Umberto Dei was born in Milan 1870 and became an apprentice mechanic in the burgeoning cycle industry.
In 1896 he started building bicycle frames under his own name, supplying racing bikes for local merchants and his friends and gained a reputation for organising road races.
In 1897, along with 3 other riders, Umberto was selected by the Unione Velocipedistica Italiana to travel to Paris and represent Italy in a race against the most well-known French racers of the time. The Italians won the competition with Umberto finishing second riding a bike of his own manufacture, behind Minozzi, then Italian Champion.
This event secured Umberto’s reputation and for the next 30 years Dei bikes were at the forefront of Italian racing bike design and by 1915 his factory employed over 100 people.
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics Umberto Dei bikes were ridden by the national teams of Brazil, Egypt, Uruguay, Peru, Romania, Bulgaria, Columbia and Turkey.
Umberto continued to make top quality track and road racing bicycles in the premises in Via San Vincenzo, Milan until his death in 1964.
The brand name Umberto Dei is owned by Atala Cycles who make city bikes under the Dei name to this day.