Marco Pantani’s 1997 Wilier Race Bike

Nine years after his death, here’s a closer look at Pantani’s historic machine.

This is an exact replica of the bike that Marco Pantani rode at the 1997 Tour de France. He finished third that year overall, despite winning two big mountain stages, including a record-setting time up l’Alpe d’Huez. The following season, “il Pirata” went on to win both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

We found the bike on display at Easton Cycling’s world headquarters recently—it’s constructed of Easton Elite 7005 Aluminum. This bike has been on display at the company’s headquarters for 15 years. And since today marks nine years since Marco Pantani’s death, we thought this would be a good time to share pictures of this bike.

Pantani was known as il Pirata (the Pirate) for his animated, explosive attacks on the biggest mountains.

Pantani’s biggest challengers—Olano, Ullrich, Indurain, Armstrong—looked like robots compared to the animated Italian. Where those guys were deliberate and tactical, Pantani seemed to ride on emotion and guts alone.

This frame wore the Easton label like a badge of honor. Easton Elite 7005 aluminum with ProGram Taperwall tubes was arguably the very best aluminum at the time. And it was all made in Van Nuys, California.

Pantani definitely deserved his own custom Selle Italia saddle. Skulls and swords will never go out of style, even if bandanas aren’t considered hip anymore.

Check out the unusual saddle rail/clamp arrangement on this Selle Italia saddle. It looks sleek and comfortable.

Shimano Dura-Ace 7700: This was the first generation of 9-speed Dura-Ace. This group set dropped a whopping 500 grams off of the Dura Ace 7400 that preceded it.

Selle Italia went to market with its own hubs for a spell in the 1990s. This front hub captures 32 straight pull spokes with radical butting. At their thinnest point, these spokes are 1.2-millimeters! The rims are Ambrosio Eolic. The tires are VeloFlex Corsa.

This small tribute sits next to the bike so that anyone passing by the Easton office can stop and reflect on Pantani’s career.


Photos by Dain Zaffke