A closer look at the Marinoni Sportivo Ti “Randonnée”

by Raymond Parker on March 7, 2011

in Cycling, Randonneuring, Technical

My titanium rando bike has been less than the sum of its parts for a while. In fact, I’ll have to wade into the bowels of my chaotic velo closet to find some of its parts.

The overall idea is to complete the dual-purpose bike I began planning 3-years-ago and update the Sportivo page accordingly.

I built the bike in 2008, using some parts from the Marinoni Ciclo for longer rides—in particular, traditional stainless-spoked wheels, which I consider more reliable and easier to repair in the field.

Besides becoming my favoured sporty training bike (weighing in at 8.2 kilos, stripped of lights, rack, fenders and rolling on Campagnolo Shamal wheels) that year, I used the “Randonnée” for two long brevets—of 400 and 600 kilometres. It gave me my best rides to date. I look forward to putting it back on the road.

I plan to complete the project, according to the original concept, over the next months. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the frame, custom built to accommodate fenders and tires larger than the 23mm maximum possible (with fenders) on my Ciclo, or the off-the-peg version of the Sportivo (rebranded Ciclo).

Frame Specs

  • Frame material & finish: Titanium 3/2.5 “Aerospace grade 9” DB, brushed w/ etched lettering
  • Weight: 1200 grams (w/o headset cups and bottom bracket)
  • Seat tube: 47cm X 74.5°
  • Top tube:  53 cm
  • Head tube: 10.5cm X 71.2°
  • Head extension: 1cm
  • Chainstays: 42cm

Related: Why the best randonneur bikes stay with traditional geometry | Rando Bikes | Readers’ Rando Bikes

{ 12 comments… read them below or add your spin! }

Pierre Charette June 2, 2011 at 5:53 am

Nice bike!

I’m interested in the same model but with a 56 or 57 cm top tube. Why did you choose the ti instead of the xti? Do you think an all titanium rear end stiff enough for a bigger rider? I weigh 175 lbs. I plan to use it mostly for single day outings with a light load: either a large saddle bag or a bag mounted on a light rear rack. What I like about this bike are the 42cm chainstays, the rack mounts, the possibillity of a taller head tube and the discrete beauty of titanium.



Raymond Parker June 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thanks Pierre.

To be honest, the decision to go full ti was as much an aesthetic consideration as anything. I have a friend with the xti and he’s very happy–rode it in Paris-Brest-Paris ’07.

I can’t see there would be an issue with stiffness, though titanium is of course a more flexible ride. That was part of the attraction for me, as comfort is more important for long-distance. I’m not a sprinter.

Don’t hesitate to contact Marinoni with any questions. They are quite approachable.


Pierre Charette June 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

Thanks Raymond,

I called Marinoni and had an interesting exchange with the person who answered the phone. Presently there is a four week wait for a standard frame and an extra two or three weeks for a custom frame.

I’m not a sprinter either but sometimes I like to go fast. My present road bike is great for a two or three hour ride with little extra weight beside myself. When I want to ride all day, I like to bring extra stuff with me: a lunch, a map, sometimes a camera or a rain coat. I really hate putting everthing that doesn’t fit inside my seat bag onto my back. I tried using a seatpost rack with a bag but my bike has 39 cm chainstays, so everytime I straighten my back to ride no -hands, the front wheel starts to shake dangerously. I partly solved the problem by installing a handlebar bag instead. Still, I feel this is a compromise and in the end I am denaturing the bike. The way your bike is set-up with a large seat bag is much closer to what I am looking for when I have a full day’s ride ahead of me.



Pierre Charette June 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

I’ve just realized that the “large seatbag” set-up is not on your bike but on the minimalist randonneur Seven in your Rando Bikes page. But it is still a Marinoni that I am buying.



Raymond Parker June 6, 2011 at 10:54 am


In my experience, six to eight weeks delivery time is normal, especially at this time of year.

As you can see on my Marinoni Ciclo, I carry the modest loads needed on a brevet on a lightweight rack (Tubus Vega), mounted to the eyelets that come stock on the sport touring bikes.


Pierre Charette June 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm


What size tyres are you using when you are on a brevet with a “modest load”?



Raymond Parker June 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

The stock Ciclo, or Sportivo as it is now called, will fit up to 28C tyres, without fenders … 23C with.

My preference is to run 28s and fenders on long rides. That’s why, as described above, I had the Sportivo “Randonnée” built to accommodate them.


John Meldrum June 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hi wish I’d given some more thought to fenders (like you did) when I picked up my sportivo (steel not ti) 5 years ago. Any suggestions/hope? on how to run 25 or larger tyres and fenders after the fact? Love the bike but fenders are a growing necessity for a good part of the year. Looking to upgrade the bike maybe even repaint wonder if a call to Marinoni or even a local builder (Naked?) might be able to do something after the fact or maybe sell and re-buy? Kind of clueless on this part! Love anyone’s thoughts PS love the site! cheers John


Raymond Parker June 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

John: You are not alone, which is why I bang on about this subject here and on other blogs and forums when I get the chance.

This article on rando bike geomtry is relevant to any bicycle design presumed to be appropriate for comfort and wet-weather use.

For illustrations of wheel clearances, see the main page for the Sportivo Ti and use the “marinoni sportivo” tag above.

Regarding your question: It may be technically possible but I’m not so sure it would make economic sense. You’d need a repaint and a new fork after modification, as well as the 57mm brake callipers to fit the larger tires and fenders.

The problem with trying to fit full fenders and bigger tires on something like a stock Sportivo, or any bike made for 49mm brakes, is you will inevitably run into mud buildup under the fender (even with 23mm tires).

I think you’d be happier following the same route as me. Another option is to get a bike–such as a tourer or cyclocross–with high-clearance brakes, like cantilever or centre-pull.


John Meldrum June 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Thanks never thought about the mud build up as another issue even with the 23mm. May keep my sportivo as a nice weather ride, made the mistake of saying yes to having my name on it! so selling is a bit of a challenge, and looking at cross frame, the gunnars look interesting, or even a fango. thanks, John


Pierre Charette June 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm

After a discussion with Marinoni and my LBS owner, I had my all titanium Sportivo order modified so that the frame would accept 28mm tyres with fenders. This is not a problem for Marinoni since the titanium frames are all custom made. I will get Tektro calipers instead of those that come with the Campagnolo Centaur group I ordered with the bike. The carbon fork will also be slightly different. Otherwise, its a Sportivo. I don’t know if I will someday need the extra capacity but if ever I do, the space will be there for fenders and/or wider tyres. Thank you for your comments.



Raymond Parker June 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

That’s great Pierre! Glad you got what you wanted.

Just a clarification: All the ti frames are not custom made, but the price includes option for custom–that is, there is no extra charge for modifications.

This is the kind of fork you’ll be supplied with.


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