De Rosa SK Pin­in­fa­rina

High style and a lot of sub­stance

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - reviewed by Matthew Pioro

High style and a lot of sub­stance

The poor De Rosa SK Pin­in­fa­rina. It came to me in early spring, when I did the bulk of my rid­ing for this test, grab­bing the bike on sunny, bright days, wait­ing out some crummy ones and push­ing my luck on oth­ers that were more “early,” less “spring.” I felt a bit bad for the bike with looks that speak more to sum­mer. But I was happy to be on some­thing that added a bit of spark to my rides. The SK Pin­in­fa­rina de­buted at the 2015 Euro­bike. It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the more than 60-year-old bi­cy­cle com­pany based in Mi­lan and the de­sign com­pany – which fo­cuses mostly on cars and ar­chi­tec­ture – with its head­quar­ters in Turin. The early dis­cus­sion around the bike of­ten touched on aero­dy­nam­ics, which was fit­ting as Pin­in­fa­rina has its own wind tun­nel. When I spoke with Phil Cortes, man­ager of the cy­cling di­vi­sion at Log­ica Sport, the com­pany that brings De Rosa bikes to Canada, he got me think­ing about the bike in a dif­fer­ent light, how­ever. He said its aero fea­tures are tested but any re­sults aren’t read­ily avail­able. Com­po­nents and even parts of the frame aren’t as in­te­grated as they are on other aero bikes.

“SK is new ver­sion of De Rosa’s 888 Su­perk­ing, which has al­ways had an aero­dy­namic ten­dency to it,” he said. “The SK is a race­able bike that I re­ally push as an en­durance bike. It doesn’t have the stiff­ness that you’d ask for in a race bike. It def­i­nitely has the com­pli­ance of an en­durance bike.”

The SK as en­durance bike? OK. Let’s com­pare it with the King XS, De Rosa’s gran fondo bike (but, for­merly a race bike). The stack and reach of the SK in Size 54 (which I tested) and the King XS in Size 53 aren’t too far off: 550 mm and 389 mm for the SK and 545 mm and 393 mm on the King XS. The head tube on the SK is 148 mm, which is 4 mm longer than that of King XS. These di­men­sions won’t put you as up­right as a Trek Do­mane or Felt VR; you can get into a pretty race-y po­si­tion on the SK.

As for snap when you lay into the ped­als, I’d say it’s very good. It’s def­i­nitely more lively than other en­durance bikes I’ve rid­den. Also, the Pin­in­fa­rina-branded Vi­sion Metron 55 wheels spin up well and keep you rolling along the road. If the sur­face is a bumpy one, the com­pli­ance in the frame that Cortes men­tioned does mit­i­gate the road vi­bra­tions. As with the ge­om­e­try, I wouldn’t say the SK is in full en­durance-bike ter­ri­tory with its com­pli­ance. Though, I re­ally liked the “en­durance light” na­ture of the SK. It’s zippy, slightly ag­gres­sive with­out be­ing bru­tal and a plea­sure to ride for miles.

An­other pure joy on this bike is the Shi­mano Dura-ace 9100 gruppo. I’ve had a bit of time with the 9150 Di2 model, but it was great to go “old school” with the new me­chan­i­cal set. The shift­ing is so light and ef­fort­less, and yet pre­cise. Just fan­tas­tic. The di­rect-mount brakes pro­vided all the stop­ping power I needed.

While my test­ing is done and my con­clu­sions are in, I still plan to ride this bike in the warmer weather. The poor bike suf­fered through the spring. It’s only fair that I take it out on longer, sun­nier days.

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