Fondriest TF2 1.0
Notice: This article appeared in the Bicycling Australia Jan-Feb 2010 issue alongside images of the Fondriest TF3 bike.
The Fondriest brand is named after the legendary Italian cyclist Maurizio Fondriest. I first remember hearing the name when he shot to prominence by winning the World Road championships in 1988 at the age of 23. While his performance on the day was exceptional, he was perhaps fortunate to have won.
After seven hours of racing he approached the finish line in the company of the local Belgium hero Claude Criquielion and Canadian Steve Bauer. As Bauer started the uphill sprint to the line with just 200m to go Criquielion was straight on the wheel while a small gap opened to Fondriest. What happened next was surreal. Bauer led the sprint from tight against the left barrier straight across to the right side of the road. Then with 100m to go he moved back to the centre. Criquielion saw his chance and began his move on the right of Bauer quickly coming alongside, when Bauer suddenly hooked him into the barriers. Criquielion, left with nowhere to go collided with a marshal and fell to the ground. Bauer hampered by the collision was slowed and Fondriest swung left to overtake the pair in spectacular fashion to take the win.
While this victory was a surprise, there was little doubt of Fondriest’s talent. During his 12 year professional career he won 69 races including Milan San Remo and was crowned the winner of the World Cup in 1991 and 1993.
As a rider he always looked exemplary on a bicycle, as if the machine was an extension of his body. His own personal professionalism and attention to detail has been reflected in his bike business, where each of the various models in the Fondriest range exudes quality and innovation.
The TF2 1.0 model tested here is a significant upgrade on the TF2 tested in Bicycling Australia issue #155. It features a light 950g frame and 345g fork (claimed) and comes decked out with Shimano Dura Ace. It’s targeted at the high performance end of the market, for those looking for every advantage. The first thing that struck me when looking at the frame was the incredibly large and square down tube. There is a lot of material there and yet the low weight of the frame is impressive.
Finished in ubiquitous red white and black colour scheme the finish and attention to detail is superb from all angles. The black sections of the frame are actually clear coat over the carbon weave and highlight one of the technical features of this frame, known as 4x4 twill. The way threads of carbon fibre are formed into fabric has certain characteristics to the resulting frame structure. The 4x4 twill fabric provides less stretch than traditional twill weaves and results in a stronger product.
Up front the seemingly backward raking fork is solidly joined to the differential headset incorporating a 1 1/8” top bearing and 1 ½” bottom bearing. The overall effect on the road is an incredibly stiff chassis. This is perhaps one of the stiffest bikes I’ve ever tested.
During out of the seat efforts every watt of energy goes into propelling you forward with absolutely no flex. On smooth tarmac with rolling hills this bike excels. It’s no slouch on long uphills either where the solid platform allows for no waste in power, whether you stay seated or climb standing.