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Pegoretti Marcelo - Dreamride Review MOOTS | PEGORETTI | DREAMRIDE | VENTANA | OTHERS

The Pegoretti Marcelo Review

This is an ongoing review of a Pegoretti Marcelo. Immediately below is a short review from May 2009, then as you scroll down there are more entries up to September 13, 2010. Picture above was taken September 13, 2010. Other pictures here are of the same bike as it evolved over the past year.

May, 2009.
I personally own twelve bikes. Seven of them get ridden. The Pegoretti Marcelo has become the bike I choose for my daily 7AM training ride. The Marcelo never ceases to inspire me. My little 30 mile morning ride gets shorter every day, as the Marcelo turns me into a hardcore road rider. I get faster, more and more in tune with the Marcelo with every mile. I cannot say enough good things about the way this bike performs, but the one thing I want you to understand is that this bike is much more than an excellent handling road package. It is a friend. It grows on you like a really pretty girl that treats you right.

I have owned a few very good steel road bikes in my day--Puch, Bianchi, Taylor, Cinelli--among others--but when we moved to Moab, Utah in 1996 I sold my road bike and settled into a collection of mountain bikes for the tour business. All money went into mountain bike rentals and demos. We were a mountain bike business at the time and the road bike didn't fit the profile. Besides, I didn't like riding in traffic that much, anyway.

Later on, Dreamride became a Moots dealer. I became interested in Moots mostly for the road frames, though we generally sell more Moots mountain bikes. Moots mountain bikes at the time just were not up to Moab terrain, but the road versions were perfect for the horrible conditions we face on most backroads and city streets in the Moab area. In 1994, after hiring a former pro road racer as a guide, I built up a Moots road bike as a demo on his recommendation, as a training tool and to become familiar with the new generation of road parts. On the recommendation of our Moots sales rep at the time I chose a Moots Vamoots YBB to be used as a quick handling rough pavement mountain road tourer. I formulated a parts kit I call the La Sal Loop. With its tad of (YBB) rear suspension the Vamoots showed itself to be a perfect recreational (and professional--a perfect road guiding rig) bike for Moab's godawful road surfaces--the chip seal, mounds of hard or soft tar, cracks, potholes and cattleguards. Smooth flatness is very, very rare around here. The Moots served me well simply by virtue of its versatility. It will last for generations and because it is so comfy to ride, it takes good care of me, too.

At that time, I viewed road riding mostly as a training chore spiced with moments of great danger. Anyone who rides the road and the trail understands road riding is a far more dangerous at this point in history. My road rides were mostly dreaded from the start. It was either the narrow river road, the white knuckle Colorado Bridge experience that has taken a few lives over the years, the careless cars and trucks, or simply our nasty road surfaces. I always thought of the traffic--how best to see it or how to avoid it altogether. I wore a mirror on my helmet. I always tried to ride early in the morning. As I pedaled away I looked forward to getting back home to the warm glow of the endorphines and Miki's cooking. The ride was never the reason for a road ride. It was all about preparation, training, or taking a friend or client on a scenic road scoot. That was BEFORE I owned a Pegoretti.

Rewind to late 2007. I bought a Pegoretti Marcelo frame to build up as our shop window bike. I cooked it up to be a light hot rod, racy-but-sturdy, and very sexy. I put it in the window and kept it spotless. Every now and then I would take it out of the shop and ride it for a few minutes up and down the street, mostly because it was always calling, "Hey, let's go!" I never wanted to get it dirty. It was for show and Miki was pushing me to sell it, not ride it. I put it up for sale, turning down several offers to sell the frame only and shut down any offers for less than it was worth. Then I made the mistake of taking it for a real ride.

That first 25 mile ride on the Pegoretti Marcelo was not THE Revelation. It was just an easy spin, punctuated by tightening bolts and tweaking my position. It did make me realize I could be going a lot faster (and I was). I still wasn't accepting the fact that I was going to start smoking the shop stash. I would just be putting the bike back in the window, ready to ride at any point, if I was so inspired or a client was interested in the bike. I did my best to keep from getting it dirty and would sacrifice my flesh to save the paint. I was just sampling the goods to be able to talk about them. Right?

The second ride, a bit longer, happened just two days later. My body made me do it! It knows better than my brain. I simply thought it would be nice to ride the Peg now that it fit my body without adjustment. So, I rode to the Potash Plant from town, a twisting, snaking ride along the Colorado River on a very windy day. Brutal head and tail winds, hard pedaling alternating with sail-assisted kick-ass speed. Then, the next morning I decided to ride it again. Oops. I rode from town to Balanced Rock in Arches National Park, where the headset got so loose I had to call for a ride home. I had neglected to carry tools. When Miki drove up the first thing she said was, "You rode this far ALREADY?"

