2001 Mondonico Futura Leggero Cyclocross
This is a custom cyclocross bike that was ordered in person when Antonio Mondonico and his son Mauro visited Classic Cycle in 2001.
A custom cyclocross bike seems like an extravagance now, but it was sometimes the only option twenty years ago. Bianchi made a nice cyclocross frameset back then, but they were made in small quantities and sold out pretty quickly each year. Big brands like LeMond and Trek made the Poprad and XO-1 models, and Specialized made the Tricross back then but these were all pretty lame touring/cyclocross/commuter bikes that required some serious modifications if you were a racer with high-end taste in your gear.
So this was custom, based on Mondonico’s excellent Futura Leggero road bike, a light racing frame made out of Columbus Nemo nivacrom tubing. If you look closely you’ll note that Antonio built this frame with his standard road bike fork crown and rear brake bridge. Clearance for the 32mm Tufo cyclocross tubulars was created by using fork blades and frame stays that were slightly longer than those cut for Mondonico’s standard road frames.
Antonio thankfully balked at the idea of omitting water-bottle cage attachment points or the cable guides that could be used for a front derailleur, so the bike has some versatility beyond cyclocross now.
The equipment is still mostly original, with Dura-Ace 9-speed 7700 hubs, brake lever, rear derailleur and shifter. Campagnolo 28 spoke tubular rims were a pretty light choice for cyclocross use, so the spoke crosses were tied and soldered for extra rigidity. The long-cage version of the rear derailleur made a 1 x 9 drivetrain possible with an 11 to 32 tooth cassette in place.
The chain is still the original Wipperman stainless steel one that was installed twenty years ago (stainless steel chains are really durable and the bike has apparently been kept very clean). The carbon-fiber chainring guard was the high-end custom touch that made the single 40 tooth front ring an option in the years before narrow-wide tooth chainrings were invented.
More recent modifications to the bike include a Ritchey carbon fiber handlebar and a new Fizik saddle. The Paul Components Neo-Retro model cantilever brakes and the handy secondary cyclocross brake levers are from twenty years ago, but the seatpost and Paul Boxcar model stem only recently joined the component group.