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Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome Italy(10 posts)

Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome ItalyKenny
Mar 9, 2001 9:56 AM
Does anyone have actual experience purchasing a complete bike from Romeo Bicycle Shop (Rome, Italy).

I am thinking of puchasing either a Pinarello Galileo or Colnago VIP.

When I inquired about purchasing either of these bikes from Romeo, I refered to pictures of the Pinarello and the Colnogo as posted on their respective Italian web-sites and asked if they (Romeo) could provide me with either of these bikes exactly as shown. For example, the Colnago as shown on their web-site has a Colnago embosed ITM Millinium stem, a Colnago embosed ITM aluminum seat post, Colnago Hoskar saddle, a Colnago Ahead-set, Colnago rims, Look 236 pedals, and Flash fork, with the bike painted in Rabobank colors.

When Romeo e-mailed me back, they informing me that they can provide either of the above referenced bikes -- exactly as shown on the manufactures' web-sites.

By question is: If you have purchased a bike from Romeo do they really follow through with the delivery of a bike as specified by the buyer and how was the quality of the bike when received (i.e., How well is the assembly, wheel build qualtiy, etc.)

Also, how long did it take to receive the bike after your order was received by Romeo?

Thanks for the help.
I've been there ...pmf
Mar 9, 2001 10:21 AM
Bought a jersey from them. Talked to them. The guys working there seemed nice. It is an atypical Italian bike shop in that they have inventory and lots of bikes for sale. Definitely not a mom and pop operation which is good in your case. I'm sure they can handle the VAT paperwork which is part of getting you a good deal. They could probably even get you some of these bikes custom at no additional charge if you specified measurements and were willing to wait 6-8 weeks.

As far as Colnago goes, their bikes come primped up from the factory. If you order this bike, part of the package is the ITM Colnago stem, carbon post and Colnago fork. I don't think you have any choice there. You may be able to substitute a Star for a Force for example, but I doubt they'd swap you a Look HSC. Not that you'd want to.

I bought a 2001 C-40 over there last fall. I saved about $1000, but it was a hassle. The shop I got it from was a mom and pop operation who didn't fill out some of the paperwork.

You might want to check out what they'll sell you the frame, fork etc for and see if its any cheaper to equip it here. Although frames seem to be cheaper there, components aren't always a great deal. Especially if you're thinking about Dura Ace.
Be careful!c40owner
Mar 9, 2001 5:16 PM
Like pmf, I've been to Romeo and bought some tires only. It seemed like a great shop. They had killer pricing on Campy. I did not get a complete bike from them, nor ever order mailorder. But some things to consider:

- It can be hassle ordering overseas. With customs, VAT, language, shipping, etc., you're going to incur some form of mild headache (see pmf). This effort is worth it if you're going to save hundreds if not a thousand dollars. But if the bike is delivered to you in the U.S. (I assume) and it doesn't have, say a "Colnago" embossed seatpost, like the catalog, then you're going to spend more time and effort (i.e. even more headaches) trying to rectify the discrepancy than it's worth.

- As pmf states, Colnago sells complete bikes. They spec the bike and put pretty pictures in a catalog. It's been my experience that very often what is on the local store's floor is not exactly what was in the catalog - Colnago or other. It's not uncommon to see small changes in component specs from catalog to production models. Romeo has no control over this. And if Colnago runs out of, say "Colnago" ITM seatposts, they're not going to stop production to wait for more, they're just going to use regular ITM posts.

- You're dealing with Italians. No slight against Italians (I'm Italian), but, in my opinion, they have a more "laid-back" attitude about bikes than the average U.S. consumer, who tends to be a little more "anal" (not saying YOU are!) when it comes to components and finish. We demand tires that match the color our saddles. Romeo may not share the same level of concern about the bike looking exactly like it does in the catalog. "What's the big deal? So the seatpost doesn't say Colnago - it works!"

- Maybe you've confirmed this with Romeo, but it is unusual to have a bike manufacturer spec pedals with a bike anymore, i.e. Look 236. Most don't, maybe Colnago does . . . if this is even a concern to you.

- If not getting the bike EXACTLY like the picture in catalog is really going to bum you out and bother you, double check with Romeo and make sure you get across, in no uncertain terms, EXACTLY what you want. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for a big hassle.

Hope this helps and keep us posted on what you do!
re: Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome ItalyPaolo
Mar 12, 2001 5:38 AM
I purchased a bike from Romeo. I found Alessandro to be very helpful and we communicated often through e-mails and phone. The shop itself is good and the staff is very helpful but there are some caveats:

(1) Production time. In my particular instance, Colnago took forever to build the bike and it took longer than the anticipated 8 weeks to get it. Not Romeo's fault.

