The hot news of the day is that the new MCipollini range of bikes and clothing has a UK importer in the shape of Paligap, the company who also deal with Kona, Ritchey, and FFWD among other brands.
If you want to sum up the Cipollini (we’re dropping the M – it’s just awkward) line briefly, ‘high end’ would comfortably cover it. You’d expect that from any products associated with Mario Cipollini, right? The Italian sprinter – Cipo, Super Mario, The Lion King – was the classiest looking rider in the peloton during his long and illustrious racing career, and the Cipollini bikes were about the classiest looking bikes at the whole of the recent Eurobike show. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but if you don’t think these are stunning… well, you’re wrong.
First, the bikes. We’ve got the 100+ page brochure here in front of us. How many bikes do you think they’ve shoe-horned into it? Two. It’s fair to say that this is a brand that’s going big on prestige.
The other thing they’re emphasising is Italian-ness. The product conception is from Lucca, the molds from Padova, lab testing in Udine, painting in Pisa, production in Florence – you know, home to the Renaissance and that – and assembly in Verona. These bikes couldn’t be more Italian if they were delivered by Leonardo da Vinci in a gondola. With a side order of dough balls.
The two bikes are the RB800 and the RB1000 – both carbon fibre monocoques. The RB800 is the cheaper of the two. The entry-level one, if you like. It’s the more conventional looking model, although it packs a whole lot of thoroughly modern features into its T1000, M46J and 1KHS40 carbon fibre frame.
You get an integrated seatpost, for example, a head tube that tapers from 1 1/4in up top to 1 1/2in at the bottom, and an oversized BB30 bottom bracket. The cables run internally and it’s compatible with Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting, naturally. Well, you’re not going to put any old rubbish on a frame like this, are you? The RB800 frame weighs in at just 970g (size M, manufacturers’ figure) and it comes with a T1000 carbon monocoque fork.
It’ll be available in various different finishes and various different builds – all of them high end or even higher end. Paligap have so far only set the price for the frameset though: £3,600. We’re guessing sales volumes aren’t going to be vast. We did hear, though, that you get the chance to go out to Italy and ride with the man himself. Honestly.
The RB1000 features more aerodynamic features – deeper tube profiles, for example, and a seat tube that curves around the rear wheel. It’s made from the same materials as the RB800 and also has a tapered head tube, integrated seat post and BB30 bottom bracket, weighing in a little heavier at 1050g (size medium) thanks to the larger tube sizes. The price of this bad boy? £4,100. For the frameset.
Cipollini are also doing a range of clothes – both male and female although Paligap are only bringing in the men’s kit for the time being. Like the bikes, it’s stylish-looking kit and, also like the bikes, it’s pricey.
The waterproof, for example, is £170.99, the jacket is £206.99 and the long sleeve jersey comes in at £156.99. From our perusal of the rails it looks cool and well made, but bargain basement, it ain’t. Most of the clothing is white and/or black but they’re also doing a blue option of some articles for the UK market.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.