Monday, August 23, 2010

A Visit to Pegoretti Cicli

Paul Hart from England writes in with his story about his recent visit to Dario Pegoretti. We previously had published a photo of Paul's beautiful "Responsorium" model Pegoretti here.

A Visit to Pegoretti Cicli

I recently treated myself to a one of Dario’s masterpieces and, as Catherine and I had a cycling holiday planned to Lake Garda, we thought a visit to the Pegoretti workshop in Caldonazzo would be nice. One problem - couldn’t find an email address for Dario. So I put on my thinking cap and remembered reading a couple of reports about Pegoretti visits by Angelo on his blog. So I got in touch with him, he came up with the goods and our visit was arranged.

After five or six days riding up and down big hills we decided it was time for a day off. So with the sat nav programmed we headed north towards Trento, when we eventually arrived at Caldonazzo the sat nav wasn’t so helpful and after several u-turns I decided to switch it off and just keep my eyes peeled. Caldonazzo is small so how difficult could it be to find Dario’s place? Sure enough a couple of minutes later I drove across the level crossing glanced over my left shoulder and there they were - the windows with the swallows.

As we peered around the door we were greeted by Daniel and Pietro, then the man himself appeared and ushered us into the kitchen for an espresso and a chat, then it was time for the guided tour of Pegoretti HQ.

The main area of the workshop, where all the prep’ work is done:

Daniel tacking a frame prior to welding:.

Dario’s office - somehow I just knew it’d look like this:

Jack, neglecting his duties as head of security:

Admiring a couple of recent show bikes - it really is impossible to get tired of looking at these things:

After a look around the paint shop at the works in progress and a few recently finished jobs Catherine asked Dario to measure her for a custom frame. At first he was surprised, I don’t think he realised she was also a bike rider, then he noticed the tell tale tan lines on the legs. With Pietro summoned to assist with ‘misurare’ it was back to the kitchen for the Pegoretti measurement process.

Recently, certainly in England, there’s been a growing trend for bike shops to offer a fitting service, this seems to be done by self appointed ‘experts’ who interview you for two hours then measure every bone in your body with laser beams and computers before making you ride to exhaustion on a stationary bike. As you can probably guess the Pegoretti method is slightly different. It involves a newspaper, tape measure, ring binder (which is thrust hard up between the legs to simulate being on a saddle) and a pair of frame builders, four or five measurements are taken and that’s it……….then a few months later you get a bike that fit’s perfectly. We’re both really looking forward to seeing the finished frame, I think it’s going to be pretty special.

After a few photos with my bike - I think Dario and Daniel liked it and I was surprised at their enthusiasm for bikes despite being around them all day every day - it was time to head back to Lazise and let them get back to work.

It was a really enjoyable couple of hours and a highlight of our holiday to meet Dario and the boys. Our next visit to Caldonazzo will be in a few months time to collect Catherine’s finished frame.

Photos: click to enlarge

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  1. Nice story. You wonder how these guys get anything done with folks showing up to pester them? I think there's an Italian "hospitality gene" -- they just can't send someone away because they're busy, whether it's making bicycles or running a vineyard. We agree totally with the measuring comments, our friend Antonio Mondonico was the same way---a few simple and quick measurements, a question or two and somehow, as if by magic, you end up with a bike that fits and rides perfectly! It's the same here in the US as UK, lots of fitting "experts" with all kinds of measuring contraptions, but all kinds of ill-fitting custom bicycles are way too often the result.

  2. Thank you for a lovely story - it was almost as though I was there myself! I enjoyed the photos and your captions too. I hope the new bike is perfect!

  3. thanks for the post, enjoyed it very much.

    saw the stenciled 'kuala lumpur' on the back wall of the first photo - dario, i take it as some sort of target you have set. well, when you decide, you will be welcomed anytime. you will find many pegorettis being ridden here in kl and the country.

    grazie mr hart, i have the exact setup. the stiff wheels provide a great base for the frame to do its job. a perfect ride always. cheers

  4. Great travelogue! I am sure it was a thrill to meet The Man himself? Back in the eighties, I traveled to Italy and stopped at Pinarello's treviso store! What a great time meeting the Master and his daughter. I did not have enough $ to buy a frame beacuse I was backpacking through Europe. Today,I am eagerly awaiting my custom steel frame from Italy! it is a special order and I shall fit it with a campy centaur grouppo.

  5. Hey Paul, it's amazing what you find on the Internet. I was looking for good examples of Pegoretti bikes when I came across your article.
    Glad to see you finally got one, I remember you mentioning you wanted one when we were out on a ride around the Peak.
    Glad to see you well and that you are still at a good racing weight, and that sun tan hasn't faded.
    I'm living in New Zealand now, with the bad road surface I was looking for something in steel. It's a fantastic looking bike, flick me an email with some close ups and let me know how it rides.
    Andy Patterson