BIKE TEST: BASSO DIAMANTE SV

A venerable legacy new to America

Photos: Troy Templin

Over 40 years ago Alcide Basso left the pro peloton—not as a racer, but as a team mechanic. After years of working on the top-level bikes for his brother Marino’s team, he felt that he could bring something unique to the sport, and he capitalized on his passion. In 1977 he founded Cicli Basso and started designing and welding custom frames. Now they are coming to America in a big way, with a personal conviction to maintain the brand’s dedication to quality and handmade craftsmanship since their name is on every frame made.

THE FRAME

The Diamante SV is Basso’s take on aero road bikes. The frame weighs 820 grams (claimed) before paint and is built to be raced. The SV runs with a straight-bladed fork and seatstays that join low on the seat tube, creating a stiffer overall ride quality. To help offset this, the Basso uses a unique 3B triple-point seat clamp and rubber gusset to offer some relief. This proprietary system is designed to maximize clamp forces and maintain a clean aesthetic.

Basso-1

The geometry is pure race-inspired, and to help accommodate options for more relaxed rider positions, Basso includes a comfort kit where the top headset bearing is moved from the frame to the 2cm-tall spacer that is specifically designed to maintain the qualities of the frame and fork but with a taller stack height. Our 53cm test bike has a top tube length of 54.5cm and a head tube of 12.7cm, meaning the bike is designed to keep the rider’s weight low and aggressively positioned.

All cables are run internally, and the entire frame is hand-laminated, with each layer of carbon specifically oriented and positioned without the use of any alloy reinforcements. This is all done in-house at the workshop in Vicenza before the frame is taken to get painted. The entire process takes around 32 hours.

THE PARTS

Our test bike arrived with Campagnolo’s top-flight Super Record 11 drivetrain. For wheels they ran with Microtech’s M150 clinchers that are made in the same Italian factory as the frame. The wheels were mounted with Michelin Pro 4 Service Course tires. The carbon bars, headset spacers and seatpost are also produced in-house, as well as the Basso-labeled alloy stem. For the saddle, a Selle San Marco Regale with Xsilite rails finishes out the build.

THE RIDE

With a 99cm wheelbase and a 72.3-degree head angle, the Basso proved nimble and very quick to respond to rider input. Even with the comfort kit and three headset spacers under the -11-degree, 120mm stem, the bike has a very aggressive geometry and demands a confident rider. After just a few minutes on the road, we quickly realized the Diamante SV is stiff—stiff in the fork, stiff in the saddle and stiff in the bottom bracket. In short, it’s a stiff, race-bred machine.

There are a few hints of compliance with the rubber gasket that surrounds the seatpost entering the seat tube, and the comfort kit is designed to give the bike a bit of compliance too. Subtle in what they bring to added compliance, they were still welcomed given the state of road conditions we test on. Cornering and high-speed efforts with the Basso are nothing less than thrilling, with the bike instantaneously responding to even the slightest input. Setting the saddle height on the Diamante SV was a bit of a task, and following the directions on their site is a must. After following the
steps and getting it set, the system was flawless.

THE VERDICT

Overall, this bike was a lot of fun to ride but demands concentration and confidence, as its pro-level geometry and stiffness are not for the faint of heart. With a few rides under our belt, we felt right at home, and with such a stunning build and component selection, the bike is targeted at the racer or enthusiast who wants something special. Hand-built in Italy for over 40 years, craftsmanship and pride set it apart from many of their competitors. Basso also offers the frame and fork that includes the stem, headset, carbon headset spacers, seatpost and the comfort kit for $5195 as well.

PUNCH LINES

  •  In short, stiff and fast
  • Funky seat binder
  • Beautiful build quality

STATS

Price: $9995

Weight: 15.5 pounds

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

www.bassobikes.com

THE GEAR

  • Helmet: SH+ Shabli
  • Jersey: MS Tina
  • Bibs: ALE
  • Shoes: Bont Vaypor+
  • Glasses: Lazer Argon AR1
  • Socks: Volar Active Mt. Wilson

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