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Road Bikes

Fondriest TF2 1.0 road bike review

The Fondriest TF2 1.0 set our editor’s heart aflutter with its superb surefooted handling, punchy power transfer and downright good looks. 

If you’re searching for a bike that can carry you from weekend warrior through to professional racer, while setting you apart from the crowds, away from the behemoth bike manufacturers, the TF2 1.0 could just be the ticket.

The TF2 1.0 frameset is available in an array of builds, leaving you to fine tune the spec

The TF2 1.0 is the second tier model in Fondriest’s range with just the race-oriented TFZERO frameset above it. Company founder, Maurizio Fondriest, describes the TF2 as his ‘baby’ after spending a significant amount of time with designers and engineers perfecting the frame that brandishes his name.

As a retired Italian professional road racing cyclist, Maurizio Fondriest accumulated an impressive palmarès over his career. Highlights include; becoming the 1988 world road race champion, and winning both the one-day Milan-San Remo and two stages of the Giro d’Italia. It’s obvious from these results that Maurizio knows what he is talking about and has kindly poured his racing pedigree and Italian flair into this spectacular steed.

Size isn’t everything, but it is with this “monolithic” bottom bracket junction, powerful to say the least

Swinging my leg over the XS 46cm test TF2 1.0, it was clear from the first pedal stroke that this is one stiff, responsive ride. The larger than average shapely tubes, combined with “monolithic” (read gigantic) bottom bracket junction that make up the frame – while may not appeal to all aesthetically – ensure that no power is lost; the TF2 is a pure speed demon. While ‘attacking’ on rides with friends, I was pleased at just how much power I could get out of the TF2, pulling away easily.

The quirkily shaped Reflex fork – Fondriest’s own design – is marketed as providing a precise and stable ride. While out testing the TF2 in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, it steered cleanly and securely round sweeping corners, but was more than nimble and reactive enough for quick movements round potholes and other obstacles.

Both Reflex fork with its reverse swwp and integrated seat clamp are Fondriest’s own design

Comfort wise, the lightweight frame comes in at just 950 grams in it’s raw state, while the fork weighs in at 345 grams, and has remarkably little flex thanks largely to the carbon fibre used in its construction. This rigidity again helps ensure maximum power transference, while also absorbing ‘road chatter’. I wasn’t overly aware of road vibrations. After a 100-mile jaunt over pot-hole riddled roads, I wasn’t left feeling unduly fatigued or uncomfortable.

The TF2’s classic geometry, with its stretched out racing position allowed me to take in the miles with ease, improving my handling by not being sat over the handlebars, twitching the front wheel.

Other notable features include the proprietary tear-drop shaped aerodynamic seat post. Essentially ‘proprietary’ means you can only use the Fondriest seat post provided due to the shape of the frame, as no other will fit the tear drop design.

Integrated seat clamp, plus tear-drop shaped aero seat post

A couple of points to mention about the seat post that you may not think about; it’s often difficult to move the tear drop shaped posts up and down (how many of us twist our circular posts to change the height – you can’t do it with this shape). However, on the other hand, once your saddle is aligned, the aero shape means it will always be perfectly straight, and never move out of position. Finally, it can be tough to find lights that affix to the non-circular shape.

The frameset is available in 13 colour ways (we managed to get our test model in Total Women’s Cycling teal!) and is designed to be compatible with electronic groupsets, although our test came with Shimano’s second-tier Ultegra 10-speed group set, with a compact 50-34t chainring. While not top of he range, this is a smooth changing, reliable option and definitely nothing to complain about.

Deep rims, deep trouble?

Of second importance after the frame is the wheelset; we tested the TF2 with Shimano RS80 C50 wheels that had deep rims. We’re not here to review the wheels as the TF2 can be bought as just a frameset, or built-up with your specifications. However, if you want our advice, avoid these heavy Shimano wheels as it took a while to get them up to speed, producing drag at slow speeds, and weighing the bike down noticeably on the climbs. Saying that, when I did get them up to speed, they flew.

Verdict

The Fondriest TF2 1.0 is a racy Italian stallion (sorry) that is built to perform and looks good while doing so. A responsive, thrilling ride that allows you to actually feel the road, while still being comfortable enough to tackle longer (60+ mile) rides. You get a heck of a lot of zip for your buck!

Pros

– Range of seven frame sizes, down to 44cm, offering petite women a viable build
– Comes as a frameset, with endless build options, limited only by your budget
– The geometry of the frame allows for a racier position
– Frame compatible with potential future upgrade to electronic groupset

Cons

– Proprietary seat post means you can only use Fondriest’s tear drop shaped post, may limit seat adjustment
– Some may find the rigidity and stiffness uncomfortable after long periods in the saddle

Sizes: XXS 44cm, XS 46cm, S 48cm, M 50cm, L 52cm, XL 54cm, XXL 57cm
Price: £2,100 (Frameset only: Frame, Fork, Headset, Seatpost, Seat Clamp)
More information: Fondriest
UK distributor: Impact Cycle Trading

What Fondriest say about the TF2 1.0

The TF2 provides the maximum of design expression and of technical contents.

This frame is on the forefront as far as its structure is concerned, with its important technical solutions. The fibre used is the 3K, in a prepreg 4×4 twill with a high module that provides the frame with a high level of stiffness, however, at the same time the special design of the seat stay provides a high capacity for absorbing the shocks.

Following, is a list of other key technical features for the TF2: the fork, designed with angles opposite to current standards, differential head set, integrated cables system, integrated seat clamp becoming part of the shape of the frame, drop seat post with differential thickness, monolithic bottom bracket shell, carbon dropouts, 7 sizes available, setup for electronic group Di2 (on request).

This frame offers performance on the verge of a competitive level, but at the same time easy to ride on every kind of course and in all weather condition.

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