Torelli Countach

Bicycling Magazine, March 2002

 

"Buy it if you want the timeless quality of a handmade steel racing bike."

 

Classic Euro Road Bike is Built for Serious Riding

The cool thing about Torelli is this is very much one man's bike company. Bill McGann loves bikes; he started with a shop, then branched into the import business while building bikes for his Torelli label. Unlike a lot of bike industry fat-cats, he hasn't abandoned the racer/riders's lifestyle of his youth. He reveres tradition and worships speed, riding hundreds of miles a week, logging at least 30 miles before work. He still feels that magical connection with the bike, and this passion fuels his business. McGann imports bikes and parts that speak to him - he's building bikes to fill needs, not marketing niches.

Torelli frames are built in Italy because that's where McGann feels the best bikes come from. But he has them painted here in the States because it's easier to get the finish quality he wants. Everything gets his personal touch, from geometry to sizing to colors. Granted, that's the same sort of power wielded by a big company's product manager - but McGann doesn't have to answer to an accounting department or cite market research data to justify his decisions. It's so because he says it's so.

The frame, tires, cables, and pumps Torelli sells all fit Bill McGann's emotional template. That singleness of vision gives Torelli bikes a distinct flavor and feel. Compared with the watered down, design-by-committee bikes sold by big bike companies, you might say Torelli's bikes have that elusive quality we call soul.

 

BEST THING ABOUT THIS BIKE

Old World classic lines and handling at an affordable price.

 

WORST THING ABOUT THIS BIKE   

No overtly cutting-edge materials, so no bragging rights.

 

WHAT IT'S FOR

It's all about being a classic Euro road racing machine - not about being state-of-the-art, or comfortable, or anything else.

 

PROPRIETARY STEEL

Torelli/Nemo 747 tubing, based on Columbus's Nivachrom steel Nemo tubeset, is drawn to an impossibly thin 0.7mm at the ends and 0.4 in the middle, with differential butting. The amazingly supple, compliant ride preserves the front end stiffness you need for good standing on-the-pedals power transfer and stable handling.

 

ITALIAN-AMERICAN

The bike is welded in Italy by a master builder, but imported to the U.S. for final alignment, prep (tapping and facing) and paint. Torelli feels there's a significant advantage to American paint with regard to consistency and finish work. A Torelli frame is an easy build-up: headset cups press in true and square, bottom brackets are easily threaded in by hand, and the dropouts are properly aligned.

 

ABOUT THE RIDE

It's classic Italian racing geometry. A steep head angle (75 degrees on our 60cm test bike) rewards a light tough with lightning quick handling. The steepish seat angle (in the 74 degree range for most sizes) gives an aggressive position and nearly square seat tube/top tube dimensions (ours measured 60.3cm). It's well suited to making time on long rides, yet still good for short, powerful criteriums.

 

 

This page was last edited on 03/07/2017