Tag Archives: Stelio Belletti

Introducing Stelbel Pursuit

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It was just a few months ago when I first got in touch with one of the most important and unknown figures of the Italian framebuilding school, I met him and I was immediately inspired by such a cool almost 70 years old guy. I consider him one of the most skilled welders in all of Italy, he was 13 when he actually had a brazing torch in his hand for the first time. I’m sure that many collectors and Italian school lovers already know a lot about Mr. Stelio Belletti, if not, maybe you will find  this post interesting, also check out some of the masterpieces he built here. Here I introduce you a Stelbel Pursuit Pista handmade in December 1986 by Stelio Belletti, pioneer of the TIG welding process on bicycle frames. Frame N° 155 – Columbus tubing. This custom made frame was built for an Italian cyclist named Mario Morselli, and his name is engraved on the two sides of the bottom bracket shell spoiler. The bicycle is equipped with Campagnolo Record pista crankset and hubs. Because of the unique details, the extremely high quality and really small number of frames made, during Stelio’s career, Stelbel bikes are really appreciated by collectors. According to him, not more than 1.000 frames have been made during 20 years of production. When it comes to the Pursuit geometry, not more than 20 have been made. Only for collectors. Hope you like it, as much as I do. Just a note… since a few months there is a problem with the “Stelbel” page on Classic rendezvous, if anyone is a part of the CR community any help to get it fixed will be appreciated. Thank you! Mr. Stelio Belletti himself with his creation

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Stelbel Pursuit Pista – 1986

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Stelbel Pursuit Pista handmade out of Columbus tubing, in December 1986 by the great Italian artisan Stelio Belletti, pioneer of the TIG welding process on bicycle frames. Frame N° 155. This custom made frame was built for an Italian cyclist named Mario Morselli, and his name is engraved on the two sides of the bottom bracket shell spoiler. Crankset and hubs are Campagnolo Record Pista, 3ttt Stelbel panto stem, 3ttt "hour record" handlebar. Because of the unique details, the extremely high quality and really small number of frames made during Stelio's career, Stelbel bikes are really appreciated by collectors. According to him, not more than 1.000 frames have been made during 20 years of production. When it comes to the Pursuit geometry, not more than 20 have been made. Only for collectors.

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Meeting Mr. Stelbel

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His name is Stelio Belletti and now it is easier to understand where the idea for the brand “Stelbel” came from. It wasn’t so easy to find him, because he is retired now, but after I had one of his bicycled on my hands, I wanted to meet him so badly and finally I found him in the town of Cassano d’Adda, not far from Milan. This 78 year old guy was the pioneer that, starting with the first experiment in 1970-71 used the TIG welding technique to build bicycle frames. He learned how to weld from his father Antenore who – since he moved to Milan from Mantova, before the second world war – was really appreciated for the work on planes fuselages. Stelio started working with his father at the age of 13 just after the war and at that time they had a workshop of their own, a really tiny space in via Amadeo 85. At that time they were really well known as professional welders and several companies asked them to work on different projects. The adventure in the motorcycle world began in 1955. Paton, Guazzoni, Puch Frigerio, Linto are some of the brands equipped with Stebel frames in the 60′s. In 1968 the frame of the champion Mike Haliwood´s Honda gp 500  was handmade by Stelio and his father. But the passion of Mr. Belletti has always been the bicycles, and after a bad experience with a frame that he bought from a friend and didn’t really like, he decided to build up his own. The welding technique he was mastering back then was the TIG, and even if no one had tried it before in the frame-building industry, that’s what he used. In 1975 he patented his “Integrale” bike frame, that at that time was something really different, look for example at the solution for the rear dropouts here. The fork was made by him with no ready made parts such as a fork crown. The features of the “Integrale” frame, allow the Polish national team to win the gold medal in the time trial race back in 1975 in Belgium. That was for Mr. Belletti a great achievement, especially considering it was the first time that Stelbel bicycles were used in an official race, and due to the great result, that was also the first time the world heard about this innovative frame-builder and his futuristic lightweight products. He made a revolution,  his knowledge in welding, changed the way frames were made. Many, after him, followed his steps. At that time, manufacturing a racing frames with no use of lugs, was extremely innovative. He retired as a frame builder officially in 1990 after circa 16-18 years of production, but if a friend will ask him to build a new frame, he wont say no… Nowadays, because of the limited number of pieces made, and because of the extremely high quality, the frames made by Stelio Belletti are really well considered by collectors from all over the world. I was really fascinated by his story, here is a picture with a bike that he made for a professional cyclist from the north of Italy in 1988. He said he made only about 20 frames with this kind of geometry! Soon this bike will be for sale on Eroica Cicli. Update at Feb. 2013. Eroica Cicli bought the bike back from the collector that purchased it in the summer of 2012, to start the project of a “Stelbel museum”. Update at Dec. 2013: Some confusion was made, no Stelbel bicycles were used in the Olympic games as previously said. Thanks to newspaper articles, we can now say that Stelbel bicycles were used by the Polish team  winner of the gold medal in the team time trial race of the 1975 world championship in Belgium. Update at Jan 2014: A website has been opened www.stelbel.it where it will be possible to find out more about the brand.

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