> Handcrafted Italian carbon race machine
Italy’s Basso’s UK presence is rising, mainly due to its exclusive availability through Cycle Republic stores and sponsorship of the Morvelo Basso UK team. The 40-year-old company makes all of its carbon frames in its Italian facility.
The Diamante’s front end makes this model stand out, the integration of the fork crown into the oversized head-tube junction is something we’ve seen before, but the top of the head-tube is set deeper into the frame than usual for a superslammed front. Basso includes a Comfort Kit with the frameset, which adds 20mm to the stack and blends in perfectly with the frame. The dedicated Basso stem takes up less height than a standard stem with its ‘squished’ ovalised tube shape. Adjustability is the key, you can slam it as low as you want, or rise it up to more sportive-ready numbers.
The short wheelbase and steep head angle (73.5 degrees) make the Diamante a whip-fast handling bike. It’s a thrill to snap the bike into a corner or thread through the tightest gaps at speed.
The standard Diamante Ultegra retails for £2999 with Microtech’s (Basso’s in-house brand) alloy wheels. We opted for the special order model, which upgrades to Microtech’s M150 carbon clinchers, carbon bar and a carbon-railed saddle, which all add a lot to the price.
While the Diamante is an exceptional handling bike, it doesn’t provide the same level of comfort. The San Marco Regale saddle is overly firm and narrow and no matter how much we shifted around we couldn’t find a comfortable spot. That’s easy to change, but we would like to see more volume for the wheel tyre combination too. The Michelin Pro 4 tyres zip along the road and are tenaciously grippy, but mounted on the deep but slender M150s, the 23mm rubber is fine on smooth blacktop but jarring and harsh over rougher roads. The frame is designed to take 25mm tyres maximum.
Braking from the Ultegra units with Microtech’s pads on proprietary carbon rims is good, but does feel a little hard and is no match for the brake feel we’ve come to expect from ENVE, Zipp, Bontrager and DT. In the wet, the brakes’ performance is even more muted.
On smooth Italian mountain passes in summer, the Diamante would be a joy, but for the damper, rougher conditions in the UK we’d make a few spec changes to get the best out of this distinct Italian thoroughbred.
SPECIFICATION Weight 7.41kg (58cm) Frame Carbon Fork Carbon Gears Shimano Ultegra 52/36, 11-28 Brakes Shimano Ultegra Wheels Microtech M150 carbon clinchers Finishing kit Microtech Quantum carbon bar, Basso stem and carbon aero seatpost, San Marco...