First of all I must say that it was an honor to meet Bettini and have him visit Pista Palace. And you can not believe how humble and friendly he is. And what a great family he has. It truly was a pleasure and honor to have him as our guest. It was quite a scene to have him there with the throng of Pista Palace customers watch videos of his past victories. We hope that he is the first of many legends of cycling that enter the halls of the Palace.
For a number of reasons this will be our last Colnago build. And seeing as how Paolo Bettini is retired and went out a champion, we feel this bike is a fitting end to our patronage. The frameset we chose was the frameset that we designed. Our idea was similar to that of the PR82 Saronni. Make something simple yet powerful. Make something attractive yet timeless. And make something worthy of the exclusivity that the price commands. Exclusive being the key word here. One thing is for sure is that its creation and existence will have an impact on the brand.
This is a learning experience for us. And our next step, we believe is incredibly exciting. As I type this we are in production on a new brand to Pista Palace. This brand will be 100% exclusive to us. It will not be an in house Pista Palace brand, but we will be the only bike shop in the universe authorized to sell the frameset we are building. You the consumer can rest assured that this bikes' origin, construction, and warranty will be the highest level. And you may recognize the parties involved in the endeavor and thereby know that this bike will blow you away. No, it isn't going to be some boutique bike made for the NAHBS or a Chinese cookie cutter. It will be a pure carbon race bike made with the best materials from the best builders. But enough about that....lets get back to SUPERCAMPIONISSIMO!
What is unique about Bettini's frame is that if you look at the pictures of the PR99 on Colnago.com and the discount european websites, you actually don't see a genuine photo of the frameset but a computer mock up. In fact, Pista Palace has given you the only real photos of the frameset. And while we know this won't last long, you can always be guaranteed that we are always on the cutting edge of the industry and that our little bike shop truly has an impact. And take a closer look at Bettini's bike, you will see some changes that I asked Cambiago to make after I saw the first version.
SUPERCAMPIONISSIMO has a black (not carbon window) clover on both the top tube and the seat stay. I thought it would be a good idea to have a couple of clovers on the frameset to break up the white real estate. And while the "S" on the fork "EPS" is red, we've had framesets that we've received that have that "S" in black, also. I guess it depends on who is painting that day. We actually like the subtle paint differences. It gives you a feeling that these things aren't being pumped out at some factory in Shenzhen. Other than that, SUPERCAMPIONISSIMO is our PR99 in its full glory.
The drivetrain is, of course, Campagnolo. Bettini raced on Campy for almost his entire career and given his nationality it seems only appropriate. The Selle San Marco Regale is by his choice. Aluminum Deda Zero 100s. No carbonio bar for Il Grillo. And while many may question the gold Zero Gravity brakes and Nokons, all I can say is that this is a Pista Palace build. When YOU build a bike for Bettini go ahead and go with your standard cookie cutter groupo. Not us. Also, keep in mind that Bettini is an Olympic Gold Medalist. Therefore, the gold is more than appropriate. And, yeah, I know he is also a world champion and so I'm just gonna let those Colnago decals take care of that. Hopefully, you can appreciate the subtlety.
Most of the pictures are of what SUPERCAMPIONISSIMO looked like after the Gran Fondo ride. It was probably the worst torrential downpour that San Diego has experienced in years. And, of course, it had to happen on that day. Believe it or not Bettini rode the 50 mile version of the ride in what must have been a worse than Roubaix condition. Props to him for sucking it up at his ripe old retired age of 36 and doing the ride. I will also give him credit for exiting cycling at what seems in hindsight to have been a perfect time. With so much focus on doping and all the d-bags that continue to dope or accuse others of it, I gotta respect that Bettini went out in style.
And on that note, so will we. We have only created the greatest Colnago masterpieces. And while Pista Palace worked hard to restore Colnago's place in the high end road market, we choose to retire from the brand given particular circumstances and perhaps borrowing from Bettini's foresight. Hopefully, some other shop will be able to carry the torch and champion the brand in the vein of Pista Palace. We all know, however, that this is an impossibility. No other shop, be it some Euro discount Performance knock-off, or even the myriad of domestic website clones can't touch us. We will lead and they will follow. Thanks to all of our loyal customers that understand what we represent and give us unconditional support. It makes being The Greatest Bike Shop In The Universe that much easier.