Marinoni Sportivo “Randonnée”

Titanium rando

Marinoni Sportivo “Randonnée” primed for pleasure

(click to enlarge)

The Blériot had taught me that bigger tyres afford more comfort without compromising speed. The problem, as I have lamented elsewhere, is that most modern road bikes are built around short-reach brakes, restricting useable tyre width to 23C, with mudguards (fenders) in place. In fact, some frames simply won’t accept full mudguards under the brake bridge at all. The answer to this conundrum is a frame built to fit long-reach (57mm) brakes.

German tyre manufacturer Continental has recently concurred that “Wider tires roll easier, yield higher mileage and offer more comfort and grip.” Accordingly, they have released a beefier version of the classic Grand Prix, in 24-28mm widths. Racers are catching on to what many randonneurs have been advocating for years.

I approached Cycles Marinoni with the idea and the result was a “prototype” version of their stock Sportivo Ti, which I dubbed the“Randonnée.” In all other respects the Sportivo (supplanting the classic “Ciclo”‘ in 2007) is a sport touring bicycle. A full titanium model, joining the titanium/carbon stay model, was introduced in 2008.

The choice of titanium as a frame material met my other two criteria. Titanium, of course, is lighter than steel, but (subject to fabrication methods) its tensile strength and elongation numbers are impressive. In practical terms this makes for a very comfortable ride. The downside is its cost, but I was willing and able to pay the premium.

I went to the trouble of scouting pre-carbon Campagnolo Record triple cranks (with traditional bottom bracket) and—but for Shimano long-reach brake calipers—the rest of the groupo is also Record. Full specs opposite.

As I was building the Randonnée, Campagnolo released their latest 11-speed line, with its tiny 5.5 mm chain and the reintroduction of a “Super Record’ groupo requiring a bailout from the US Federal Reserve. It appears that Record 10-speed is now a thing of the past. Triple fans will have to satisfy their lust for low gears with “Comp Triple” components and Centaur 10-speed shifters and cassettes. These are certainly up to the job, but no more Record or Chorus for touristes.

Besides being a lightning fast sprinter, outfitted appropriately, the Sportivo Ti Randonnée has carried me through 400 and 600km brevets, exhibiting all the cushy characteristics I had hoped for in a rando bike.

Randonée cockpit

(Click to enlarge)

Related blog posts:

A closer look at the Marinoni Sportivo Ti “Randonnée”

A long-reach solution for wider bicycle tires

Why the best randonneur bikes stay with traditional geometry

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

Val Roberts July 11, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Sweet! What’s the lighting package?


Raymond Parker July 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

The headlight is a Schmidt Edelux, powered by a generator hub from the same manufacturer. The rear lights are battery powered, as is the small Cateye HL-EL135 backup LED headlight. See the lighting page for more info.


Leave a Comment