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Passoni
October 9, 2014 Max Burgess
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Passoni

An Italian Opera

Posted in Meet the Makers

The history of Passoni reads something like a classical Italian Opera with serendipity, family and romance as well as tragedy at the heart of the story.

A chance meeting in the 1980’s between Luciano Passoni and Amelio Riva, who was riding his own custom-built titanium bike, gave Luciano the idea that would eventually grow into Passoni. After the meeting, Luciano had Amelio build him his very own titanium frame and had initially wanted to cooperate with him. However, Amelio was not interested in starting a business, but instead agreed to take Luciano’s son Luca as an apprentice.

Luca would learn the art of titanium frame building and go on to oversee the rise of the Passoni brand over the next 18 years until his tragic death in 2006. His wife Silvia continued to build on the work of her late husband until the Passoni brand took another twist of fate, when Matteo Cassina came to the workshop for a fitting of a bike he had desired for almost 20 years.

Since 2012, Cassina has been working alongside Silvia to build a brand that is synonymous with quality. As it happens, Cassina is also the CEO of Saxo Capital Markets, which offers them an interesting insight into World Tour racing with the Tinkoff-Saxo team.

The importance of all this history however, is the passion it creates at the heart of the company and this is something Passoni has a wealth of.

There is no escaping from the fact that Passoni’s are very expensive bikes. Rarely does a Passoni leave the workshop with anything less than the best build kit and once this is factored into the price, there is little chance of getting it in under €10,000.

So what makes these bikes so expensive? It is commonly known that there is a premium levied on titanium and stainless steel frames, because of how quickly they blunt tools in comparison to standard steel. Taking into account that the special titanium tubes are sourced from British tube maker Reynolds and that it takes 25-30 man-hours to perfect these frames, no wonder the final cost is substantial.

But Passoni is about something more, about appreciating a beautiful object as well as thoroughbred racing machine. Owning one is about knowing that the geometry is carefully made to fit your body and that the frame has been handcrafted by some of the finest in their field. Simply put, you will not get that from a stock size S-Works, or even a Lightweight Urgestalt. You will not get that with any frame that is mass-produced in Asia, aimed at only a select few body types. This is something only possible by craftsmen and for this, there is a price.

Watching the guys working at Passoni is quite a special experience and one that they are keen to offer new customers. Maybe one day we will have a spare pile of money waiting to be spent on something extravagant like a Passoni. In the meantime, enjoy a gallery of images Podia shot at their workshop as well as a gallery of one of their recent builds here.