Legend of Presezzo, Italy isn’t breaking the mould with its carbon bikes. In fact it isn’t using moulds at all, preferring a mitred tube-to-tube construction with hand-wrapped joints that lends itself to bespoke production.
The result is a simple, graceful and exquisitely finished frameset that quietly oozes quality.
Highs: Beautiful, lively, made to measure
Lows: Cost; warrants more exotic kit
There’s an important caveat to reviewing a bike like this: no two custom frames are alike, and since this test bike wasn’t built with our specific needs in mind, it was never going to be optimised for us as well as it might have been.
It was, however, fitted for us by Bristol dealer Bike Science – if you’re looking to scratch the custom Italian carbon itch there’s a network of shops across the UK that will measure you up and walk you through the process of designing your own perfectly-fitted Legend.
The legend has a full-carbon fork, of course: Robert Smith
The Legend has a full-carbon fork, of course
From the first pedal stroke it was evident we were going to enjoy ourselves. Despite the comparatively modest girth of the bottom bracket area, power transfer is outstanding; inviting and rewarding exuberance.
The feeling is that of a pure racer – not uncomfortable, but firm and direct, fully in touch with the road beneath. The frame was almost certainly overbuilt for our flyweight tester but regardless, the bike’s character was unimpeachably refined.
If anything, this bike deserves a more exotic build. There’s nothing wrong with it – the Ultegra groupset is all but flawless, the wheels are well built and will last a long time if you look after them, and the finishing kit is quality stuff, but it’s a rather humdrum ensemble.
A frame this beautiful deserves components that make you stop and go back for a second look. It needs shiny, jewel-like hubs made by grubby-fingered artisans, laced lovingly by hand to grey anodised rims.
It needs skinwall tyres, with file treads hardened in an Italian cellar and infused with mystic cycling lore; perhaps a saddle covered in the hide of something cute and endangered.
Our bike weighed 7.46kg with ultegra wheels, but how low could it go with ultralight hoops?:
Our bike weighed 7.46kg with Ultegra wheels, but how low could it go with ultralight hoops?
The Legend isn’t objectively better than a mass-produced machine, but a bike like this isn’t bought on the basis of fiscal responsibility but because it’s lovely and unique.
By any normal measure, £2700 is a lot of money for a frameset, and if you’re going to go bonkers on the chassis, it makes sense to reserve a little madness for the components. So yes, write your own Legend, but do it on fancy paper with a really nice quill.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.