Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pinarello Shop & VIP Factory Tour

Roberto Florenz writes in with a report of his visit to Pinarello in Treviso:

Just back from Northern Italy with my wife. First stop was Treviso, home of the House of Pinarello. Treviso is located approx 30K from Venice. It is a beautiful town (bella citta) at the gateway to the mighty Dolomite mountains. Those that know me, know I am a great admirer of the Pinarello brand and have owned dozens of Pinas dating back to the 80's. This was my 3rd visit to the Treviso factory, the last was 2002. There have been many changes since then including a brand new state of the art manufacturing facility. The company has grown exponentially and so has the family management of the brand.

Store front in Treviso

Along with the Pinarello bike shop, the family also manages a busy work/service shop, a Pinarello Outlet store which is about three times the square footage as the bike shop and also a very popular men's & women's sportswear store. All of these are managed by the women of Pinarello. It is a classic Italian matriarchal system. The men hold the titles, yet the women make all the day to day decisions and hold all the levers of power. We were there two days and I never saw the brothers Fausto or Andrea Pinarello. It was very obvious that their sister Carla Pinarello and her daughter Chiara are the real day to day decision makers. Nani (Giovanni) Pinarello is still a fixture at the shop. At 88 years old, he's still got plenty of wit. When he first set eyes on my wife, I thought I was going to need a fire hose to pry him loose from her! Loosely translated, he kept complimenting me on her "manubrio bellissimo" = (most beautiful handlebars)

Miguel Indurain's TT & record setting 1 hour track bike

Me, Giovanni Pinarello (Nani), and my better half

My wife, me & Carla Pinarello

The black jersey won by Giovanni

Liberating my wallet of Euros for the cause.

Day 2 we were picked up at the shop and taken to the new "factory" on the out-skirts of town. They tore down the old building along with the rest of the block and built a beautiful state of the art facility. Carla and her daughter Chiara Pinarello made it clear that the new facility is not open to the public for tours of any kind so don't ask. Regardless, they are brimming with pride over the new facility and deservedly so. It is truly a magnificent site worthy of there place at the top of the cycling industry. We were there about 90 minutes and were aloud to take pictures everywhere except the R&D dept. and inside the spray booth where they were shooting 2011 prototypes. We did get to peek but were sworn to secrecy.

In retrospect, I have come away more impressed than ever with the company and the brand. My respect and admiration has never been greater for this historic brand and the family behind it. What strikes me is just how family oriented the entire organization is in classic Italian tradition. Being of Italian decent myself, of course I'm very biased, it makes me very proud to see that this brand is being managed with such respect for the family name. I currently own five Pina's and this memorable experience left me wanting a larger garage...

Chiara Pinarello explaining the finer points in the production process

Enjoy the pics and stay tuned, I will also be posting pics of our visit to the Madonna del Ghisallo and Museo del Ciclismo - an absolute must see for all who ride.

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  1. I have to go back for a visit... Thanks for this wonderful post on an Italian cycling institution!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story - and beautiful pictures. I loved the picture of the stack of frames - amazing! Now I have even more admiration for the Pinarello Family and Company. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Nice job! Good observation on how women run everything in Italy while the men are merely figureheads. Same with CycleItalia - when we arrive at a new hotel or eating place, the men exchange greetings and then shoot the breeze over a caffe, glass of vino, grappa, etc. while the women do the serious business. The Pinarello folks put some effort into encouraging folks to ride these bicycles rather than just buy and collect them with their Gran Fondo and cycling club(s). BUON LAVORO!

  4. I have to second all my husband recalled of the visit. The Pinarello family was so warm and welcoming to us during our visit. This was my first time at the factory and the experience was truly surreal. Walking through the large, open space.. touching the raw carbon meticulously stacked in the prep area, seeing the walls lined with Pinarello Bicycles in an array of colors and models as the Pinarello employees (all of which have worked for the family for 20+ years) worked diligently to ensure every decal, brake line and finished bicicletta was deserving of the Pinarello name. Bravo Pinarello and a heartfelt 'grazie mille' to my husband for his recall of the visit! Ciao...

  5. Bella: Looking forward to hearing about more adventures...

  6. I visited in 1985. Loved the old shop and rode a rental bike with a young chiara. She helped me in mailing a postcard. She rode with me to the post office. What a great memory!

  7. Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. Visiting for the first time this coming spring so looking forward to a stop by the shop.

  8. Your comments on who makes the decisions at Pinarello are extremely wrong, hence you may want to be a tad careful about what and how you say it. I have known the Pina family for over 20 years now and all decisions are joint ones and are decided upon by all members of the family.
    The fact that you didnt see Andrea and Fausto was most likely due to the fact that they were 'busy' or maybe even away..
    If you had any idea of the structure of the business, then you would know that..
    Hence just brag about your bikes, get off on that and dont act as if you know everything after a few days...

  9. I m planning a viit next monday, can you tell me if they sell bikes there? Are there ediions not available in the states?

  10. @Jorge: you can buy a bike. Perhaps if you ask they might have something special available but normally I think not.

  11. Italian surely know how to make quality bikes, because this sport is highly appreciated there.