Speaking of Belgians (Miki is a Limburger), in 2007 Tom Boonen took the sprinter's green jersey in the Tour De France on a Pegoretti Marcelo with Specialized logos on it. That says everything about the Marcelo and what it was designed to do. It can glide across miles upon miles of pavement with unexpected smoothness, then scoot like a scalded cat on rails--seemingly incongruous performance traits. I guess I have never really had, or even ridden, a frame at this level. How can a bike with such compliance over rough road be such a stiff sprinter? How can a bike that is so quick handling be so stable that you can take your hands off the bars in a crosswind? I suspect it is careful choice of tubesets for the front and rear triangles, along with dialed geometry and smart construction, but however it is done, Dario Pegoretti has worked magic. Then he puts a paint job on it that makes you feel guilty to put a hand on it. With my Marcelo I found that the true point of commitment to a Pegoretti is when you start loving the ride enough to stop caring about the paint to the point of obsession. I am scratching it whenever I get the chance at this point.

I must admit, this is the best fitting road bike I have ever owned. It seemed a bit small for me from the start, but the more I rode it, the more I understood its top tube length to be spot-on for my long legs and short torso--for road racing. Compared to my 56cm Moots, this 53cm Pegoretti is only a wee bit shorter in the tt, with much the same headtube length. I was told by our distibutor to tell people to go with a frame 1cm smaller than they are used to. Now that I own this bike, I am suggesting most folks go 2cm smaller.

My Moots Vamoots YBB was chosen and decked out strictly as a training-touring platform, to be stable and comfortable. The Marcelo is a race-training platform, and it simply demands speed. I am just as comfortable on the Marcelo (by virtue of the Brooks saddle), but it just feels a hell of a lot faster than the Moots. The Moots is AMAZING over rough road and perfect for what it is intended--cruising in traffic or in scenery for very long periods of time. I don't mind taking a water pack on the Moots, but it seems like an unstylish burden on the Peg.

Pegoretti Marcelo - Brooks Swallow saddle and matching bar tape

I committed to this bike--my best steel friend, my favorite road bike, my favorite two wheeled machine for now. The Brooks Swallow saddle and matching honey leather bar tape were fine additions, but later I installed a Fizik Arione, simply out of irrational weight concerns and a desire to give the bike a more racy look (not pictured here). At the point where I installed the Brooks components I lowered the bar three millimeters, repositioned the brake/shifer pods a bit further out on FSA K-Wing bar (which went the way of the Brooks and was replaced by a K-Force Ergo bar from FSA, a much more traditional bar cosmetically), and then went on the best road ride of my life--another trip out Potash Road. It didn't stop except to tighten my bottle cage bolts--just another sign of how rough the roads are here. I wasn't carrying tools, so I had to stop and screw them in by hand. It was an amazing ride, fast and extremely fun and the loosening cages made me stop and enjoy the place I love, which I never do on the Pegoretti unless I am forced to. I passed a few riders on the way, novices and intermediates, folks in town for the Skinny Tire Festival. As I passed I said, "The best spring in this area is just over the railroad tracks under those trees. Sweetest water in the county." My best friend, the Marcelo, was making me quite goofy and friendly. Just thinking of that bike makes me want to stop writing and go riding. Fuck it. That is just what I am going to do.

1-27-10 update: It's frigging cold! The "Why Not Blue?" Marcelo remains in the shop, joined by two Baci Marcelo frames in my size range (53-55cm). I simply could not resist buying up a couple of Bacis when they came available as one of the larger mail order firms stopped carrying Pegoretti because of current wait times. If I could afford to, I would buy up every Pegoretti coming into the country. I settled for selling off a couple of mountain bike demos to afford the Bacis. The Baci (translates as "cookie") paint is simply the most exciting piece of pop art I have ever seen. I believe (I know!) these paint schemes will be the most collectible of Dario's work. Inspired by his experiences with cancer treatments, Baci paint is very exciting--free, joyous, and yes, somewhat scary, if you stop to think about what you are looking at. When the record cold temps of the winter of 2009-10 hit MOab I discontinued road cycling except for the occassional from-town scoot out to Ken's Lake on the Moots when temps creep above freezing. The Marcelo Why Not Blue? remains in the shop, hanging close to my work station, always there above my head to reassure me that fun awaits when spring beckons record flower growth in the desert. I have found that I do not have to ride my Pegoretti to enjoy it. All I have to do is look at it. It excites me like no other bike has done in the past. It makes me want to ride, giving me a distinct feeling in my gut, a very sweet feeling of longing and anticipated joy. I figure I put less than 3 or 4 hundred miles in an all-to-short series of 30 to 40 mile rides on the bike prior to snow and deep freeze. It is now up for sale, again, perhaps to be replaced by a Baci we have in stock. If the Bacis sell before the Why Not, then I will certainly keep the Why Not until I can get a Marcelo with a paint job as exciting as these two. The bottom line is that I simply cannot see myself without a Marcelo in the future. If business goes well this year, I will have two of them. Maybe three. Quite honestly, I can see these particular frames being extremely valuable as art objects. Down the line, when I am too feeble to ride a bicycle, the Marcelos will still thrill me in ways that are very hard to describe. After all, my true path in life is as a fine artist. I respect beauty and understand that within true works of art that capture the essence of the definition of beauty, is a clue as to the temporary nature of beauty itself--its destruction. Dario's art makes me sad at the same time it gives me one more reason to live. I simply will not turn my back on the beauty Dario Pegoretti has shared with us. How could any dealer who understands possibly stop offering such an amazing combination of beauty and performance simply because you have to wait for it? Americans! We are so stupid, blind and spoiled. But we don't have to be that way. Owning a Pegoretti is like quiting Club Stupid.

