Looking for a thorough review of the Officina Battaglin Portofino?
Then you should hear the story of Carlos Perea, who rode his custom Portofino in the Haute Route, the world’s toughest amateur race!
Carlos is an entrepreneur from Mexico.
Last September, after the Haute Route, he drove to Italy.
He wanted to visit the Officina Battaglin workshop and see the place where his bike was made.
We couldn’t think of a better occasion to interview him about his impressions of his meticulously-customised Portofino…
And here’s an excerpt of what he shares during the video.
Riding a steel bike in the world’s toughest amateur race
“The Haute Route is a 7-day event famous for being the toughest and the highest amateur race.
This time we were 450 riders, and it was just amazing.
One of the toughest that we’ve ever done.
It was 800 kilometers and almost 2200 meters of climbing throughout the 7 days.
A lot of people were asking me ‘why are you using a steel bike?’
And the reason why is because I was following the recommendations of Alex and Giovanni Battaglin.
The Portofino is basically the most comfortable bike that I have ever ridden.
It was super compliant, super fast in the descents, and I was climbing very easily.
I didn’t really miss any of my other, you know, carbon bikes.”
The custom build project: looking for a very unique bike
“The project started right when the pandemic started, a little bit more than a year ago…
I was looking for a very unique bike for me… Because I love cycling.
So, I was doing a lot of research, and then finally I got in contact with Alex and Giovanni…
And I found this beauty, the Portofino.
That’s the bike that I really wanted because it’s a classic bike.
It’s a bike built with a classic sense, but modern.
It has all the technology of the other bikes, but it’s made out of steel.
It’s actually light, it’s 7 kilograms.
And it’s super easy to ride it every day.“
A mesmerizing cromovelato color… Inspired by the town of Portofino
“All the people that I was riding with during the event were just mesmerized by the bike’s color.
They were asking “What type of bike is this? Is this steel? Is this titanium? What kind of material is it?”
I was speaking about Portofino on the road…
It was really interesting, I liked it very much.
Combining the blue cromovelato finish with golden decals was a very good decision.
Portofino, the Italian town in Liguria, is such a beautiful place. I was there just a few days ago.
You have this beautiful deep blue color there, and the sunset and the morning, the golden hour…
So the deep blue with golden letters, patterns, and my name was the perfect combination.
The finishing kit in matching blue cromovelato was a recommendation of Alex.
Every time that I’m pedaling and I put my head down I can see the cockpit, which looks fantastic.
I really love it, it’s a piece of art, definitely.“
Choosing the parts for the build
For the parts of the build, I wanted a bike with no electronics and no disc brakes.
So, I decided to go with the 12-speed Campagnolo Super Record with 52-36 at the front and an 11-32 cassette.
When you’re riding the big cols of the Tour de France crossing the Alps you really need to have high cadence.
And that’s the perfect combination for this.
You can ride fast on the descents, you can ride fast on the flat, you can go at a good pace, at a good cadence in the uphill…
For example, this year in the Haute Route we did the Col de la Bonette, which is super long.
And I was perfectly fine with the drivetrain I was using.
For the wheelset, I wanted a light, reliable and strong wheelset. And that’s why I decided to go with Lightweight and tubulars.
While many people say that the time of tubulars is coming to an end, but I don’t think so.
I haven’t had any issue at all riding a bike with this type of technology.
It’s super comfortable, the wheels are super strong and the combination with steel is just perfect for that kind of riding.“
The best bike in the world: a dream come true
The experience with the Officina Battaglin team was just fantastic.
I’m coming all over from Mexico, visiting Officina Battaglin, friends, now family.
It’s just the best experience I can think of.
I’ve been dreaming about having the best bike in the world: this is my dream come true.”
Do you want to discover Giovanni Battaglin’s secret formula to building a custom steel bike that rides like a dream?
Now you can access our FREE video series “The Man of Steel” and get a behind-the-scenes look at the specific process used by the 1981 Giro winner in his eponymous bike workshop in Italy.