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In our special Italia Bici section, presents the finest Italy has to offer in bicycles and cycling apparel. Each feature presents a leading Italian manufacturer and its 2005 product lines, with special insights into the design and manufacture of their products, including the input provided by some of the world's leading professional cyclists.

In these pages, we also meet the designers and driving forces behind some of cycling's greatest names, and look at the history of companies that have shaped the sport in the world's number one cycling nation.

By Cyclingnews staff in Campagnola Cremasca, Italy

Known throughout the cycling world for their bicycle tubing, components and now tires, the people at Deda in Campagnola Cremasca, Italy are fanatical about creating the most innovative equipment possible. "This company is rooted in Italian hardcore road racing from top to bottom," said Dedaelementi's managing director Fulvio Acquati when Cyclingnews visited him recently at Deda's HQ in the countryside near Cremona, Italy.

Looking over the shoulder of one Deda's design engineers gives a hint of what's being cooked up on the company's CAD system.
Deda Towers: Dedaelementi's HQ near Cremona, Italy
Dedaelementi's one off "extra-light" TT handlebars made for Lance Armstrong
Dedaelementi's managing director Fulvio Acquati
Dedaelementi's innovative D-Power compact crankset
Giro d'Italia: Dedatre's top of the line open tubular tire
Get a Dedatre pin-up tyre pressure conversion chart for your workshop wall by clicking on the thumbnails to download an A3 size PDF which you can then save and print. These PDFs are 140-170kB. You'll need Acrobat Reader to open them.

Founded 13 years ago by two brothers, Luca and Stefano Locatelli, the Deda operation consists of three distinct divisions; Dedacciai, the original Deda company dedicated to the design and manufacture of state of the art bicycle tubing, frame components and forks; Dedaelementi for components like handlebars, stems and seatposts and Dedatre, a new division launched in 2004 to create the latest in bicycle tire technology.

"At Deda, since we are dealing with mostly high-end road racing, the details are really important," explained Acquati. "So our goal, our full passion is develop the perfect tools for winning, for the top road racers in the world." Acquati spoke with genuine respect and appreciation when he told us, "We have a tremendous appreciation for the riders, team mechanics and team managers and [with a smile] even journalists. We listen to their input very carefully and try hard to translate this into improving everything we create at Deda." Acquati has a wealth of experience in the cycling industry, having worked in the hallowed halls of firms like Bianchi, Campagnolo and Cinelli. He distills Deda down to the simple concept of "taking our collective passion and experience bringing this to the newest, most innovative products available."

Acquati joined Deda in 1999 to manage the components division Dedaelementi. Deda had focused primarily on frame tubing up until then, but the likeable Acquati smiled when he thought back over the innovations that Dedaelementi had introduced over the last six years. "My first day for Dedaelementi was at the Milano bike show, where we introduced our oversized stem and bars... 31.7mm diameter, or really an inch and a quarter. This new approach, which we call the Newton standard, provided extra ridigity and stability with no weight increase and a more robust look that matched the larger diameter integrated headtubes that were coming out then." Acquati also made a move that would provide Dedaelementi plenty of publicity over the next five years, as he inked a deal to supply newly minted Tour De France champ Lance Armstrong's US Postal Service with handlebars and stems. "We have been so honored to work with Lance and Postal over the past five years. It's been a special experience for us."

2000 saw Dedaelementi launching their innovative Mag00 and Mag61 forged magnesium stems, components about which Acquati explains, "We've had a lot of success with these magnesium stems and as well, developing these products has helped us with the learning curve to develop the AK61 tubing we make for Pinarello's Dogma frameset at Dedaccai." As the new millennium dawned, Dedaelementi responded to the need for speed with an advanced aero bar design called 'ClipBlack'. This innovative component was a monocoque carbon fibre aero handlebar which Acquati claims set a new standard for this type of handlebar.

"Besides the light weight and rigidity, the ClipBlack was the first aerobar with what we call 4D adjustability, where length and tilt angle could be modified," says Acquati. Deda also worked closely with Lance Armstrong and his aerodynamic consultant John Cobb to create a special one-off aerobar that was never commercialised by Deda. "We call this bar 'F**cking Lite' because that's what Lance said when he first checked it out!" says Acquati. Deda created a one piece, non-adjustable aerobar for Armstrong expressly to his specs and which he used to win numerous time trials in 2000 and 2001, including Tour de France stages and the GP des Nations. As the new millennium got underway in 2001, Dedaelementi had plenty of irons in the fire, but Acquati proudly pointed out one he was especially happy about. "(2001) was the year we introduced very short stems for young riders of 6, 7 and 8 cm. That is a great example of how we pay attention to the riders needs at Deda."

2003 saw an explosion of carbon fibre components from Dedaelementi, like the integrated Synapsi and Spectrum handlebars, the Aeroblack monocoque aerobars and monocoque Blackstick seatpost with magnesium hardware. "We continued this carbon fibre trend in 2004," said Acquati, who pointed out that Deda had a plethora of new carbon equipment on display at the Milano bike show. "We officially introduced the ultra cool Alanera integrated handlebars, which were used in the Tour De France by Erik Zabel and also by Fassa Bortolo's Fabio Sacchi who tested them successfully in racing conditions." Dedaelementi also introduced an innovative new D-Power carbon fibre crankset, with a crank arm structure that is specially engineered to enhance power transmission and is coupled to a lightweight D-Power titanium ISIS bb.

"As carbon fibre handlebars are becoming more popular, Dedaelementi saw the need for a special stem," Acquati told us. Using what Dedaelementi calls "bikini technology" - two pieces that work together - the Arimo stem was born: a 2024 T3 aluminium alloy CNC machined stem that has a special carbon fibre piece on the closing flange to avoid the concentrated stresses than can damage carbon fibre bars. Deda also introduced new monocoque Supercarbon seatposts, but Acquati was especially proud of the company's new Pista line. "For years, track racers have sought out twenty year old steel track handlebars because this speciality product was no longer made. Once again, we truly pay attention to the riders needs at Deda, so we created a new track handlebar called Velocita in super-stiff CroMo steel and coupled this with our Newton Pista stem with 67 degree inclination that is perfect for sprinters. Or we have the 6061 T6 alu alloy bars called Pista that are designed for all other track events. Look for them on the top track riders from now on."

From the hard goods of Dedaelementi, the Deda boys decided to go where the rubber meets the road and launch a new high-end, high quality line of bicycle tires including clinchers and tubulars called DedaTre. (link) "We saw a need for some new road tires so we decided to apply our philosophy putting our passion and experience to new and innovative tires. We have a complete range from the top-end Olimpico race tubular to the mid level Giro di Lombardia slick. Plus we have created a tire called Senza [Without] for the new for tubeless technology that is just emerging." Acquati explained that DedaTre will use their team sponsorships of the Fassa Bortolo and Iles Balears teams to further develop their tire range, but he's happy with the results so far. "Well it's only March and so far, between both teams, there are like 15 wins so we are pleased with the success of DedaTre already."

What's next for Dedaelementi? When Acquati left his office for a moment, Cyclingnews took the opportunity to riffle through the papers on his desk and took notes of some exciting new components in the Dedaelementi pipeline, like the Alanera Italia integrated carbon fibre monocoque handlebar with a shallow drop and a new round carbon fibre monocoque handlebar called Campione that will be a perfect fit with the Arimo stem. Clearly, Dedaelementi, Dedaccai and Dedatre will continue their mission of taking their collective passion and experience to create the newest, most innovative cycling equipment out there.

Further reading

Dedaelementi website