This week on the journal we have another build dear to our hearts. This beautiful Pegoretti Marcelo is a particularly special one since it is my own personal bike and one I have had the great fortune of already riding well over a thousand miles on.
I have owned, ridden, and raced numerous bikes since my introduction to this lovely sport years ago. I have spent seasons racing the US Pro and Elite circuit on the latest and greatest lightweight, aero, integrated blah blah blah production carbon road bikes. Those bikes are rad and I have thoroughly enjoyed the thousands of miles logged on these high tech machines. However when presented with the opportunity to build up a new road bike with Above Category, I knew I wanted something a bit more unique.
I have long loved the aesthetics of the beautiful frames that leave Pegoretti’s storied Bottega in Verona, Italy. The frames are so well built and the attention to detail is unparalleled. The lines are clean and the frame’s silhouette is wonderfully well balanced. Beyond the build quality of the frames is their magical ‘Ciavete’ custom paint. I will get to my custom paint process in a bit, but the diversity and uniqueness of the Pegoretti finish work was a huge reason for why I chose to build up a Marcelo of my own.
Why the Marcelo?
Of all the frames Pegoretti offers, the Marcelo stood out to me and felt like the obvious choice. I am a larger rider and really appreciate a stiff frame when it comes time to lay down the power. The Marcelo features an oversized tubeset with rather beefy chain- and seatstays. These oversized tubes provide a sharp and lively ride characteristic that really brings the bike to life as the watts start to flow.
Now that I have a number of solid weeks of riding on this bike under my belt, I can say with confidence that this bike handles remarkably well. Not only does it respond instantaneously to accelerations, it also descends unlike any bike I have ever ridden. That is in part due to the oversized tubes, the geometry, and the composition of the tubes themselves.
When ordering a Pegoretti, one has the option to choose what they call ‘Ciavete’ paint. This is the Bottega’s custom paint offering and it is truly one of a kind. Their paint program is quite unique in that when the frame box is opened for the first time, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. When ordering a Pegoretti, it is possible to provide certain input and inspiration for the Ciavete paint, but the end result is fully in the hands of the phenomenal artists and craftspeople at the Bottega in Verona.
For the paint on my Marcelo I knew I wanted a purple base color. I personally am quite fond of purple and love how uncommon it is to see bikes painted this lovely color. I had seen other frames they had painted with a sort of drip/splatter style that really spoke to me. I told the folks in Italy that style was something I was drawn to, but to not necessarily copy it. Pulling the frame out of the box when it arrived and seeing the finish work was an experience I will cherish for quite some time. This is also a part of the Pegoretti process that makes ordering and owning one of these bikes so special. Even now, weeks after first seeing the frame, I still find intricate details and small surprises when admiring the bike from different angles and in changing light.
For the cockpit on this build I chose to go with the classic, timeless, and very racey Deda Zero100 Deep bars, Deda Zero100 stem, and the Deda Superleggera carbon seatpost. All sporting the loud ‘Team’ graphics. This bar/stem/seatpost configuration provides a really nice balance of stiffness, comfort, durability, and ergonomics. Bars are often a very personal choice and for me I find that the classic deep drop of these bars is very comfortable and provide me with a multitude of options for hand placement when doing my efforts in training or races.
For this full Italian build, it seemed only fitting to hang a mechanical Campagnolo Super Record 12 speed groupset on this wonderful frame. Recently I have almost exclusively been riding bikes with electronic shifting from all three of the big players in the groupset space. After spending some time on this new bike, I must say there is something extremely satisfying about the tactile feel of the Campagnolo mechanical Super Record group. The shifts are lightning quick, always bang on precise, and refreshingly crisp.
Since I built this bike for road training and racing, I went for a rather stiff 53/39 chainring combination and an 11-29 cassette. Another important feature of this drivetrain is the custom painted SRM power meter. I sent the cranks to Spectrum Paint & Powder Works in Boulder, Colorado to have them refinished with the original Campagnolo script logo. I have always loved the look of this beautiful logo and I figured this would be a nice addition to the build. A final fun custom detail is the purple anodized SRM PC8 head unit that our friends in Germany at SRM were able to put together for this build. At Above Category we love a nice custom aesthetic that is simultaneously a high performance training tool!
To keep with the full Italian theme of this build, the Campagnolo Bora WTO wheels seemed like an obvious choice. I personally love running deep section carbon wheels and I have been quite impressed with how well these wheels ride. While they aren’t the lightest wheels on the market, at 1547g they climb, corner, and accelerate remarkably well thanks in part to their impressive stiffness.
These wheels are confidence inspiring and give me the ‘cornering on rails’ sensation when taking corners at high speeds. One final characteristic of these wheels I am quite fond of is the braking track. The wheels have what Campagnolo refer to as their AC3 braking track technology. This is a textured braking track that feels responsive and provides more than ample braking power when I am descending steep and technical roads around Marin. Disc brakes are great and all, but the humble rim brake is still one hell of a system and won’t be disappearing anytime soon!
This bike also features a host of the incredible products from our friends in Denmark at CeramicSpeed. My Marcelo has their standard bottom bracket, coated 3d printed titanium pulleys, as well as upgraded bearings in the Dura Ace pedals and the Campagnolo Bora WTO 60 wheels.
We love upgrading bikes with the CeramicSpeed products because the end result is always a bike that rides as smooth and quietly as they come, saves considerable watts (who wouldn’t want that?!), and is impressively durable. As of a few weeks ago, their coated products now boast an industry-leading lifetime warranty, something I am a huge fan of given the amount of abuse these bearings are sure to see during their life on my bike…
Many More Miles to Come
I have cherished these last few weeks aboard this beautiful race bike and I can’t wait for the many rides to come. I have some big rides planned on this wonderful machine and I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts and impressions as I become increasingly acquainted with my Marcelo.
For more details on Brennan's build, check out the gallery here.