Lately, we've been thinking a lot about relationships, why we work with one bike builder over another, and what sort of alchemy has to come together to sustain that partnership for the long term. It all started when we realized that we'd be working with Officina Pegoretti for over fifteen years. How the heck did that happen?
Naturally, we break bread with a range of builders at Above Category, and we're regularly pitched a whole lot more. To take a cue from the great Jimi Hendrix, who always found something good to say about even the 'worst' guitar player, we're sure they all do one thing well.
They're just not for us.
That's not to say we won't take on new builders or keep our eyes peeled for genuine creativity when it crops up, like new AC-additions, Partington Wheels, for example. But the truth is, it's not just about the bike. It's the people, too. And when it comes to Pegoretti, we're family.
We're not about to embark on a history lesson - although if we did, we might mention the time the Above Category race team rode and won on a fleet of Love #3s, a tradition kept alive by our in-house pro Brennan Wertz aboard his new Pegoretti Marcelo. Or the first time we went to Italy to visit the Bottega, what Pegoretti call their artisanal workshop to meet Dario in person. The laughter-filled dinners and stay-overs when he came to this part of the States. His too-soon passing in 2018 and the emergence of Pietro, Dario's anointed successor and the man, if truth be told, behind many of the Pegoretti welds, paint flourishes and Ciavetes that Dario is credited for.
That's a 180 on the history lesson. But you get the picture; fifteen years is a long time. And throughout all those years, two things have remained the same: the unwavering quality of the Bottega's work and the longevity of the bikes themselves. Of course, the durability of a steel frame isn't unique to Pegoretti, but the timeless performance surely is. The past is the past and all, but you don't make frames for the Pantanis, Indurains and Delgados of this world without knowing how to make a fast bike. And that knowledge remains at Pegoretti, passed on as it was to Dario by his father-in-law Luigino (he of the frame model), from him to Pietro, and in time from Pietro to others. Important lessons learned and not forgotten, renewed and strengthened throughout the decades. And in a world of cheap thrills and throwaway convenience, for Above Category, that sort of time-honored craftsmanship is more valuable than ever.
Here's to the next fifteen.