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Ultimate upgrades - Cinelli Ram 3 Mike Giant bars

Cinelli Mike Giant Ram 3 handlebars
James Spender
12 Jul 2016

Street art meets bike part for one of the most flamboyant upgrades around.

If Paul Weller is King of the Mods, Cinelli is King of the Punks. Bike punks. From radical designs such as the aerodynamic Lazer frame to the attitude-driven Mash bikes at the centre of the fixie revolution, Cinelli has flicked two fingers at convention on many occasions. Yet arguably it’s bars and stems that have made it famous.

The 1960s and 70s were elegant decades, with a series of quill stems kicked off by the iconic 1A and the pros’ favourite, the Giro d’Italia 64 bars. But the 80s and  90s saw Cinelli turn it up a notch. First there were the Spinaci mini clip-on aero bars, released to acclaim then banned amid controversy over safety, followed by the Alter incident.

‘We provided the Alter stem with pin-up girl picture covers,’ says Cinelli’s vice-president, Fabrizio Aghito. ‘Then when Mario Cipollini put a picture of Pamela Anderson on his, well, he reached the top!’

That ‘top’ might be a matter of taste, but Cipollini certainly helped Cinelli make the headlines, and since then its love affair with cockpits has shown no signs of abating. It was first to launch an integrated bar/stem combo with the alloy Integralter in 1999, then in 2001 it took the concept carbon with the Ram bar. 

Now Cinelli has teamed up with graphic artist Mike Giant to produce this, the Ram 3 – a highly sculpted, insanely stiff 436g homage to Italian flair and urban art. So how did Giant, a veteran of the US graffiti and tattoo scene, get involved?

‘I’ve been an avid cyclist since I was a child and always held Cinelli in high regard,’ says Giant. ‘So when owner Antonio Colombo got in touch I was more than happy to supply what was needed. He wanted something punk
and tattoo – something tough.’

To that end the bars are finished in Giant’s renowned black and white graphics, the centrepiece being a Day Of The Dead-style skull. Aghito breezily says the large surface area of the bars made them ideal for the makeover, but Giant is more hesitant.

‘It was tricky to design the graphics to wrap around the bars,’ he says. ‘There are so many complex curves that it took us a while to figure out. In the end the graphics had to be applied by hand in Italy, creating a really fine product. I display mine in my living room like a sculpture, next to pottery from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. To me the bars are incredibly special – the best product I’ve been involved with, period.’


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