(2)Sizing. You better be sure about your size in the particular maker. A colnago does not have the exact same geometry as a pinarello. Returns/exchanges can be long or difficult since you are dealing with Italy (ROmeo bike shop is willing to help, but you still have to deal with the distance/mail)

(3)Shipping - Although I found the bike build quality to be just fine, I found more comfort in taking it to my LBS for a full tune up. Also, FEDEX banged up the fork a bit at the bottom - Alessandro wanted to replace it, but my lbs fixed it up w/o a problem.

On the good side:

(1) Duties - somehow I got charged only $35 for the whole bike. I estimated somewher closer to $150

(2) Alessandro was willing to swap out whatever product I didn't like for a like product - i.e., I got to pick exactly what I wanted

(3) I ordered a full record 10 speed set and got just that, including the record pro fit pedals. They also threw in 2001 record for no price difference.

(4) I'd do it again. I saved over $1000 for a CT-1 (you can see the picture Alessandro sent me b/f shipping in the bike picture pages)

(5)The build quality is good. Wheels are very true and the rest is well put together. They are not as anal as we are (me): cables showing the campagnolo script facing out, etc., But they do a fine job.

Paolo
re: Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome ItalyKenny
Mar 12, 2001 4:07 PM
I just received an email from Alexandro (Romeo Bicycle shop)informing me that it will take about 90 days to get a Colnago as I have specified -- which is 'exactly' like the set-up shown on the Colnago site for the VIP 2000 model.

In your post (Paolo) you allude to the fact that Colnago 'built' your CT-1 (as shown on the bike picture page of Roadwiderreveiw.com) instead of Romeo sourcing the frame and then buiding the bike with the Campy group, saddle, wheels, etc. of your choice.

However, in an e-mail from Alessandro last week he seemed to inticate that he -- and not Colnago -- builds up the bike as specified by the buyer. So I am somewhat confused.

So I wonder, does it take three months for Romeo to source a bare frame directly from Colnago and to biuldt a bike as I have specified or does it take 90 days for Romeo to order and to ultimatley take delivery of a complete bicycle from Colnago?

Incidently, the best price that I have been quoted for a Rabobank paint scheme VIP (specd like the one shown on the Colnago website) here in the US is $2,500 without Look pedals and without sales tax California, 7 1/2 percent). The complete bike, via Romeo was quoted at approximately $1,860 net of VAT, with Look pedals and shipping!
Also, in calling around trying to source a bike in the US I have not been able to find a 'Rabobank' VIP in the size that I think will fit me best.

Incidently, every dealer that I've talked to says that there is no problem ordering a frame and that it should only take a few weeks to get the bike. However, I called the US distributor (Trialtir) to verify how long it would take to get a properly-sized frameset deliverd to a LBS dealer. (They currently do not have any VIPs in the color/size(s) that I want.) While they are a little bit hard to pin down on this, I get the distinct impression that the wait could be just as long as sourcing a complete Colnago directly from Italy.

The other problem I have had regarding purchasing a VIP from a US dealer -- is that everyone seems to have a different way of measuring Colnago frames. For instance, this Saturday I had a well-known dealer in the San Diego costal area (I won't mention their name except to say that the stuff used to make explsovies is the same!) tell me that Colnago measures from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube even though I had Colnago's sizing chart in hand that specifically refers to frame measurements as center-of-bottom bracket to top-of-seat tube collar. Each time I referred the salesman's attention to the sizing chart, he kept insisting that it was the old way Colnago use to measure bikes. This, dispite the fact that the geometry chart that I kept directing the salesman's attention to was taken directly from the Trialtir (Colnago) most recent catelog! (The salesman kept telling me that he was an 'ex-pro,' as if this fact would make any difference. To say that I left this Colnago dealer's shop --which holds itself out as an expert LBS for upper-end road bikes -- wihtout any confidnece in their ability to order a proper-fitting frameset is an understatement.

This is an importnant issue, becasue on the aluminum Colnago frames a center-to-top of collar measurement gives a completely different set of top-tube and seat-tube angles than the same center-to-top of seat lug measurement for the steel-framed Colnago bikes. Since I have a short inseam but long torso it is important for the local dealer to get the frame size question right; if not, I could end up waiting a lot longer for a bike purchased via a US-based dealer -- especialy if the wrong size is ordered and it must then be returned in exchagne for another through Trialtir -- than it would take to get a bike via Romeo Bicycle Shop in the first place!

As an experineced road cyclist (20 years) I have found that most so-called LBS experts know much less than what I have learned through experience over the y
re: Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome ItalyKenny
Mar 12, 2001 4:07 PM
I just received an email from Alexandro (Romeo Bicycle shop)informing me that it will take about 90 days to get a Colnago as I have specified -- which is 'exactly' like the set-up shown on the Colnago site for the VIP 2000 model.

In your post (Paolo) you allude to the fact that Colnago 'built' your CT-1 (as shown on the bike picture page of Roadwiderreveiw.com) instead of Romeo sourcing the frame and then buiding the bike with the Campy group, saddle, wheels, etc. of your choice.

