The Rouleur Longreads Podcast: Campagnolo's Mister Ghibli

Tucked away in a warren of testing cub­icles and curious contraptions, we find Franco Rigolon hard at work. His job involves making just one thing, and it’s not something he can make very quickly. Franco is a wheel-builder, the sole person in charge — the only one with the know-how — of one of the company’s most enduring products: the Ghibli wheel.


After Valentino Campagnolo took over following the death of his father in 1983, the Ghibli was one of his first great successes. In a time where almost every wheel was made the same way it had been since before the company’s beginning, Campagnolo put a team of engineers to work on coming up with some new ideas.


From there came the concept of using fibres rather than spokes to create the tension and maintain structure. This was lighter, stronger, resistant to temperature changes and allowed more aerodynamic shapes.


It was, to use an old cliché, a game changer.


From Miguel Indurain’s hour record to Alex Zanardi’s Paralympic gold, the Campagnolo Ghibli has been a winning set of wheels. Meet the man who makes these labour intensive works of art.


The Rouleur Longreads Podcast brings you selected long form articles from the magazine, especially recorded for Rouleur. Don’t stop what you’re doing – do it while listening to the world’s best cycling writing.


The latest in this series is ‘Mister Ghibli’ by Colin O'Brien, from Rouleur 50, read by George Oliver.


 

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