SUPERMARIO,
THE ONE,
THE PASSION
AND THE FUTURE.

Intervista a Mario Cipollini

MARIO, YOU'RE IN GREAT SHAPE AT THE MOMENT. I'D SAY YOU'RE READY FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. WHAT'S YOUR SECRET?

Thank you, but I don’t think I’m ready for the World Championships. If it was a World Championships for people in their 50s I might be tempted. Nevertheless, yes, I think I'm in pretty good shape, both mentally and physically. I’m going through a very stimulating phase of life. I’ve been looking at my past and I’m ready for the future, a future that I think will be more and more about my bikes, which I consider my “other” daughters. My real daughters, my two girls, are growing up and already have their own lives. I’ll try to help them from a distance, so I’ll have plenty of time to focus on training (as well as cycling, I also enjoy skiing in the winter) and travelling around the world, keeping all my senses alert and my eyes open so that I can get constant inspiration for designing bikes in the Cipollini range.

WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL REASONS BEHIND THE REDESIGN OF THE RB1K, THE FLAGSHIP PRODUCT IN YOUR COMP BIKE COLLECTION?

The new RB1K is naturally an updated version of the old one. Describing it as old is something that irks me a bit, as I can’t consider it old: it marked the first step forward, and it was a great step. However, over time, technical improvements, developed in partnership with technical experts, led me to try to boost its performance, making it more effective and objective. It's strange to talk about objectivity when it's really a question of feelings. I trust my feelings. I was practically born on a bike, officially starting to compete when I was 6 years old and taking part in local competitions when I was even younger. As a result, almost half a century later, the bike is a bit like an extension of my body. I believe I have developed an unusual sensibility, enhanced by the fact that I have been building bikes for years. I therefore have to thank the technicians who have given me the necessary tools and have supported with everything. Together we have managed to progress in the best possible way, with patience. New manufacturing techniques and new materials have given us the chance to focus on details, while never losing sight of the overall outcome. We are convinced that we have made a full step forward, so we have decided to call the new RB1K THE ONE, meaning that it is something totally unique, the number 1. I say this as someone who is fully informed about the facts. They're not just advertising slogans. I’ve always been demanding and expected the best materials. I think I am still known for this today among the people who have worked with me, starting with the mechanics who have partnered me for years and who have based their standards on my requirements. Because of this, I’m not afraid to put my neck on the line in a way I've never done before. The One is a “total bike”, the ultimate outcome of this accumulation of experience and history, totally different from anything else that today’s market can offer. We’re all very happy with the objective results produced by this bike, as I have said, but also with its attractive design. Just looking at it makes me shiver, but you should believe me when I say that the best bit is actually trying it out.

Mcipollini interview break RB1K
Mcipollini interview quote RB1K
...However, all the lines and shapes that you see are not simply designed to be eye-catching and nice to look at. They create a technical and sculptural basis conceived to obtain what I believe to be indispensable...

IS IT A BIKE FOR SUPERMEN OR FOR EVERYONE?

I would describe it as a real enthusiast’s bike. I’d like everyone who loves cycling to try it, to give them a real high. It’s naturally an extremely challenging bike, with a structure developed to take performances to the limits. As I said, it’s stunning to look at. However, all the lines and shapes that you see are not simply designed to be eye-catching and nice to look at. They create a technical and sculptural basis conceived to obtain what I believe to be indispensable, that is to say rigidity, a total response to the power input and solidity, creating a sensation not just of being on a bike, but on a high-tech machine able to generate powerful emotions. The One is therefore one of those rare cases in which function and good looks are merged in a completely natural fashion. I really hope lots of people will have the opportunity to ride it and understand its inner essence.

Mcipollini interview break RB1K

HOW LONG DID THE PROCESS TAKE? HOW MUCH TIME PASSED FROM YOUR INITIAL "INTUITIONS" TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROTOTYPE? WHAT WERE THE MAIN PHASES INVOLVED?

I find this question quite surprising because I never calculate how long it takes me to get what I really want, or in this case the time it took to produce, or rather to create this new “girl” that has become part of our family. It is only now that you’ve made me think about it that I’ve realised how long we have been working on it. Looking back, I think: “Wow! We’ve been working on this project for so long!” However, the satisfaction of having achieved our objective completely outshines all the time spent, the investments made, all the little problems faced and overcome together with the talented technicians and company employees. As regards the production chain, it involved a completely artisanal workshop, supported by a top technological team. We all bring our experience and viewpoints to the table, contributing to the creation of the object, which I “test” gradually, over various phases. From the very start, when leaving the house and taking on the descents of the nearby hill, I realised the quality of the work we had done. Next comes the definitive prototype, adding the finishing touches, before reaching the actual production phase. Then, all that remains is to wait for the object of your dreams, finished and ready to use.

CAN YOU PAINT AN IDEAL PICTURE OF THE NEW RB1K?

