campagnolo/sarto carbon road bike

campagnolo sarto service bike

the normal run of affairs would have it that when reviewing a bicycle, the emphasis is placed on the frame, for that is surely the major component when it comes to offering quality of service, so to speak. but in this case, though such a factor must, by definition, remain a prominent feature, in truth, it's the real componentry that made all the difference.

campagnolo sarto service bike

antonio and son enrico sarto are justifiably proud of offering customisable carbon frames, customisation that extends to tube shape, graphics, made-to-measure geometries and according to their website "Every feature of a Sarto frame can be changed and selected by the customer." in this particular case, that customer was initially campagnolo who have selected sarto as their frame partner, supplying the carbon fibre on which they attach vicenza's more than desirable componentry.

few people other than the professionals for whom campagnolo are supplying neutral race service, have the opportunity to ride these campagnolo sarto service bike machines. as one who is neither professional nor possessed of anything like race speed, the opportunity to ride just such a machine came courtesy of velotech cycling's graeme freestone-king, one of the world's finest bicycle mechanics and campag's uk service agent.

it will take a number of weeks before i tire of mentioning to everyone within earshot, that i rode from london to paris, but to solve the perennial problem and faff of transporting a bicycle from the hebrides to london's imber court sports club, graeme had offered to supply an appropriate bicycle on which i might traverse english britain and french france.

campagnolo sarto service bike

the carbon framed sarto was just that bicycle.

because campagnolo's sarto was painted in an attractive and understated bluish grey with only 'campagnolo engineered' writ small on the downtube, i'd be fibbing if i said i knew which particular model i was riding, though a cursory glance at sarto's website leads me to think it may well have been culled from their veneto range. sarto have pigeonholed this as one of their more comfortable models, a claim which gains no argument from me.

campagnolo sarto service bike

the bicycle featured nicely rounded tubes of varying diameter, the top tube sloping to meet the two individual and impressively narrow seatstays. though rounded in profile, these joined at the dropouts with square section seatstays. happily, for me at least, the frame features a bottom bracket that allows external bearing cups rather than the allegedly more advanced but much-derided press-fit variety. however, shiny, comfortable carbon fibre is all very well, but even the least able amongst us needs a set of bits and bobs to make it go. in this instance, those bits and bobs were drawn from campagnolo's top-of-the-range super record componentry.

campagnolo sarto service bike

caliper brakes, front and rear mechs, ultra-shift carbon ergo levers and 11-speed carbon compact chainset were joined by a carbon seatpost and (presumably) a super-record integrated headset to allow smoothness of steering via a steerer that tapers from 1.125" at the top to the ubiquitous inch and a quarter at the bottom. an eleven-speed cassette that i think offered a 27 tooth large sprocket (i forgot to check) was affixed to a campagnolo bora ultra carbon sprint wheel with its quirky tripled spoke pattern. the front wheel was sourced from the same box, but with more traditional radial spoking.

campagnolo sarto service bike

as if the foregoing were insufficient to provide enough of a drool factor, both wheels were shod with continental competition 700x25c tubulars, tyres that delighted this particular rider with that minimally bobbled tread pattern. necessary ancillaries such as bars, tape and stem were sourced from dedacciai, while the tight-fitting bottle-cage attached to the downtube was a campagnolo carbon edition.

common practice dictates that a loaner be festooned with the incumbent's pedals and saddle. for the former, i chose a pair of crank bros. candys; the more traditional three-point cleats may be thought to be de rigeur for road events such as hotchillee's london-paris, but i had in mind ease of entry and exit in the face of an often stumbling group four peloton. my saddle was the only real failure. i'd taken with me a brooks cambium carbon, but the larger carbon rails wouldn't quite fit the seatpost clamp, so i rode the fizik arione already fitted to the bike.

campagnolo sarto service bike

i have been advised on several occasions that commencing a ride on a hitherto unseen bicycle from london to paris at 05:45 on a thursday morning is hardly confidence inspiring. but it pays to have ultimate faith in your mechanic. a few weeks prior to departure, i had emailed an important set of bike measurements to graeme freestone king and based on these, my bicycle had been accordingly set up. it gives me great pleasure to relate that i found no cause whatsoever to adjust any aspect of the bicycle; the word perfection springs to mind.

campagnolo sarto service bike

i have every intention of soon offering a personal dissertation on the deficiencies of modern-day gear changing; not the equipment itself, but the ineptitude of those sat in the saddle. but i had cause to remark to graeme during the three days of glory through suffering, that the smoothness of shifting offered by campagnolo's finest meant i was able to adopt stealth mode every time the road ventured upwards. whether changing front or rear made no difference, no-one heard me coming and neither ever missed a shift.


the mechanical carbon shift levers simply reinforced my contention that electronica is a solution looking for a problem. i'm not denying that wires and a battery work impressively; many of those around me on the way to paris were making use of just such technology. however, it was mere bagatelle to physically flick from one gear to the next unassisted by electrons, up or down, with pinpoint precision. shimano and sram may be more prevalent, but vicenza still offers the best shifting option, according to my opinion.

campagnolo sarto service bike

i'm right, you're wrong.

the weight of the entire bicycle was such that a good sneeze would have blown it away, a factor that no doubt aided my upward velocity on the likes of the wall, an ascent viciously included in thursday afternoon's aprés lunch perambulations on the way to folkestone. and though thankfully there was never the need to wind up to a sprint, i did scare myself occasionally with the sarto's straight-line acceleration. such is a rare occurrence with these legs.

campagnolo sarto service bike

brand new red brake shoes on brand new rotating carbon brake surfaces is a set of circumstances that has need of bedding in, a situation not eased by lashings of rain in the first few tens of kilometres. however, both seemingly came to a friendly arrangement very quickly and only my temerity on the descents brought braking consternation: a scared pilot rather than a fright inducing lack of slowing.

upwards, however, is where this bicycle excelled, no doubt in part due to its scant weight. having read richard moore's in search of robert millar at least twice, i'm obviously an expert climber, but the sarto simply enhanced that faux ability. when stuck behind rather slow moving apprentice climbers, the frame's stability was little short of astounding bringing me nowhere close to falling sideways. though i frequently prefer to offer my marco pantani impersonation by climbing out of the saddle, unless i had need of stretching my back, i climbed everything while comfortably seated. in short, it was magnificent beyond description.

for mere amateurs such as yours truly, running on tubulars is a rare if not all but non-existent occurrence. which is a bit of a shame really, because the luxury of cycling 500 plus kilometres on carbon wheels shod with tubs, really ought to be available on the national health service. if you're inclined to be a disbeliever, try riding across the cobbles of the champs elysées on clinchers and see if you can equal my smile. i'm sure that folks like me who have been riding and reviewing bicycles for more years than we'd care to admit, are supposed to take all this in our blasé and arrogant stride. but a sarto carbon frame festooned with campagnolo super record and bora ultras has surely to be offered immunity from impartiality.

quality to which we all aspire.

very many thanks to graeme freestone king and campagnolo for the loan of such an excellent bicycle along with service-course that was second to none. | sarto bicycles

friday 28 july 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................