The father is a collector and repairs vintage bicycles. His two sons, Enzo and Stefano, run La Bicyclette, a bike shop in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. Stefano has recently embarked on a career as a frame builder, which he carries out in his workshop in Seine-et-Marne.
Stefano Savarino is not yet in the prime of his career, but he has already been immersed in the world of bicycles and cycling for many years. At 27 years old this young frame-builder has made less than ten frames. But from an early age Stefano has grown up in the world of two-wheels, with a father who is a collector of vintage bikes.
At 9 years old he was already starting to repair all kinds of bicycles. At 14 he completed almost all the Paris-Roubaix with his friends, on a fixed gear, in appalling weather conditions. His studies will push him towards a BEP in vehicle body repair (“carrossier-formeur”?); training in which he continues to work with metal and learn different welding techniques. In 2012 he passed his professional qualification certificate (CQP) and started working in the family shop, La Bicyclette, newly opened in Paris, with his brother Enzo. Soon after he learned that Andreas Behrens of LaFraise Cycles was offering frame building lessons. He immediately headed off to Roubaix and became one of the first ‘padawans’ to build his own bicycle. His ‘Number 01’, a purple gravel bike, hangs on the wall of his workshop. “Andreas taught me a lot. Even if I had already learned a lot on the job, it gave me a solid foundation from which I continue to progress” says Stefano, showing us the notebook from his period there as an apprentice. His thirst for learning also led him to Cyfac, to further improve his welding skills.
Stefano doesn’t advertise himself yet as a frame builder - he’s making bikes for friends while he continues to hone his skills. He’s currently working on two bikes. The first frame has already been built, but recently returned to the workshop for a conversion to a double chainring, and the installation of a rear derailleur hanger, as well as the re-positioning of the brake studs. The second frame is still in the works, literally, as the Columbus Life tubes are still waiting their turn in a corner of the studio. His friend wants a versatile bike for the city, but one that’s also suitable for touring. The choice of Italian tubes will be completed by a Campagnolo Centaur groupset with compact transmission (50/34 and 11-32). The bike will be mounted with a Veloci carbon fork, allowing the integration of discs, cables for dynamo, and inserts for bottle cages or racks. Stefano has given himself four months to deliver the bike, at a price of around € 1,500 for the frame and fork. A reasonable time and price considering the current shortage of components and the increase in prices on raw materials. For now Stefano gets his supplies from commercial fork suppliers, such as the Enve fork mounted on a Chris King headset on his fixed gear bike. He also wants to offer forks made by himself in the future, but for this he still needs to improve his welding skills, to offer a high quality finish. He also plans to make his own stems, although he admits that the process is long, and more expensive than a production model.
Beneath the calm appearance Stefano is a perfectionist, as can be seen when you watch him polishing a weld, or when he shows us the bike that he built for the ‘Concours des Machines’ in 2019. The ‘rookie’ proposed a metallic blue randonneur, made from Columbus Zona tubes, and equipped with 650b wheels and mudguards from the 1950s, in line with the "Paris-Brest-Paris" theme of that year’s competition. With its seat stays connecting to the top tube, it’s full carbon Enve components (fork, stem, seat post), and its Fizik Aliante saddle, it combined vintage and modern. At 10.8kg, handlebar bar bag included, this PBP bike made quite an impression. More importantly though, its rider completed the full 1200km of the famous Parisian Audax without any bike-related aches and pains, and in less than 80 hours. Stefano is now starting to get a few email inquiries from potential clients, particularly for gravel bikes. He has recently started promoting his work, mainly on Instagram, but also in their Paris shop, where the bike he built for his friend is still on display. His daily ride is a fixed gear frame that he built himself. “It’s a bike I built for myself in a day; drawing the geometry and cutting and welding the tubes” he explained. In its striking green livery, the frame is equipped with carbon wheels and a Kering Kashimax saddle. It’s not built for comfort but allows Stefano to ride the 45km between the Paris shop and his workshop in Seine et Marne, in an hour and a quarter.