Painting a picture of the bike is something extremely intimate. I have an intimate relationship with her, because she’s more than a mere vehicle. It’s something much more personal. A bike is a feminine object, meaning that it has something captivating about it. When I go down the hallway where she rests, she has a powerfully feminine and extremely sensual appearance, with those attractive forms and features that I observe in her being. However, riding the bike is what really makes the difference. It becomes an even more intimate relationship between the dominator and the dominated. Despite the feminine definition, she is not weak – anything but! She is strong and powerful and repays you in full for all the effort you put into her. She is a force of nature with her own demands and requirements. For example, some very large wheels, considered the best, would not withstand the rigidity of this bike and would give way, especially when I put in all the effort I am still capable of producing. I should specify that having this intimate and personal relationship with this object – that becomes an extension of myself – is a bit like making love. There is something extreme in what I am saying, but it’s exactly what I think. If you manage to convey the power and respect that she demands of you, she repays you with great pleasure, which is not sexual in any way but a great pleasure that resembles a kind of magical enjoyment. This bicycle, which is the result of my opportunity to exploit my knowledge of bikes assisted by the technological developments available to me today, is the most extraordinary object I have ever experienced.

...Riding the bike is what
really makes the difference.
It becomes an even more intimate
relationship between the
dominator and the dominated...

THAT'S A GREAT EXPLANATION OF WHY IT'S CALLED THE ONE. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT ITS COLOURS AND GRAPHICS?

The graphics and colours are naturally very minimal. This was a deliberate decision because I think it looks so amazing that it doesn't need imaginative formal or chromatic solutions. Nothing could make it look better. Sticking to the subject: it’s a bit like a beautiful woman, after making love with her all night. You wake up in the morning, open the window and she is still asleep, with her hair in a mess, but you look at her with her eyes still half-closed and you see the beauty of every little part of her body and her face, and this figure completely wins you over. There’s no need to see her in high heels and a tight sequined dress that shows off her beauty. She’s always beautiful, and she’s even more beautiful like this.

AND THEN THERE'S THE FILM, AN ACTUAL SHORT, WHICH WILL BE ACCOMPANYING THE LAUNCH OF THE ONE...

Yes, we decided to make a film about our project and the result we achieved. It’s a proper production that has involved a highly professional team. We wanted to convey a sense of our “research” through metaphors and symbols: the pursuit of a perfect idea, or rather absolute harmony, a union of grace and power. Something ethereal, almost unachievable, which is now here, available for us to use. The idea is represented by a girl, a talented young classical dancer from La Scala in Milan. The harmony of her actions represents the ideal pursued for such a long time. Once she has been reached and captured, she will use elegant, agile yet powerful dance steps to create the frame, the most harmonious and powerful one that has ever been developed. As a result, after pursuing the idea of absolute harmony for a long time, after committing ourselves and making sacrifices to achieve this, we manage to possess it and enjoy it. By telling the story of this pursuit through images, I think you will be able to enjoy yourselves as much as we did during the filming, which was done by night in Florence, Milan and Venice to emphasize the fact that this is an all-Italian product. The film concludes in a highly symbolic place of metaphysical beauty, Lanzarote, a magical island packed with magnetism, a black volcanic land that generates life. When searching for “creation”, we chose this island that has given us some unforgettable rides and unique emotions.

Mcipollini interview break RB1K
Mcipollini interview break RB1K

IN VIEW OF YOUR ENTHUSIASM, IT'S POINTLESS TO ASK WHETHER YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING EVENTS IN THE PRO CIRCUIT. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CONTEMPORARY CYCLING?

Have you noticed any differences compared to the past? I naturally follow cycling with great enthusiasm and also keep a close eye on things. I try to imagine my past by interpreting what is happening in the present. Naturally there are some noticeable differences, but this is because the world changes and evolves. Everything has changed, there is a lot more technology, there are areas where things have levelled out as a result of advanced management systems for training, races, human and professional relationships, and social systems. I believe that everything that happens in cycling has led to changes, but not always to innovation or progress. I prefer a different, more “personal” form of cycling, which is more focused on the personality of the athletes than the strength of the teams (with their remote-controlled radio links), politics and money. As a result, I have been observing events with great interest, but I feel it is missing the level of attraction generated by the cycling of a few years ago. I feel that today’s world of cycling is populated by ephemeral, undistinguishable figures. The way that certain athletes conducted themselves in races in the past allowed us to get to know them as individuals and understand their personality. Today there is much more calculation involved, everything is based on a question of seconds, team management, individual and team scores, meaning that the best thing about this sport has been in some way transformed and even debased. I am talking about the imagination involved in conveying your strength to your competitors.

ALL THAT REMAINS NOW IS TO ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.

I'm currently working on the development of a line of clothing that embodies my philosophy. I’m trying to put all my experience as a cyclist into it. This collection is made up of cutting-edge technical solutions specifically calibrated to meet the requirements, postures and movements of cyclists, with a well thought-through range of colour and style solutions. I hope to transfer my experience to details – both small and big – that can really make a difference, allowing people to enjoy this amazing sport to the full. Something that feels cool to wear, as well as offering technical protection and assisting with the effort of pedalling, making it more enjoyable than anything else in the world. I would like to end by sending out a heartfelt message to cyclists, to real cycling enthusiasts: enjoy life, enjoy your bike, enjoy cycling!

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