I should say, my last Della Santa. This beauty of a frame was on display at NAHBS a few times. Silver metallic, and gorgeous. That Roland guy sure knew how to build a bike. I was lucky enough to pick it up and it marks my 4th DS. All have quite different rides. Two are custom, one is from 1979 and decidedly of that era. This one is modern (built in 2016) but built with L'Eroica in mind with the tire clearances and such.
The parts spec is, shall we say, quirky? It's exactly what I wanted and built around what (mostly) Campagnolo parts I had hanging around.
Veloce 10 speed derailleurs
Campy Chorus Crank/Record BB
Ritchey Carbon seat post
Ene Ciclio Friction Downtube shifters (more on that later)
American Classic 350 wheelset
Cinelli Eubios Handlebar
28mm Conti Gatorskin tires (for now?)
A quick ride review...since I've been putting it through its paces. The first DS I bought was a modern racing geometry custom fit and it still fits like a glove. No doubt about it it is a traditional Roland racing geometry bike, with precise handling. He told me a few years after building it that it was the lightest frame he had ever built.
The next DS was a used 1979 bike that is very quick handling, more criterium feeling, but spritely and fun even if, as a non-custom build, it is not quite as comfortable.
My other custom DS was built shortly thereafter having seen Roland's apprentice, Jake Barrett's, racing DS with a biplane fork and with clearances for 35mm tires. It was a sweet spot I thought I wanted for more road/dirt riding. Slightly longer stays but the bike is built around the custom specs of the first DS.
This last DS is an off the shelf L'Eroica style model and it slots in, in terms of handling, more on the modern side of things with a longer top tube and clearances for maybe a 32mm tire though I haven't tried it yet. It's a comfortable stage race style of racing bike with a bit of room for a wider tire like a road bike should have.
Essentially this has been my experience when I have put the last Della Santa through its paces on several rides. When I started climbing and needed an easier gear, a quick flick and the chain dropped into place. When I needed to crank it up on the flats or downhill...ditto. Yes, there was a bit of trimming from the big ring to the little ring on the crankset, but no more than with my modern click shifting groups.
So in the end, I built up a steel lugged old school L'Eroica style bike frame built by the late grandmaster of frame building, Roland Della Santa, with a modern silver 10 speed Campagnolo group, super light racing American Classic wheelset, downtube friction shifters, Brooks saddle, threaded fork, clipless pedals, and a carbon seatpost. Makes total sense to me.
A gallery of photos:
For over 12 Years I wrote the Reno Rambler Blog covering everything from Bicycle Advocacy, Reno Politics, Popular Culture, and my experiences as a long-time cyclist.