September 13, 2010
Just a few days ago I washed the Marcelo for the first time in a year, changed out the tires, cut the steerer, lowered the bars and lengthened the stem. I had already changed out the saddle for a Fizik Arione and the bar tape for matching Fizik red a few months ago. The tires were so worn that I could peel the tread off with my fingers like skin off of a rotten orange. Those Hutchinson Fusion tires are exactly that--the tread is fused to the casing. Riding hot pavement and a tad of gravel every now and again, these tires began to shred. At first I noticed some rippling in the red tread, then I noticed a separation. I guess I have put a lot of miles on this bike, but have no idea of how many. I refuse to put a computer on such a classy ride. The Hutchinson tires rolled well and are fantastic racing tires, but I will not be using them again due to this longevity issue. At any rate the new Continental 4000 tires are fast on the straights and sticky in the turns, not as pretty as the two-tone red Hutchinsons, but certainly not ugly.

After a year of using the Marcelo for training rides it was covered with energy drink splatters and caked dirt. The babes on the frame could not be seen under the dirt and muck, but I could not force myself to clean it until I was ready to do a full overhaul. I like a dirty bike, especially a dirty steel bike, but once I bathed the Marcelo I realized that the paint job is more for those who are riding with me than for my own enjoyment. The paint has held up very well considering the use I have put on the bike over the past year. It came out of the bath looking good as new, except for tiny scratches on one chainstay and a single paint ding other--gifts from leaning it against the stand and an accident with a screen door. The components needed no attention aside from cleaning. Shifing is still crisp and smooth. The Wipperman chain made cleaning the drivetrain a snap because it unsnaps and re-installs with no tools. I use these chains on every road bike I have. They are very strong and easy to maintain.

As you can see by the pictures on this page, I swapped out the bars once, the saddle twice, and ended up with the bike pictured at the top of this page. The Fizik Arione is about as comfortable as a racing saddle can get. I had been installing this model in its various forms on other Pegorettis and decided it was the saddle for me. The Brooks Swallow was wonderful, as well, but the weight and the classic look was better suited to another bike. The original red Selle Italia seat was a piece of crap, though it looked nice with the red parts. It was designed to be comfortable, but was far from it.

The Crank Brothers pedals began to squeak at one point, so I lubed them up. The lube attracts dirt, so I will swap these over for a pair of Time pedals sometime in the near future. Crank Brothers discontinued these road pedals in the 2010 model year. That says it all. The marketing for their Eggbeater model says that they are for road or mountain use, but they simply do not have a firm platform. Now, with the discontinuation of this model and the accompanying road cleat, they don't even offer a platform. I recommend Speedplay, Time, Look, Mavic (designed for walking as well as riding) and Campy pedals, if you are interested.

As for the overall performance of the Marcelo, I cannot say enough good things about it. The short review is, "comfortable and responsive, balanced and quick." I have said it before. It has qualities that are seeming opposites--rigid when accelerating and compliant when cruising. It is so well balanced and responsive that it transmits my moods. If I am feeling a bit out of sorts, it wobbles because I am wobbly. If I am feeling confident and strong, it is insanely fast and positive. Steel is real, indeed. After a year on this bike I have begun using it for rougher, steeper roads, whereas in the first few months I only used it for flat rides with relatively good pavement. Pavement in the Moab area is NOT smooth--it is all chip seal. A street in town was resurfaced with smooth black asphalt a year or so ago and every time I ride down it I realize that I could be having more fun if only chip seal were banned simply because it wears tires out and decreases gas mileage--I guess it is good for business.

Marcelo reviews from clients:
"The Marcelo is a very special bike. Just inspires so much confidence. I have taken some corners that I would not dare do on any other bike I own. It just speaks to me, "Come on,... we can do this!" And the tubing is almost miraculous, in its ability to be stiff enough to take a stomping up a hill and also mute the road buzz to a massage level. I am SO thankful that you made me get this frame. I would not have known otherwise that it is a very different ride than the Duende." ~ Eric Anderson

Pegoretti Marcelo - Dreamride Edition Review

"The more I ride it, the more I love it. I'm officially no longer held back by my equipment. I'm going to go ride it right now. This bike really makes me feel that the sky's the limit." ~ Nate Neufeld

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