In 1983 Antonio Colombo invented an entirely new “feeling” in the history of cycling bartape: Cinelli Original Cork Ribbon. Upon its release this grippy, spongey but durable and ultralight mix of EVA and natural cork immediately rendered bar tapes of the day (made from cotton or vinyl) technologically null. Within the space of a few short years the tape became an industry standard, spontaneously adopted by professional and amateur riders across the globe.
1983 The debut of cork ribbon
The first advertisement publicizing the arrival of Cinelli’s revolutionary EVA and natural cork bar tape. “Cork Ribbon, Iron Fist, Velvet Glove” reads the claim.
In 1982 I was visited by an inventive supplier of ours, who proposed uses for a new industrial vinyl acetate that he had recently begun to produce, called EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl-Acetate). He suggested it might be suitable for bicycle handlebar tape. As I listened to his suggestions, I stared at the strips of EVA that he had brought with him and which he was only able to produce in one colour, a kind of natural “gum” tone that was very dull and soulless.
1992 Splashed cork
In 1992 cinellI exploded the idea of a clean, simply coloured bicycle, taking advantage of the latest advances in eva manufacturing technology to make up cork splash, which contained up to seven different colours and was most famously promoted by claudio chiappucci
As far back as I can remember I’d always liked and raced with Cinelli components (when I was a kid it was so expensive and special for us that we used to call it C-Notes Cinelli instead of Cino Cinelli) so I was pretty happy when in 1985 I signed my first professional contract with the 7-Eleven team and discovered they were going to be sponsored by Cinelli.
1988 Giro d’Italia winner