Patelli – Vintage Steel Bikes

Country: Italy
Founded: 1964, Bologna

The history of Patelli Bikes

The Patelli bicycle brand is a family affair, a collaboration between three bothers, Umberto, Sergio and Luigi Patelli. Of the three, youngest brother Sergio was the most successful sporting cyclist, becoming the Italian Amateur Champion in 1953. The Gruppo Sportivo Patelli would win the Italian Amateur Championships in 1957.

From the outset it was the eldest brother Luigi who would craft the frames which would be sold in the two separate sports equipment stores run by Umberto and Sergio respectively. Luigi would continue to craft frames for sale through his brothers outlets until 1990, when he retired. In the ’80s Umberto Paletti also offered a range of specialist tools for bike mechanics and especially for bicycle frame building, including a digital frame measuring jig as well as devices for precise alignment of lugs and accurate bending of fork blades.

Since Luigi, Umberto and Sergio reached retirement age the Patelli name has been kept alive on frames built to order by other master framebuilders, notably including Silvestro. Patelli SNC changed hands in 1998, when it was purchased by Dario Venturi and Roberto Morelli, who continue trading as Patelli to the present day.

Patelli frames are held in the highest regard by connoisseurs. Luigino Veneziano, mechanic for the GIS, Mapei and Mercatone Uno teams and personal mechanic for Marco Pantani, states that “Patelli frames were the best. They cost a little more but the quality was superior”.
Patelli frames often incorporate elaborate lugwork, and sometimes also feature outstandingly flashy paintwork. Luigi Patelli was more than just a celebrated framebuilder, he was also an acknowledged master of the art of Pantography, and no serious Patelli can be considered complete unless it is adorned with the full complement of beautifully engraved and hand detailed components. Having never produced frames in volumes comparable to the biggest names in the business, Patelli bicycles retain their high value by dint of their scarcity.