Chillout TGIFridays: Handmade bicycles – featuring a new Battaglin Power+ EVO

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We featured the Officina Battaglin story last year, and one of our friends ordered a handmade bicycle during the event. It was delivered recently, and today, we feature Daniel’s bicycle – the Power+ EVO, complete with top end Campagnolo components.

Presenting the new Battaglin Power+ EVO with Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO and Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12

The owner of this magnificently beautiful bicycle is Daniel Chua. I have known Daniel for more than 15 years, and have been part of his journey introducing him to road biking. By way of background, Daniel was riding a Birdy folding bicycle when he decided to get more serious and went for a BMC GF01. He equipped the BMC with Hunt Aero light alloy wheels and Shimano Ultegra mechanical disc brake groupset. He was keenly interested in an upgrade to a “superbike”, and invited me to attend the Battaglin event held in December last year. He was so impressed with the presentation that he promptly ordered a full bicycle to be custom made from Battaglin. The bike was delivered recently.

Daniel, posing with his Battaglin Power+ EVO in the Marina Bay area.

Daniel is a cycling advocate and has been car free for several years.

The Battaglin story is covered in detail on our introduction article.

The Battaglin Power+ EVO frame set.

Retail price of the Power+ EVO frame is about EUR 5,000.

As discussed in the Officine Battaglin introduction article, the Power+ EVO is an evolution of the use of steel tubing to make bicycle frames. Steel tubes are the traditional material for making bicycles. Many enthusiasts still prefer steel frames, claiming that “Steel is real”. For example, the Pegoretti Responsorium was an attempt by celebrated master frame maker and artist Dario Pegoretti to make a modern steel frame. But the general trend, led by the professionals, have largely moved away from steel frames. First to aluminium, and then to carbon fibre.

The tubing used by Battaglin is a mix of different grades of the Italian made Columbus steel,. Each tube on the bicycle is custom selected based on riding style, rider interests, and rider goals. The design principles of the Power+ EVO is to use traditional steel tubing, but with oversized tubes for added stiffness to create a modern bicycle. All cables and hydraulic lines are fully concealed within the frame. As a result, the bike looks very sleek though not as aerodynamic as modern carbon frames. Carbon can be moulded into the wind cheating shapes derived by finite element analysis and wind tunnel testing. These aerodynamic shapes are too complex to be achieved with steel tubing. The options for steel is limited to the grade of steel, the tubing size, absence or presence of and type of butting used. Steel is only available as round or oval tubes. Daniel’s bike is the 2022 edition, one of 50 to be made for this year. The Columbus Spirit frame is fitted with a Deda carbon fork and a Selle Italia SLR saddle with carbon rails.

The process to customise the bicycle involves a detailed measurement made by Daniel himself based on his BMC. He then discussed the fit with Giovanni and Allessandro. The aim is for the frame makers to understand the requirements, needs and wants of the rider. This was done when the Battaglins were in Singapore. The father and son team then returned to their manufacture in Marostica, Italy to design the frame. As is normal for custom bicycle frames, this is a rather lengthy process of consultation back and forth between Singapore and Italy on the design, the geometry, components and of course the paintwork.

The paintwork on Daniel’s Power+ EVO is absolutely spectacular and features both of his favourite colours of orange and blue. The style of paintwork is known as Chromovelato, a special process developed by Deda for Battaglin to apply a chrome coat over carbon or steel, and then paint is applied to the clear coat, creating this magnificent metallic pop effect. The top has a metallic orange finish fading to blue for the lower half of the frame. The fork is a Deda carbon fork, and also is coated in the same brilliant paintwork with orange fade into an orangey red.

A Deda carbon bar and stem combo is selected and finished in the same manner. The original plan was to use a one-piece integrated carbon bar and stem, but the installation of the wires for the electronic groupset and the hydraulic lines for the brakes proved to be challenging. The decision was then taken to use the two-piece combo. Daniel’s stem is 110mm with a bar width of 42mm, and finished in the same orange red metallic Chromovelato paintwork as the frame. The bar is finished with Deda bar tape in two tones.

A Garmin EDGE 830 sits as the bike computer.

