Unusually for AC, this bike started life as a frame sale, not a complete build. The client came from LA and had found us through a friend. He ordered a Marcelo with Pegoretti's 'surprise me' Ciavete artwork, and a few weeks later, we received the finished frame straight from the Pegoretti Bottega in Verona. After marveling at its gorgeous paint job and perfect balance, we packed it up and sent it on its way with a sigh. Would we ever see it built up? We hoped so.
Jump forward two years, and the client, Steve, had become an AC regular. He still loved his Marcelo, but after riding it for many miles, he wanted to talk about a refresh. There was nothing wrong per se; he just wasn't feeling excited by the build anymore. As you can imagine, we were seriously pleased to finally get the chance to put the AC stamp on his Marcelo and create a build worthy of the Pegoretti name.
Details of the build aside, we knew we'd be using Steve's Lightweight Tubular Obermayer wheels, which he'd gotten from us previously. With their narrow rims and 900g weight, the Obermayers are badass climbing wheels: stiff, fast and proven to perform on the biggest Grand Tours.
With the Marcelo stripped down and thoroughly checked over, our first move was to install a smooth-running Ceramicspeed bottom bracket. Naturally, we didn't replace the headset - the D11 from Peg x Chris King is a masterpiece. Plus, it looks gorgeous. Next, we slung the frame with a mechanical Campagnolo Super Record groupset. A real jewel. Like Machine Gun by Jimi Hendrix, it's a perfect composition that puts you in a different headspace just by experiencing it. An SRM power meter completed the drivetrain.
Choosing the brake calipers kept us up at night. Three limited edition eeBrakes sat before us, but which should we choose? Black would be easy, but we opted for the red, pewter and gold of 'The Matador', because the colors complemented the frame. With color, you can get too nutso, but this felt right.
Nobody chooses a Pegoretti if they're gunning for grams. There are lighter frames, but few that feel so superbly connected to the road and the rider in such an elemental way. As the brand says, you buy a Pegoretti for a lifetime of inspired riding, not to brag about your sub-7kg build. Having said that, we were not opposed to saving weight in other areas (and as you'll read at the end of this post, the build ended up pretty damn light). To that end, we chose Darimo components for the cockpit and seat post. They're hyper-light, and they matched the aesthetic we had in mind. We saved some grams, but not where it would cost confidence and control when the rubber met the road.
Compared to the excellent Bjōrn Rool handlebar, Darimo's Ellipse model exhibits more flex. It's good on the hoods but won't be as stiff as the Rool for sprinters. However, it is lighter, and it will do the job for most riders.
Darimo's aluminum stem, the IX2AL, is rock solid and gorgeous to behold. It is, however, old school in the sense you need to take the bar tape and brake levers off to get the bar out to install the stem, which is a pain. But once you've done that, you're left with one of the most perfectly balanced stems we've ever had the pleasure to use.
And we haven't got to the Darimo T1 Loop seatpost yet. Trick doesn't cover it. Those are loops of Dyneema® in place of a traditional clamping system atop a hand-laminated carbon fiber post. Do the loops work? They do.
The fact that the T1 Loop exists speaks to the enduring relevance of small-batch producers. Of course, big-brand engineers could envision something like the T1 Loop, but their companies would never make it in bulk. That's not what big brands do. They move units. Sometimes pretty, sometimes cool, but units, nonetheless.
A Berk saddle, chosen to replicate the measurements of Fizik's Antares and save weight, completes the build.
On the AC scales, Steve's Marcelo nudged 15.5lb. With lighter pedals and without the power meter, it would have dropped to 15lb. We mention the final weight to dispel the notion that steel is only about feel.
Steel bikes fly.
THE BUILD LIST
- Frame: Pegoretti Marcelo with heat-treated Columbus LIFE tubing and optional Ciavete artwork
- Headset: Chris King x Pegoretti D11 Headset
- Drivetrain: Campagnolo Super Record, mechanical, with SRM power meter
- Wheels: Lightweight Obermayer Tubular
- Bottom Bracket: Ceramicspeed
- Brakes: eeBrakes, 'The Matador' special edition, rim
- Cockpit: Darimo Ellipse handlebar, IX2AL stem and T1 Loop seatpost
- Saddle: Berk