I love winter bikes. Anyone who’s read this blog for a while now will know that. I love bikes that can take full length mudguards and wide (up to 28mm tyres). They make so much sense to me for riding in Britain and I’m amazed that they still stir up such passions and arguments amongst UK cyclists. When you’re riding on wet roads or in the rain – full length guards make a massive difference to your comfort, your dryness, the cleanliness of you, your bike and that of your riding companions. Personally I think everyone needs one.
So with all that I was really intrigued when I saw that De Rosa were releasing a UK only winter training frame with clearance for up to 28mm tyres, long drop brake compatibility and even rack mounts!
I contacted i-Ride the distributor for De Rosa in the UK to ask them for more info. They said they’d have one at the Cycle Show and as you may have spotted, I drove up to the show and got a few photos (http://girodilento.com/2013-cycle-show-piste-highlights-favourites/).
Tom from i-Ride suggested that I pop down for a visit to take it for a ride and I jumped at the chance.
The bike I rode was the full bike spec that retails for £1699 (the frameset is available for £799). The complete bike is equipped with Campagnolo Veloce 10 speed, Tektro R539 long drop brakes, 3T Ergosum bars and an ARX Pro Stem. The wheels are Fulcrum Racing 7’s shod with 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres. There’s a Prologo saddle and even a bottle cage supplied! It’s a pretty decent parts list. The gearing is a compact up front (50/34) and a 12/25 cassette at the rear which should be good for most winter riding – unless you live somewhere particularly hilly.
The frame itself is made in Italy with hand drawn triple butted aluminium tubing and is shipped with a carbon fork (and alloy steerer). The frame features smooth welds and seemed nicely finished. The colour scheme looks great in the flesh – elegant and classy as you’d expect from a brand like De Rosa.
Heading out onto the road on the Milanino Training bike and the first sensations were that it had a firm ride and felt very planted. It also muted out the worst of the road buzz well. It felt like a strong frame and gave me the feeling that it was composed and confident. The frame feels stiff but definitely not uncomfortable. The frame responds well to effort and the bike handled well enough that I didn’t even need to think about it and just got on with riding.
On the short ride, it was a good companion and I felt it got better as you rode it faster. It’s not particularly light, but that’s in some part down to the kit it’s built up with, which though competent and good choices for a bike to do a lot of miles through often poor road conditions – it’s not the lightest. The large size bike I rode weighed 8.6kgs according to my ebay scales of semi-truth. It’s a weight that could easily be brought down a bit with some judicious upgrades.
The Milanino Training frame features the same geometry as the “normal” Milanino and whilst it’s described as a sloping geometry – the top tube on the size L that I was riding looked pretty much flat to me. The guys at i-Ride said that the geometry changes for each size with particular respect to the quantity of sloping that goes on and that the smallest sizes are the most sloping (the largest least so).
This was the first time I’d ridden a De Rosa and I felt like it was a very reassuring ride, one that has decades of history and know how in its DNA. De Rosa has a wonderful and rich cycling heritage and I do think it’s fantastic that you can now buy a De Rosa that can run full mudguards.
I suspect that more people will buy the frameset and build their Milanino Trainers up from scratch than buy the full bike as that’s how a large chunk of winter bikes are built. Choose your frameset and cast off some parts from your summer bike to build it up to keep the costs down.
If you want a winter trainer or commuting bike from one of the oldest and most respected Italian bike brands – then put this on your list. Looking down at the De Rosa logo will probably put a smile on your face each time you ride it. It looks good – it rides well, it’s a little old school and hugely versatile. It’ll certainly stand out on a club run or at a sportive.
My thanks to Tom, Mark and Josh at i-Ride for their hospitality and the opportunity to try this bike.
More info including the option to buy one can be found here:
Complete Bike: http://tidd.ly/4b1581b4
Thanks for reading