Strengths: Ride characteristics and handling, stiffness, comfort, uniqueness.
Weaknesses: If I have to list something I'd say the paint job could be more traditional (personal preference), I'd also say that a steel frame just looks a little dated these days. That's about it. I know that many people complain about the weight of steel, but this bike simply does not feel or ride like a bike that is any heavier than most stuff out there today. On paper, the frame weight say's heavier than normal. But, on the road the ride says light and nimble.
A few months ago I built up a Pegoretti Marcelo and after a few hundred miles on it I feel that I can accurately describe its' traits.
First, I still say that this is a very stout feeling frame. Despite how artistic Pegoretti's paint schemes are and how much his bikes seem to fit the wall art mode, the feel that the Marcelo provides says "ride me often and hard." It is no prim donna. It offers the stiffness of a carbon monocoque or scandium frame without any of the harshness of these other materials. In fact, it has a decidedly steel ride. It has steel's Springiness; it has snap when you accelerate or jump into a full on sprint; and, it does a great job of dulling road buzz and softening jolts.
It is a bike that I would describe as perky. It is alive and provides an upbeat ride. As if it is wearing a smile. I know that may be a bit much to interpret, but if you were to ride one you'd understand. It is a bike that makes the time in the saddle disappear. Its’ ride characteristics edge you to ride longer, farther, faster, at a higher RPM, and it encourages you to have fun.
Best of all, in my opinion, is the geometry/handling. It is stout and strong like an truck, but handles like a true sports car. Point it, lean it, and go. It is a handling machine. It carves a line that will give a male rider an erection. Yes, its’ handling is that damn sexy.
The geometry stretches you out nicely, but not so much so that you're fighting the bike’s angles when it is time to get up and jam through corners, switchbacks or situations that require being nimble. I'm no expert on this kind of stuff, but I'd say it has a long top tube, but still manages to keep you in a "cocked & loaded" fighting position over the cranks. In my experiences with other frames, a long top tube usually meant "stuck to the saddle" geometry that penalized the rider for being too frisky on rides. Not the Marcelo. Stand, sit, alternate frequently, high RPM, pushing big gears, it does not discriminate. Better yet, it encourages you to get up and out of the saddle for rolling hills, to make aggressive maneuvers, or to change the scenery and relieve your butt from the saddle.
I've ridden an Eddy Merckx and Cannondale, which are both long top tube bikes, and they are really comfortable stretched out over distance, but they do not exactly reward moving from the seated to standing position. Moreover, they tend to put you far enough behind the bottom bracket that standing does not pay any meaningful dividends, other than to stretch your legs or to remain over-geared. I've also ridden a Pinarello. The shorter top tubes on these bikes encourage you to stand and move around on the frame, but they don't offer the optimally comfortable hunker down position that rewards the Roleur in me.
The Marcelo offers the best of both worlds. This is really noticeable during climbs. Standing or seated. Pick your preference; the Marcelo will accommodate either very well.
Ooh, did I mention that the frame is beautiful? I must admit that it is a little louder than I'd like it to be, but it is beautiful regardless. I'm more of a basic color kind of guy, and the Marcelo has anything but a basic looking paint job. Yet, it is appreciated by almost everyone who sees it and recognizes bike porn upon viewing.
I can't imagine what else I'd want in a bike. Maybe if it were lighter that would be great. However, it only comes across as heavier than today's standards on paper. It feels light to the touch, rides like a lightweight, and is nimble and perky. So if there is a weight penalty for steel, it is imperceptible on the Marcelo.
Strengths: 1. Fit
2. Handling, tracking, steering.
3. Stiffness & acceleration
4. Stability at speed.
5. Comfort on long rides.
6. Quality of craftsmanship. Dario Pegoretti is the master craftsman of performance frames.
7. Finish & Paint: Although I would ride this bike even if it had no paint on it, Dario Pegoretti is also an artist, and he paints a beautiful bike. Additionally, the paint is very durable, and looks great over time.
9. Durability/longevity: This bike will be great for many many years of hard riding
Weaknesses: 1. Weight weenies will either be disappointed or cured, it is not the lightest bike . . . but as a friend who owns 14 high end racing bikes is quick to point out, his Marcelo is the bike he chooses to ride the majority of the time.
I have been riding a Stock Pegoretti Marcelo for a couple of years, but got a new one in 2008 to dial in the frame fit perfectly. It was worth the wait. I am 6'3" tall, 215 lbs, and have 23 years of experience road cycling on top of the line frames and components.
The Marcelo is the nicest riding bike I have ever ridden.
Responsiveness/Handling: It responds to rider input as if it is an extension of your own body. Telepathic steering at any speed.
Stiffness: Marcelo eagerly jumps forward in accelerations and out of the saddle sprint efforts, giving you confidence that every ounce of torque is transferred directly into acceleration.
Stability at speed and in the corners: I have reached new levels of speed in cornering and descending on the Marcelo. As speed increases, Marcelo settles in calms you down, tracking perfectly even on uneven and chewed up pavement. Marcelo has instilled such a sense of confidence in cornering at high speeds that I rarely need to feather my brakes even on long steep winding descents. Marcelo gives you all the road feedback you need, stays on line, and responds predictably. It is like having a race car suspension in a grand prix race course, you can just corner faster.
Comfort: I love both my fast training morning rides of 20-30 miles, as well as my weekend rides of 60 to 100 miles. I want a bike that feels as good in the 100th mile, as it does in the 10th mile. Again, Marcelo delivers. My lower back, hips, joints, hands and shoulders feel fresh at the end of a very long ride, I get none of the fatigue I expect from a stiff performance oriented frame.
Favorite Ride: San Francisco to Santa Cruz on Hwy 1
Purchased At: LBS
Similar Products Used: Time VXRS, Scott CR1, Cannondale System 6, Cannondale CAAD 9, Trek Madone 6.9, Cervelo SLC-SL & RS-SL, plus many others through the years.
Bike Setup: Gruppo: DuraAce 7800
Gruppo Exception: 180mm Compact Crank - SRAM Rival OCT Compact with SRAM Red chainrings
Wheels: Handbuilt White Industries H2 hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and Velocity Escape Tubular rims. Vittoria Corsa tires
Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless
Bar/stem: Deda Newton Deep/3T ARX Team
Saddle: fizik Aliante carbon rail
Seatpost: Thompson 29.4 zero setback
Headset: Chris King