Jules and Phil love a factory visit. Especially when it's as beautiful as Passoni in Milan
Passoni Bicycles From Milan
Even Passoni's factory is beautiful. Everything about Passoni, its bikes and staff is also beautiful. They have chosen to surround themselves with visually inspiring things to help them creatively produce precious bicycles for their clients. Passoni is certainly not for everyone, but in the seven years we have been working with this tiny artisan factory, we have observed that they create loyalty bordering on obsession with the people that commission a bike from them. The decision to buy a Passoni seems to be heart-led, with the brain going along for a free-ride, safe in the knowledge that world-leading titanium is intrinsically a safe investment. Quite so. We have been to the Passoni factory a few times and always find the experience inspirational on many levels. Here is what we found in the summer 2017.
Pro Cycling DNA
Passoni has always been linked to the Italian pro scene, because historically top riders would regularly pay the factory to produce a lightweight ti bike in their sponsor's livery for Tour and Giro mountain stages and special days. Less so now because UCI rules forbid custom bikes and it is impossible to make a hand-crafted titanium bike look like a stock carbon frame. Thank God! Day to day operations are led by ex-pro's Danilo and Diego. They kindly invited me and Jules for a lunchtime ride but lumbago and inherent lack of talent made us politely decline. It is however refreshing to hear that Passoni adheres to its core DNA of blending pro peloton performance with art-house visuals and style. Think Prada meets Ferrari.
“It is however refreshing to hear that Passoni adheres to its core DNA of blending pro peloton performance with art-house visuals and style. Think Prada meets Ferrari.”
The other significant strand of the Passoni double helix is invisible welding. It is hugely expensive, the process shrouded in secrecy (until now) and makes fully grown men and women weep with desire. The Passoni company is now run by the enigmatic and stylish Sylvia Passoni, And we are now increasingly seeing women clients buy a Passoni bike.
Hyperbaric Chamber and 40 Man-Hours
And however fine and accurate the Seven Cycles bead (and it is very fine indeed) there is something about the apparent hewn--from-a-block of purest titanium look of Passoni that is undeniable. First stage is to weld the frame in Passoni's hyperbaric chamber at 1,1 Bar, the inner dome of the chamber is saturated with argon gas to cleanse and purify the welding environment. Post-welding, It takes about 40 hours of hand-polishing to a completely smooth joint. Passoni could do it with a machine of tumbling pebbles but the fractional weakness it would introduce into the titanium structure makes Passoni come out in collective hives. We understand and applaud this level of obsession.The work at Passoni by the small band of craftsmen is frankly monastic. It is quite, uncluttered, hushed and almost reverential. It feels more like a religious retreat than a cutting edge factory.
“The decision to buy a Passoni seems to be heart-led, with the brain going along for a free-ride, safe in the knowledge that world-leading titanium is intrinsically a safe investment. Quite so. ”
About the Author
Co-founder, bike fitter and bike designer. Phil rides a Seven titanium disc bike. He likes dogs and fine wine. - Cyclefit Store