[CR]Torelli Master (Ambrosio) vs. Mavic MA2

(Example: Bike Shops:R.E.W. Reynolds)

From: "Andrew Gillis" <apgmaa@earthlink.net>
To: "classicrendezvous" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 11:43:50 -0700
Subject: [CR]Torelli Master (Ambrosio) vs. Mavic MA2


Thanks to David Feldman's preceding CR remarks on the Torelli Master rims.

I've used both the Torelli Master (made by Ambrosio in Italy) and the Mavic MA2, so I'll add my $ 2.02 to the discussion:

1. Wheelbuilding. My recent Torelli rim experience is very limited compared to David Feldman's.

I've built up only one pair of Torelli Master rims, six years ago. My wheels had greater variability in the spoke tension (ie, more variability in rim dimensions?) compared to the Mavic MA2s. Over the years (1980 onwards) I found that the Mavic rims always gave the most even spoke tension compared to other rims. However the Torelli rims were still very good, and I'd use them again.

No so incidentally, Torelli's website states that the rims are extruded in France and rolled in Italy. This is very interesting to me...did Mavic sell off their old MA2 extruding machinery??? Maybe their rims have improved since I used them last. Who knows?

2. Anodizing. The Masters were/are available in both hard gray (nearly black) and soft (clear) silver anodizing.

The Mavic MA2 was available as non anodized (most familar here in the USA), clear silver anodized (MA2 "argent") and hard gray anodized (MA40, also commonly distributed). I also have in my possession (as I write this) one odd MA2 "SBP" which has a hard silver anodizing, similar to the MA40 but apparently the anodizing wasn't dyed dark gray.

The Argent model wasn't imported into the USA (to my knowledge, I've never seen it here) but I purchased a couple pairs a few years ago from UK mail order. One of these pairs is on my Richard Sachs (Record 9 Ergo) and is not showing any trace of spoke hole cracking after 5(?) years of use.

I don't know the reliability of Jobst Brandt's remarks against anodized rims. I do know that all of the modern extra-light and ultra-light handelbars are hard anodized to supposedly reduce the risk of surface imperfections create a stress crack which could propagate into the material.

I prefer the "clear silver" anodized rims for the corrosion resistance, yet the sidewalls are not too hard and wear down quickly for better braking. The hard anodized rims (MA40, SBP) take a long time to wear in.

3. Rim Construction (Spoke holes/Ferrules). Both the Master and the MA2 use the same double ferruled eyelet construction. I've had the Master eyelets rust out pretty quickly (when washed with water) so I'd stick to wiping the rims down with Pledge wax and avoid the risk of corrosion.

Incidentally, I also prefer to use plastic rim tape instead of cotton. If the wheels get really wet from a rainy ride ("it never rains in Southern California!") then I'll remove the tires and the rims strips to let the rims dry out from both sides.

4. Weight. I'd guess that the weights of the two rims are nearly the same. As far as I know, the Torelli rim is the only classic box clincher left on the market, so there's not really much of a choice in the matter.

5. Recommendation: The differences between old MA2s and newer Torelli Master rims are pretty minor. Buy the Torelli rims and keep the manufacturer's product line open.

Be happy!

Andrew Gillis (heading towards 97 F in Long Beach, CA today!)