Made in Italy

It’s getting to that time of year. The wind blows cold. The sun sets early. Rain falls. The garage door rises, and I wheel out my bike. My breath bursts in a cloud in front of my face.

These are make or break moments.

After a summer of constant pedaling and an early autumn of blissfully lowered temperatures, we’re getting to the hard part now, when throwing your leg over the bike requires that little extra bit of motivation.

I’ve just christened a new bicycle, a sweet, blue, steel Torelli (full disclosure: Torelli is an RKP advertiser) with a brand new SRAM Rival kit. White saddle. White bar tape. White pedals. Hammered tin head badge. Very handsome.

What is more motivating than a brand new ride? Nothing. Nothing is more motivating.

I have spent the last weeks acclimating myself to DoubleTap® technology, learning the ways of Sampson pedals, retuning myself to a new gear array, fine tuning saddle position. These are excellent distractions to have when the weather turns.

Of course, it’s less than ideal to take a shiny new thing and subject it immediately to rain and grime and sand and grit. I hesitated at first, but the hesitation was fleeting. I just couldn’t see the sense in lying to my new bike. It’s dirty work being my bicycle. Robots don’t feel cold and wet. They require bikes that are similarly oblivious.

And so, we’ve been running the river in all of fall’s best and worst conditions. We’ve climbed our hill in the cold darkness, and we’ve climbed it with torrents of rain flowing down the asphalt. We’ve pounded through the flats and spun through traffic.

When I ordered my new bicycle from the kind folks at Torelli, they offered me the option to customize paint and decals. I chose a less logo-y look, one they themselves recommended, thus the hammered tin head badge, and a small decal down low on the seat tube just above the bottom bracket that reads “Made in Italy.”

When I am head down into the wind and wondering if I will be able to make the cut this year, if I will be able to face up to another winter in the saddle, I look down at that small sticker and know that I will.

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9 comments


  1. Author
    Robot

    @Rusty Tool Shed – Yes. I recognize the sacrilege, but I didn’t have Euros to go Super Record, and there can be no shame in poverty, can there?

  2. sophrosune

    First off, congratulations on your new bike. I wish you posted a real picture of it (hint, hint). I grew up in Massachusetts, which I understand is currently your outpost, so I know the level of commitment you must have to keep riding throughout the year. So for that reaason alone, you deserve your new steed. But one question: in such wet conditions wouldn’t have carbon fibre or titanium made for an attractive option? In any event, sounds like a beauty. I still treasure my old steel DeBernardi and marvel at its ride qualities after some months on my CF bike. Keep ridin’.

  3. Dan O

    That Torelli is sweet – looks great. How about some fully built up pics?

    I do own a carbon bike, along with some older steel bikes as well. I’ve always had a jones for a Torelli frame. No nonsense steel frame and fork, still made in Italy. Really nice.

    Maybe some pics of yours in action?

  4. David A

    @Robot-Sounds like a sweet ride!!! I think what is most important is that you have a bike to ride/train on regardless of the equipment. Ive remember a guy named David Grindley 81 Tour of Ireland winner and British National team rider who had what I call a Frank-in-bike. Bits and pieces of differant equipment on a frame that had most of the paint scraped off and a saddle with a chuck of one side gone from crashes. Needless to say he rode it alot and did very well in the races. It was sound and correct and he was living off what he made in the races. New chains, freewheels and tires being the priority.

  5. Robot

    @David A – This is sorta like what guitar players mean when they talk about a “player” versus a “collector.” A player can be any guitar that plays easy and sounds great. The cost and/or value make no difference at all. A “collector” is a great looking guitar with a good pedigree that may or may not sound good.

    I’d rather own an ’80s Panasonic covered in mud from flogging it up and down the countryside than a 2011 Colnago that goes pale from the fluorescents in my garage.

    The Torelli has qualities of both about it.

    Which is nice.

  6. Hawker

    So, why steel? I know you must have tried all the other options? Was it just because you wanted something different, wanted to test a sponsor’s product or are you part of the “steel is real” crowd. :)

    Really, if money were no object is there one material that you like the best on a do-it-all road machine.

    Yes, a real photo would be cool.

    And lastly….would love your impressions of the old Vitus 979 or 992. I’m a little guy (130lbs) and I’m really wanting one. For my weight I think they should be safe enough…as long as the glue holds.

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