However, in an e-mail from Alessandro last week he seemed to inticate that he -- and not Colnago -- builds up the bike as specified by the buyer. So I am somewhat confused.

So I wonder, does it take three months for Romeo to source a bare frame directly from Colnago and to biuldt a bike as I have specified or does it take 90 days for Romeo to order and to ultimatley take delivery of a complete bicycle from Colnago?

Incidently, the best price that I have been quoted for a Rabobank paint scheme VIP (specd like the one shown on the Colnago website) here in the US is $2,500 without Look pedals and without sales tax California, 7 1/2 percent). The complete bike, via Romeo was quoted at approximately $1,860 net of VAT, with Look pedals and shipping!
Also, in calling around trying to source a bike in the US I have not been able to find a 'Rabobank' VIP in the size that I think will fit me best.

Incidently, every dealer that I've talked to says that there is no problem ordering a frame and that it should only take a few weeks to get the bike. However, I called the US distributor (Trialtir) to verify how long it would take to get a properly-sized frameset deliverd to a LBS dealer. (They currently do not have any VIPs in the color/size(s) that I want.) While they are a little bit hard to pin down on this, I get the distinct impression that the wait could be just as long as sourcing a complete Colnago directly from Italy.

The other problem I have had regarding purchasing a VIP from a US dealer -- is that everyone seems to have a different way of measuring Colnago frames. For instance, this Saturday I had a well-known dealer in the San Diego costal area (I won't mention their name except to say that the stuff used to make explsovies is the same!) tell me that Colnago measures from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube even though I had Colnago's sizing chart in hand that specifically refers to frame measurements as center-of-bottom bracket to top-of-seat tube collar. Each time I referred the salesman's attention to the sizing chart, he kept insisting that it was the old way Colnago use to measure bikes. This, dispite the fact that the geometry chart that I kept directing the salesman's attention to was taken directly from the Trialtir (Colnago) most recent catelog! (The salesman kept telling me that he was an 'ex-pro,' as if this fact would make any difference. To say that I left this Colnago dealer's shop --which holds itself out as an expert LBS for upper-end road bikes -- wihtout any confidnece in their ability to order a proper-fitting frameset is an understatement.

This is an importnant issue, becasue on the aluminum Colnago frames a center-to-top of collar measurement gives a completely different set of top-tube and seat-tube angles than the same center-to-top of seat lug measurement for the steel-framed Colnago bikes. Since I have a short inseam but long torso it is important for the local dealer to get the frame size question right; if not, I could end up waiting a lot longer for a bike purchased via a US-based dealer -- especialy if the wrong size is ordered and it must then be returned in exchagne for another through Trialtir -- than it would take to get a bike via Romeo Bicycle Shop in the first place!

As an experineced road cyclist (20 years) I have found that most so-called LBS experts know much less than what I have learned through experience over the y
re: Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome Italypaolo
Mar 13, 2001 6:23 AM
Alessandro built the bike to my specifications. I asked for specific handlebar tape, tires, wheels, spokes ... you name it, I had it down to every single piece. Alessandro built the bike up and shipped it within a week of receiving it from Colnago. Colnago is the one that takes forever in getting the bikes done. Mind you, the paint job and quality on my bike was flawless. WIth regards to the lbs, I love mine, but my decision was strictly financial. I could not buy a bike for $1000 more and sleep at night.

Good luck in your purchase
Hmmmcampy dropout
Mar 13, 2001 6:58 AM
If you have a short inseam but long torso a Colnago is probably not the frame for you, but hey, they look cool (to some) and if you wanna spend $2,000 sight unseen by international mail order then I say go for it. You just gotta ask, is the lack of proper fitting, risk of damage during shipping, and lack of warranty (you don't think Trialtir is gonna warranty it should something happen, do you?) worth the $700 or whatever that you are going to save? More than likely, customs will catch up to you and charge you for duties, so your actual savings may be less than you think.
HmmmKenny
Mar 13, 2001 9:47 AM
Customs duty - even if collected - 3.9%.

As for fit, Colnago VIP/Dream measured center-to-top of seat collar = 55 center-to-top of top tube, 55.5 top-tube, 73.20 seat tube angle; for me, a perfect fit. (However, as I noted in my previous post, a comparable Colnago in steel would not fit by anatomy.)

As for warranty; I've been told by any number of LBS that Trialtir will warranty for only one year!
re: Buying a complete bike at Romeo Bicycle Shop, Rome Italythom
Mar 12, 2001 10:32 AM
I bought and recieved just recently a Pinarello Opera. They did a good job packing it and got me the Pina seat and color i wanted and the Pina carbon seatpost. The frame was in perfect condition and Alessandro was easy to work with. As far as the details of your possible order, i am sure he will work to see if he can get you exactly what you want, you can count on that. He can give you a ballpark number on when he will receive the bike. It will be worth the wait if you want the detail parts. Alessandro has the best chance of providing you this. My next bike will be bought from him.
Thom