Podia recently made the journey to the East of Poland to ride around the Bieszczady National Park. For the trip we took a titanium Legend IL RE to ride and test.
IL RE roughly translates as ‘The King’ in Italian and is Legend’s top of the range, full titanium frame. The bike we tested came with a Dura Ace Di2 11 Speed groupset as well as a set of PMP 50mm tubular wheels. The cost of an IL RE frameset starts from €5,160 and the full build of this bike was €12,250. When you pay this much money, you aren’t just getting a handmade frame from one of the best frame makers in Italy, you are also getting a completely custom bike, designed especially for you and your body. You can read more about Legend here.
Italian mechanical and Asian electronic
Many of you will complain that an Italian bike should come with an Italian groupset, but the general consensus among most frame makers we have spoken to is that the Di2 groupset is far better than EPS. We have written about it on these pages before; builders like Legend will often go with Dura Ace Di2 for a client that wants an electronic groupset and Super Record for a client that wants a mechanical one. Having ridden both of these groupsets recently it is also an opinion shared by us, however, if you don’t have a support vehicle following your rides, electronic might not be so sensible.
The bike is stunningly beautiful to look at and the grade 9 (3Al-2.5V) titanium has a tone to it that perfectly suited our autumnal surroundings, reflecting the golds and oranges in a subtle way. Oversized tubes help to keep the frame stiff and the carbon fork and seatpost, complete with Legend wing motif, give the bike a modern look. The Deda stem and handlebars wouldn’t be our choice, having shot this Legend Queen with ControlTech stem, but performed admirably well.
Marco Bertoletti is quite the inventor and this bike is full of innovation, especially in accommodating an electronic groupset. The bottom bracket is actually a two-shell construction that enables the wires to pass through without disruption. The rear wire also passes through a hole in the dropout to keep it neat. Needless to say, the cable routing is all internal to keep the lines of the bike as neat as possible.
The bike is lively to ride due to its stiffness in the tapered head tube and bottom bracket, as well as the tube selection. Power goes straight from the pedal without any delay, which is sometimes a problem with titanium frames that are often more supple than carbon or aluminium. However, the combination of the rigid frame and deep section tubular wheels made it slightly unpredictable on the winding descents when there were cross-winds.
Whether this is to be blamed for the crash that happened on the first descent of the first day’s riding, or the fact that the reviewer is used to an English braking configuration, meaning rear brakes were applied at the wrong time – we aren’t so sure. Nevertheless, rider and bike were unharmed, if not a little wary of each other for the next couple of hours.
All in all, we enjoyed our time with the bike (sadistically even the crash) and were a little sad to give it back. If you want something that is an all-round quality machine with looks to die for, this is certainly a bike you need to take a closer look at.