Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.- Albert Einstein, passionate bike lover
In Bici We Trust
Cicli Berlinetta is the home of cycling chic in Berlin. At our Atelier in Prenzlauer Berg we work on vintage bicycles. We collect them, buy them and sell them. We take them apart and rebuild them, taking great pride in restoring them properly. Our bikes stand out from the rest, because we put them together exactly the right way – with a lot of love and attention to detail!
Proprietor Dustin Nordhus is a Canadian expatriate who moved to Berlin in the ’90s. Dustin, a keen cyclist since his childhood, now and then a bicycle stunt rider for the film and TV industries, and former professional cycle courier of international repute, began trading under the name Cicli Berlinetta in 2003.
Dustin is an avid collector of racing bicycles, principally steel framed bikes of Italian manufacture. To keep his personal collection expanding, Dustin began buying and selling the best bikes from years gone by. His stock in trade being vintage bicycles from the ‘golden period’, namely from the ‘60s until the late ‘80s. Dustin has made it his mission to search out and acquire fine lightweight road and track bicycles built around steel frame and forks. In the first instance his passion is reserved for hand built frames painstakingly constructed one at a time by artisan craftsmen.
What type of bicycle do we favour the most?
More often than not, the bikes raced by the great cycle sport champions of that era, as well as the majority of those ridden by both professional and amateur sportsmen and women, were built entirely by hand. Almost invariably these high pedigree machines were made from steel tubing, joined by often intricate lugs and castings, sometimes filet brazed and hand filed at the lugless tube junctions. Every frame builder of good reputation, of whom at one time there were a great many in Italy alone, would differentiate their products from those of their competitors, incorporating many and various unique construction details which functioned as their makers signature, and finished their handiwork with often flamboyant paintwork, badging and lettering. Dustin regards Italian made lightweight bicycles as being altogether more stylish, and thus even more covetable and collectable, than similar machines from neighbouring European nations or farther afield. He has established Cicli Berlinetta as a centre for the appreciation of the best in classic bikes and components, mostly good used but occasionally also much sought after “New Old Stock”.
What kind of bikes does Cicli Berlinetta sell?
Cicli Berlinetta (re)build fine bikes from yesteryear, ranging in price from very reasonable to very expensive. Irrespective of their price, they are all rebuilt to a very high standard. When older components are deemed to be good candidates for having their lifespan extended, they are painstakingly cleaned and reassembled. Sometimes age and abuse have taken too heavy a toll, and the component must be replaced. The preference where possible is to use a replacement part of similar age, so as to keep the bicycle period correct.
Brand new ‘bespoke’ bikes
Cicli Berlinetta also offer tailor made brand new bicycles, based around unique frame and forks, suited to the specific needs of the buyer. For over a decade Cicli Berlinetta have collaborated closely with a craftsman frame builder of excellent reputation, whose exact identity and location must remain a closely guarded trade secret. Suffice to say he has a proven track record, having often created strong yet supple competition machines for some of the swiftest sprinters of the European Pro elite. Those who have ridden one of his hand built creations almost invariably express sheer delight at and respect for the handling characteristics his designs consistently provide.
We listen closely to what the customer wants, then offer the benefit of our experience both as bike vendors and of course as avid cyclists, and together we come up with a design brief which we pass to our frame builder. We delight in providing distinctive frame and fork sets which, needless to say, we love to build up with the appropriate selection of components, resulting in a highly individualised bicycle that reflects the good taste of the maker, the vendor and ultimately the owner.
What makes Cicli Berlinetta stand out from the ever-swelling crowd?
Since Dustin first began trading good used Italian steel bicycles, the ‘Scene’ has expanded hugely. Not only are more and more cyclists rediscovering the joys of vintage steel cycling, at the same time more and more traders have appeared in this specialist marketplace. Despite the seemingly almost daily appearance of yet another small niche bicycle shop proffering ready-to-ride rebuilds and “really-very-collectable” eye candy of a similar nature, none come close to the benchmark that is Cicli Berlinetta, the original and best.
Cicli Berlinetta were essentially the first shop in Berlin to eschew the cookie-cutter catalogue bikes and parts to be found in almost every bike store in this new century, and stick to the tried and tested, the bikes that defined the great later period of the 20th century. Aficionado like to put together bikes that reflect their personality, in addition to riding “just right”. Not as simple a trick as it might seem. To the well trained eye, to the learned fan, there is a “right way” to put a bike together. A “look” and a “feel” which, when achieved, can be felt from up in the saddle, and seen straight away, both from a distance and right up close. A pity then that so many other vendors neither appreciate the niceties, nor offer comparable creations.
That magical correct recipe, the right concoction of frame and constituent components, is the stuff of constant and heated debate. Everybody has their favourite brand, their component manufacturer of preference, and their own way of putting it all together. Cicli Berlinetta build bikes with the perfect combination of moving parts, always trying to match individual pieces of the right age to build a cohesive finished piece, a bike that looks and rides as it would have “back in the day”, when the initial purchaser picked it up new from the bike builder or the specialist store.
What makes Cicli Berlinetta a vendor you can trust?
The best bikes of old, the sublime creations that inspire the greatest passions, were the products of uncompromising men, and intended for uncompromising riders. Their makers used only the best materials, and were always looking for new ways to improve the way their bikes rode. Their discerning clients wanted to ride upon nothing but the best, would pay accordingly and often wait very patiently indeed, knowing that the best things take time to come into being.
The high end bikes that Cicli Berlinetta rebuilds today are the very same, from the top tier, and intended for top clientele. In the ceaseless search for the best bikes and associated bits and pieces, Dustin has acquired a nose and an eye. Which is to say, he can almost smell when he is close to a good bike hidden in a back room, a loft or a cellar, nestling in the midst of many lesser bikes at a busy market, or hidden on infrequently viewed pages of popular online auction sites. He’s seen, and ridden, enough bikes (the very good, the merely good, the bad and the frankly awful) to know when they have been cared for and when they have been abused, when they were assembled “right” and when there is something (or things plural) quite “wrong”. Enough, in fact, that his highly revered knowledge is itself a sought-after commodity amongst friends, fellow tradespeople and returning customers alike. All of whom know that Cicli Berlinetta do it right.