Dario Pegoretti : 1956 – 2018
Dario Pegoretti was one of the most uniquely talented of men; artist, engineer, craftsman, entrepreneur, philosopher, music lover and poet. We had the pleasure and honour of spending some time with Dario last year and only wished we had been able to spend much longer listening and learning. It was clear that this was an extraordinary human being who we were blessed to have been able to meet. So it was with great sadness and shock that we learned on 23rd August 2018, that one of the most gentle and gifted members of the cycling family had passed away.
Dario’s love affair with bikes really began when he started work as a frame builder aged 18. His employer was his father in law and he joined the 10 strong team at the Cicili Milani shop in Verona. Following Milani’s death in 1990, Pegoretti started his own business near Verona by which time he was already something of a legend. He was sought out (confidentially) by some of the famous professional riders of the time to build frames for them. And although Pegoretti always respected those confidences, it is well known he built frames for Pantani, Indurain, Cipollini and Roche amongst others, winning the Grand Tours and plenty of the one day classics along the way. But then when carbon frames began to enter the pro cycling scene in the late 1990s, it quickly ended the practice of artisans building custom frames for professional riders. Dario acted quickly and established the Pegoretti brand in 1997, later changing it to Dario Pegoretti.
Although Pegoretti worked mainly in steel and sometimes aluminium, he was no ‘locked in’ traditionalist. He was an early adopter of TIG welding and constantly pushed the various companies who have over the years supplied him to provide him with new, innovative designs of tubing to stay relevant in the modern age of carbon.
Perhaps his most visible ‘signature’ was the way he combined wonderful craftsmanship in steel with artistic and creative flair second to none in terms of design, painting and finishing. His love of music and poetry was evident in the avant garde and abstract; his often dreamy but always distinctive and beautiful designs that graced his bikes.
Yet these are beautiful bikes to ride as well as admire. I found a lovely quote from a customer who said “this is unlike any steel bike you’ve ridden’ It’s like a ’67 Shelby. If steel wanted to race on a steel bike, it would buy this”. With Pegoretti’s passing, the world has a lost of true artisan, a craftsman at the very peak of his powers and a man of such warmth and humility. I suspect we may never see his like again.
Richard and Pete visited Dario Pegoretti at his workshop in Verona in July 2017. You can read the account of their visit on the Always Riding blog together with some more incredible images from the world of Dario Pegoretti