Bike Test: Basso Venta Disc

Italian production on a budget

The Basso Venta Disc Gets a Facelift

Basso has been known for their premium race bikes and Italian heritage since 1977, but they are now offering more than just high-dollar thoroughbreds. Basso’s line of carbon bikes also includes frames that are less impactful on the billfold while maintaining Italian production. 

Although a Venta model has been in the Basso catalog for over 20 years, much has changed since its inception. The new version has a sleek, sculpted design that definitely has the look and feel of two-wheeled modernity. 

THE FRAME

The Venta frame is available in two styles: one designed for modern brakes and one for old-style brakes. Thankfully, our test bike was of the former breed. The biggest visual change to the new Venta is the compact rear triangle with the dropped seatstays connecting to the seat tube well below the top tube. There are other little hints of evolution, as the carbon fork mates to the head tube with an elongated bearing race to match the shape of the downtube. The seat tube is also cut away to make room for larger tires in part due to its short
40cm chainstays. 

“Out of the saddle efforts are rewarded as the bike transfers power efficiently. The bike is fun to ride, nimble in the twisties and stable at speed.” 

All the cables and hoses are run internally. They enter on the top of the downtube, allowing for a longer visible line, but offer better shifting reliability thanks to the swooping curves. Flat-mount calipers and 12mm axles ensure that the frame is up to modern standards. Impressive for a bike of this price is the lack of alloy molded in the dropouts and, instead, it resembles the higher-end models with full carbon throughout. 

A combination of a short 98.3cm wheelbase, 40cm chainstays and 72.3-degree steer tube angle offer our size 53 a sporty and responsive ride. The 16.2cm-long head tube is a bit long for a full-on race bike and kept our positioning a bit more relaxed compared to their more serious race offerings. This equals out to a 56cm stack with a 38.4cm reach. An integrated seatpost binder along the top tube also maintains the new clean aesthetic. 

The straight-blade fork seamlessly transitions into the head tube with an aero inspiration.

THE PARTS

When it comes to build kits, the Basso Venta offers two mechanical options—Shimano 105 ($3400) and Ultegra. Our test bike was fitted with the latter sporting a compact crank (50/34 rings) matched to an 11-32 cassette. An alloy cockpit helps keeps the price down with their house-brand Microtech parts. A carbon, frame-specific Basso seatpost is topped with a San Marco Squadra saddle. Microtech is also keeping things rolling with a set of MCT alloy wheels that are 25mm deep. They were wrapped in Michelin Pro4 Endurance tires to round out the build.

A cutout seat tube and short chainstays still leave room for plenty of tire options.

THE RIDE

The Venta Disc is one of our favorite Basso bikes to date. It’s nowhere near as light and aggressive as their higher-end race bikes that we’ve tested in the past, but the geometry still tilts towards the performance-oriented side of things. The handling felt a lot like the race bikes coming out of the big manufacturers and less like a hyper-responsive Italian steed. The Microtech wheels felt a bit heavy, but roll smooth matched to the 28mm Michelin Pro4 Endurance tires that ballooned out to 30mm wide. The weight of the wheels also hindered the bike’s responsiveness at speed.

While long, the cables are routed in an aesthetically pleasing manner that also offers better shifting performance.

As with all of the Basso bikes we tested over the years, we were impressed with how comfortable the bike was in the saddle while maintaining a very laterally stiff frame even with the short seatpost extension we had. Out of the saddle efforts are rewarded as the bike transfers power efficiently. The bike is fun to ride, nimble in the twisties and stable at speed. The sizing felt a bit less than traditional, as our size 53 fit more like a 55. The Shimano Ultegra drivetrain was typically flawless, and the light action of the mechanical shifters had us scratching our heads as to why we always opt for Di2.

THE VERDICT

There are few bells and whistles on the stock Venta Disc, and at under $4000, what you’re buying is an Italian-made frameset with a reliable drivetrain. This leaves a lot of room for future personalization. We would start with a wheel upgrade, because that was the biggest hindrance to the bike’s overall performance. The bike is geared for climbing, and a tighter cog set might be in order if racing is your goal. Overall, the ride characteristics are those that we would expect from the American big-brand race machines but with a sense of flair that really only comes with an Italian brand.

PUNCH LINES

• Made in Italy

• Lighter wheels will make a world of difference

• Value and heritage

STATS

Price: $3795

Weight: 18.79 pounds

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

www.bassobikes.com

THE GEAR

Helmet: Limar Air Star                

Jersey: Nalini        

Bib: Danny Shane                

Shoes: Fizik Tempo     

Socks: Freshly Minted

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