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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles.


I've been a participant on our friend Padraig's http://redkiteprayer.com blog since he put it up. One of the big discussions has been bicycle weight which is always something that gets me wound up, probably too much I'll admit. Our friend Chairman Bill of Torelli has some great essays that sum up my feelings and experience very well
http://bikeraceinfo.com/tech/weight.html and http://bikeraceinfo.com/tech/materials.html are the links if you want to read them. Both of us think steel bikes are the best for the riding we enjoy which brings us to the bike in the photo.
We added a small rental fleet to CycleItalia back in 2005 since TSA sometimes delayed the arrival of our clients personal machines brought over as part of their checked baggage or the airlines extorted hefty fees to fly with your bike. One of our regular clients when asked, "If we had a quality Italian bicycle available for rental in your size, would you rent it rather than bring your own?" responded with a hearty "YES!" as he waited for his prized Colnago to show up, making our decision easy. Each year the percentage of clients renting bikes has increased, nowadays it's near 50%. Last year this made us think about adding more bikes to our fleet. While Torelli's Gran Sasso model has been great we thought some clients might shy away from an all steel machine no matter how much we like ours. To take care of that issue we asked Torelli to build us some lighter machines for 2009 and equip them with compact drivetrains to save a bit more weight. The result was the bike in the photo, our "Premium" Torelli. 7000 series aluminum main frame with carbon-fiber rear stays and fork, equipped with Campagnolo Veloce 10-speed components. A lighter adjustable stem than used on our "Standard" bikes helps keep weight low. Does this bike ride as sweetly as an all steel one? I've yet to ride any non-ferrous frame that does, though our friend Padraig will claim some of the super high-end carbon bikes he's tested get very close, so the answer is no. I've done a couple of rides on "Baldini", the bike shown here and can report it's just fine, all the good handling traits of the typical Torelli bike in a lighter package with a firmer ride than the all-steel Gran Sasso model. In the end the choice is yours, smooth riding steel or lighter aluminum/carbon. If you're really particular you can still pack up your own bike and bring it with you, we're happy to help you assemble and fine tune it when you arrive.

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