"A bicycle built by a frame builder has the soul of the builder. A mass produced frame does not have soul. It doesn’t know anyone."
A quote by Giovanni Pelizzoll. Grandson of Ciocc founder.
Whether this comment means anything or not is up to you. It is something that I read two weeks into a bike test that I was having trouble trying to pigeonhole.
Ciocc is an Italian brand with 60 years experience in producing bikes with the ‘artisan’ feel. I have heard lots about bikes that just work with the rider. Sometimes there is a natural connection, a willingness of both bike and rider to follow the same path. Maybe this is what I was feeling during those early rides.
TheExtro is from the riding end of theCiocc scale. They split their range into two groups, ‘racing’ and ‘riding’, with a high degree of overlap between the models. Bikes such as the Devilry (Bicycling Australia NovDec 2010) are aimed at the racer, having slightly faster angles and a more rigid feel. Getting off my own bike a Grand Tour proven,race frame to test a ‘riding’ bike might, I thought,just produce some interesting results.
Before taking delivery of the bike, Ciocc Australia had asked for all of my frame measurements. The normal toptube length was not enough for these guys, they wanted more. Checking their build when I got the bike there was nothing to change, they had set the bike up perfectly to suit the rider. The stem was 10mm higher than my personal ride but this was an endurance bike after all.
Looking at a bike before the first test ride you get a feeling about it. Will it be stiff enough to climb with the bunch? Is an external bottom bracket old technology? No tapered steerer? Will it corner well or will it wander off line?The first ride is generally shorter, around 10km and taken as getting to know the new bike. Tools are always taken for small adjustments to the bar, stem or gears. Sometimes you forget about the rules and just ride off up the coast, early in the morning and enjoy the ride. Ten in the morning sees you returning home with a smile on your face and not really having a fixed opinion about the bike. Finding out that it just works beneath you is a great feeling. Is there something in that Italian geometry? They must know something after 60 years…
Hundreds of kilometres later, neither the seat height nor the stem height was touched at all.This bike had been put together with love and soul, not a time schedule.In true Italian sprit, the 1,100g Ciocc frame had been built up with Campagnolo Carbon Athena 11 speed. The groupsetworked from the start of the test with nothingneeded to keep it humming except chain lube which is wonderful for a ‘budget’ groupset. At just over 2,200g the groupset helped to keep the complete bike at a nice weight of 7.5kg. Not bad considering the 38mm carbon aero Ursuswheelset and heavy tyres. The shape of the Campy Athena hoods is well known to beconfidence inspiring, allowing the rider to spend more time on the hoods, even whilst descending, without the fear of slipping or not being in control. The braking power and control from the hoods was a revelation for me as was the performance of the entire Athena Gruppo.