Friday, March 31, 2017

New full-carbon rental bicycles!

We have it! "Belloni" named after Gaetano Belloniwinner of the Giro d'Italia in 1920 has arrived at our shop in Iowa. We've shown photos of this bike, made exclusively for us by Michele Favaloro in the past with various other components installed for promotional purposes, but this is the way the new bikes will be equipped for you.

You'll enjoy Campagnolo's newest-latest component groupset, POTENZA. 11 speeds with compact (34/50) chainrings and 11-32 cogset will give you all the gears you need, whether it's going up or down. The revised brakeset will make sure you can control your speed as the new pad compound has received rave reviews. The brakes will grab URSUS Athon wheels as shown.

Larry LOVES the headtube logo. It reminds him of the old MV Agusta motorcycles. All the headtubes are a few centimeters taller than our standard bikes in an effort to let us get the bars in your perfect position. To fit Heather or Larry this means the stems have no spacers underneath, but we can put up to 3 cm under them if needed. Combined with our adjustable stems (same as our current bikes) we're sure we can dial-in your perfect position.

Although we've yet to ride this new bike more than up-and-down the block (update - Larry took it out later today for an hour and reports that it rides and handles just like our current "Standard" aluminum/carbon bike, but at a weight of just 8 kg) after spending 3 days with Favaloro at NAHBS and a few email exchanges about the final specs on the rest of the fleet, we''re confident about them and have authorized the construction of "Atala", "Cunego", "Girardengo" and "Pambianco". to add to "Belloni"  so we can offer a range of sizes to fit most riders.

These photos show Michele didn't waste any time getting to work! The bikes are put into vacuum bags to compress all the fibers and resin used in the joints before being baked in the oven to cure and make everything a solid structure.

The air is carefully sucked out of each bag.

They're then baked under carefully controlled conditions. 

Four identical bikes (except for sizing of course) makes this project a bit easier, at least that's what we hope!

Our small fleet begins to take shape.

ALL of the tubes are round. We wanted a classic bike made with modern materials. Round tubes also mean less wasted material and lower costs as the Toray 3K carbon sheets Favaloro uses don't come cheap!

Neither does the equipment to produce the frames. One more reason Italian guys used to brazing lugged steel frames in their shops all over Italy were reluctant to switch to carbon (or aluminum back-in-the-day) as the pros made the move away from classic steel frames.

We're not tossing out our classic steel bikes, but we realize more and more of you have ridden nothing but carbon-fiber bicycles and expect nothing less on your dream trip to Italy. We waited (and waited) until we could offer you 100% Made-in-Italy bikes built to Larry's specifications to match the ride and handling characteristics of our tried-and-true Torelli-branded fleet.

Beyond this, we want to point out that for the same price as a Made-in-China bike from the big brands (S, T, G, etc.) with a Favaloro you can get a full-carbon frame and fork created just for you - TO YOUR EXACT MEASUREMENTS. This is like buying a custom, hand-made suit at an off-the-rack price! Sure, a skilled tailor can alter your off-the-rack suit so it looks and feels good, same as your bike shop can adjust stem lengths etc. to dial-in your fit. But why settle for that when you can have a true, made-to-measure bicycle for around the same price? 

While the big brands have the advantage of volume production and low-cost labor, they also spend millions on pro team sponsorship and other marketing/promotion, not to mention the markup from actual producer to the big brand and then the markup your dealer needs to stay in business. Even if you buy direct via the internet and cut out some of that markup you're faced with the same choice of sizes - too small, too big and close enough!

None of that is involved in the production of a Favaloro so the price difference between off-the-rack and made-to-measure or Made-in-China vs Made-in-Italy goes away. Think about this when it's time for a new bike!

We also wanted to let you try Campagnolo's latest groupset. Larry thinks they drifted away from their original philosophy at bit in the past, but with Potenza it's back - the same great performance of the top-of-the-line groupsets available at a lower price. With that lower price you get lower-tech materials (aluminum and steel instead of carbon-fiber and titanium) which weight a bit more, though Potenza is competitive in the weight category with Asian rivals. For a detailed comparison click HERE.

The rest of the fleet will be ready by the time our Paradise in Piedmont tour begins. There's still time to reserve your place AND a Favaloro full-carbon bike. But don't wait too long. as space (and bikes) are limited.

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