The frame are fillet brazed and very executed in-house in the Battaglin factory. Fillet brazing leaves a smooth finish before the application of chrome and paint, giving a very strong joint which is also aesthetically neat, smooth and pleasing.

Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO

The retail price for the Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO is EUR 3,150.

The wheels specified are the top of the line Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO (Wind Tunnel Optimized) 45mm disc brake version. These are similar to the wheel set specified in our friend Bobby Tonelli’s handmade Basso Diamante SV. The only exception is that while Bobby’s wheels are the base Bora WTO with ceramic USB cup-and-cone bearing, and Daniel’s is the Bora Ultra WTO – the top of the line Campagnolo offering. The Ultra designation is Campy-speak to signify a higher grade ceramic bearings and hand made carbon layup. The bearings carry the branding C.U.L.T. (a pretentious acronym for CERAMIC ULTIMATE LEVEL TECHNOLOGY), and are claimed to be lower resistance than regular ones.

While there are some doubters (I am one!) on whether ceramic bearings are smoother and spin with less power, there is no denying that the CULT label is a sign of the money no object status and is at the highest level that Campagnolo has to offer. Of course, the sticker price is raised accordingly.

The tyres fitted are Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2 in 25mm width, which is the optimised for a perfect fit on the Bora Ultra WTO.

Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12

Retail price for the Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12 is  EUR 4,677.

The groupset chosen is the top of the line Capagnolo Super Record EPS 12 speed. This is the same as specified Bobby’s Basso. The Super Record is absolutely a work of beauty. All the components are sculptured in carbon fibre and have a beautiful, artistic look. Sensuous and very attractive aesthetics – a hallmark of Campagnolo designs.

The hoods for the SR12 EPS are higher than the usual as they conceal the hydraulic pistons for the brake system.

The chainring is full carbon Super Record, with 50/34 tooth arrangement. This is known as a compact chainring, and is sufficient for non-professional riders. The professional peloton generally prefer the standard 53/39 tooth chainring. And a mid-compact 52/36 does exist for advanced amateur riders. Daniel uses the Look Keo Ceramic Titanium (EUR 300 retail) pedals with carbon blades. No power meter is fitted on this bike.

The cassette is the SR12 11-29 with the SR12 chain. The rear derailleur is also SR12 EPS, with electronic shifting and in a carbon shell. Note also the use of the now standard through axles as the bike uses disc brakes. The construction of the chain stay is very beefy and the traditional method of using a shroud to join the seat stay to the chain stay is used. This is used traditionally for a stiffer joint where the two stays meet at the wheel axle, translating to better and more immediate power transfer.

Concluding thoughts

Although Daniel is about the same height as I am, our saddle heights are somewhat different, with mine being slightly higher than his. He did offer me to take a spin on the Power+ EVO, but I did not bring the No8 Allen Key needed to swap pedals. As noted he uses the Look pedals, and I use the Crankbrothers Eggbeaters. So I did not ride the bike. Perhaps another day. But the Battaglin Power+ EVO is a stunning looking bike, with top grade components, and one which will surely win a “Super Nice” label from popular YouTube cycling site – Global Cycling Network.

My Pinarello F10, Daniel’s Battaglin Power+ EVO and the Orbea Orca.

The bike is certainly a beauty to look at. A work of art even. But we do note that at its current form, it is a little heavy at about 9kg on the scales. While this is not generally noticeable on flat or flattish roads, it may become a burden with long steep climbs, especially in competition. Thus, its use case is perhaps not the most suitable candidate for professional bike racing. Having said that, most of us are enthusiast riders who are not professional racing cyclists, so this might be a moot point. And for this purpose, the Power+ EVO should be an excellent choice, be it for fast group rides, cafe rides, leisure rides and even training rides.

I hope you have enjoyed the coverage of high end bicycles. Please get in touch, either by comments or email, if you are in Singapore, and would like to see your bicycles featured.

Photo notes

The photographs of Daniel’s Battaglin Power+ EVO was taken on site with the dimunitively sized Leica C. However, I note that my camera has an optical problem showing up as a blur streak at about the 8 o’clock position. Note to self: use another camera for the next bicycle feature.