The Portofino is at once an anachronism and a classic beauty. Few will argue against the traditional looks of old lugged steel road bikes. But in an era of lighter, stiffer modern framesets and ever-increasing gearing spreads out back, it’s hard to justify getting a lugged bike these days without getting left behind on the build. That’s where the true beauty of the Officina Battaglin frame comes in, mixing classic lugged steel construction with oversized tubing for the best of old & new…
Battaglin Portofino modern oversized lugged steel road bike
Established by 1981 Giro-Vuelta double Grand Tour winner Giovanni Battaglin, Officina Battaglin first debuted the innovative Portofino modern lugged frame a couple of years back.
With its modern oversized diameter, premium Columbus Spirit tubing, the Portofino lays claim to being the first ever steel bike to be built with true oversized lugs. Battaglin developed their own proprietary cast lugs to fit the lightweight, triple-butted Spirit HSS tubeset, delivering handling stiffness, drivetrain efficiency, and rider comfort at the saddle. But they also worked with Columbus to pair an exclusive set of stays to fit the bike, and of course the unique tapered headtube.
Officina Battaglin Portofino, made-to-order custom steel
“We worked on the Portofino and on the proprietary lug castings for more than a year”, says Giovanni Battaglin. Creating their own lugs now allows Battaglin to build the bike in either 1cm stock sizing (or even to-measure) for each rider with modern road geometry.
In fact, every Portofino that comes out of their Italian workshop is made-to-order, starting with an individual consultation with Giovanni Battaglin himself. Buyers talk with the Grand Tour winner about their riding style, personal needs & real measurements, in order to create the perfect frame for each rider.
The newest iteration of the Portofino also gets a new 2-color paint scheme for 2019, with a dark mocha brown base, then dark amber engraved & painted details. And of course its classic look is complemented by the shiny chromed lugs & chrome chainstay.
Portofino tech details
A truly handmade modern take on a traditional Italian frame, the Portofino features a tapered headtube so you can pair it to a modern fork. It is still a classic race bike, designed to fit just 25mm tires, although Battaglin can likely get that up to at least 28mm rubber for those interested through the customization process.
The bike remains rim brake only, getting a BSA bottom bracket, quick release dropouts & 130mm spacing. It can be built up with modern 11-speed groupsets from Shimano, 12-speed from Campagnolo & now SRAM, or even 13-speed from Rotor.
Portofino availability & pricing
The Officina Battaglin Portofino is available now as either a frameset-only starting at $2750 / 2400€ (including the proprietary full carbon fork to match the headtube lug offset), or as a complete bike build. This complete customer’s bike is from a cyclist in Thailand, built up into a truly Italian road bike with Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed and Bora Ultra carbon wheels.
Owner Sangsern Painutaiwat talks of his new bike’s ride, “How does the Portofino ride? I love every bit of it. It’s stiff when you put the power down, thanks to the oversize down tube. It’s springy and lively. It’s very comfortable and plush, but not sluggish. You can easily fit 25mm tires, and it feels fast as well.”