Back in the ’80s, a Rossin was the bike of choice for many an aspiring roadie with dreams of being the next Francesco Moser or Andy Hampsten. The brand are now back in the UK thanks to importers Grupetto Italia. Part ’50s ‘bobber’, part hip urban ﬁxie and part hardtail mountain bike, the Marathon's mixed bag of design inﬂuences manages to make it more than a blast – it’s a revelation!
Built with Rossin's special double-butted chromoly tubing, the traditional looking frame features clean TIG welds, chunky track dropouts and elegant seatstay and chainstay bridges. Despite its 1in head tube and retro frame styling harking back to classic ’80s steel mountain bikes, the ride characteristics and handling are thoroughly up to date.
Accelerating eagerly with every pedal stroke, the Marathon hits its stride in no time and it stays there due to its low rolling resistance and a not insubstantial amount of rotating mass. The wheels are shod with unfeasibly large Fat Franks by Schwalbe – some of the most amazing tyres we’ve ridden.
Hitting the woods and waterlogged singletrack, when let down to their soft 22psi minimum pressure, the large volume and all-enveloping contact patch mean you can go pretty much anywhere that a more aggressive 26in knobbly might take you. But when cranked up to their 60psi maximum, high speeds and diesel-soaked wet slabs of tarmac provide thrills rather than terror.
The Marathon’s efﬁcient frame is both light and nimble handling, making it great for either dodging in and out of commuter trafﬁc or picking your way along muddy singletrack. The requisite three-to-one ﬁxed/freewheel gear ratio of 81in – provided by a 48-tooth chainring and 16t sprocket – is long-legged enough to catch a draft behind a double-decker.
A tasteful selection of highly polished forged aluminium components adds to the sorted look, offering excellent ergonomics and comfort, although the classically shaped cantilever brakes require Popeye forearms to get the job done. With a cocktail of design inﬂuences and updated tech, this variation on the urban ﬁxie will keep you entertained and still get you to work on time.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.