The rider’s ride

Scott Ad­dict 10, £3,499,

Cyclist - - Italy -

At a time when every new bike that comes out seems to have vast, an­gu­lar tubes, with hy­draulic discs and in­te­grated aero cock­pits, the Ad­dict looks quaintly tra­di­tional. Its sil­hou­ette re­veals slen­der, gen­tly ta­per­ing round tubes, mak­ing it look ele­gant and re­fined next to some of the more boxy mod­ern of­fer­ings.

It also es­chews any fid­dly com­po­nents, opt­ing for a stan­dard seat clamp, head­set and brakes – all of which I was thank­ful for on this trip. The bike is easy to set up and ad­just, and dur­ing my time on it there were no clicks, grinds or creaks, leav­ing me to sim­ply en­joy the ride (the smooth ef­fi­ciency of the Shi­mano Dura-ace groupset helped a lot).

And what a ride it is. The Ad­dict is ex­cep­tion­ally light, which is just what I needed on the steep slopes of the Finestre, yet those skinny tubes proved to be re­mark­ably stiff, mean­ing that there was very lit­tle wasted en­ergy as I hauled on the bars and stamped on the ped­als. It’s cer­tainly the per­fect com­pan­ion for any­one head­ing into the hills, and yet its real rev­e­la­tion came on the de­scents and flat­ter sec­tions of the route. The han­dling is re­as­sur­ingly sta­ble, with no jit­ter­i­ness for such a light bike, and de­spite its fairly ag­gres­sive rac­ing ge­om­e­try I found it to be a com­fort­able ride for a long day out.

For 2017 the bike will be up­dated with the new Dura-ace 9100 groupset, and a disc brake ver­sion is on the way too. Should I dis­cover a few grand stuffed down the back of the sofa, I’d be se­ri­ously tempted to spend it on an Ad­dict 10.

To see it on a map, the road must look like a child has tried to oblit­er­ate the land­scape with a pen­cil, scor­ing it back and forth with tight, sharp lines

di Susa where a large bill­board cel­e­brates the oc­ca­sions the Giro d’italia has blasted through the vil­lage. Even at our gen­tle pace, it’s not long be­fore we leave the build­ings and agri­cul­ture be­hind and en­ter the dense for­est that cov­ers the lower slopes of the Colle delle Finestre.

Into the woods

Sur­rounded by trees on ei­ther side, it’s dif­fi­cult to get any sense of the progress we’re mak­ing or where the road is head­ing. Every cor­ner sim­ply re­veals an­other short stretch of tar­mac lead­ing in­ex­orably up­wards to an­other, strik­ingly sim­i­lar cor­ner.

To see it on a map, the road must look like a child has tried to oblit­er­ate the land­scape with a pen­cil, scor­ing it back and forth with tight, sharp lines. We are cer­tainly gain­ing height quickly, but I can only see back as far as a cou­ple of hair­pins be­low, and I’m keen to find a break in the trees so I can as­sess how far we’ve come up from the val­ley we started in.

In the for­est it’s eerily quiet. The only noise is the gen­tle buzz of rub­ber on tar­mac and the sound of breath­ing. In truth, it’s the sound of my breath­ing. Along­side me are Da­vide and Diego, two guides from the Pied­mont Bike Ho­tel where I have been stay­ing, and as yet they’re not dis­play­ing the same lev­els of ef­fort as me. Da­vide has been in­stru­men­tal in ar­rang­ing our ride, and he chats away an­i­mat­edly while I of­fer brief re­sponses be­tween gasps for air. At least he has the de­cency to get out of the sad­dle when the gra­di­ent kicks up in the hair­pins. Diego mean­while re­mains seated and taps out a rhythm as metro­nomic as a Swiss watch.

‘Diego is too quiet,’ Da­vide whis­pers to me. ‘I think he might be about to launch an at­tack.’ I glance back at Diego, who is do­ing that spe­cial trick of set­ting the pace while stay­ing at the rear of the group (I’ve no idea how they do it, but I’ve no­ticed it’s a skill par­tic­u­lar to good cy­cling guides). He looks as calm and in­scrutable as a statue. While I wres­tle my bike up the slope, puff­ing and snort­ing like an asth­matic bull, Diego looks as though he is barely breath­ing at all. For all I know, he does this climb so of­ten that he has ac­tu­ally fallen asleep be­hind those dark glasses and is cy­cling by mus­cle mem­ory alone.

Even­tu­ally, a large gap in the trees re­veals a mag­nif­i­cent view down to the val­ley and across to a tow­er­ing peak, which Da­vide in­forms me is the Roche Melon that guards the bor­der with France. I in­sist on stop­ping to take some pho­to­graphs on my phone, although it is only a ruse. I’m re­ally just thank­ful for an ex­cuse to have a breather and

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