Patelli - A family business
Patelli is a brand created by the Patelli brothers Umberto, Luigi and Sergio, who shared a great passion for bicycles.
In the early 1940s, Umberto and Luigi worked at Cicli Testi in Bologna, a small bike company that twenty years later became a major motorcycle company.
Sergio wanted to work there too, but his older brothers suggested him to try a different job and become a shoemaker. But it didn't last. Sergio wanted to build bikes, not to make shoes, and so he finally managed to get hired at Testi as well. As an apprentice, he built thousands of wheels before he was assigned to the bike assembly along with Umberto. Meanwhile, Luigi had become a skilled welder.
1948 - The Patelli brothers resigned from Testi, and Umberto opened his first shop. He sold city bikes and special racing frames, all welded by Luigi.
1964 - Umberto decided to move the shop to another location.
Sergio was also a racer as well as a bike builder. As an amateur, he won 49 races, a Giro del Sestriere and the Italian Champion title in the 1953 team time trial. He then retired from competition in 1954 at the age of 26 and opened a shop in the neighbourhood where he lived, and where he was very popular thanks to his many victories.
While Luigi had become a very skilled craftsman and pantographer, Sergio and Umberto sold road bikes as well as accessories and sportswear.
Umberto and Sergio were both involved in the finishing process. They brought the frames to a craftsman who made the fine sandblasting. Then they would personally take the frames to Lanciotto Righi, the best craftsman in the hand-finish work in the area. And then there was the milling and the chrome plating. The frames were covered entirely with a layer of Nickel that prevented rust from forming.
1976 - Umberto bought a shed where he opened a large workshop for the manufacturing of the frames, as well as the production of dimes, accessories and tools.
1990 – Umberto entrusted the welding of the frames to other manufacturers.
1997 - Umberto, now retired, left the Cicli Patelli to his collaborators Roberto and Dario, who kept producing good bikes. In the same year, Sergio also closed the shop after 40 years of activity.
Over the years Patelli frames have become highly coveted for their lightness and high-quality, and the passion of these brothers and their attentiveness to details have made all their bikes special and very much appreciated.
(1) Patelli's shop in Bologna
(2) Race bike Patelli equipped with Campagnolo Cambio Corsa
(3- 4) Early '70s S. Patelli - courtesy of Mr. Rex Gilmore