One Italian marque that has arisen like a phoenix from the ashes is Stelio Belletti’s Stelbel. Founded in 1973, it has been resurrected with a new line of frames inspired by Stelio’s original innovation. Here’s one he prepared earlier, the Inseguimento track pursuit, impeccably restored and signed by its father.
The new Stelbel bikes are freshly made with all the mod cons; features such as updated geometries, Pressfit 30 bottom brackets and tapered head tubes. They’re vastly different to the original bikes but, in a way, they’re even better. The common denominator is the TIG welding.
As a trade, Stelio worked as a mechanical fabricator and, after buying and riding a bike that he was disappointed with, he decided to make his own. He knew how to TIG weld and after some development, the ‘Integrale’ was born.
The TIG welded bicycle frame was described in an eight page document that was lodged with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office on 10 July, 1975. The Stelbel brand was announced to the world and its new frame building methods began to gain a reputation.
This track pursuit frame was built in 1983 and is one of numerous Stelbel frames built for the velodrome. It’s owned by Y.P. Chakree, a Bangkok DJ who is as passionate about classic bikes as he is about his music. The decision to have the original frame restored was made.
Cicli Corsa is an Italian webshop that specialises in Italian components and live by the firm belief that #italiansdiditbetter. The Stelbel brand was brought back to life through them and in close association with Stelio. It was they who Y.P. contacted about the restoration of his frame.
Initially, after the email conversation, they baulked, saying it was better to leave it original, but once it was seen first hand they decided it was the right thing to do. The frame was stripped, recoated and had new decals applied.
Y.P. wanted to build it up with a full suite of Italian parts, including disc wheels, but held back, deciding instead to use the original components. Once it was brought back to an ‘as-new’ state, it was taken to the man who made it — Stelio himself — who proudly gave it his seal of approval.
Special thanks to Y.P. and Cicli Corsa for the photos.