Bike Test: Basso Diamante SV Disc

Ride it or hang it on the wall

Italian-designed road bikes have an allure that is hard for many riders to ignore. Each company feels deeply rooted in the history of cycling, with classic races taking place right outside their doorsteps. North American brands are producing some quality machines, but the Italians have pursued their own approach that rarely gets lost in translation, conveying the message of flair and refinement. Basso is one of those Italian brands that has a unique approach and doesn’t spare any expense when designing their machines. The Diamante SV Disc is a high-performance race bike that isn’t afraid to get dirty, even though you may not want it too.

Although the Basso name may be new to American cyclists, it is a brand with a rich, and typical, Italian legacy. The company was founded in 1977 by Alcide Basso, who also happened to be the brother of Marino Basso, the 1972 world road champion. Today, the Basso brand has made the giant leap from steel to carbon fiber, and, yes, it’s still a family-run operation.

THE FRAME

Italians have an eye for detail and making sure that the end result of any project combines performance with style. The lines of the Diamante are as clean as they come but with a finished look that is tasteful and not overly done. The SV Disc is available in four different paint schemes, which includes an attractive tri-color for the dedicated fan of all things Italian.

Basso uses the highest-end T1000 and T800 carbon fibers in the layup for a balance of stiffness while not compromising on compliance. The Basso Diamante SV focused on added aerodynamic benefits (versus the standard issue Diamante) with a variety of streamlined tube shapes and seat mast. As current fashion dictates, the cables are all internally routed with 12mm thru-axles cinching the wheels. In addition to the disc version, Basso also offers the Diamante SV with rim brakes (RBA, May 2017). The SV uses flat mounts for the calipers that were designed to run 160mm rotors.

As always, the Campagnolo Super Record drivetrain delivered solid shifting.

Finishing up the frame design, Basso made room to run up to 28mm tires for that little extra compliance on rough pavement. Basso uses their own 3B-Basso clamp system that uses a set of three different screws (microsized 2mm and 2.5mm hex heads) that compresses a plate against the seat mast. They also use a rubber grommet to help dissipate road buzz. At first glance this system looked overly designed and a bit nonsensical. By the end of the test it still was, but held secure.

THE PARTS

There are several build kits available for the Diamante SV, with a Shimano mechanical Ultegra group as the starting point. There is no mistaking that the Diamante SV Disc is a high-end bike with the appropriate components to match. Our test bike came with a Campagnolo Super Record drivetrain and tubular Bora One wheels. Basso uses their own carbon fiber bars and stem to wrap up the build. The tubular wheels are as Euro as it gets, but highly impractical for riders who still rely on inner tubes or tubeless, which is most everyone.

Basso’s seatpost binder design was not a hit.

THE RIDE

With its parallel 73.5-degree angles and 99.2cm wheelbase, the Diamante’s geometry leans more towards aggressive riders with a longer reach and lower stack height. After we dialed in our desired saddle height with the proprietary 3B system (note: just because it’s a patented design doesn’t mean it makes sense), we hit the pavement in hopes of regaling in all things Italia.

As we soon realized, Basso did a solid job of designing a compliant road machine. Even after we swapped out the tubular wheels for more conventional (Campy Zonda) clinchers, the Diamante seemed to glide over the pavement. Both the Campy disc brakes and shifters more than impressed our test riders who had yet to ride the Italian parts. The modulation of the brakes felt consistent and natural without a feeling of being overpowered. The gears shifted flawlessly and were low enough for bigger climbing days.

Out of the saddle the Diamante was snappy and responsive without any sort of sluggish notions that other aero bikes often exhibit. On flat sections of road, our test riders were able to get into a comfortable position to grind out the miles efficiently. Descending, the tapered head tube and low front end made for an aggressive position that translated into a comfortable level of stability, especially at high speeds.

THE VERDICT

Basso has a winner with the Diamante SV Disc. Although the geometry numbers reflect a racing pedigree, the Diamante had a very comfortable balance of compliance and responsiveness that made all-day rides fast and enjoyable. As an overall package, we liked how both the frame design and the handling came across very balanced. The Diamante SV line retains a classy elegance yet is still edgy enough to feel like a modern contender. Granted, the price is steep (on par with most high-end Italian built frames), but the Diamante SV Disc will yearn for miles of commitment and deliver hours of contentment.

PUNCH LINES

  • Such a smooth ride
  • 3B-Basso clamp isn’t our favorite
  • Tasteful paint scheme

STATS

Price: $5595 (frame and fork)

Weight: 15.56 pounds

Sizes: 45, 48, 51, 53 (tested), 56, 58, 61cm

www.bassobikes.com

THE GEAR

Helmet: Las Victory 

Jersey: Leger LA   

Bib: Leger LA   

Shoes: Scott Road RC

Socks: Swiftwick

Glasses: Oakley Jawbreaker 

We also have a full test of the rim brake version available: Basso Diamante SV

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