The first question Podia have for Marco Bertoletti is why he called his company Legend and not Bertoletti, which in our mind seems far more marketable.
The moment the question is asked, regret sets in and after few seconds that feel like an age, the cool Bertoletti shrugs.
We don’t really need to tell you what his answer was, we knew it the moment we set foot in the workshop and almost walked into the Legend Queen titanium and carbon road bike. Legend is made of only five people, three in the workshop including Marco and two in the office. It is such a small family-like unit, there is even a pet dog by the front door. However, at the heart of everything is Marco himself.
Marco is the quintessential artisan. He does the majority of the work building frames and when we visit, he is building up one of the show bikes that Legend will use to demonstrate the new range.
At some point we are told about how the bike fitting process works at Legend. There are two options. The first is your typical anthropometric system done on a jig until the numbers line up. Apparently, nine out of ten customers are happy with the result. Then there is an option number two, the ‘Marco fit’. This takes customers satisfaction rating to a whooping ten out of ten. The fitting method involves the client bringing his current bike and riding it down the street while Marco watches. He makes adjustments and then the ride continues. The process is repeated until Marco has a clear picture of what the frame should be.
Some might be skeptical of this approach until you find out the next piece of information about Bertoletti. He has produced frames for many professionals over the years, that have been repainted and branded as their team’s own bikes. Something that has been quite common for some time, with the pro’s in question often paying for the bikes out of their own pocket. What’s more, for every pro that come to Bertoletti for a frame, he always uses the ‘Marco fitting’ method.
This year Marco celebrates 25 years of being in business making frames, yet this is only the fifth year of Legend. Prior to creating the new brand it was not possible to get a frame from Marco unless you knew him personally or you bought one of the frames that he made for some of Europe’s most famous cycle brands.
These days, Legend make frames from carbon, titanium, steel and alloy with an average one taking around 8 weeks to produce. They only make between 400-500 frames a year and have very little interest in producing more than this, in order to keep the quality at an absolute best. As you can imagine these frames are not cheap, but once you visit Legend and meet everyone, you soon understand that they are worth every penny.
Legend as the name suggests, is very much what Marco is, and the people he has around him work tirelessly to enable him to do what he is good at, produce amazing frames.