Dario Pegoretti, one of the world’s most beloved and important bicycle frame builders, died suddenly from heart disease on Thursday, according to the Italian Cyclinside website. He had previously survived a bout with lymphoma in 2007 and made a full recovery.
Pegoretti, 62, was considered one of the great modern carpenters, even though his preferred materials were distinctly traditional. Its frames are loved by enthusiasts and collectors both for their exquisite ride quality and distinctive style.
While his craftsmanship was exceptional, Pegoretti was arguably also known for his painting, including wilderness ciavete (children’s graffiti) diagrams inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Pegoretti was also inspired by other artists: you can see the influence of Mark Rothko in the NK Stucco project.
Music was another of Pegoretti’s great joys. His shop almost always played jazz, and his (abandoned) model Great Googoolee Moogoolee was named after a Frank Zappa word. The Responsorium in stainless steel references a 2001 album from Argentina bandoneon artist Dino Saluzzi.
Pegoretti was universally respected and admired. In a 2015 Ride a bike profileRichard Sachs, himself the admired dean of American frame builders, said: “[Pegoretti] forgot more than any of us here will ever know.
Pegoretti did his apprenticeship with the master builder Luigi Milani, where he started sweeping the floors. Prior to creating his own brand, Pegoretti built a reputation as a legendary “trusted frame builder” in the 1990s, designing and manufacturing frames for top professional racers like Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Mario Cipollini and d ‘ others.
Its frames were painted and traced with correct graphics by the sponsors, although Pegoretti himself refused to confirm the names that were attached to his legend. “Everyone says that Dario built a frame for such and such a guy”, Pegoretti CyclingWeekly said in an interview in 2011. “I don’t think it’s very important.”
Pegoretti’s full creativity and genius could only be truly appreciated when he started building under his own name, in a small shop in Caldonazzo, a town in the Dolomites. Although Pegoretti built primarily out of steel, he quickly gained attention for his technical mastery, taking TIG welding – an unloved method of tube assembly – from the world of cheap mass bikes and bringing it to life. adapting to performance steel road machines.
One of the models, the Big Leg Emma, was a stunning creation made of oversized steel, with 22mm diameter chainstays to withstand high power sprints. Thin, elongated hexagons on the downtube betrayed a secret: laser-cut grooves on the horizontal axis that concealed internal gussets for added rigidity.
It was just one example of Pegoretti’s creativity and skill. American cyclists knew him when Giorgio Andretta, founder of importer Gita Sporting Goods, started selling Pegoretti frames in the United States. America has quickly become one of its largest markets.
For Pegoretti, cycling was a relationship: between the builder and the frame, between the builder and the buyer, and between the rider and the bike. While Pegoretti’s frames have become something of a fetish among art buyers, many of his designs are mounted, hard, everyday. And maybe if you’re lucky enough to get one, that’s the best tribute.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Pegoretti’s work:
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