Journal

Inside Passoni

Jules and Phil love a factory visit. Especially when it's as beautiful as Passoni in Milan

Posted by Philip Cavell

14th December 2017

Factory3

Everything is beautiful at Passoni. Literally everything.

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. 

Factory1

When you are only making a few frames per week. You have the time to sweat every detail and process. 

Factory4

Passoni has been making cutting-edge titanium for over thirty years. 

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.

Factory5

We have never been to a factory where the lens falls so readily on natural light and beauty

Passoni 5 171214 174013

It takes forty hours to hand file all the welds on one Passoni frame. 

“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.”

Invisible Welds

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. ”

Passoni 8

There is something Monastic about the work at Passoni. 

Passoni 7

Everything is slow-paced, calm and ordered. It is like a religious retreat

About the Author

Philip Cavell

Co-founder, bike fitter and bike designer. Phil rides a Seven titanium disc bike. He likes dogs and fine wine. - Cyclefit Store

Find Out More

Passoni

Passoni Bikes from Milan, Italy

5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Titanium Bike

Five questions to ask before buying a titanium bike