The rider’s ride
Officine Mattio Lemma, £7,400, ciclimattio.com
This Italian brand is as big on aesthetics as it is technical excellence, describing its products as ‘bicycles intended as jewellery’. The frame was certainly a head-turner, with a striking finish that was the result of the brand’s ‘handmade paints’, researched and produced to ‘clothe our bikes’.
Behind the breathless blurb is 20 years of framebuilding experience. The Lemma is the only carbon frame the brand produces, its other two models being steel. Despite its slender, retro appearance, the frame is light, rigid and compliant, which is just as well considering our ride was either uphill or downhill with very little flat in between.
The price quoted is for the Dura-ace model, but ours came with a Sram Red etap groupset. As someone who’s never owned a smartphone, the idea of riding a bike that changed gear wirelessly made me dizzy with excitement – I was using down tube levers just a few years ago. But if I’m being picky, I didn’t find the changes quite as slick as with Shimano’s Di2, although that may be easily rectified with some tweaking back at the workshop.
And so it was the quality of the frame that really came into play. I never felt as if a single pedal stroke was being wasted while going uphill, and on the descents its sure-footedness encouraged me to sweep around hairpins without my customary inhibition. In fact, I’m happy to endorse another line from the company’s purple prose: ‘As perfect as water, as solid as a rock, as light as the wind.’