Wilier Triestina

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Pietro Dal Molin, from Bassano was fascinated by bicycles and the speed with which they were gaining popularity in daily life. While newspapers focused on the sporting achievements of the first moustached cyclists in England, France and Italy, Dal Molin decided to get involved in this adventure and play a part in it by opening a small workshop to manufacture bicycles.

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1906 Wilier Triestina logo. (source: Wilier Triestina)

He purchased an almost unknown English brand, Wilier, and established his first modest workshop in San Fortunato, along the left bank of the river Brenta, which at that time was only crossed by a century old bridge, subsequently rebaptised by the popular saying “bridge of the Italian alpine troopers”. The Bridge of Victory, or new bridge, did not yet exist. The Wilier bicycle factory was founded here in 1906, a few feet from the river, below the tavern Alla Colomba.

In Bassano owning a Wilier became fashionable, requests started coming in from far and wide and the modest workshop was expanded and enhanced. Mass production made possible with an industrial facility, kept the costs of the bicycles down and in turn encouraged their progressive distribution.

The decline of Wilier Triestina came quickly and relentlessly when the echo of its maximum glory in sport and business was still resounding. When business starts going downhill it is usually due to several concomitant factors, but the episode mainly linked with the collapse of the company was an unexpected event that Dal Molin was not able to react to: the non-payment of a significant number of bicycles. Numerous cases had been crammed on a merchant vessel heading for Argentina, like the one featured on the panels that Wilier showed off in fairs and in the company. However, all those bicycles were never paid for and Wilier Triestina, already staggering, ended up on its knees.

In 1952 the Dal Molin family sold their ownership to MMM (Meccanica Moderna Milano), which decided to dedicate some departments of the factory in Bassano to assembling Parilla sports motorbikes.

The Lino and Antonio Gastaldello brothers had heard of Wilier Triestina since they were kids. They loved its legend and felt proud of belonging to the land where it had prospered. They lived in Rossano Veneto, less than ten kilometres from Bassano. Their father, Giovanni, had worked for years for Dal Molin and at home everyone knew what to do when it came to bicycles.

After 17 years of complete disuse, in 1969 the factory in via Colomba was taken over by the Giacetti brothers from Bassano and by Giovanni Longon, a Venetian bicycle salesman. The property still contained a host of machinery and material to build bicycles as well as coffee machines and burners: the desolate remains of the last attempts to put the factory back on track. Longon proposed Lino and Antonio Gastaldello to buy the brand. They had the skills, knew what to do and were very enthusiastic.

The price was a million lire. It was not only about buying a business, rather taking on a challenge, a difficult and hazardous gamble, to give a dead brand life once again after it had shone so brightly. Putting life back in a legend would take a lot of work and all their courage. The Gastaldellos accepted it and the new era of Wilier Triestina was started. All the material that was not necessary to build bicycles was sold and production was moved to via Stazione in Rossano, where the Gastaldellos lived and already worked. The first frames, made completely of stainless steel, were painted in various colours to accommodate market demands, then the decision was taken to restore the original copper shade. Several employees were hired, though no salesman. Sales were made in northern Italy only, especially in the Triveneto regions, and in first place in Trieste.

(source: Wilier Triestina)

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Wilier Triestina logo.

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Wilier Triestina logo. (source: Wilier Triestina)

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Wilier Triestina 110 year Anniversary logo. (source: Wilier Triestina)

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Wilier Triestina logo. (source: Wilier Triestina)

1984 wilier ramato

1984 Ramato bike owned by Paolo Pace - Columbus MS tubing, Campagnolo 50th anniversary groupset. (source: Wilier Triestina)

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1984 Ramato bike owned by Paolo Pace - Campagnolo 50th anniversary rear brake detail. (source: Wilier Triestina)

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