The rider’s ride

Of­ficine Mat­tio Lemma, £7,400, ci­cli­mat­tio.com

Cyclist - - France -

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.’

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