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Friday, November 23, 2012

Pegoretti Responsorium

I count myself very lucky to have good friends who has good taste. Many lend me their watches to photograph. And one even loaned me his bicycles to ride and photograph.

In the world of bicycling, the master artisans are much like watchmaking. I already said that in the Zullo MaxSilenus article. In that article, I wrote about Tiziano Zullo...a master craftsman in handmade bicycles, and I hinted on the other great Italian, perhaps more famous maker...Dario Pegoretti.

The same good friend who loaned me the Zullo, has allowed me to swap the MaxSilenus for the Pegoretti Responsorium. Two iconic Italian steel bikes!

Click on the above picture for a full sized wallpaper of the magnificent bicycle.

Both bikes are as rare as hen's teeth. Whilst the MaxSilenus is drawn from a limited edition of only 20 pieces, the Responsorium is also almost as rare...though not limited by intent, the numbers are limited by production capacity.

The Responsorium is made from Columbus XCr...a stainless steel tubeset, which because it is stronger than regular steel, affords Dario to use thinner tubes, resulting in a very light bicycle. I didn't weigh it, but I guess it is sub 8kg...this is similar to what is reported by other owners who did weigh their bikes...the lowest I have seen was 15 lbs with pedals.

Dario is as equally famous for his paintwork and paint schemes as he is for the gorgeous bicycles he makes. This particular bike sports the Goze scheme. The frame is polished XCr, and small polka dot masks are put on the frame. The frame is then painted black, and the masks removed to reveal the shiny inside. Some of the dots are then filled with colour. One keen eyed reader wrote me to say that the sticker on the seat tube says Columbus Nemo. Indeed it does...but its just the owner's cheeky way of a joke. The tubing used is Columbus XCr.

The headset, proudly acclaims handmade, with the print of what I suppose is Dario's palm. The bike is built with 54.8 effective top tube, and a longish head tube, and parallel head tube and seat tube set at 73 degrees...though I have been told, this is approximate, as like the great American framebuilder Richard Sachs, Dario's angles are by feel, and the right ones.

The chainstays are marked with the birthdate of the frame. Also shown in this photograph, the Mig and Mag hubs by Tune - these are gorgeous hubs...smooth spinning, very light. Same hubs are used in the MaxSilenus build.

This build is magnificent. Every component carefully chosen. The wheelset is from vintage Nisi Lasers with Sapim CX-ray spokes with fancy colourful nipples. Most carbon bar, Most Tiger Extralight 100mm stem, Salle San Marco Regale saddle on carbon rails, and the superb Campagnolo Super Record 11 Ti drivetrain...hardly can get more fancy than this...safe Super Record 11 EPS.

My inexperience in photographing bicycles shows in this picture...I forget to move the crank so that the decals on the crankset saying "Campagnolo Super Record" are the right way up. But note carbon front derailleur, carbon crank and titanium chain rings.

Standard double front chainring...53/39. A bit to many gear inches for me to push. I managed to reach my personal best top speed of 52kph on a flat going 53/13 at cadence of 100, running out of breath, heart rate and power to go faster. Though I manage to hold this speed long enough to cover 1km, it was as much gear as I can manage. 53/12 and 53/11 is totally wasted on me.

The rear derailleur is also all carbon goodness. Never miss a shift. Smooth shifting...not Shimano smooth, but with great mechanical precision. Very positive feel.

Most comfortable hoods I have ridden. The hoods seem a bit wider than the Athena 11 fitted on the MaxSilenus...but this may be due to the thicker...and more comfortable tape on the Pegoretti.

How does it ride? Very stiff. Very responsive. The steering is quite direct...I am told this is to the low trail...the bike feels like it wants to turn...it turns on rails...very confident through corners. I have yet to take it to our "big" descent, but will try it out, and from reports I have read, it will decend beautifully and confidently.

The bike feels like it wants to go fast. Every input on the pedal, seems to transfer to a surge forward, and then it seems to me...maybe my imagination...but the frame then seems to give back, in a sort of harmony with the pedal strokes propelling the man and machine forwards with haste. The chainstays are only slightly smaller than Pegoretti's race machine - the Marcello.

Compared to the Zullo, I feel the Pegoretti is more racy, stiffer, less plush. But still yet comfortable. Great ride.

Note as these photographs are taken in situ on my ride, I chose the the Panasonic Lumix LX3...small enough to carry on a ride.

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