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Mattia Paganotti a.k.a. Legor Cicli

MATTIA

Mattia is an explosive personality, which is going ahead with the truth, as we say “he has large and well-positioned nuts and a pretty hard mind apparently.

In his time he was professional skater however in spite of being good enough, the asphalt is hard, falls hurt and from punch to punch, finally you think about your future. In his case, Mattia had the idea to make hand-made bikes, I mean big bikes.

Instinct, passion and talent, so much talent; his workshop is the ultimate expression of his great work, a dimension made of steel tubes, tools, music, microbrews, and his two makitas: one, the “instrument” used by craftsmen to give form to his creations, and the other, his restless cat who follows him attentively all over the workshop.

At no time during the “interview” he stops working (only to have a beer with us), and it’s a spectacle to see how he manages between welders and tools, making it easy to what for many would be almost impossible to reproduce.

ATTITUDE

From the skater what I’ve been more marked, it’s the attitude. In spite of being hard, getting many punches and how many failed attempts, if you wish something you can get it, everything is within our reach if we really want to get it.

THE BEGINNING

I started having interest on track bikes about 2008, there wasn’t all the movement that there is now, at that time the first alleycats were organized in Italy.

Probably on the bikes I saw the future that I didn’t find in the skate. Since childhood I always liked tinkering in my father’s workshop, so I decided to buy a workshop on the outskirts of my city (Brescia). I bought it to a craftsman in exchange for teaching me something about making a bike, but in the end he never came. On the contrary, in the workshop I found lots of jewelry, I mean precious bikes, strange and little-seen models, components all strictly made in Italy, and all abandoned. 

LEARNING

Brescia, city of Northern Italy, homeland of the craft. Mattia tells us his first steps as a framebuilder and his “masters” as Lissignori, Serena and Zullo.

That was how I was chopping at the door of Gino Lissignori, who I consider to be my first master. Gino has taught me the bases, methods and, in part of how to do this incredible job. The story is actually quite curious because when I went to ask him first time, he refused because he had broken the lathe; and the only thing that came in my mind was to tell him: -If I repair the lathe you will teach me how I can make a bike!-. I had no idea of how to repair this machine, but with a bit of skill and luck, I managed to fix it. It seems that was the fate.

Together with Gino, I made two frames. He taught me a lot about techniques and tricks, and shortly we became good friends. At the beginning I made many custom and you learn a lot, each bike is different from the other.

I was inspired by another person who is one of the greatest craftsmen in Italy, Piero Serena. Unfortunately I’ve never met and work with him (he died in 2005). The Piero’s wife left me all of his tools, a gesture which for me was priceless, so I can say that, thanks to his work, his way of making bikes and his tools, I learned a lot about how to work.

The next step was to go to work with Zullo, where I learned at a technical level, and mainly I had the chance to learn more about the hand-made work of this job. Working with “models” I could practice a lot and learn a good working method.

2010, NAHBS and GIFT BIKES

2010 was a very important year for me. I would say that it was the year in which I realized that make bikes could become a real job. In the BFF (Bike Film Festival) I met David Trimble and JT, who commissioned me two track bikes. Afterwards, I traveled to USA with David at the NAHBS (North American Hand Made Bike Show), an amazing experience; it was like a dream come true because I had the opportunity to show my bikes in the more important handmade bikes fair in the world.

Gift Bicycles… he,he,he. At that time (2010), the most of people ran the criteriums in jeans!

I remember that at the starting line of the Red Hook of Milan, in 2010, I shouted my friend Ortu (Jon Ander Ortuondo): – If you win the Americans, I make a bike for you! – referring to the Favorites, the most of them Americans. I don’t know if it was by what I told him, but that year, Ortu won the RHC, and I made a MTB bicycle for him.

With Cris Thormann more or less the same thing happened. I bet with him that if he wins the Monstertrack, I make a bike for him. The Result was? Cris also won and I made a Legor Singlespeed CX. This bike was used to win the alleycat that took place at the World Championship of messengers in Mexico this year.

I have the misfortune of having friends who are good at winning impossible races!

BARCELONA

Why do decide a city like Barcelona? Because when I practiced skate I used to come here because it’s a global emblem for skating and I love it. Barcelona is sunny, has beach, mountain, and the rent of a shop relatively close to the Center is pretty cheap with respect to what it would cost in Italy and, in general, in my country, the small company is mistreated.

Another important thing for me is that almost all of my best friends also live here. So I decided to load all in a trailer, grabbed my wife, our things, all machinery, and come to live in the city of Barcelona.

Maybe I’ve lost the Made in Italy but the Man di Italy, I’m still me.

PRODUCTION

Generally I follow the whole process from the beginning to the end, and often the most complicated part is to understand the customer’s needs, or rather, the customer clarifies what he really wants. It seems silly, but there are days which I spend more time with the computer than in the workshop. So that, once I get to interpret the customer, I do my best to get the perfect bike according the needs of the person, without thinking only about the money. The most important thing is that people feel happy and satisfied with the bikes which I make.

In terms of components I work with great brands such as Chris king, Enve, etc. is not so much a matter of prestige, but rather by the importance of having good feelings to go by bicycle, to be carried along and let lead, and these brands produce, the excellence in quality.

The painting item, since I am living in Barcelona, I work with Killian who I met thanks to Simon and Lerri from My Beautiful Parking. I am very happy with his job; we decided together the ideas and the best chromatic solutions for each bike.

TELL US WHICH YOUR FAVORITE BIKE IS…

Well, my favorite bike now is the new model of MTB Indole 29er, I’m very happy of the final result that I’ve got, is a very light bike, which reacts very well and works perfectly in all situations. I’ve been using it very intensively for two months and I’m really excited to this bike. I made the reference model of the MTB. Now I’ve thought about a new project for Legor, a track bike based on the model Porreca but with steel fork of 1 1/4 “. Let’s see how this will come out!