- Country: Italy
- Founder: Edoardo Bianchi
- Founding Year: 1885
- Website: www.bianchi.com
A History of Bianchi
Bianchi is one of the oldest bicycle brands in the world, manufacturing high-quality performance bikes from as early as the 1890s.
In 1885, when he was 21 years old, Edoardo Bianchi started manufacturing bikes in his shop in Milan, Italy. Edoardo had previous experience hand-making medical tools, so he had an acute understanding of how to manufacture precise instruments; a skill that translated into meticulously crafted bicycles. In 1888 he developed his first bicycle with tires produced by Dunlop, and in 1899 the first palmarés for a Bianchi bike was achieved by Giovanni Tomaselli at the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris. Along with sponsorship of riders like this and the popularity of cycling in 1900s Italy, Bianchi grew rapidly. By 1914, Edoardo’s brand was making 45,000 bicycles a year; a number that even rivals some bicycle manufacturers modern production methods.
Many professional riders have had success whilst sponsored by Bianchi, but by far the most legendary partnership between rider and bicycle was with Marco Pantani. Il Pirata worked closesly with Sara Mercante – the research and development head of Bianchi during the late 90s – and was notoriously obsessive about the custom bicycles produced for him. Pantani had almost 30 frames made for him per season, and would ask for infinitely precise adjustments to each; from changing the frame angles by a degree to adjusting tube lengths by millimeters. If anything, this obsession with perfection simply illustrated the willingness of Bianchi to provide the greatest tool possible for Pantani to achieve victory.
Anyone who owns a contemporary Bianchi will be riding the solution to Pantani’s fastidious experiments, whilst those who happen upon a bicycle of earlier years will experience the results of Edoardo Bianchi’s sense for detail. Either way, owning a classic, celeste Bianchi is a must for anyone who considers themselves an enthusiast for all that is legendary about cycling’s past.
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