Alan Bicycles, an Italian company, was the first to bring an all aluminum frameset made from aerospace grade aluminum to the US. This 1974 Competizione is built using a method known as “screwed and glued,” which relied on mechanical joints instead of welds. These frames used straight-gauge aluminum tubes threaded into lugs and bonded with an epoxy. After purchasing the bike, Charlie Cunningham slowly made modifications over the years to try and extract as much weight from the bike as possible. Some of the most radical modifications were the 1x drivetrain, custom magnesium parts, and unconventional cabling.
This lugged road bike was built by Tom Ritchey when he was just 19 years old and building in his parent's garage in Palo Alto. The original owner rode the bike extensively in Europe, including the Swiss Alps and an amateur ride of Paris-Roubaix. Special details on this frame include a biplane fork built from scratch and a tubular steel stem which clamps directly to a stub brazed into the end of the fork steer tube. This bike has classic Ritchey touches such as a fast-back seat cluster, park bench chainstay brace, and extensive lug thinning.
In the world of vintage bicycles, there’s beautifully crafted, and there’s rare, and then there’s Confente. The “Holy Grail” of vintage bicycles, Confente frames are truly the rarest of the rare. Their builder, Mario Confente, died at the young age of 34, having produced only 135 frames bearing his name. They command a high price, the combination of rarity, excellent craftsmanship, and perhaps also the drama and tragedy surrounding Mario Confente’s work and death all working together to drive the value for his frames higher with time. The Pro’s Closet was fortunate to come into possession of this shining example after CEO Nick Martin had a serendipitous meeting with its owner on a plane.
Scott Moninger purchased this Raleigh frameset in 1983 and built it up with full Campagnolo Record/Super Record. He raced this rig for the remainder of his junior career, which ended at the end of 1984, winning the Kansas State Junior Championships and many other local/regional events around the midwest. After that he sold the frame to a friend who years later sold it back to Scott’s father. Scott himself did the restoration after retiring from pro racing in 2007.
Ugo De Rosa's passion for racing led him to study mechanics and engineering at a technical college, and in the early 1950s he opened his first shop to manufacture racing bicycles. Over the years De Rosa has built frame for some of the biggest names in cycling, two of the most well known being Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser. This De Rosa Professional is built with Campagnolo Super Record.
Before the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, American manufacturer Murray signed on to sponsor the US Cycling team as well as the legendary 7-Eleven Team. They brought in an up-and-coming American frame builder named Ben Serotta to build their bikes for them. These early red Campagnolo equipped bikes were built with Columbus SLX tubing, and reflected the fashion of the time: stiff, steep, and high off the ground for short distance criterium style racing. Perfect for a hard hitting sprinter like Davis Phinney.
Playboy selected this J.P. Weigle Special for its “The Best” list as “The Best Custom Bike.” A unique honor for any bike, it shared the page with “Best Robe,” “Best Hotel Suite,” and “Best Stuff On A Stick” (it was a popsicle in case you’re wondering). To be featured in a men’s magazine may not seem as respectable as a cycling publication, but Playboy actually did manage to capture what makes the J.P. Weigle Special a special bike. “The best,” they say, “isn’t ostentatiousness or glitz. The best is style and innovation, originality and execution. The best, above all, is class.”
Irish pro Alan McCormack had this 1988 Schwinn Paramount custom made with some rather unusual geometry. McCormack preferred exceptionally quick handling and an ultra-short wheelbase. The front end is so short that there isn’t just toe overlap; the pedals themselves actually make contact with the front tire. Although McCormack had the bike made with criterium racing in mind, he used it for everything, including stage racing and time trials, varying only the gearing and a few bits of equipment to suit the day.
In 1986, Raúl Alcalá became the first Mexican cyclist to compete in the Tour de France. In the 1987, he won the young rider classification and in both 1989 and 1990, he won a stage and finished in 8th place. During his tenure on the legendary 7-Eleven Team he time trialed aboard this Serotta built Huffy funny bike. Manufacturers began experimenting with and making such bikes specifically for racing against the clock. The reduction in height at the front (typically achieved with a 24” of 650c front wheel) was intended to reduce aerodynamic drag. Eventually the UCI outlawed such designs in the 90s.
