Pino Morroni… A Retrospective

Pino Morroni's 3 Green Mice

From Cycling Utah’s April 1999 Classic Corner:

Giuseppe “Pino” Morroni died February 11, 1999. “Who is Pino Morroni?”, you may ask. He was probably the most well-known, yet never heard about, person in the cycling community. Eddy Merckx knew him, so did Greg LeMond and Andrew Hampsten. Francesco Moser, Felice Gimondi and Gianni Bugno knew him as well. They knew him because his inventions and ideas helped carry all of them to their greatest victories.

Why did Pino Morroni suddenly come back to my attention?  Well, it’s because Tandem@Hobbes contributor Dave Porter of Porter Custom Bicycles in Albuquerque, New Mexico thought readers might be interested in knowing a bit more about Pino, noting Dave came into possession of Pino Morroni’s two tandem jigs a number of years ago.

If you followed the link to Cycling Utah’s April ’99 article above, you should have learned a little bit more about Pino, I say a little because even the more detailed articles can’t capture the extent of his impact on cycling technology, as many of his inventions aren’t necessarily attributed to him. Sadly, Pino never had the resources or inclination to secure the patents needed to protect his intellectual property.

A far-more detailed article on Pino Morroni was written by Russell Howe entitled, Cycling’s Mad Scientist and published at the Bicycle Trader back in the 1990’s.  Out of respect for Russell Howe’s copyrights and those of the Bicycle Trader I’ll refrain from doing an extensive re-quote of the article and, instead, suggest interested readers go to the site where I found the quoted article posted by a contributor to the Chained Revolution forums:  Pino Morroni articles from the web. Note that the aforementioned article from Cycling Utah is also included.

It’s also noteworthy that Russell Howe apparently drew on the relationship he developed with Pino when researching the Cycling’s Mad Scientist as well as some of the material when he wrote an obituary for Pino after his passing in February 1999 that you can find HERE.

Classic Rendezvous also has a page dedicated to Pino Morroni that includes several interesting photos of Pino and some of his inventions.  A photo of Pino at a velodrome watching a world champion team conducting trials on one of Pino’s prototype track tandems was included in the photos that appears below.  Be sure to read the recollections of David Patrick linked off of the CR Web page as well.

Pino Morroni observes one of his prototype track tandems undergoing trials at the velodrome in Rome. (Photo hosted by Classic Rendezvous)

Dave recently used one of the jigs for a recent tandem project that he chronicled at his own Blog, which you can find HERE.  Dave’s blog is an interesting read with many photos to illustrate the build process and show the flexibility of Pino’s jig design.  Dave’s tandem design is equally interesting and, by most standards, unconventional… which was true for many of Pino’s component and frame designs.

Getting back to the jigs, I asked Dave how he came to know Pino and, more specifically, to own several of his jig.  Dave shared the following with me back on Memorial Day:

Pino and I became friends in the 80’s when I was helping John Frey attempt the world amateur Hour record, which we briefly held. Pino you may recall made the titanium bits for Eddy Merckx’s Hour bike.

Pino gave me his personal single jig in the 80’s as he thought the one I had was of poor design. After Pino passed I contacted his wife, Janet, and purchased the remaining jigs that were in his garage. The tandem jig is really pretty neat, as it’s a beam style jig as opposed to plate style. It can be used for single frames or tandems. Though they are old they still allow me to use round, OS, or multi-shape tubes to build frames. I just thought they were a testament to Pino’s genius that was never recognized during his life.

Dave Porter uses one of two Pino Morroni tandem jigs on a recent tandem project in his home shop. (Photo by Dave Porter)

Dave also wrote a blog entry entitled “Using a Pino Morroni Frame Jig” that included another extensive photo gallery along with his narrative that describes the use of the single-bike jig Pino gave to Dave back in the 1980’s on a recent single bike project that illustrates many of the features unique to the Morroni jig design.

A Pino Morroni frame jig. (Photo by Dave Porter)

About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, not predisposed to chit-chat but love a good back-and-forth on history, aviation, cycling, and a few other topics. For better or worse, I tend to write and speak in a "matter-of-fact" way that may come-off as arrogance, but it's not... and I welcome being corrected and differening view points. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be and can talk about anything, especially sports, otherwise we'd have no friends.
This entry was posted in Tandem Folks, Technology & Equip., Whimsical Or Entertaining. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pino Morroni… A Retrospective

  1. dave p. says:

    Nice. I recall our discussion some months ago and was very pleased to see that Pino was worth the time to mention to the new generation of riders.
    I believe that his wife still has a couple of his tandems and many of his other bikes and wheel sets.
    Thanks for the link too!

  2. Pingback: Dave Porter’s Spirit Tandem « The TandemGeek's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.