involved in the project: Vittorio Ghezzi and his son Giuseppe, then Inzaghi, Garbelli and Rossin. “The bikes will be called Rossin”, agree Inzaghi, the Ghezzis, father and son, and Domenico.



The brand.

The new bike needs a brand. “While looking at the label on a bottle of Royal Cola – reveals Garbelli – I had a first inspiration. The other came to me looking at the wording on Rossignol skis. The “R” of the Rossin logo is a winning mix, with enhanced graphics”. The R is inserted in a pentagon. “Rossin has 5 founder fathers. That is why, as surrounding polygon, the pentagon was chosen”, continues Domenico.



Itla beats Rossin.

Naturally, the first spokesmen of the new bicycle brand were the athletes of the Itla team. All amateurs about to become professionals; in the 1975 season, they raced and won on Rossin bikes. And in November 1975, the Rossin bike made its debut at the Milan Cycle Fair. Garbelli, who was becoming an increasing more clever business strategist, and then production manager, exhibited above all Rossin models – 1976 Montreal Olympics. Success was immediate: the Rossin stand was always full. “These frames – exclaimed the experts passionately – are real gems”.

From amateurs to professionals.

In the 1976 season, young Vittorio Algeri of Itla won the Italian Championship “first and second series” and the Settimana Lombarda (then for amateurs). All Itla was ready for the big jump into professional sport. And, only just 2 years after being established, Rossin of Cavenago was ready to equip the “pros”. Ghezzi, Inzaghi and Garbelli signed an agreement with GBC of Jacopo Castelfranchi. “The new team of professionals, set up in January 1977 – announced Ghezzi – will be called GBC Itla”. And on the white jersey with red-blue band also appeared the Rossin pentagon-logo. Rossin bikes made their debut in the Laigueglia Trophy in February ’77. The Algeri brothers, Roberto Ceruti, Gabriele Landoni, Walter Polini and the other GBC Itla boys obtained results in the major category riding fantastic bikes in the early months of ’77.


Research and development.

The late Seventies and early Eighties was a real golden age, probably unrepeatable, for Italian manufacturers. Rossin too was proudly Made in Italy. And from the 3 employees engaged in a Cavenago courtyard in September ’74, the company grew to 5, 9, 11.

The escalation was general: including the desire to astonish, not only with results. And the production of an upmarket bicycle manufacturer need not only be restricted to road and track models. “After careful studies on the materials used in America and excursions, above all to the USA – recounts Garbelli – in the late Seventies, at Cavenago, the first experimental Italian mountain bike saw the light. The odd historical Italian manufacturer expressed scepticism on seeing this model with wide rims and tyres, sturdy forks, triple gears: “ La me par la bici d’un prestinée”. Translation for non-Lombards: “It looks like a baker’s bike”. Instead, it is a type of bicycle that in the following years will revolutionise the market.

Computer.

The duo, Garbelli-Mario Rossin, was the first to install a computer on a bicycle. The guinea-pig spokesman was Alessandro Paganessi, in 1980 leader of the Novartiplast amateur team, naturally riding Rossin bikes. In April, 1980 Paganessi had a computer that looked like a transistor radio on the black bike he used for the mountain time trial of the Settimana Lombarda at San Fermo. And Paganessi came in second. In front of him only the great Polish rider, Cezlaw Lang, 5 years older than him and therefore more powerful and experienced. Later on, bike computers were to undergo numerous technological improvements and become increasingly smaller. Nevertheless, the first was used on a Rossin bike.
1980 was not only the year of the computer for the Brianza company. Considering the quality of its frames, the Soviet track squad decided to opt for Rossin bikes. Victor Kapitanov, head of the Russian technicians, had numerous responsibilities in view of the Moscow Olympic Games staged in July ‘80. In the “home” Games, the Soviet team won gold medals riding Rossin bikes. Kapitanov’s choice proved a winning one.

Champions and revolutionary frames.

In 1981, Rossin became sponsor and supplier of Daf Trucks, a Belgian professional team with an outstanding, classic-hunting captain: Roger De Vlaeminck. Studies and tests continued: “After seeing the bikes used by the East-German team in the pursuit race – continues Garbelli – I got the idea of creating a more Made-in-Italy version, with better geometries and top-quality finishes”. Bikes with “horned” handlebars. And the horizontal frame tube is in fact sloping downwards. After the 1981 Milan Fair (a big success for Rossin) and the first races of the 1982 season, the Novartiplast amateurs tried out the new bikes on the Dalmine tracks and in Turin.
“In the time trials – announced the experts – at least one second per kilometre can be cut using the “space” bikes with sloping tube”. The Belgians, Nico Edmonds and Rudy Rogiers use the Rossin “space” bikes to win major amateur time trial events throughout Europe.

"Disc wheel? Our idea".

In 1983, besides successfully equipping Splendor and Jacki Aernaudt, professional Benelux squads in which Eric Vanderaerden played a lead role, Garbelli also invented the disc wheels. “I tested them for the first time on Rossin bikes. They had a honeycomb structure. In summer 1983, the International Cycling Union wanted to reject them. Later on they were liberalised. In fact, in January, 1984, after the “rossinian” tests of 1983, Moser used them to twice set the hour record in Mexico. Disc wheels first appeared thanks to Rossin”. The use of disc wheels at high speed, with fly-wheel effect and no braking effect produced by the air, provides other advantages for time-trial athletes. In the summer of 1983 Rossin bikes were used both by the Russian national track team and by that of the USA. “Rossin brings together Russians and Americans” became a slogan used beyond the boundaries of cycling.

