When Giovanni Battaglin won the Giro-Vuelta double in 1981, he and his teammates rode for 48 days and 7.491 km on steel bikes that weighed more than 8 kgs and had only 6 gears.
It was the only year in history when the Vuelta had no rest days and the Giro started 3 days after the Spanish Grand-Tour finished.
From 1999 the Giro d’Italia course was never longer than 3.600 km – more than 200 km shorter than the 1981 edition. The same goes for the Vuelta: from 2001 the race route was always shorter than the 1981 edition.
How could the riders in the 80s go further than today’s athletes, who ride lighter bikes equipped with better technology?
There might be several explanations for this. But as Giovanni Battaglin often says, those riders could tackle harder competitions because they felt good on their bikes.
The level of comfort offered by the lugged steel bikes made in the 80s allowed them to undertake the brutal efforts of those cycling odysseys.
Lugs increase the joint area, allowing stresses to distribute over a wider surface and therefore damping vibrations better.
In the 80s, lugged construction was the best way to build a race machine. Every bike in the pro peloton was made from skinny tubes and lugs.
Then with larger tubes and new materials, steel lugs quickly disappeared from the market.
But even when he moved from steel to different materials, there was one thing that Giovanni Battaglin couldn’t forget: the smooth feel of those bikes he rode as a pro. No carbon bike could even get close to it.
So, when he went back to making steel bikes with Officina Battaglin, a dream took shape in his mind. He wanted to create a new frame that could offer the comfort of the bikes he rode in his racing career. But with the responsiveness and the aesthetics of modern steel frames.
From 2015 he and his son Alex worked for 2 years to develop a special design that no builder had ever done.
In 2017, a new frame was born:
The Portofino is the first steel frame in the world with proprietary oversized lugs designed to fit the oversized Columbus HSS tubing and a tapered steerer.
This unusual combination of modern and traditional is the real secret behind the Portofino’s unique ride feel.
Thanks to the special lugs shapes engineered by Giovanni Battaglin, the Portofino delivers both the responsiveness of modern custom builds and the smoothness of vintage steel bicycles.
With the Portofino, you’ll experience a level of riding comfort that will let you enjoy cycling to the fullest. You’ll get rid of sore muscles and joints because of road vibrations going up your arms, even when sprinting or when adding more time in the saddle. And you’ll finally be able to come back home at the end of the ride without feeling pain.
We build each Portofino with one goal: to create a dream bike that fits your specific preferences while offering you an unforgettable, personalized experience.
Satisfying your curiosity for the endless possibilities of a custom build requires a lot of time and dedication. We use phone calls, email updates, photos of the building process: but such a personal approach wouldn’t be possible if we focused our efforts on producing a huge number of pieces.
That’s why we’ve decided to cap the annual production of the Portofino to only 70 custom frames (or complete bikes).
Each frame comes with a numbered plate brazed to the top tube that authenticates its uniqueness and will make it an exclusive item to treasure forever.
Inspiring ourselves to classic Italian steel bicycles opened up a world of possibilities for the Portofino’s look.
In fact, one of the most exciting parts of the building process will be working on the personalization of your frame and bike.
The lugged construction will allow us to finish the lugs in chrome so that your Portofino has a distinctive Italian flair.
You’ll be able to make your Portofino more unique with a custom paint job or add a personal touch with a nameplate that will pair well with the engraved details.
And if you want your custom Portofino to look different from any other bike you and your cycling friends have ever seen, the cromovelato is the one single finish that will elevate your bike to a work of art.
Customize your frame with your favorite cromovelato colors, and enjoy the translucent effect gleaming in the sunlight that only Italian expert craftsmen can create for you.
You can order a custom Portofino direct from Officina Battaglin and enjoy the full experience of building a frame or bike tailor-made to your preferences.
A custom Portofino frame includes:
- custom steel frame built to your measurements in the Battaglin workshop
- carbon fork
- custom paint or custom cromovelato finishing
- individually numbered plate
- Certificate of Authenticity signed by Giovanni Battaglin
The price for a frame custom-made for you in the Battaglin workshop starts from 3.500 €.
- Columbus HSS tubing with custom Officina Battaglin specifications
- Proprietary cast lugs manufactured in Italy
- 1”⅛ 1”¼ tapered head tube
- BSA bottom bracket
- Traditional geometry
- Rim and disc brake versions available