We are happy to welcome Geno Villafano, all-round cyclist and grad Phd student, his attitude towards racing bikes reflects our vision of performance, being able to keep cycling fun and informal.
Of course we had to ask him a review of the 100% Made in Italy, top of steel range road bike after a few months of pedaling on it.
How many kms/miles have you clocked on your Nemo so far?
Since getting the bike in early spring I’ve put 2,400 kms on it so far.
What kind of riding have you been using it for? What kind or rides do you most love taking it on?
It is my everywhere bicycle. It quickly became the bike I spend the most time on for training, commuting, and long endurance rides. Basically, anytime I’m not racing gravel or crit racing I’ll be on the Nemo, but the most important aspect of it for me is being a commuter that I can also train on.
How does your setup reflect that? Could you take us through the details of your build and its relationship to your riding style and needs?
My current setup for the Nemo is mostly stock, with a full Ultegra 12s Di2 build, and Fulcrum carbon wheels. My added touches have been a few light carbon parts on the seat, seatpost, and a one-piece carbon bar. Overall bringing the complete bike build down to 9kg with everything on it.
The Nemo is the perfect blend of race and commuter for me. As a grad student that lives ~50km (round trip) from campus, most of my riding is commuting, and during these commutes is when I train for racing. I don’t own a car and I live in rural Connecticut which has absolutely gorgeous roads for cycling, so I’m lucky to be able to do this, and the Nemo fits into this really well; it’s a comfy light and fast commuter bike that still feels like a race bike when I need it to. Also it is super pretty, and that counts for something when you spend as much time alongside it like I do :)
Is this the first time you’d ridden a modern steel bike with contemporary wall thicknesses and oversized tube sections?
It is! My last steel bike was a late 1980s Atala that I found at the dump when I started my PhD. I loved it…but it is nothing like modern steel. The Nemo feels much more like my carbon road bike than I ever would have expected.
How does it compare to the carbon (or other material) bikes you had been riding previously? What are the pros and cons?
The biggest Pro for me is that it’s not carbon. That’s not to say I don’t also love my carbon road bike, but 90% of the time when I’m training or commuting I don’t want the fragility or expense of a full carbon bike. The Nemo has the same snappy responsiveness of my carbon bike with tons of bottom bracket stiffness, but maintains that quiet and plush steel-frame road feel.
How would you describe the handling and ride experience?
It combines carbon stiffness and weight with the stability of a steel bike—a blend that you only appreciate if you've experienced it.
What do you like most about this bike and why would you recommend it to a friend?
This might sound a bit vain, but I love the look of it. They are genuinely attractive bikes. I value the quality invested in the finish details, the machining, the intricacies of the lugs, and the quality of the paint with its subtle pearlescent sparkle.
However, one of the primary reasons I recommend it to people is that it’s the first steel frame I’ve ridden that is light enough and comparable enough to carbon—without actually being carbon. So, it will endure a lifetime and doesn't carry the significant negative environmental impact that carbon builds do.
Frame: Nemo Tig
Fork: Columbus Futura disc
Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12s
Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12s
Shifters: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12s
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12s
Chain: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12s
Rims: Fulcrum 550 carbon
Crank: Shimano Ultegra
Handlebars: Bontrager XXX integrated
Seat post: Carbon
Tires: Pirelli P Zero Race
Bags/Other accessories of note: I keep it pretty minimal, I am a big fan of commuting with backpacks instead of loading bags on the bike so I use a Peak Designs Everyday Zip bag. On the bike I just have a Ottolock + bag and a Peak Designs phone mount for all the random filming I do for my content.