Friday, November 13, 2009

Mario Confente Track Bike

Of the 135 frames that Mario Confente constructed before his death, at age 34, only 11 were track bikes. Being so rare I saved the photos from the November (2009) ebay auction which you see above. The stem is engraved "P. Edwards" and according to the seller P. Edwards contacted him with the following, "Let me know when you sell it. It belongs in a bike museum. I raced it for many years with success, no crashes. It has a very short wheelbase, for such a large frame, and includes titanium spindles in the hubs and pedals. It was very light for its day. Riding it is like flying. Thank you. I had an agreement with Mario the week before he died to make a third bike for me. It was to be his first bike with his personal investment lugs which he designed, and the first bike from his home/shop in Encinitas. It was to be a yellow sprint track bike, suitable for madison racing. Mario was always kind to me and owed me favors, in a way. When Jacques Boyer was racing in the Tour (actually the first American to do so), he needed a frame, and Mario was building a road frame for me at the time, which I gave to Boyer. After that, when Mario left and moved to Monterey he always kept in touch, and promised to make another bike, to replace the one I gave away. One day he told me to meet me at Encino, where I was racing. He actually held me for the start of the pursuit, on this black bike. After the race, he presented me with an orange frameset #7, and told me that Eddy Merckx always purchased #7 in orange for emerging bike builders, and had ordered #7 from his first series (the series which produced this black bike #31). He told me it was the prettiest bike he had made at that time. When I arrived with my girlfriend (later my wife) to pick it up, he told me "you can only have one thing between your must choose". I loved that man."

To learn more about Mario Confente, who was from Montorio (on the outskirts of Verona), use the search function on the right. Of particular interest is the story of my meeting with Mario Confente's sister, Gianna Confente which can be found here.

Stories for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome, contact me at There are more than 1,000 stories in this blog, the search feature to the right works best for finding subjects in the blog.