Responsible for an anarchic and colourful aesthetic that came to define the 1980s, Alessandro Mendini was a key proponent of Italy’s radical design movement. Creating everything from buildings to furniture, his postmodern take was also applied to products, including Alessi’s famous homewares and coffee makers. In the years before his death in 2019, he also collaborated with brands including Hermes and Supreme.
Delayed due to the pandemic, one of his last projects was a joint enterprise with the Italian bicycle maker Cinelli. Working to customise its Nemo Gravel bike, he applied his signature geometric patterns across its frame, fork, stem, and seatpost. Limited to 30 bicycles, each is signed by the now deceased design master.
Another Italian name famous for its radical design, Cinelli’s Nemo bike also continues the firm’s association with Columbus. Using the tubemaker’s high-end Spirit HSS triple-butted steel for the frame, its oversized tubes are cold drawn to a minimum thickness of 0.4mm. Shaped and joined in Milan, the result is an incredibly light frame that mixes stiffness and compliance.
Bringing the best qualities of modern steel tubing to bear on the problem of creating the ultimate gravel bike, the Nemo also borrows historic design ideas first employed on the firm’s Laser road model. Applied to a bike able to accept tyres up to 40c, each of the 30 bicycles is finished with components drawn from other Italian manufacturers, including a Campagnolo Ekar 13-speed groupset, Fulcrum Rapid Red 500 wheels, Pirelli Cinturato Gravel tyres, and a San Marco saddle.
The young champ's bike
Also on Cinelli’s stand at Rouleur Live will be the bike on which Filippo Baroncini won the 2021 World Champion U23 Road Race. Known as the Pressure, it features an aerodynamic monocoque construction and graphics inspired by The Clash. Also guiding the young rider to an Italian National title and a stagiaire contract with UCI WorldTeam Trek–Segafredo, it features an integrated cockpit and full internal cabling.
Rouleur spotted Baroncini's bike in the pits at the World Champs (hence the non-drive side faux pas image...)
Appealing to a different kind of racer, elsewhere, Cinelli will also be exhibiting the Nemo Disc Zagato. This steel bike was created to celebrate a century of collaboration between the firm and tubemaker Columbus. Limited to 100 bikes, each is composed of Columbus’ Cento tubeset and finished with a bright nickel exterior. Referencing the firm’s history while looking to the future, disc brakes, a Campagnolo Super Record groupset, and Bora high profile wheels are complemented by a minimalist aesthetic and matching retro-style Selle San Marco saddle.
Lastly, for those wanting to head in an entirely different direction, the firm will offer its King Zydeco adventure bike, which extends the option to fit either 700c or 650b wheels. Featuring a unique dropout design that allows the fork’s rake to be adjusted from 47 to 52mm, it’s a bike with a hugely customisable personality. Employing a lightweight construction, anyone who’s heard the horrifying thwack of rock on carbon will be interested to see the inclusion of Kevlar within the front triangle to improve its impact resistance.
Taking place in London between the 4-6th November, Rouleur Live will be a great opportunity to speak to the people behind each of the bikes. More information and tickets can be found here.