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When Mario Cipollini retired it was a safe bet he would not just put his feet up in a Tuscan villa and add a few pounds to his gut. The team car, cheap hotels and life on the World Tour circus didn’t seem quite right for ‘Super Mario’ either. Instead, he partnered with some very successful people and put his energy, reputation – and considerable charisma – into a new bike brand named Cipollini. Obviously.
PELOTON / Images: IDEEUROPEE
The brand launched in earnest in 2010 with the RB1K, heralded as the bike Cipo wishes he could have raced during his career. It was a no-holds barred race bike, made almost entirely in Italy (with a brief trip to Bosnia), and made in an incredibly expensive and time consuming way – a literal full monocoque. Unlike most ‘monocoque’ bikes that are made in two or three monocoque sections, then glued and over-wrapped together, the RBK1 is laid-up in a single mold, rear drop out to head tube.
Seven years later, after launching the Bond, the NK1K, the Nuke TT and various other bikes, Cipollini is turning once again to the bike that defined the brand and set the stage for all that would follow it – the RBK1.
On Sunday, at the Alé La Merckx Gran Fondo in Verona, Mario Cipollini pulled up with the usual drama and showmanship wearing a gray skin suit, biceps bulging, with ‘The One’ written across it. Moments later he unveiled the new RB1K, and just seconds later the ride started and the bike whisked away. It was just a tease, with the actual launch expected later this year, but the few minutes we got to see the bike on the start line gave us an idea of what to expect.
It has the same fluid and robust lines as the brash original, yet just slightly more refined. The seat mast is gone in favor of a more traditional post set up, but it’s clearly a Cipollini specific aero post, no 27.2mm diameter here. We also see direct mount brakes instead of the standard mounts of the original as well as cleaned up cable routing. At first glance, the bike’s geometry seems just as low and aggressive as its predecessor, implying it is still going to be considered Cipollini’s no-holds barred racer.
The bike was built with the latest Dura-Ace Di2 – we would have expected Campagnolo from Cipo – and Lightweight Meilenstein wheels. The bike’s paint was a rich chrome with incredible depth and substance, something we hope to see as an option when the bike is officially released. Stay tuned for more details when the new Cipollini RB1K officially launches in September.