Recreational cycling is booming in popularity. This, combined with the booming bicycle manufacturing industry, particularly in Asia over the past decade has brought many great benefits
Recreational cycling is booming in popularity. This, combined with the booming bicycle manufacturing industry, particularly in Asia over the past decade has brought many great benefits.
In particular, the cost of gaining access to high quality machines has dramatically reduced, which means you don’t need to spend 10 grand to ride something that will look, feel, and ride brilliantly.
I must admit to being a bit blind to this ‘revolution’ having been incredibly fortunate (spoilt) in riding the crème de la crème of bicycles for many years—from BHs to Baums, most of which cost about the same to launch as a space shuttle.
Avanti’s Giro is a perfect example of ‘low cost quality’. The frame’s gloss finish enhances one of the nicest paint schemes I’ve seen on a bicycle in some time. Featuring the ever reliable, always smart black and white colour combo combined with a solid component ensemble, the Giro looks and feels worth more than the $1,899 asking price.
Thin walled, lightweight 7005 butted aluminium is used in the manufacture of the frame’s top, down, and head tubes as well as the chain stays, and the tubing has been shaped triangularly to provide stiffness and strength for all types of riding.
7005 aluminium is much cheaper to produce than in years past, plus it’s less fashionable than carbon fibre. The Giro still has a few carbon touches with a fork and seat stay that aid ride quality and vibration dampening while not taking any stiffness away from the overall package. Carbon also gives the machine a high tech look, especially when it is left in its bare unpainted state as it is on the seat stay. It nicely complements the paint scheme.
A selection of solid carbon and alloy components round out the Giro package. Zero branded alloy stem and handlebars furnish the cockpit with some very nice white bar tape, while at the mid section there is a carbon seat post and black and white saddle that once again coordinates with the paint scheme.
Most other components are from Shimano’s 105 groupset, which like the Giro itself is a lesson in quality at a reasonable price. Since 105 became 10-speed in model year 2006, it moved into another league altogether. It’s now much closer to Ultegra and Dura Ace, boasting much better shifting quality, smoothness, lighter weight and smarter looks. I rode a bike with the 10-speed 105 briefly last year and found it to be excellent, but using it at length on the Giro rammed the point home of how highly I rate it.
I wasn’t surprised to see that the Giro’s wheels were the cheap and cheerful Shimano WHR500s. I have ridden many sets of these base level wheels over the years (before my fortunate run of riding high priced exotica) and found them to be strong, safe and dependable, but it is good to see that Shimano has made some changes—the rim profile looks different and the spokes are now black.
Call me shallow, but the fact that they are now that colour is just so much better for looks and with the Giro it just adds to the package’s very smart appearance. The Shimano hoops are shod with Specialized Mondo Pro tyres with lightweight tubes—nice addition. I have ridden these tyres before and found them to offer ample grip in all weather.
The Giro is offered in five sizes, and being a giraffe with an inseam that measures nearly a metre, I went for the biggest on offer, the XXL. This certainly is a big frame, but then with the Giro’s semi slightly sloping top tube with short seat tube, it doesn’t look unusual or out of place as with some big traditional design frames.
The top tube measures 58.8 cm with a 20.5 cm head tube; 54 cm seat tube and 41cm long chain stays. The frame’s dimensions gave me very good flexibility with sizing and I was able to make useful adjustments to the seat post height until it suited me perfectly. This makes a nice change; usually I need to put the seat post at its maximum insertion point due to my height and long legs.
I tested the Giro thoroughly all over Sydney ’s lower north shore, which is ideal testing ground. I encountered sharp hills, sections of long straights, technical sections and all matter of road surfaces from the smoothest hot mix to severely cut up bitumen more commonly seen on the back roads of Moscow.
The Giro’s road feel was excellent with a nice dose of liveliness thanks to the predominantly alloy frame. The bike was assured, stable, and safe and inspired confidence when taking on difficult surfaces or road depressions, holes, and punishing ruts. Not once did it feel nervous or skittish, but then at 9.4 kg it should feel well planted on the road.
With that sort of mass and heavy wheels, the Giro is not going to be your ideal partner in a criterium race but most of us don’t ride those types of races anyway. For my own fitness-based riding, occasional races or macho shootouts with mates, the Giro was a capable performance partner.
The predominantly alloy frame provides ample stiffness and I was able to build up some serious momentum burning up a hill or flat roads in the big ring. It was a nice bonus to come home and not feel as though all my bones had been turned to dust.
Indeed, the Giro is a fine package for the price. I was very impressed with the quality and performance and wouldn’t hesitate for a second in recommending one as an ideal entry level racing bike. With some lighter wheels and components it would even appeal to the more hardcore cycling enthusiast thanks to the fundamentally performance-oriented aspects of the frame.
The Giro performs capably despite its weight . The frame is stiff and lively, and the accompanying parts and Shimano components add nicely to the mix.
The attention to detail is top notch for a budget frame and it boasts a superb paint scheme. Thumbs up to the designers.
Value for Money 95%
What you get for $1,899 these days is fantastic.
The Giro offers performance and quality in a cost effective package. I would be more than happy with one in my garage.
Frame: Alloy 7005 UL1 Carbonio Carbon Seat Stays
Fork: Carbonio – Carbon Fibre with 1-1/8¨ Alloy Steerer
Headset: FSA Integrated 1-1/8¨
Stem: Forged 31.8mm Alloy Ahead 4 Bolt Clamp
Handlebar: Alloy 31.8mm with Anatomic Bend
Shifter Levers: Shimano 105 20 Speed
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 10 Speed
Cassette: Shimano CS-5600 11-25T 10 Speed
Chain: Shimano CN-5600
Crank: FSA Gossamer Mega EXO Compact, 36-50T
Bottom Bracket: FSA Gossamer Mega EXO
Pedals: Shimano PD-R540 Clipless
Brakes: Shimano 105
Wheels: Shimano R500 Wheel Set
Tyres: Specialized Mondo Pro 700 x 23c with Lightweight Tubes
Saddle: Selle Italia FK Trans Am
Seat Post: Carbon 27.2mm Micro Adjust
Weight 9.4 kg (size XXL)
Distributor: Avanti Phone (03) 9586 8300
Photo: John Hardwick