Jose Duarte was born in La Mesa Bogota Colombia in 1936, At the age of 20 Jose embarked on a successful racing career which saw him becoming Colombia’s national road racing champion at the age of 23 in 1959.
In 1965 Jose quit racing and opened his cycle workshop in Bogota making road racing frames,
For the next 50 years Jose Duarte was the most important frame maker in South America supplying frames to racers who rode his bikes to 6 Vuelta Colombia wins as well as wins in the Vueltas of Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuala. In the 1980 Vuelta Colombia 42 of the 92 riders were riding Duarte frames and in 1985 one of his bikes was ridden to victory by Martin Ramirez in France’s Tour de L’Avenir.
All through this time whenever professional European riders visited Colombia, a trip to Duarte’s workshop was in the itinerary and inside the shop are pictures of Jose with the likes of Coppi, Hinault and Merckx
Duarte was highly regarded by not only cycle racers but also famous amateur riders including Presidents of Colombia and even Pablo Escobar who ran a cycle team riding Duarte bikes that also doubled as cocaine smugglers.
Jose passed away in January 2020 but leaves a successful business run by Jose’s son Fabio.