The renowned Italian manufacturer whose race bicycles carried Sir Bradley Wiggins, then Chris Froome and last year Geraint Thomas to Tour de France glory, has taken to the roads of the UK in four eye-catching Mercedes-Benz vans.
Cicli Pinarello launched its own sales and distribution operation based in Epsom, Surrey, late last year, and has already appointed the first of what will ultimately become a network of up to 50 retailers nationwide. The Team Sky partner also operates its own flagship stores in London and Manchester, and an outlet in Swindon.
Supplied by Rossetts Commercials, which represents Mercedes-Benz Vans in Surrey, Sussex and North Hampshire, the new vehicles were racked out by leading specialist Bott, of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, to carry bicycles that retail for up to £10,000 each.
They are performing a variety of roles. One is a 3.5-tonne model from the third-generation Sprinter range launched last year, while the other three are mid-sized Vito crew vans, with second rows of seats. All are strikingly finished in Pinarello’s black colour scheme with the distinctive red logo which is instantly recognisable to cycling enthusiasts the world over.
Richard Hemington, Managing Director of the newly-formed Cicli Pinarello (UK), enjoys a high profile within the industry, having held the same position with another leading bike manufacturer since 1989.
Explaining the decision to abandon its previous, long-established distribution arrangement in favour of the new dealer-direct model, he said:
“The UK is an important market for Pinarello, and we now want to transfer to our brand the fantastic success we’ve enjoyed through our association with Team Sky and the British winners of many Grand Tour events.
“Riders investing in a Pinarello product are looking for an experience with the brand, both in store and elsewhere, and this will be the focus of the strategy we pursue with our high-quality retailers.”
He continued: We’ve chosen to work with Mercedes-Benz because, just like Pinarello, it’s a premium brand that stands out from the crowd. The quality of service and attention to detail demonstrated by Rossetts Commercials’ Business Development Manager Tracey Stewart was also instrumental in swaying us away from the other potential contender.
“It wasn’t a big order in terms of volume, but the vehicles are quite bespoke and represented a substantial investment for our fledgling business. Tracey recommended then liaised with the converter, and managed the entire process, so it was virtually seamless from our perspective. We couldn’t have asked for more.”
New Sprinter offers previously unseen levels of comfort and safety, as well as ground-breaking 4G connectivity. Pinarello’s 316 CDI L3 H2 model has a long body and high roof, and is powered by a fuel-efficient 163 hp engine which drives the rear wheels – Sprinter versions are now also available for the first time with front-wheel drive.
Specified to support dealer demonstrations and events, trade exhibitions, and comparison test exercises conducted by the cycling press, the Sprinter is capable of securely transporting no fewer than 20 bikes towards the rear of the cargo area. The area immediately behind the bulkhead, meanwhile, serves as a fully equipped workshop, while other features include lighting and power, ensuring that batteries for electric ebikes can be recharged en route, and an awning.
Each of the three Vito vans will carry up to four bikes. Two are Long-bodied 114hp Vito 114 CDIs, and assigned to regional brand managers who support Pinarello’s new retail network. The other is a range-topping Vito 119 CDI Sport which pairs dynamic good looks with punchy, 190 hp performance, and is equipped as standard with a slick-shifting 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic transmission. This vehicle is based at head office and used to perform a variety of tasks, including, for example, ferrying VIP visitors.
The subject of Mercedes-Benz Service Care plans, the vans will be maintained by the workshop teams at Rossetts Commercials’ Aldershot and Crawley branches.
Richard Hemington recalled an incident shortly after the new vans entered service. “Someone clouted the door mirror off one of the vehicles while it was parked, but Rossetts were out to us and had it fixed in no time. Job done!”
He added: “Success for a company like Pinarello is built on strong partnerships, not only with retailers and riders, but also with our suppliers. We’re delighted to be investing in the UK, extremely pleased with our new vans, and looking forward to developing our association with Rossetts Commercials and Mercedes-Benz over the months and years to come.”
Cicli Pinarello S.p.A. is based in Treviso, Italy, and produces predominantly handmade bicycles for the road, track, and cyclo-cross. The company was established in 1952 by former professional rider Giovanni ‘Nani’ Pinarello.