Ugo De Rosa was born on January 27th, 1934 in Milan, Italy and at 13 years began working as a mechanic at the workshop of Filippo Fasci, a relative who had a repair shop in Niguarda on the northern suburbs of Milan.
Ugo works and runs and passes from young category to amateurs. He soon realizes how the geometry of a frame may be essential for a cyclist and, at 18 years, in 1952 opened his own shop in Via Pila in Milan, where he builds and sells racing bikes with particular attention to details. His own bicycle geometries are outside standard models and are very innovative.
In those years, other famous brands such as Cinelli and Colnago always start their business in the city of Milan and the Vigorelli Velodrome, a magical wooden track 333 meters long, begins to host the great cycling champions and becomes the scene of epic duels.
In 1958, during a show at the Vigorelli Velodrome, the champion Raphael Geminiani was without bicycle, and once tested a De Rosa bike, he was fascinated by it. He therefore asked De Rosa to build him a frame for the upcoming Giro d’Italia and launched De Rosa into the world of the professional cycling.
In the sixties Spanish champions such as Soler and Suarez of Faema Team were the first to run with De Rosa frames. These are the years in which Rick Van Looy won the world championships: De Rosa was his mechanical and followed him in the team support car.
There were several riders who chose De Rosa as a builder and in 1967 he started to build frames for Max Mayer Team whose sport director was Gastone Nencini.
The green bicycles provided to the GBC professional team are the first that the company marks with the "heart of De Rosa": it is 1973 and the best known runners are Panizza, Francioni, Turrini and the team is led by Dino Zandegù.
Another cycling champion, who used the De Rosa bikes, was Gianni Motta in 1969 when he asked Ugo to become his mechanic and frame builder of the Sanson team.
In 1973 De Rosa became the official mechanic of Eddy Merckx for the Molteni team and he began a fruitful and professional collaboration with him: Merckx was a very demanding rider and his experience as professional cyclist helped Ugo to realize how to improve the geometry of the frame and fork.
The story tells about Eddy Merckx who brutally asks Ugo during a meeting why he doesn’t want to build him a bike and tells him that he never knew a frame builder so presumptuous.
In fact, Ugo hasn’t been informed about the Eddy’s request as this one had asked Gianni Motta to introduce himself to the frame builder of Milan, but Motta had avoided to report to Ugo the request of the Belgian champion. Clarified the arcane, Ugo De Rosa and Eddy Merckx began to collaborate and their collaboration was formalized not before 1973 and lasted until 1978, the year of Eddy’s retirement. The collaboration continued even after when Merckx decided to build their own frames.
Before the Milan- San Remo of 1975 Merckx asked to try forks with different inclinations for the final slope of “Poggio” and after having tried all six, chose the best for him. Few days afterwards he won the Milan San Remo before a young Francesco Moser.
Even for the Paris Roubaix of 1973 Merkcx demanded five different frames in a week and after trying all of them decided for the first built by Ugo: he succeeded winning.
Francesco Moser also used De Rosa frames during his season with the Filotex in 1974 and later went on to win major races such as Paris-Roubaix.
During the Giro D’Italia in 1974 about eighty percent of the riders ran on De Rosa frames although they weren’t always marked with “the heart De Rosa”. Even the strongest Erik De Vlaeminck used De Rosa frames and won in 1976.
In 1982 De Rosa sponsored the Sammontana team with athletes like Moreno Argentin and G. B. Baronchelli.
At the end of the 80s the TIG welding of aluminium became popular and De Rosa started to realize frames with unique shapes and geometries, while remaining linked to steel and keeping a small series of frames with steel junctures in his catalogue.
Then aluminium was overtaken by carbon which has the characteristics of elasticity similar to steel but much more light…. this is today but De Rosa began its story in 1952 and took pride in his sixty year long experience in the construction of high-end racing frames.