Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tullio, Tubing for Frame Building

After writing about Columbus, Falck, Oria, and Castello Mario & Figlio of Torino, we move onto one Italian tube set manufactuerer I had not previously heard of: "Tullio" from Padova. I don't have any details other than these photos which show a Tullio decal on a Maino and a page from an Atala catalog showing its use in the Corsa GS model. One source said, "Tullio tubing was an Italian straight-gauge, Hi Tensile tubing used on low to mid range Italian bikes made by Atala, Basso, etc.".

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  1. I recently just acquired a Atala Special with the Tullio tubing. The tubing is very ornate for high tensile steel tubing I find it superior to the entry level Vittus steel tubing. The Atala Special I got has Campagnolo Chorus,Modolo,3TTT,Ambrosio wheels,Ofmega Comp crank. I am very please with the overall ride and feel from the Tullio steel tubing.

  2. My 1987 Gironelli -- a house label for German mail order business "Neckermann" and produced by Atala -- features a frame made of "CRP" (or CPP) SM-08 tubing: "tubi speciali in acciaio al carbonio microlegati". As with Tullio, CRP was located in Padua/Padova. My guess is that Tullio later became CRP. Obviously, the designation "SM-08" points toward plain gauge 0.8 mm tubing, and I have yet to see a non-Atala (or non-Gironelli) frame that was made of SM-08. In terms of weight, it's equivalent to Columbus Aelle.
    Joachim Smetschka's web site features a fine example of a CRP SM-08 frame:

  3. One more thing on Atala tubing: "CRP" stands for "Cesare Rizzato Padova". Cesare Rizzato founded CERIZ bicycles in 1921 (the abbreviation CRP can also be found on CERIZ bikes) and bought Atala in 1938 (Source: Moore R, Benson D. Bike! A tribute to the world's greatest cycling designers. London: Aurum; 2012.).

    I have a hard time imagining that Atala made its own tubing. Somehow I think they simply rebadged Columbus Aelle, which was marketed as "Tubi speciali in acciaio al carbonio manganese". The CRP SM-08 sticker reads almost the same: "Tubi speciali in acciaio al carbonio microlegati". More than just coincidence, I think.

  4. And finally, why was Atala’s house-label steel tubing named 'Tullio' and why was ‘Tullio’ later replaced by “CRP” (Cesare Rizzato Padova) tubing?

    Cesare Rizzato and Tullio Campagnolo were well acquainted; an article in the May 1975 issue of Bicycling magazine offers a few details:

    “Atala bicycles are made by C. Rizzato & Co. in Padova, Italy. Cesare Rizzato is now in his seventies but is still a very active man, riding a bicycle … 12 miles to and from work each day, and periodically travelling abroad – for example, recently to Guatemala and New York – to look after his company’s business affairs.
    He was a boyhood friend of Tullio Campagnolo, an association which no doubt has been an influential one during the half-century Rizzato has been making bicycles. (‘Tullio’ steel tubing is used in the frame of the Grand Prix II we tested, for instance.)
    Rizzato is the largest bicycle manufacturer in Italy, and the only one offering a complete line of bicycles …
    (Source: Clements W, Wallace M. Two Atalas: Grand Prix II and Corsa. Bicycling Magazine, May 1975, page 58-60. Available from:

    ‘Tullio’ steel tubing was replaced by ‘CRP’ in the very late 1980s. Perhaps the folks at Campagnolo had complained that Atala had ‘stolen’ their brand name, or Atala wanted to honor their (by now deceased?) chairman. At any rate, Tullio had died in 1983, and although I could not find any biographical dates for Cesare Rizzato, we know that he was born around 1901 (like Tullio Campagnolo), so by the time 'CRP' was introduced, he would've been almost 90. The most likely scenario is that both men were dead and that relations between Campagnolo and Atala had soured so Atala could not continue to use 'Tullio' as their house label.