Dario Pegoretti was a true artist.
He was also a gifted craftsman and a slightly eccentric painter.
Dario passed away recently, but he will be remembered for a long time by the people who got to ride one of his creations.
Dario built bikes primarily out of custom drawn Columbus steel tubing. The wall thicknesses, tubing diameters and butting specifications of the stainless steel tube sets and nivacrom sets were all designed to make Pegoretti bikes ride perfectly. Dario was a modern builder, and used TIG welding and filet brazing techniques to create his frames, not the more traditional methods of silver and brass brazing tubes into cast lugs.
The paint on most Pegorettis had more in common with Jackson Pollack than with Schwinn. If you were to peruse the paint gallery on Pegoretti’s website or stop in and take a look at some of the options at Classic Cycle, you got a taste of this artistic genius. The paint was a fun part of the experience, because if you rode a Pegoretti, you would be certain that your bike was one of a kind.
There was always a long waiting list for a custom Pegoretti frame.
When we were a dealer, Pegoretti’s quirks made for some interesting problems. On two different occasions we had customers who had placed a custom order and were not expecting their new bikes for at least a couple of years. In the interim, both guys had purchased other road bikes to ride while they waited. Craig Hanson ended up with a new Guru carbon and a Pegoretti Responsorium the same month after his Pegoretti showed up a year early (it was a productive summer for Dario). Our friend Paul had actually forgotten that he had ordered a frame when it finally arrived. Surprise!
The model names weren’t very typical. Instead of getting a red “Super” or a blue “Special” model you would be choosing among the “Responsorioum”, the “Marcelo” the “Duende” or the “Big Leg Emma” with paint themes like “Guantanamo” or “Baci”.
Our importer had a number of frames in different sizes on hand, and they were willing to take photos of the frames in their possession, but Pegoretti wasn’t a “stock” kind of bike. You would get measured for the model that you wanted, you could pick a “theme” and you could tell Dario what kind of colors that you liked. After that you generally just waited (3 months to 3 years) to find out what your new bike would look like.
No matter what you ended up getting, the typical Pegoretti rode like a dream.