Giovanni Battaglin was one of the top racers of his generation, winning the Giro-Vuelta double in 1981 – only the second rider to do so after Eddy Merckx. To mark his 65th birthday last July 22, the company that he founded has released a Special Collection steel frameset, hand built in Italy.
Only 65 of the bikes will be made, with the first in 54cm, which was the frame size that Battaglin raced. They come with an engraved plate brazed on the top tube showing the frame number.
Battaglin bikes have had other famous victories such as Stephen Roche’s triple crown in 1987. Like other cycle manufacturers, Battaglin had moved on from steel, but returned to making more traditional lugged steel frames a couple of years ago.
The classic lugged frames are built in Columbus SL tubing. It’s a name going back to the 70s and 80s, although the steel composition has changed since then, allowing Columbus to make the tubing thinner walled and lighter while retaining its physical characteristics.
Logos are engraved onto the head tube and hand painted, before the mitred frame tubes are brazed into the lugs.
Watch: Eddy Merckx on Pro Loup in 1975
The finished frame is hand polished to a mirror finish before chrome plating, a process which requires hand dipping into 19 different tanks. Battaglin says that the manual method results in thicker chrome plating than an industrial process. It also gives the frames their lustrous red gloss.
The frame has a traditional non-tapered one inch head tube and an English threaded bottom bracket, although in a nod to modernity, the rear brake cable is routed internally through the top tube.
If you want to order one of the frames, you need to apply via the Officina Battaglin website. The company will then build the bike to your required size and deliver it in around 30 days. It’s available in 18 frame sizes, going up in one centimetre increments from 47 to 64cm and Battaglin is so confident in the quality of its steel frames that it offers a one million mile guarantee.