> Hand­crafted Ital­ian car­bon race ma­chine

Cycling Plus - - FIRST RIDE -

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...

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