The Casati bicycle brand was founded in 1920 by Pietro Casati. His son Gian Luigi would later inherit the company and continue the tradition of manufacturing fine steel bicycle frames. Information about the history of Casati bicycles is thin and far between on the internet, but the following facts were published in an advertising supplement to VeloNews in 1996.
Gian Luigi, or Gianni, started working in his father Pietros shop at the tender age of ten. This would have been around 1943. In the early days Casati was not able to sponsor any major pro teams, but did famously provide sponsorship to local amateur rider Gianni Bugno, out of a “strong sense of municipal pride”.
By 1996 the company was producing something like 1250 frames per year, of which the overwhelming majority were made-to-measure. In 1997 Gianni was grooming his own sons, Massimo and Luca, to take over the family business. The third generation of the Casati family continue to run the business to the present day.
Gianni produced frames which were notable for their single colour paintwork, even at a time when elaborate graphics and paint fading were in vogue. Gianni preferred to let his exquisite framebuilding details do the talking. In a catalogue dating from 1988 Casati bicycle frames are described as being “purosangue” (pure blooded), and boasts that “A particularly careful execution makes of every frame and of every bicycle a masterpiece”. In the mid 1990s Gianni Casati conceived a completely concealed internal cable routing, and introduced a variation on the old Legnano integrated seat binder bolt, albeit considerably more refined.
One of the distinctive features of later Casati bicycle frames are their ‘slotted’ seat stay caps alongside the seat tube.
Top Casati models
Casati Special frameset, Columbus SL
Casati Gold Line frameset, Columbus SLX or SPX tubing, featuring proprietary “ribbed” chainstays
Casati Gold Line C Record bicycle, built up with a C Record gruppo, 3ttt Competition bars and Casati pantographed 3tt stem, Campagnolo or FIR rims, Clement or Vittoria tubular tyres, Regina or Everest chain and cassette.
Casati Special frameset, Columbus SL, SP or Cromor tubing
Casati Special Chorus bicycle, assembled with a Campagnolo Chorus gruppo, 3ttt Tour de France handlebars and engraved Model 84 3ttt stem. Also available built up with a Campagnolo Victory or Triomphe gruppo.