OK, here’s one for all the Cinelli fans and Vigorelli riders out there. Brisbane’s Liam O’Donnell came across this Cinelli track frame and while at first glance it looks like a Vigorelli frame, any rider of that model will tell you it most certainly isn’t. Neither will anyone at Cinelli Italy. Of course, the decals are definitely different, but it shares the same heritage. So what is it?
The Vigorelli reestablished Cinelli at the heart of urban cycling over ten years ago with the stratospheric rise of the fixed gear scene. Built with Columbus Airplane tubes and named after Milan’s famous velodrome, it’s synonymous with street riding, due especially to the MASH crew and events like the Red Hook Criterium. But not this model.
Liam tells the story: “To give you a little history, I bought this frame from a Brit living in Brisbane who was packing up and heading back home. He told me he had too many bikes to ship back home and had to sell it. I’m certain that his significant other had something to do with it too!
“Finding information on this frame has proven to be exceptionally difficult. Even after a string of emails between Cinelli Italy and myself, they still can’t quite put their finger on what it is. They said it was not an original frame to begin with, explaining that they have never made a track frame with this design.
“After sharing the serial number printed on the bottom bracket they said that still doesn’t help but after sharing the photo around they were certain the frame itself was a Cinelli —potentially a Vigorelli. A year later, and a lot of sifting through the internet I still don’t know any more about this frame but it rides well and looks awesome. Fake or not, I still love it.
“Slowly but surely I acquired each piece of this bike, one part at a time. Firstly I anodised a Campagnolo Record Pista crankset black, colour matched Brooks blue leather bar tape to the frame (with some tyres to boot), and then the rest of the bike evolved around that. All in all I’m a staunch minimalist, and utilitarian. So naturally the bike followed similar principles.
“I wanted it to be clean and as seamless as possible. The final product resembles something pretty close to that and a year later I can finally ride it.” Liam’s mystery Cinelli now looks like a Red Hook Criterium winner, where the bikes are more NASCAR than classic Italians. Special thanks to Matt Leasegang for the photography.