The Best Bikes: A Pegoretti Dream Machine
Many years ago, when I was already bitten by the racing bug but unsure of where that journey would ultimately lead (this was before TBD ever existed), I purchased a bike that I will certainly never race, and may never be able to sell: a Pegoretti Responsorium with a beautiful ‘Catch the Spider’ paint scheme:
While I made the purchase early in my cycling journey, before I was able to properly comprehend Dario’s legacy in the sport, this frame remains my favorite cycling-related purchase - frankly one of the few that has stood the test of time. The project started with a conversation with the kind folks at Above Category on the West Coast, walking through all of the options on offer from Pegoretti including the Responsorium with the one-off Ciavete scheme. But ultimately I was drawn to the striking, sparkling blue and green of the Catch the Spider Responsorium, complete with amazing masking subtly hidden throughout:
I debated the full build long and hard, before deciding to preserve the frame’s Italian heritage with a Campy groupset. Above Category went, well above (and beyond), my expectations by custom painting an Enve fork and stem to match the overall scheme (the color matching is incredible) and sourcing pedals, bar tape and even a saddle that were absolutely perfect for this colorway:
Unboxing the finished build for the first time was quite the experience. The bike was and remains an absolute stunner. And while the ride feels quite different from the stiffness of the carbon race machines that I spend so much of my time on, there is no denying the sublime feel and responsiveness provided by the Columbus XCR stainless steel tubing. While I would never race it for fear of crashing, it remains dream to take for weekend cruises.
Nearly ten years later, I may have some minor regrets on the build. I couldn’t quite bring myself to drop (first generation) Di2 on this Italian beauty (especially given it would have required unsightly routing). But Campy will never be my preferred group, and having a single bike running Campy has not been ideal when it comes to things like wheelsets. Which brings up one change that I made rather soon after purchasing the bike. The Lightweight wheels that came with this build were quite something (they’re, well, light) but they never rode quite as well as I hoped and within a few months I cracked one of the rims on a pothole. Thankfully Lightweight had an excellent warranty and so as soon as they replaced the cracked front wheel (at no charge!) I put the wheelset on the auction block and switched to a far more practical Mavic Open Pro wheelset with Record hubs. But otherwise, the bike remains largely as pictured here, from the time of the initial unboxing.
Of course, in the intervening years since the original purchase I have only gotten deeper into racing and into off-road disciplines. Which has meant I haven’t spent nearly as much time on the Pegoretti as I would have liked. But while it may not see as many miles as it deserves, it remains perpetually, without a doubt, one of the best bikes I have ever ridden. If, one of these days, my own racing dies down then I have no doubt this will quickly shift back to being my primary ride. Though now that TBD is shifting to titanium bikes on the road I do look forward to comparing the ride of a Moots to this classic Dario frameset…