Table of Contents
Cino Cinelli founded Cinelli & C.S.r.l.1) in 1944, after a successful road racing career cut short only by WWII, to resell components made by his brother Giotto Cinelli. Cinelli & C. started to sell Cinelli branded bikes in 1947 and merged with Giotto's company of Milan in 1948, which is often stated at the proper start date for Cinelli.
In 1978 Cino Cinelli sold his company to Antonio Colombo, maker of Columbus tubes. At this point Cinelli was selling over 150,000 bars and stems per year and yet less than 700 frames a year. In 1985, under Antonio's direction, Cinelli introduced the Rampichino mountain bike, which is listed in many sources as being the first European mountain bike2). Cinelli went all in on MTB manufacturing and a possible 1986 Cinelli catalog has seventeen MTBs listed in the first half of the catalog (with components not available until 1987) and then, in the next half, another eight MTBs (with components not available until 1990.) This “catalog” is likely a survey of multiple catalogs and its dating will be ignored. According to the catalog, the MTB models available were: Rampichino, The Absolute Machine, The Machine, Ottomilainsu'3) , Argento Vivo, Orizzonte, Tuttifruti, Sentiero Bicolor, Sentiero Salamandra, Sentiero Optical, Mimetika, Ottomilauno, Rampichino Vertical & Rampichino Country.
Mountain bike, date of birth: California 1978 and Italy 1985.
Invented in San Francisco by Gary Fisher, and reinvented in Milan by Antonio Colombo for Cinelli. 1994 Cinelli catalog benscycle
Despite being a very popular component manufacturer, only a single complete Cinelli catalog exists online with mountain bikes, so that dating will be based upon the usual trust and assumptions that the installed components are original.
Most Cinellis were built in Milan but a few early 90's Cinellis were built and imported from Taiwan by the Gary Fisher brand while it was owned by Anlen of Taiwan. Gary Fisher distributed Cinelli MTBs in the US at this time.
The stuff which bikes are made from. cyclist.co.uk
1985 Rampichino Airone
Rampichino is Italian for the Short-toed tree-creeper, a small, common European bird. Airone is Italian for Heron and is an Italian nature magazine which exclusively offered Cinelli Rampichinos to its readers in 1985. Shimano XT M700 v1 component group (1982-84), non-original Biopace 600-EX FC-6206 cranks (1984-87), Tommaselli levers, butted and lugged Columbus tubing.
1985 Rampichino Airone mtb-news.de
Cinelli, bicicletta Rampichino painted by Alessandro Mendini, 1986. Cinelli often partnered with prominent artists to join sport, art & design.
1986 Rampchino rvca
Deore MT-60 (1987-88). This bike shows up in the 1986? catalog with these Shimano components, which themselves don't show up until the 1987 Shimano catalog. 4)
1987 Rampichino facebook
Shimano Exage Mountain (1988-89), TIG welded Columbus tubing. Cinelli MTBs decidedly go down market at this point in an attempt to make mountain biking even more popular/profitable.
1988 Sentiero facebook
1989 The Absolute Machine
Deore XT M732 (1989) gruppo, Columbus tubing.
1989 The Absolute Machine bmxmuseum
1990 Rampichino Country
Shimano Deore LX groupset (1990-93), TIG welded Columbus tubing, The C89022286 serial number suggests a 1989 data but the components are consistent with 1990+.
1990 Rampichino Country facebook
1991 Argento Vivo
Designed by Gary Fisher with a circuit board seat-tube, Fisher headset. SunTour XC Expert & Comp derailleurs (1990-92). Serial number “AL90120113” which likely implies that it is built in Taiwan by Anlen with Columbus tubing.
1991 Monaco Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna riding with a disconnected front brake, just before one of his 41 Grand Prix wins. reddit
1991 Argento Vivo mombat
Shimano 200GS group (1990-93). The second cheapest of all Shimano components. Mimetica is Italian for “camouflage.” A better model name might be “psichedelico.”
1992 Mimetika steel-vintage
1993 Argento Vivo
Aluminum frame (by who?), non-original Marzocchi XC600 forks (1995). Shimano LX gruppo (1990-92) equipped on other 1993 Cinellis.
1993 Argento Vivo facebook
Shimano Deore LX (RD-M560) (1993+ thus), Rock Shox,
1994 Argentovivo mountainbikemuseum.nl