By Nathan D'Arcy
I had always wanted a DeRosa frame. I first came across them in the late 1990’s, and had my heart set on a DeRosa Merak with Campagnolo Record 10 speed. Unfortunately I happened to be with my then fiance (now my wife) in the bike shop, and the look on her face when the sales assistant gave me the quote was nothing less than sinister. I went with a less expensive, but no less Italian frame. I still got my Campy Record 10 speed group set, so it wasn’t all bad news. The frame was a Casati Challenge, and served me well for about 5 years.
While I was racing the Casati, it seemed like every man and his dog had a DeRosa Merak, and I always knew I would get one.
In early May 2016, I discovered a crack in the bottom bracket of my commuter bike, a Pinarello FP3. It was the perfect opportunity to start looking for my beloved DeRosa. I had always followed DeRosa online and through social media, so I knew what frameset I wanted. A DeRosa Protos. Searching for shops in Melbourne that retailed the DeRosa brand brought up nothing.
North City Cycles had been opened in Thornbury for about 9 months, and being a Thornbury resident I had been using the shop for regular servicing and bits and pieces. I mentioned to Paul when I was dropping off a wheel with a broken spoke one day about wanting a DeRosa, and seeing what he could do. He was onto it straight away. We made a time for me to come in and talk about what I was after. In the meantime, Paul made contact with the importer who was located in Adelaide to see if it was possible to source a frame.
At our first chat, I bought in my current race bike. We talked through the things I liked and didn’t like about it. There wasn’t much I didn’t like about it, a Pinarello Dogma 60.1. I wanted a fit very similar to this, as it has been the most comfortable race bike I’ve ever had. We measured up the Dogma, then sent the measurements to DeRosa via the importer. All of this facilitated by Paul. DeRosa came back with a quote, and we were on!
While DeRosa were building the frame, I spent some time with Paul to work through the build. I knew I wanted a Campy groupset, and depending on price, either Super Record EPS or Record EPS. I went with Campy Record EPS. For the build kit, I hadn’t really thought about what I wanted. I had a look at some Deda components, along with Enve, but I wasn’t sure. Paul suggested Fizik. I have used a Fizik Antares saddle for a few years now, and can’t really fault it, so I agreed to go with the Fizik bars, stem and seatpost. The bars and stem are black anodised aluminium. I’ve never used carbon bars, and saw no reason to start now. The seatpost is carbon.
Initially I thought I would go with my current race wheels, Enve 45’s. However they are now about 5 years old. I had a look at a pair of Campy Bora One 35’s that the shop were using for the build of a Colnago C60. They looked great, so I went with a pair of them.
The frame took about 6 weeks to build at the factory in Milan. It was then shipped out to Australia via the importer in Adelaide. It arrived at the shop in mid August. Paul kept me up to date all through the process. I came and had a look at the frame as soon as it arrived in the shop. I also stopped by to look at it as it was being built.
Paul facilitated a simple bike fit the day I picked it up. It involved me sitting on the indoor trainer while we adjusted my position. Paul used the measurements taken from my Dogma to do the initial fit, then we made a small adjustment to seat height and reach, as the bottom brackets on the two bikes are different heights. I have to say that I have not changed this position in any way since I’ve had the bike. It just seemed to fit me off the bat. Paul offered to get in a professional bike fit for me, but I didn’t see this as necessary. I would have taken up the offer if I couldn’t get comfortable.
The process of going through the build process with Paul reminded me of the old days. For me, the old days were the late 1990’s. Road bikes didn’t really come off the shelf, unless you were buying a Giant. You had the opportunity to choose the components you wanted with the frame, right down to the set of spokes and nipples for your wheels. This is what I was looking for. I wanted my dream bike, and I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap. However, the choice of components suggested by Paul meant I had a completely customised bike, but with an eye on the total cost.