‘I will al­ways be able to say, “I need help with this.” I tell my dad he will never re­ally be able to re­tire’

It can’t al­ways be easy work­ing so closely with fam­ily. As heir ap­par­ent Gian­luca tells Cy­clist, ‘You have an ar­gu­ment here and you have an ar­gu­ment at home. But when you spend so much time with each other, it’s hard to stay mad for long. Not like when yo

Cyclist - - Cicli Barco | Insider -

How­ever, there is an eas­ier route. Barco has been sell­ing its own frames for a num­ber of years now, just a few at first, but the or­ders have grown to around 45 a year. Quite apart from do­ing this for recog­ni­tion, this move is an at­tempt to safe­guard the com­pany’s fu­ture, as well as that of the fam­ily.

‘My dad, my un­cle, my mum, they just love the art of con­struc­tion in steel,’ says Gian­luca. ‘Even when de­mand for steel bike frames dropped off for a pe­riod they con­tin­ued to work in steel, mak­ing things like advertising boards, fab­ri­cat­ing any­thing peo­ple needed. But we love bi­cy­cles the most, not be­cause they are beau­ti­ful but be­cause they are beau­ti­ful and they are work­ing things. We have moved to start sell­ing Barco-branded frames be­cause if we don’t have con­tract cus­tomers we are in trou­ble, but if we have strong Barco sales, it isn’t as much of a prob­lem.’

Gian­luca’s par­ents are not far off re­tire­ment age, so what’s the com­pany’s plan for the fu­ture?

‘I guess that it is me!’ says Gian­luca. ‘My par­ents al­ways told me to go and do what I wanted, and when they were with Scapin I was less at­tracted to build­ing my­self. But now it is Cicli Barco it is dif­fer­ent. I am learn­ing the trade. Some­times we ar­gue, but I al­ways re­mem­ber they are do­ing this for me – they could just say, “F*** Cicli Barco, we’re just do­ing con­tract work for money un­til we re­tire.” But they don’t, be­cause we are all do­ing this for each other. This means there is pres­sure on me, but I will al­ways be able to say, “I need help with this,” and they will help. I tell my dad he will never re­ally be able to re­tire. I will al­ways need some­thing!’

Gian­luca trans­lates this last bit into Ital­ian for his fa­ther, who rolls his eyes be­fore burst­ing into a bar­rel laugh.

As the Barco frame build­ing legacy en­ters its 72nd year, one gets the im­pres­sion the fam­ily busi­ness will be around for a long time to come, and given the qual­ity and ded­i­ca­tion to the prod­uct, the Barco brand it­self can only grow.

‘I think my fam­ily would probably make frames even if there were no or­ders.’ James Spender is fea­tures editor at Cy­clist, and the most renowned frame builder in his own fam­ily

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