Murella, Hitachi, Aernoudt, great team.

At the 1983 Milan Fair, the well-know TV commentator, Fred De Bruyne congratulated Garbelli and Rossin for their technological breakthroughs and Rossin Cicli advertising ideas. Rossin decided to call the bike “with horns and sloped tube” Rossin Futura CX. Hence the advertising slogan: “Futura CX: the future begins with Rossin”. Up in the saddles of Rossin bikes in 1984 were Gibi Baronchelli and the entire Murella professional team, the Aernoudt squad and others. In the Giro d’Italia time trial, using disc wheels and the Rossin Futura CX, Baronchelli, a rider who had never thought time trials to be part of his repertoire, came close to winning. At the Los Angeles Olympic Games of 1984, the Russians went missing. Medals were taken by the Cavenago Brianza manufacturer thanks to the US squad. And US rider, Eric Heiden, an ice-skating champion converted to cycling, pushed his Rossin bike to the utmost. Exactly like Sheila Young, speed star and several times world champion. In the USA, there was also the Seven Eleven team, with young Andrew Hampsten putting up a great show on his Rossin.

Rossin, fairs and ministers.

In new premises at Cavenago, the Rossin employees had come close to producing 30 bikes.

And Rossin took part in all World Fairs. In Germany, Japan, China, United States and Italy, Rossin stands and products were fast gaining in popularity. In January, 1985 at Bergamo, Minister Goria was presented with a Rossin mountain bike. Other models, including the Futura CX, received congratulations from Agostino Omini, president of the Italian Cycling Federation. In the mid-Eighties, the Dutch rider Hennie Kuiper gave Rossin victories in the Paris – Roubaix and in the Milan – Sanremo. Other Flemish and Dutch riders won the Belgian classics with and without cobblestones. The athletes won, but so did technology. Teams such as Spago and Hitachi (captain Claude Criquielion, winner of a World Championship and classic races) rode Rossin bikes. In 1986, in Tuscany, a new professional team was formed, nearly all making their debut in the major category.

The name was Magniflex – Centroscarpa. One of the team members was Franco Ballerini.

Ballerini's first.

The date was 23 August 1987, and the Tre Valli Varesine was being run from Luino to Varese, 250 kilometres, most of which under driving rain. Ballerini won the sprint finish; riding a red Rossin bike, the “Ballero” obtained his first victory among the professionals. The Russian, Viatcheslav Ekimov riding a Rossin, broke the world indoor hour record by riding 49.672 kilometres. He was still an amateur.

Exclusive location.

Meanwhile Rossin moved its headquarters again. Its third “location” was in huge premises alongside the Milan – Venice motorway, always at Cavenago Brianza. The building was elegant and different from that of other manufacturers. There was even a fountain in the entrance hall.
Rossin differed in details too. As regards building methods and new materials, Rossin had always been in pole position. After the race towards aerodynamics, came that towards materials. Aluminium, carbon and other materials were tested by R&D experts and subsequently used by the Rossin engineers. The whole world, especially at fairs in Asia, Europe and America, continued to admire Rossin bikes.

Argentin in pink.

The Gis squad, captained by Johan van der Velde was another dream team equipped with Rossin bikes. Above all in the latter part of the Eighties and the early-Nineties, it reaped victories with Adriano Baffi and other foreigners. Changes took place in the Cicli Rossin company: the Ghezzi family left. In 1993, Rossin was the bike of the new Mecair professional team captained by Moreno Argentin. At the Giro d’Italia, Moreno won two stages, including the first at the Isle of Elba. For 9 days, Argentin and the Rossin bike donned the pink jersey. It took a great Miguel Indurain to take the pink jersey off Moreno’s back and away from the white bicycle with the “R” on the steering tube. Moreno also won another stage of the Giro 1993 and said thanks to Rossin and its world-beating technology. The switch was about to be made from aluminium to carbon for the frames, not only for track competitions and time trials, but also for road races. And much of the merit of the fact that Italian upmarket bike manufacturers maintained world leadership in the Nineties must go to Rossin.

The new Rossin era.

Today, almost twenty years after those legendary competitive accomplishments, by cherishing an inestimable heritage of knowhow, the Rossin brand, under the design impulse of the Bici Group, has polished up the shine of those years by re-presenting its historical bicycles on the market. By combining the know-how of the past with the cutting-edge innovations of bio-mechanics, the Rossin brand is once again synonymous with top-quality frames. Back in production is the Ghibli, a splendid bike that integrates the sturdiness of past experiences and the most modern technological solutions, both in terms of materials and aerodynamics.

Lightweight and high performing, this Rossin gem is today a combination of top-class engineering solutions and appealing stylistic features; the ideal bike for those who, though projected into the future, love to pedal through history. Quality, experience and enthusiasm, a tribute to a glorious past – the new era of the Rossin brand has started.

Source: http://rossinbikes.it

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