Dubbed by BikeRumor as an “Ultra-modern lugged frame”, the Officina Battaglin Portofino R 2023 marries the latest cycling technology with traditional Italian craftsmanship.
In this video, we’ll walk you through every detail of the very first Portofino R road bike we assembled, the No. 00/99.
But first, some context about what makes the Portofino R a one-of-a-kind project among contemporary steel road bikes.
BikeRumor: “We don’t often associate Italian lugged steel with such modern features”
To quote the article that appeared on BikeRumor, “We don’t often associate Italian lugged steel with fully internal routing, dropped seatstays, integrated seatpost clamp, and a T47 bottom bracket”.
As a matter of fact, the Portofino R’s most impressive aspect is the sleek modern design.
Like the Portofino, it’s built using lugged construction … But it’s a huge leap forward from the original version’s diamond-shaped frame.
The Portofino R is inspired by the most recent racing machines.
There are certainly some tech similarities with carbon aero road bikes…
And the Portofino R elegantly integrates them into a modern steel bicycle frame built and finished using traditional Italian techniques.
The proprietary oversized lugs that fit the oversized tubing have always been the secret to the Portofino’s smooth ride feel.
But to achieve an increase in power transfer by reducing the rear triangle’s section, the Portofino’s seat lug had to be completely redesigned.
The Portofino R’s new seat lug shape allows for dropped seatstays, which result in sharper accelerations.
Design-wise, the lug’s aesthetic is much cleaner than the old version. The seatpost locking system employs an expander bolt clamp that completely hides the bolt.
The most significant changes to the frame also include the following:
- a beefed-up 31.8-mm seat tube to be as vertically compliant as possible;
- a T47 bottom bracket that increases stiffness in the bottom bracket area.
All these updates accentuate the bike’s responsiveness while retaining the comfort the Portofino has become known for.
Premium steel and carbon fiber for saving weight
Now, a few words about the frame material and its main components.
The Portofino R is made from oversized Columbus GB81 steel tubing.
The GB81 is a custom version of the Columbus Spirit HSS, Columbus’ premium OMNICROM alloy tubeset.
Featuring custom tube profiles, the GB81 is made especially for Officina Battaglin; hence the acronym with our founder Giovanni Battaglin’s initials.
The triple butting borrowed from the Spirit HSS ensures that the wall thickness can be reduced up to 0.38 mm, resulting in exceptionally lightweight frames.
An Italian-made carbon fork matches the Italian-made Columbus tubing.
Not only the carbon-fiber fork helps with saving a couple of grams… But it also offers excellent handling by adding rigidity to the front end.
Great to ride as much as to look at: the Portofino R’s special paint job
The Portofino R is as great to ride as much as it’s great to look at.
The Officina Battaglin designers created its special paint job around two elements:
- the polished chrome lugs, a must-have for any high-end Italian handcrafted steel frame;
- the cromovelato, Officina Battaglin’s signature finish. Cromovelato, achieved through an exceptionally time-consuming process, creates a highly reflective color that is shinier than any other paint or finish.
The Portofino R’s paint job consists of a cromovelato color fading to a darker hue through a filigree pattern patiently hand-laid.
The No. 00/99’s primary color is light blue cromovelato, which fades to dark night cromovelato in the bottom section of the frame.
The final effect of the combination of two cromovelato colors is simply mind-blowing.
The light blue is reminiscent of crystal clear waters and will catch the eye of anyone who sees it.
But as you gaze upon the dark night, you’ll see subtle hints of light blue reflecting off of it, creating an almost mesmerizing effect.
When riding fast in the sun, these shimmering accents will seem to dance across the dark background, moving more quickly with every pedal stroke.
Together, the two colors create a stunning visual contrast that’s both elegant and bold.
A wealth of color-matched parts for a cohesive look
But what’s most impressive about this Portofino R is the wealth of color-matched parts.
Officina Battaglin’s designers and painters went the extra mile to ensure the Battaglin Owners can match virtually anything on their frames.
The No. 00/99 features a color-matched Deda Superzero seatpost on which a color-matched Fizik saddle is mounted.
The color-matched cockpit includes a Deda Superzero handlebar and a proprietary Officina Battaglin stem.
It’s worth mentioning that the stem is one of the latest releases from the Officina Battaglin engineers.
It’s a finely CNC-machined part that is lightweight, strong, and reliable. Needless to say, it’s designed to be customized in the same tinted mirror finish of the frame.
Another delightful feature of this new stem model is the color-matched spacer, making for an uninterrupted flow of cromovelato throughout the cockpit.
And what about the color-matched brake levers?
They’re a small but unique detail that makes the bike stand out even more.
All the parts finished in matching cromovelato, when put together, create a cohesive look that’s guaranteed to turn heads.
The build kit adorning the Portofino R bike frame No. 00/99
We wanted to adorn the first Portofino R frame with a top-notch build kit…
And the 12-speed Campagnolo Super Record groupset, probably the most desirable of all time, was an obvious choice.
The wheels might seem to derail from the “full Italian” theme… But you’ll struggle to find a wheelset that grabs more attention.
The Lightweight Meilenstein EVO perfectly match the bike’s aggressive modern look.
These wheels not only live up to what you’d expect from a brand with such a name… But they’re also incredibly stiff and responsive.
Combined with the Portofino R’s design, they make for the racing feel you won’t find so easily on a steel bike.
It’s worth reminding that disc brakes and electronic shifting are not the only build kit options available on the R.
If you fancy a more classic feel, the Battaglin artisans will be happy to build a frame that can take mechanical shifting and rim brakes.
Whatever build kit you select, you can equip your Portofino R with parts that suit your riding style.
Portofino R 2023: the best modern lugged frame?
We’re not sure if the Portofino R is the best modern lugged frame on the market…
But there’s no doubt it’s one of the most advanced lugged steel framesets ever created.
So, whether you’re on the hunt for the ultimate lugged bike…
Or you’re just a cycling enthusiast who likes staring at exceptional machines…
We have created this video for you to enjoy from start to finish.