The early 90s were a halcyon time for road bike development. The steel era was (sadly) drawing to a close and the use of many materials now considered common place was being pioneered. This innovation was also unhindered by over zealous governing bodies. One bike which still stands out from this era is the Pinarello Espada, four of which were custom made from carbon fibre for one Mr Miguel Indurain, former Hour Record holder and five times Tour de France winner. The bikes were designed in association with F1 Engineer Ing Giacchi. This particular example was photographed at the recent Campagnolo 80th Anniversary event with it’s former rider.
Fausto Pinarello can complete the story
“There were only four of these bicycles made: two for the road and two for the track – just for Indurain. We developed this bike in 1994 when there weren’t the UCI rules on bicycle design and you were free to create truly special bicycles. We developed this bike in collaboration with Ing. Giacchi, an aerodynamics engineer who has worked extensively with Formula One racing. We realized that we couldn’t make a bicycle with this kind of shape in metal so we decided to use carbon fibre. The first version was made for track, for the world hour record and then we modified it for the derailleurs and internal cable guides. Of course, this bike was made to measure for Indurain, so the carbon fibre molds still exist. The cost of each frame mold was about $5,000, not counting manufacturing costs. Indurain did break the world hour record on the Espada, but he had never done it before.”
1994 Pinarello Espada and Big Mig
Thanks to Augustus Farmer for the image and cyclingnews for the quote.