Tiziano Zullo was born in North Italy in the late ‘50s. He began racing bicyles in his teens with moderate success in national races. In the 1970s he was exposed to world of frame building and very quickly he found himself building frames of his own. By 1978 his frames we’re being ridden by local Italian teams and being exported around the world.
He made the leap into the professional ranks in 1985 when he produced frames for the Dutch TVM squad. He built their frames until 1992, supplying bikes to the likes of Robert Millar and Phil Anderson who rode his bike in Milan-Sanremo, the northern classics, the Tour De France, the Giro D’Italia, the Vuelta Espana and the Road World Championships. Tiziano still produces a replica of that frame, the Tour ’91, made from vintage Columbus SL, the leading tubeset of the time.
Today Zullo hand makes a few hundred frames a year just off the shore of Lake Garda, in Italy. Despite his traditional start Zullo is a very modern road bike builder; sloping top tubes, biovalised down tubes, even disc brakes.
None are more modern than the Inqubo, Italian for ‘nightmare’, so called because getting the ride characteristics out of the oversize steel Dedacciai tubing is a nightmare. There’s also the super versatile Pantarei, which thanks to the Columbus Spirit tubing, is comfortable in as a tourer, CX bike or a road bike. The most popular frame though is the Tonica. Coming in stock geometry only, with optional fittings for full mudguards and a rack, it’s a fantastic general purpose steel bike and a great entry into the Zullo range.
The other thing that Zullo has become known for is their paint. Tiziano has hired an incredibly talented Japanese artist who draws up the designs and paints the frames. You can see some examples of their paint finishes in their gallery: Zullo Gallery