Here we feature the Zullo Maxsilanus, a bicycle made by Tiziano Zullo. He currently works almost alone, in his workshop in Verona, Italy. Tiziano still makes bicycle on a small scale, artisanal style, painstakingly hand welding and painting each with the skill of a grandmaster.
I find the parallels with independent watchmaking to be very amazing. This frame is hand welded by Tiziano Zullo, and painted by his master apprentice Maso. They are possibly at the top of their craft. Though, among other famous builders like Dario Pegoretti and Richard Sachs, Tiziano Zullo is a bit unknown outside the world of handmade bicycles. Much like perhaps the comparison between Philippe Dufour and Vianney Halter. True genius in their own right. Small, independent, passionate. We featured the Pegoretti Responsorium in an earlier installment of Handmade bicycles.
Zullo Maxsilanus 9/20
I made this set of photographs in 2012, documenting my time with this bicycle. I rode it for about 3000km, and it was a loaner from a good friend who wanted me to try out what a good handmade steel bike feels like.
The frame is made from the Columbus Max tubeset…a very strong and stiff tubeset. The construction is lugged with fillet brazing. The paintwork is extremely beautiful. With specs within which reflect light. And the strip of multicolour bits adorn the top tube.
The lugs are magnificent too, and contribute a bit more weight to the bike, but I must say its quite impressively light…I didn’t have a scale to weigh it, but I hazard a guess that it must hover around 8kg.
I think the lines of a vintage styled bicycle is timeless. The Zullo Maxsilanus is a vintage bicycle, but this specimen is no 9 of a limited edition of 20 pieces from perhaps the last of the Columbus Max tubeset.
Built up with the silver Campagnolo Athena 11 groupset, a modern transmission system, but one which is built to look retro. Quite fitting in this build, as the frame is also a modern frame built to very traditional looks. Standard double, 53/39 and a 11/23 cassette.
Wheelset is built on a vintage Ambrosio Hypothesis rims with lightweight Tune hubs on a set of magnificent, very comfortable 25mm silk tubulars built by FMB. These tyres are very expensive tubulars, but they ride like a magic carpet. The silk sides and 25mm width are so supple and smooth, that even at 100psi, the ride is magnificent.
The rear, full on, showing the Brooks B-17 saddle and the sexy curves of the Campagnolo Athena brakes.
The front brakes are not to be outdone either. Very effective. I find the Campagnolo brakes to be very good, with excellent modulation and stopping power.
Riding the bicycle…its almost like a dream. The frame is very stiff. The tires, pumped to 110psi is very comfortable. The Athena 11 groupset does the job well. Could be a bit quieter, could be lighter. But it looks beautiful and retro and works fine.
Wonderful bicycle those artisan made steel machines are to mechanical wrist watch movements as modern carbon fibre bikes to quartz movements.Modern bikes have no real persona or character even though they may be more efficient.