25/05/2016 - Viadana

Abici

Handmade in Viadana
In the Viadana showroom
Abicino, the portable model.
Vintage precision
Abici for Coach
Posing for the camera
Velocino at the Design Museum London

Beautiful bicycles, handmade in Italy to perfect vintage designs, technologically state-of-the-art and individually tested for superior quality? Must be Abici.

Ten years ago Abici was a start-up, born of a Lambrusco-fuelled idea conceived by three friends over dinner at a local osteria as they thumbed through some 1950s catalogues. The plan developed to replicate those solid bikes with their unembellished forms in high-tech editions, fusing the best of two eras in a distinctive product, entirely crafted by artisans to the highest standards using top-grade materials. Bicycles “to leave to our kids”.

They called the first one ABICI, the naked bicyle. Its canny combination of traditional simplicity and technology, not to mention a hefty dose of design-business acumen, made for an auspicious start. Variations on the theme soon followed, for a current total of 9 gorgeous, revisited-classic models with gender/colour/technical options – some will surprise you – plus a range of original accessories ranging from wicker baskets to leather trouser straps. 

Just last year, three international luxury brands – New York’s Coach, Maison Veuve Cliquot and Acqua di Parma – chose Abici for bikes sporting their names and/or logos, while the newest entry, remake of a singular 1930s model, recently ended up in an exhibition at London’s Design Museum.

Those three founding friends were Cristiano Gozzi, Giuseppe Marcheselli (subsequently replaced in the trio by Dario Gozzi) and a certain Stefano Seletti, which might ring a bell. He is, in fact, the Stefano Seletti who transformed his father’s Chinese-goods import business into the Seletti design factory of today, the one at the helm of the creative workshop that comes up with a bounty of prize-winning, playful, artistic and experimental household items.

Back to Abici, just to add that each of those trim, timeless bicycles comes with a solid guarantee as well as a label telling you who made it; that they’re all made in Viadana, southwest of Mantua (about halfway to Parma, where the River Po more or less marks the Lombardy-Emilia regional border), and that they’re sold not only in the factory showroom but also by various fine cycle dealers around the world or simply online, with free delivery in Italy.

The name, by the way, is a bit of a pun: abici is ABC, and bici the shortened form of bicicletta, as bike is to bicycle. Clever, that.

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