With a name like Legend, your expectations are going to be high. Those expectations are met when you read about Marco Bertoletti, a master framebuilder of Italy whose experience and skill give him every right to name his brand with such a lofty title.
The HT 9.5 is one of the top two models in Legend’s carbon fibre series, behind the 10.5. Bertoletti also produce steel, titanium and scandium models, all made by hand in their Bergamo factory.
This particular model was built for Lee Kaliski, an Aussie expat now living in Germany’s Ruhr Valley. Lee is a big fan of the Spring Classics and has ridden many of the courses himself. Lee tells the story: “I was living in Sydney for many years and became aware of the Legend brand through my friend Felice Santoro at Cycling Projects Racing.
Felice does a fantastic job as the Campagnolo Service Centre as well as bringing in various high end frames… his attention to detail and customer service is unsurpassed in Sydney, as far as my experience goes.
“About two and a half years ago I moved to Germany with my German wife and two small sons. I’d visited Europe a few times and ridden in Spain, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, but living here opened up a host of exciting new possibilities. Due to getting set up and the family established, the first year I ‘only’ rode Flanders, the Endura Alpentraum (Stelvio) and a few others.
“By last season I’d got into gear and rode Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Omloop Van Vlanderaan, The Ronde, Paris Robaix, Amstel, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Andre Taffi Classic (the Kapplemuur) the Drie Lander Giro (Stelvio again) and various trips to the Vosges etc. I was lucky enough to go with a group of friends in our ‘team’: ‘Spoocha‘, a charity organisation that raises money for underprivileged or disabled athletes and children.
“About the bike itself: Well, I’ve been riding and racing about 30 years, and have raced (Heffron Park, a few Opens, some TT’s and loads of club and vet crits etc.) and have had aluminium, carbon and steel bikes. I’ve never had a custom though, so having the luxury of a flight between here and Bergamo for about 50 Euros return, I thought, “well, why not go there and talk to the builder (Marco) directly? Firstly, I got a Retül bike fit, so I had some idea what I wanted.
“After sitting down with Marco, the ‘specs’ were decided:
A) Carbon lay up for my weight and the kind of roads the bike would occasionally be riding… ie cobbles and bergs!
B) The front and rear end HAD to be able to handle up to 27mm tires (in the case of my ‘classics wheels’ (Ambrosia Nemesis) and 27mm FMB tyres
C) The front fork had a little more rake for slightly more comfort and better handling on the rough stuff.
“The guys, Marco Berliotti and Manuel at Legend in Bergamo were extremely welcoming and very, very helpful. It was a slightly humbling and fascinating experience to sit opposite Marco, knowing some of the names in the pro peloton he has built bikes for and be given his attention and genuine interest in what I wanted for the bike. Again, we took the measurements and went through the process again with Marco of fitting, with little change.
“This was about 2 weeks before Christmas, and by Christmas Eve I had a great present from Manuel, saying my frame was finished and just had to go to the painter for my ‘Aussie influenced’ paint job!
“When the frame arrived I was knocked out. It looked great. My friend at the LBS (Heiko at 2Rad Napierrela in Bochum) built the bike for me and it is everything I´d hoped for. Stable and stiff but plenty comfortable. The parts were what I considered both practical and sensible, erring on the safety side rather than a ‘weight weenie’ build — a philosophy that simply doesn’t float my boat.
“I have a friend who is a mechanic for a current World Tour team and as he said, “Hardly ANY rider at pro level uses carbon bars or stems”, and especially with places like the Arenberg and Kwaremont in mind, I was happy for security of mind and bank balance to go with this! Likewise, the Chorus 2015 groupset really has no less function than a Record group, but is much cheaper and less trouble.
Which all goes to show that the spirit of custom framebuilding in Italy isn’t dead — even though the materials have evolved into more modern flavours. Massive thanks to Lee for the story and Torsten Frank for the photos — see more on his blog and Flickr. You can contact Legend via their website.
Frame: Legend 9.5 Custom
Groupset: Campagnolo 2015 Chorus
Handlebar and Stem: Deda 100 Alu
Saddle: Selle Regal
The stem cap: A little nod to my Belgian friends and the love of riding there is from Kapz in the UK.
Seatpost: ‘Legend’ PMP Carbon
Computer mount: K-Edge
Wheels: ‘Classics mode’ — Ambrosio Nemesis with FMB 27mm tubulars, ‘Boy Racer mode’ — Zipp 404 with Veloflex 23mm or 25mm tubulars. ‘Standard mode’ — Fulcrum 2015, Racing Zero Nite clinchers.