Steel is the new carbon and nobody does it better than Dario Pegoretti, who has been hand-building frames in northern Italy since 1987. Pegoretti calls steel ‘our’ material and he has certainly made it his own over the last two decades. The first Italian builder to use lugless TIG welding, a Pegoretti frame is the result of years of developing and refining a traditional art.
Some of the most obvious refinements that Pegoretti has made to modernise his bikes include increasing the tube diameters. Although Pegoretti swears by round tubing — Columbus Niobium Spirit in this case— insisting a round profile offers the best compromise between lateral strength and resistance to torsion, the diameter of the Duende’s down tube is a wide 38mm. Its top tube and seat tube measure 31.8mm.
Pegorettis are available as custom builds, but they also come in stock sizes — the price is the same for each. We had a 56cm Duende, which has a 56.5cm top tube. Retail price for frame and fork is £1,600.
Built up with the affordable Centaur groupset and Mavic Aksium Race wheels, it isn’t the lightest bike, weighing just over 20lb. But if weight is your main concern, buy a mass-produced carbon bike from the Far East. With steel, it’s all about ride quality and the Pegoretti delivers a ride of undisputed quality, and is much stiffer than you’d expect. It stops short of being unforgiving, but unless you’re a heavyweight sprinter you don’t need a firmer ride than this.
The finish is stunning. The paint is lustrous and thick and the graphics traditional yet eye-catching — this particular scheme was designed especially for distributor Mosquito Bikes. ‘Beautiful’ is the word most people have used to describe it. We’re not arguing.
Pegoretti Duende: Distributor Mosquito Bikes
Price £1,600 (f/f)
Frame Columbus Niobium Spirit
Fork Reynolds Ouzo Comp
Size range 49-61cm in 1cm increments, or custom fiting
Weight 20.5lb (9.3kg)
Groupset Campagnolo Centaur
Wheels Mavic Aksium Race
Size tested 56
A beautiful bicycle made in an artisan style in Italy.