Ciöcc... Chi-uuch... that is, Giovanni Pelizzoli is one of the most respected framebuilders in Italy today. Born in Curno, a small town not far from Milan in Italy’s industrious Lombardy region, Pelizzoli has built up a reputation as a craftsman and as an innovator that is envied the world over.
The son of a mechanic, he began racing and wrenching road bikes as a teenager and never looked back. And by the 1970’s, his Ciöcc frames—named for the moniker bestowed on him, his father and his grandfather before him—were being used to challenge for Olympic medals while being lusted after by cyclists everywhere.
Today, these bikes are as admired and collectable as they come in cycling’s vintage circles, and while he no longer has any affiliation to that brand, his current offerings under the Pelizzoli name are no less alluring. He also enjoys a long relationship with Coppi bicycles, the brand named after Italy’s greatest cyclist and one favored by many pro teams over the years.
Pelizzoli has a palmarès longer than an extra-large top tube. Amateur titles, national triumphs, Olympic medals on the road and the track, one day classic wins, stages in the grand tours. Paolo Savoldelli even won the 2005 Giro d’Italia on a Coppi frame. Other notable riders who rode Pelizzoli’s bike at some stage in their career include Gianni Bugno, Michele Bartoli, Gilberto Simoni and Ivan Gotti, but there are too many note-worthy and successful riders to name here.
The Italian turns 70 this month, but you wouldn’t know it. He’s a blur when I enter his factory on a cold February morning—all chatter on his phone as he darts around throwing his eye over the work of his team.