Handbuilt Bicycle News


Officina Battaglin

Paul Skilbeck

Wednesday 08 May 2019

Battaglin's limited edition Arena 1981 frame

The 2019 Giro d'Italia starts this weekend, and finishes again in the Verona Area. Officina Battaglin releases a limited edition frame that honours the venue of the greatest day in Giovanni Battaglin's career.

Battaglin's limited edition Arena 1981 frame
Arena 1981 frame, with celebrations by Astoria. Photo: Officina Battaglin

The Verona Arena, now 1,989 years old, has seen a lot of action over the millennia, which in recent years has included some of the world’s most famous opera and rock music stars, as well as the occasional bike race. Yet it’s a fair bet that on scant few occasions in its history has the crowd roared louder than on June 7, 1981, when Italy’s Giovanni Battaglin blew into the arena wearing the pink jersey of the Giro d'Italia leader and finished the final day’s time trial fast enough to seal the general classification win.

It was the first time a cyclist had won the ‘Pink Race’ in the Verona Arena, but also the conclusion of one of the most remarkable 48 days in bike racing history, during which Battaglin won both the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d’Italia, with only two days separating the end of the Vuelta and the start of the Giro.
Battaglin glory
Wish you'd been there?

Since then, as we well know, Battaglin has made rather a lot of bicycles, some of which have been ridden to glory in the biggest races. In recent years, as custom bike watchers will know, Battaglin has come up with limited edition bikes to commemorate great cycling achievements by those riding on his bikes and by the man himself.

Enter the Arena 1981, a lugged steel frameset made to order in the Battaglin workshop. This limited-run frame celebrates a return to the Verona Arena this year for the final stage of the Giro d’Italia. As one might imagine, the venue holds a most dear place in Battaglin’s heart.
Arena 1981

Officina Battaglin, the brand founded and managed by Giovanni Battaglin, is offering 38 of these frames, each of which comes with a certificate of authenticity and is made to the precise measurements of the customer after an individual sizing consultation with Battaglin himself.

To celebrate the purchase, Battaglin will send along with the frame a magnum bottle of Astoria sparkling wine, from the same vintage awarded to each stage winner during the Giro.

While some collectors may wish to leave the cork in the bottle and the bike hanging on the wall, other customers will no doubt put the bubbly to good use with their friends, and impress those they meet out on the road with a stunning bike that tells one of the greatest stories.

Frame information (with commentary and explanations from Officina Battaglin)        

Columbus SL tubing
Columbus SL

For a frame that celebrates Giovanni Battaglin’s legendary career, choosing the finest Italian tubing manufacturer was a must. The slender lines of the SL tubeset hark back to the best steel racing bikes from the 80s, and high-quality Italian steel provides the comfort that makes for an inimitable ride feel.

Chrome-plated lugs
Nice lugs
Like the most beautiful classic Italian framesets, the Arena 1981 is embellished by shiny chrome lugs. The chrome-plated steel magnifies the beauty of lugged construction and creates the distinct Italian look that all cycling connoisseurs recognize.

Pink cromovelato finish
Well it's the Giro, isn't it? The Arena 1981 frame is adorned with the mesmerizing cromovelato finish. The cromovelato process consists of polishing the raw frame to a mirror finish, chrome-plating it, and then painting it with colored lacquer.

Engraved steel plaque
Each frame has a steel plaque brazed to the top tube, hand-engraved with the “Arena 1981” inscription and the progressive number. This is the final touch of a complex building process, and adds a unique element to this fine crafted frame. Collectors take note!   

To learn more about the Arena 1981 visit To learn more about the Portofino visit http://officinabattaglin.com/arena-1981


All photos courtesy of Officina Battaglin.