German track specialist Volker Diehl was known fondly by his Schwinn teammates as “Dr. Deutschmark” and he was a powerhouse in the velodrome. As an experienced track cyclist, he was perfectly at home on the Schwinn Paramount funny bike. Manufacturers began experimenting with and making such bikes specifically for racing against the clock. The reduction in height at the front (typically achieved with a 24” of 650c front wheel) was intended to reduce aerodynamic drag. Eventually the UCI outlawed such designs in the 90s.
The Cunningham Expedition was unusual by '80s road bike standards, in part because it was more than just a road bike. It was designed to comfortably accept tires as large as 35mm, making it a "gravel grinder" well before the term was invented. The bike used a massively over-sized seatpost to allow a radically sloping toptube, mounted the rear brake under the chainstays, and the back of the seattube was dimpled to allow adequate tire clearance with short chainstays. The rear hub spacing was 135mm to make for a stronger wheel by reducing dish and the rear rim was 700c while the front rim that was 27 inches for improved handling. In classic Cunningham style it was a bike that was way, WAY ahead of its time.
Released in 1989 to commemorate Colnago’s 35th anniversary, the C35 it wasn’t the first carbon bicycle, nor was it the best, but it was certainly was the most ostentatious. It was Colnago’s first production carbon fiber bicycle and was developed with help from Ferrari F1 engineers. It had a full monocoque carbon frame and wheels and featured a rare gold plated Campagnolo C-Record gruppo. Valued at nearly $20,000 the C35 Oro is easily one of the most valuable bikes in the Pro’s Closet.
Kansas native Scott Moninger was just 23 years old when he started his dream first season with Coors Light, and the Serotta Colorado II he used is one of only a few bikes he kept from his career. It’s resplendent in neon yellow livery, and is built Ben Serotta’s innovative Colorado tubing. Whereas most steel frames of its day carried on with smaller-diameter tubes of constant size, the Colorado II's down tube and seat tube flared to a comparatively gargantuan 36mm as they approached the bottom bracket to boost drivetrain stiffness without adversely affecting the classically high-quality ride that good steel frames are known for.
This titanium track bike was made for Steve Hegg by Merlin as a training bike before the 1992 Olympics, since he didn’t gel with the supplied team bikes. It’s built with a Landshark fork and the legendary handmade Campagnolo Ghibli disc wheels. The front disc is a 650c wheel because, at the time, all time trial bikes were built in the “funny bike” style with a smaller front wheel and 700c front discs weren’t made.
The Belgian Edwig van Hooydonk was the inventor the ¾ length bib short, which he used as a way to cover an aggravated knee injury without the use of bandages, but more importantly, he’s also a 2-time winner of the Tour of Flanders. The machine Edwig rode to his second win was the venerable Colnago Master, instantly recognizable for its distinctive star shaped tubing. Edwig’s bike has 30mm extensions built onto the head tube and seat tube to accommodate his height, allowing him to use a smaller frame that would be lighter and stiffer while still having his handlebars and saddle into the correct position, sometimes called "Freuler" geometry, named after Urs Freuler, a Swiss pro who was the first to use such a frame professionally.
Bill Holland was trained by legendary builder Albert Eisentraut and founded his own company, Holland Cycles, in 1986. He hand built and painted each frame, and by 1989 had a small team producing around 200 frames per year. This Holland road bike is from Holland’s “steel era” as Bill discovered titanium in 1992 and by 1995 had transitioned all his custom frame work to titanium. It’s still one of the classiest paint jobs around.
Before Fat City Cycles, Chris Chance actually cut his teeth making road frames in 1979. By 1991, he had started Fat City Cycles and used his knowledge and experience to make a new generation of road bike, cleverly named the Slim Chance. This pristine example is built with Columbus TSX tubing, every part is period correct for 1992, and the rims are a semi-rare sought after model, the Paris-Roubaix.
Motorola came into the sport in 1991, taking over as title sponsor for the iconic 7-Eleven team. Eddy Merckx was the bike sponsor from 1989 to the teams cessation in 1996, which had special meaning for the Belgian legend: "For me [it] remains a great memory. I was happy I could make them more successful in Europe, and to see the positive influence they had on the US as a whole. If I had do it over, I would make the same choice straight away." Team painted Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra frames are among the most desirable vintage bikes and still carry a hefty price tag.