A new range of bikes named after Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner Marco Pantani is now available in the UK via Grupetto Italia and Avanti Cycles. In total, 19 bikes are available, all of them manufactured by the Italian climbing specialist's former sponsors Podium.
Thankfully things have moved on since the days of Briko shades and denim-effect shorts, and the Pantani bikes look bang up to date, with carbon fibre frames, internal cable routing and a choice of Campagnolo, Shimano or SRAM groupsets, along with FSA finishing kit and Mavic wheels. Here's a quick look at some of the key models:
The Pantani Tempest (Frame £1,350, bikes from £1,850) is aimed at sportive and club riders who want long-ride comfort as well as pedalling efficiency. Claimed frame weight is 1,100g (medium size). Unlike its more expensive brothers, it has a standard 1-1/8 head tube.
The Corsair (frame £1,800, bikes from £2,450) is designed for race use. Features include a tapered head tube, integrated seatmast and a seat tube cutout that, according to Grupetto’s founder Nick O’Brien, "allows the wheel to be closer to the front triangle, ensuring a higher reacting frame when constantly dancing on the pedals for sprinting and climbing... remind you of anyone?" Claimed frame weight is 1,130g (medium size).
The Nero (frame £2,420, bikes from £3,070) is a more understated option, with clean lines and a stealth black colourway. The 1,000g (claimed, medium size) frame is claimed to offer excellent vibration damping but features like the tapered head tube should ensure decent stiffness as well.
The top-end Erakle (bikes from £3,750) is a different beast altogether, with massively oversized tubes and an integrated seatpost. It's built using Podium's latest technology – "a pressing technique that combines three different types of carbon, at high-pressure". Claimed frame weight is 1,130g (medium).
O'Brien is delighted to be bringing the Pantani bikes into the UK. “Love him or hate him, [Pantani] was simply one of the classiest bike riders I've ever seen," he says. "I was very fortunate to witness what turned out to be one of his final mountain attacks, up to the Cascata del Toce in the 2003 Giro, and you just knew you were in the presence of someone special as the tifosi went ballistic seeing him explode out of the leading group.”