CONFENTE #48, 55cm
Forsaking a career
in racing for what eventually proved to be his true calling, Mario Confente
traded hairnet and jersey for torch and tools and almost immediately exhibited
the patience and expertise, attention to detail, and overall mastery of the
art that defines elite framebuilders. Before he left his native Italy, young
Mario had already distinguished himself as a builder both to champions and
premier manufacturers as Masi and Bianchi. So accomplished was Confente at
an early age, so outstanding his abilities and uncompromising his standards,
that Faliero Masi promptly installed him as supervisor of the new Masi California
venture, where the budding master-builder oversaw the production of over 2000
of the now highly-collectible California Masi bikes.
Realizing a lifelong dream, Mario set up shop in 1976 under his own name -Custom
Bicycles by Confente- and cycling racers, legends and aficionados alike
beat a path to his Los Angeles door. Tragically, though, Mario died suddenly
in March, 1979 of an undiagnosed heart condition. He was just 34 years old,
and had produced only 135 bicycles under his own marque.
Here is a rare opportunity to own one of cyclings most coveted gems,
and one of the most sought-after American-made bicycles of all time.
Today Mario Confente is almost universally recognized as a master of masters,
and his creations revered as paradigms of the art of framebuilding and inspirations
to the aspiring master-builders who have followed.
Confente Pro Strada road bike, #48, 55cm (55cm, c-t seat tube;
54.5cm c-c top tube). Pearl white metallic with a very subtle, blue opalescent
clear coat (when viewed in just the right light, a faint, luminescent cobalt
glow highlights the pearl finish). Yellow head tube; yellow, black and orange
decals and accents. Columbus tubing, chrome fork crown and dropout faces,
Campagnolo dropouts front and rear, beautiful Confente-signature spade
cut-outs in lugs and bottom bracket shell.
Full Campagnolo Nuovo Record five speed group, including rear derailleur (Patent
73), clamp-on front derailleur, cranks (170mm Strada, 3-in-diamond date
stamp, 52/42 rings), seatpost (27.2mm, two-bolt), levers (diamond detents
in front; cut-outs on sides), pedals, bottom bracket (Italian thread), shift
levers (braze-on bosses), calipers (flat release levers), NOS (New,
Old Stock) gum hoods.
Other notable components: Cinelli Giro DItalia bars (40cm, old logo),
Cinelli stem (105mm), Christophe toe clips (small size; older logo), Cinelli
toe straps, NOS Benotto Cello bar tape, Selle San Marco Concor Supercorsa
Wheels are Fir (Italy) Sirius tubulars, 32 stainless steel spokes,
Campy Record hubs with oil hole, Record skewers, Genestoux (France) Criterium
C silk sew-ups, Regina Extra Oro five speed freewheel (13-19), Regina chain
(all of the previous are NOS).
In addition to the cut-outs in the lugs, #48 has one-of-a-kind spade cut-outs
on the shift levers, an original, painted-to-match Silca frame-fit pump with
Campy steel head (works great; even has the protective rubber caps), an engraved
stem (a $10 option in 1978), internally-routed (at right chainstay) rear derailleur
cable, and beautifully-sculpted seat-stay ends (at seat cluster).
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