Paletti – bicycles

Country: Italy
Founded: Early 1970s, Modena

The history of Paletti bicycles

Luciano Paletti is a master framebuilder based in Modena. In the early 1960s he was himself a keen racing cyclist. His distinctive bicycles are veritable works of art, often incorporating subtle details that are not always apparent to the casual observer. Paletti frames are always finished with very high quality paintwork, and it goes without saying that a proper Paletti bicycle would not be complete without pantographed components such as the stem and outer chainring. Paletti learnt the craft of frame building under Orazio Grenzi, the maker of the famed Virginia brand, and later learnt from Ugo DeRosa. It was Grenzi himself who produced the early frames that bore the Paletti name, from 1972 until 1975. Luciano Paletti took over Grenzi’s premises in Viciglio when Grenzi went to work for the component manufacturer 3ttt. Another local Modenese frame builder who learnt from Grenzi was Antonio Mattioli, with whom Patelli would later collaborate on the PMZ project along with Zanasi. It is thought that Mattioli and Zanasi manufactured bikes for Paletti.

Paletti frames incorporate bottom bracket castings, seat stay caps, rear brake bridge, head lugs and fork crown all emblazoned with the LP initials and usually carry the framebuilders signature at the rear of the top tube. Cunningly concealed cable routing for the brakes and gears do away with unsightly clutter and bring the exquisite detailing of the frameset to the fore. The Paletti Logo comprises the initials LP in front of a diamond. The Paletti headbadge incorporates the diamond, clover, heart and spade motifs found on playing cards. Just to make it quite plain that Paletti is reserved for real players!

Paletti has provided many bicycles to top athletes, and has sponsored various teams over the decades, achieving wins on the road and also in cyclocross. In his earlier career the great Marco Pantani raced on a Luciano Paletti road bike in the 1991 Giro d’Italia whilst he rode for the Emilia Romagna team.

Amongst the innovations which were patented by Paletti are the 1978 design of a brazed fitting for the front derailleur, which no longer necessitated an ‘unsightly’ tube clamp. The system featured the Paletti name engraved on the patented derailleur mount. This was followed in 1980 by another patent Paletti innovation, a system which enabled the gear cables to be concealed in the bicycle frame, only emerging immediately adjacent to the derailleurs. Not content with having hidden all the control cables, in the same year Paletti also debuted integrated brakes completely enclosed within the frame and fork. The rear brake was concealed in the lower stays directly behind the bottom bracket, whilst the front brake was entirely enclosed within the fork blades.

Luciano Paletti passed on his passion for racing bicycles to son Michele, who would also be a talented bike racer. In 1991 Michele was a teammate of Marco Pantani when both riders were on the Emilia Romagna team, and later Michele was a member of the Mapei pro team. Today Michele continues to run the family business that was started by his late father Luciano.

Notable Paletti models

Paletti Pista

Paletti PMZ frames, featuring dual lower seat tube construction, developed in collaboration with Mattioli and Zanasi.

Paletti Lightning, constructed with Columbus SL

Paletti Nuovo Record, constructed with Columbus SL

Paletti Record Special, constructed with Columbus SL

Paletti Super Record, constructed with Columbus SL

Paletti Victory Corsa Classic, constructed with Columbus SL or SP

Paletti Crono Los Angeles, constructed with Columbus Air tubing

Paletti Crono Nazioni, constructed with Columbus Air tubing

Paletti Prestige, constructed with Columbus SL or SP

Paletti Super Prestige, constructed with Columbus SL, SLX, SP or SPX

Paletti C-Record, constructed with Columbus SLX

Paletti Meteor frames, featuring ovalised tubing created to Patelli’s specifications by Oria.

Paletti Concord, constructed with Columbus MS Multishape

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