Express Review
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Torelli Nitro Express

Road Bike Action


"It is the type of bike that can take a rider from the beginner ranks right up to full sponsorship on a pro team. The drag for the poor rider is that his sponsored bike won't be as nice as his Torelli. ... you couldn't ask for a better bike."

IN THE BOX


"Unlike a lot of the products we hype, the Torelli comes out of the box with all the right parts. You don't need any special effects to hide defects or weak spots. The Torelli builders start off with Columbus' Nivacrom EL-OS [Extra Leggeri Over Size] tubing. We could explain how Nivacrom's major alloying elements, such as vanadium and nioblum, deposit into the metal matrix, preventing grain enlargement and degradation of mechanical properties during brazing and welding, but it is probably easier to just say that Columbus considers this tubing the jewel of their line.

"We could go on to say how Torelli chose the EL-OS instead of the standard EL because it wanted to assure a great-handling bicycle built to last longer than a single racing season."

OLD-WORLD CRAFTSMANSHIP


"The Torelli guys still put their frames together using the pin technique."

"You mean they nail them together?"

"Sort of. The tubes and lugs are held in place with small pins. This eliminates the need for tack-welding the tubes and lugs during production. The less heat the better when working with cromoly. The best tubing in the world can be turned into junk in the hands of an inexperienced torch welder.

"The truth is that a little bit of magic is found in every frame. This is where welding up tubesets goes from being a step in the production line to being an art. It is a balance of comfort and efficiency. Have you ever had two cantaloupes and both of them are ripe, they feel the same, they look the same but one tastes a little bit better than the other one? The Torelli is the better-tasting cantaloupe."


"Once the frame is built, a thick coat of Ferrari-red paint will be applied. Let's look at this chart to give you an idea of how a 56cm Torelli shapes up:

	Seat angle -     74
	Head angle -     73
	Top tube -       56 cm/22"
	Wheelbase -      99 cm/39"
	Chainstays -     41 cm/16"
	Weight -         21.75 lb.
	Bottom bracket - 25cm/1O"
 

FRINGE BENEFITS

"Okay, so we have a great tubeset cut, welded and painted by a master craftsman with years of experience. All that is left is to bolt-up parts to complement the rest of the bike. The Torelli in the ad should have Sachs' New Success gruppo for a number of reasons. The bottom bracket and wheel bearings are all sealed cartridge style. Sachs uses Campy Ergo levers with slightly different internals to make them work on their own derailleur [as well as Shimano's 105 and 600 derailleurs]. The brakes are New Success, as are the crank arms.

"We can't miss a detail, so for a stem, we'll use a Cinelli with the Torelli name etched into it and a Campy seatpost with the same treatment. Clark cables are the way to go to be sure the brakes and shifting work perfectly. No question about the rims; we'll stick to Torelli's own 32-spoke rims because of their seamless feel and stainless steel eyelets. We'll finish off the package with Michelin Hi-Lite Supercomp HD tires. "

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

"This bike speaks for itself, but since everyone can't go out for a test ride, I'll try my best to articulate. The tubeset has a nice elastic, supple feel. I'm not talking spongy or flexy; far from it. I'm speaking about a comfort that takes two or three generations of frame builders to perfect. I'm talking about the kind of feel that disappears as soon as a frame maker turns up the production numbers. Torelli is still a small frame builder and I sure hope he stays that way."

ON THE LONG ROAD HOME


"From the moment you plant yourself in the saddle and clip your feet in, this bike will make you feel homesick---for a home that you never had. The ride is as close to perfection as you can come on a bicycle. Cracks in the road are muffled by the time they reach your hands or your rear. The sting is gone. Just stretch out and enjoy the ride. Headwinds? Hunker down and push right through them. Tailwind? See ya, buddy.

"Climbing on the Torelli is predictable. The frame allows the pilot to ride on the sloppy side without penalizing him too much. Out of the saddle, in the saddle, spinning or pushing a gear a little too big for the hill will all be handled without complaint by the Torelli. It gives up some advantage to the sub-20-pound bicycle club on the steep grades but it doesn't give up enough to make you want to switch.

"You don't notice it because it happens so slightly, but every year a rider loses a little of that downhill charge. It may be due to a self-preservation instinct, family responsibilities or the memory of that last road rash, but it always happens. The Torelli can rekindle the most hidden passion to go fast and take chances. It delivers awe-inspiring confidence on fast and twisty descents. Everything feels so right. By the bottom of a long mountain pass, the Torelli rider finds himself yelling, 'I'm young again!'"

GOING FOR THE GOLD


"The Torelli is made for big ringing. This is one of the few bikes in the world where a rider actually prays for an uphill field sprint. This all may sound crazy, but the bike is that good."

"Is there anything about the bike you don't like?"

"Well, chief, if you pressed me on it, I would like to see the bike come in a little bit lighter, but not if that would take away from the ride. I would rather pull an extra pound up a hill than suffer the torture of a rigid, shock-passing 17 pound climber that wanders all over the downhills."


"It is a tough bike to put into a certain niche. It is the type of bike that can take a rider from the beginner ranks right up to full sponsorship on a pro team. The drag for the poor rider is that his sponsored bike won't be as nice as his Torelli. It would be a hard bike to hang up. If a rider wants a hand-made Italian frame but has been reluctant because of horror stories [the big-name bike turned out to be a big name disappointment], it is time to get in line for a Torelli before they become too popular. If you are into sport touring [long distances, no panniers], you couldn't ask for a better bike."