Today’s Readers’ Rides features a wonderful example of an Italian mountain bike brand called Nevi and was sent in by Alessandro who shared a bit about himself, his journey through cycling, and this sick build. Let’s check it out!
I’ve been following this website for a very long time; I remember it often showed photos of “private” bicycles made at home by their owners. At the time, fixed-gear bicycles were very fashionable, and as an Italian looking at the American cycling panorama through a screen, I was amazed at how components for racing road bicycles (Campagnolo, Masi, Colnago, Cinelli, etc…) were considered valuable and rare objects by American cyclists, while the same components where I live can literally be found abandoned among the garbage bins.
Then the years passed and things changed. Today, I observe that track or racing bicycles are less fashionable, the local cycling panoramas are merging with each other and together they give life to a single global panorama.
It also seems to me that today the cycling world has an interest in the “old” (vintage) Mountain Bikes. I realize that in Italy very little is found or known about them, while I imagine that in America it is possible to easily find a lot of material. I imagine that in America it is as easy to find a 90s Cannondale MTB as it is to find a 70s Colnago road bike here.
Off-road bicycles came onto the scene in Italy when I was a child and were immediately termed “Mountain Bikes,” using the English name, and everyone pronounced it as they saw fit (“mountain baik”). They were extravagant bicycles, for extravagant people, a novelty, a trend.
I don’t think that the large and prestigious Italian manufacturers of components and bicycles wanted to invest much in these new bicycles and, today, after many years the most important and recognized companies in the MTB sector are American.
Nevi is certainly among the most famous and prestigious Italian manufacturers of handcrafted titanium frames. The brand has been on the market for a long time and produces, in particular, racing bikes but today also offers very high-end MTBs and Gravel bikes in its catalog.
Perhaps it is difficult to notice the similarity from the photos, also due to the different fork mounted, but the two frames are practically identical in terms of geometries and technical solutions, in particular for the steering tube which must house Cannondale’s proprietary system “fatty” fork and which it certainly required specific studies and tubes from the craftsman at Nevi. Today the shape (geometry) of this frame may seem common, but at the time it was very different from all the others on the market.
A customer sought out Nevi to create a customized titanium frame in an attempt to reproduce what, at the time, could be considered among the most innovative and effective frames on the market; a true American novelty. At the time in Italy a high-quality Cannondale cost as much as a small F.I.A.T. car.
The bike was fitted with high-end American SRAM X0 components with grip shift controls and an American seat tube. German disc brakes, high-quality Italian handcrafted double crankset and Italian saddle, American handlebars, and many fine details in the small parts.
Today this bicycle, which at the time was prepared for racing, has been converted by me into a bicycle for travel, bikepacking exploration and easy off-road fun. It features all top-of-the-range components which makes it extremely effective and fast in every situation, the complete Japanese XTR transmission with XTR titanium sprocket set, XTR wheel hubs, high-end Mavic rims and stainless steel spokes, high-end chain, modern Italian high-end brakes, German luggage rack, quality cables and sheaths, carbon handlebar with appendages to be able to vary the riding position without ever losing contact with the brakes and gear shift controls.
The triple crankset makes it extremely versatile in every situation, even when loaded down. The fork is the maximum evolution of the Fatty, the dlr 80, with 80mm of travel and hydraulic adjustment, an extremely effective fork perfect for gravel\bikepacking routes and which remains fast and safe even on rougher sections.
(an aside: it is possible that it was an Italian company called Marzocchi that developed the initial design of this fork, the first fatty service manual was made by Marzocchi.)
I hope you enjoy the photos and the description of these two bicycles and that perhaps they can give you inspiration or reflections on the process of globalization applied to the world of bicycles, on the decentralization of production, of the use that companies and producers make of countries in the branding process, of the choice to use international or local languages for products, and of artisans following the industry that’s following the artisans ;)
We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!