Benotto Bicycles History
Benotto was founded by Giacinto Benotto, in the stunning city of Turin, Italy, in 1931. Turin was and still is a city known for its architectural beauty and innovation. Inspired by his surroundings and filled with passion and competitive spirit, Giacinto competed with the top Frame-builders of Italy. Benotto became so successful in the 1930s that they could produce over 500 frames a day, a record for the 1930s. Giacinto aspired for more still.
The next chapter was even more extraordinary. Giacinto had read about the recent discovery of oil in Venezuela and thought this newfound wealth would provide an excellent opportunity to expand the brand further. In 1948 he headed to Venezuela with a shipment of 200 bicycles and a goal of bringing cycling to a new country. Right off the bat, he encountered resistance from the people of Venezuela. When going through customs, they famously said they "drive Cadillacs", not bicycles.
Despite this initial resistance, the people of Venezuela quickly grew to love the Benotto brand and bikes. They developed and sold the first Venezuelan folding bikes, tandem, and five-person bicycle. These innovations brought mass media attention to the Benotto name, with appearances from the bikes In big television shows and movies. Using the momentum from the positive media attention, Benotto continued to expand throughout Mexico.
Using the connections of Felice Benotto, a family member that was involved in the Mexican cycling scene, Benotto backed a cycling team In Mexico. The Benotto brand found massive success in the professional racing scene by sponsoring teams, with an impressive 11 championship wins.
Benotto's legacy formed throughout the many champion riders that left their mark on the brand.
Gregor Braun, a multiple Olympic gold medallist and world champion cyclist, seen here wearing the Benotto racing jersey on one of the early 80s Benotto's, celebrating winning stage 14 of the 1983 Giro d'Italia.
As time passed, the brand continued to develop its strength throughout Latin America; it was further propelled by the manufacturing of the frames slowly shifting to Mexico. By the end of 1984, Italian manufacture had ceased. Although this was more convenient, as most of the bikes sold were now in Latin America, this did lead to some issues in the first few batches of bikes. The new team was less experienced and would sometimes overheat the steel during the brazing process (Joining the different metal tubes together, in this case, a bike). It damaged the Mexican-made frames' reputation, although this improved as the team gained more experience. The overwhelming majority of the frames made in Mexico from this era that you can still get your hands on have no defects. To this day, Benotto bikes are still produced throughout Mexico.
The Benotto story began as a small Italian cycling brand. The quality craftsmanship and stunning designs we've come to expect from Italian manufacturers then grew to become a significant force in Latin American cycling that has lasted to the present day.