Take a look at the steel Portofino from Battaglin

A modern take on the classic lugged steel frame

(Image credit: Photographer: Mirco Vettore Photograpy)

Making lugged steel frames is a bit of a dying art, with many modern steel frames being brazed tube-to-tube rather than having lugwork at their joints.

But Officina Battaglin has gone against the trend with the Portofino (opens in new tab), which uses a lugged construction. Since the Portofino uses oversized frame tubing, that means that the lugs need to be oversized too, and Battaglin was the first framebuilder to develop these.

The Portofino is built with a modern Columbus Spirit steel tubeset, with Battaglin’s lugs designed to enhance ride comfort and hark back to classic Italian steel frame designs. The top tube and down tube are from the standard Spirit tube set. But the seat tube, stays and head tube are custom made for Battaglin.

Lugs were custom designed by Battaglin to fit the oversized Columbus Spirit steel tubing

According to Giovanni Battaglin, the brand’s founder, ex-pro and winner of the Giro-Vuelta double in 1981, it took over a year to develop the Portofino’s proprietary lug castings, including those for the tapered head tube, the bottom bracket shell and the dropouts.

“We love lugs. I rode lugged bikes for all my career as a pro. And when I started building my eponymous frames they were all made from steel tubing and lugs,” says Battaglin.

Battaglin shows off the Portofino’s lugs by finishing them in chrome. They are complemented by a two colour paint scheme with a dark mocha brown base and dark amber detailing.

Battaglin hand builds the Portofino (opens in new tab) in northern Italy, with each frame custom built in its own workshop. That process starts with a discussion with Giovanni Battaglin to ensure that the frame is ideal for its owner’s body measurements and their intended riding style.

You can buy the Portofino as a complete build as well as a frameset. As well as the new brown colour scheme, the Portofino was originally finished in a lacquered chrome chromovelato Italian flag design.

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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.