THE ITALIAN BLUES
From their days of building steel frames for the Brooklyn team in the ’70s to supporting Stephen Roche in the ’90s to currently sponsoring the Colombian Manzana Postobon Pro Continental team, Gios’ signature blue frames have consistently supported cycling for over 50 years. Using their years of experience, the Italian marque continues to design performance frames in Italy. For the first time, the family-run brand shipped a bike over the Atlantic to the comfortably plush and well-lit RBA offices for a review.
Although the frames are no longer made in Italy, the national tricolor accents on the top tube and the head badge featuring the Olympic rings remain an ode to the company’s founder Tolmino Gios’ participation in the 1936 Games. Second-generation owner Alfredo Gios’ signature on the drive-side downtube completes the aesthetic.
Under the paint, the Aerolite’s high-modulus, unidirectional, monocoque carbon tubing is designed to be a high-performance rig. Its 99.3cm wheelbase and 40.8cm chainstays are intended to keep the bike extremely quick
To keep things aero, Gios uses internal cable routing through the shapely top and down tubes. The bladed fork looks to play the aero part as well. The Aerolite’s curvy, lowered seatstays are intended for minimal drag and to increase compliance.
Keeping things in a properly Italian frame of mind, a Campagnolo Chorus groupset is fit to the frame. The 11-speed cassette has an 11-29 range, with the lowest five gears only 1 tooth apart. A mid-compact 52/36 chainring combo gave the bike fairly aggressive gearing. Campy’s mid-tier groupset’s hoods are similar to the latest 12-speed EPS hoods that feature a hooked design at the top for added leverage during hard efforts. Single-bolt rim brakes are a rare find at the RBA office, but the calipers certainly helped keep the Aerolite’s weight to a minimum.
Aluminum Campagnolo Zonda wheels help keep the price down, and the wheelset retails for under $600 alone. The front rim is 24mm deep, while the rear rim is 27mm deep. Unfortunately, they are not tubeless compatible but do not require a rim strip due to Campy’s proprietary design that covers the internal spoke holes.
A quality bottom bracket is a key piece of equipment, and Gios’ choice of a threaded English bottom bracket adds to the Aerolite’s value.
The Aerolite’s cockpit was sourced from Bergamo, Italy’s 3T Cycling. An ARX II Pro stem and an Ergosum Pro handlebar complete the build.
Weighing in at 15.75 pounds, Gios did their part in keeping the bike “lite.” The Aerolite is quick to accelerate
and performs best while climbing, especially up repeated switchbacks when the need to power out of a corner is desired. Descending requires precision, as the bike is highly responsive and will go where you point it. The Campagnolo groupset allows for up to four shifts up and down the cassette, and the rear derailleur falls sharply into the selected gear.
Unlike recent aero bikes we’ve tested, the Aerolite has rough-ride characteristics that are emphasized by the front end’s bladed fork. Wider tires could lessen the issue, but the Aerolite is hampered by a maximum tire clearance of 28mm.
More than just another Italian bike, the Gios Aerolite achieves its goal of being a lightweight, performance-oriented frame. Its full-Italian build is a stylish highlight that was appreciated.
The Aerolite is ideal for those looking for carbon frame performance and low weight while maintaining classic Euro style. We turned heads on the road, as the Aerolite proved to be a quick and capable road machine with a unique paint job and decals. This was a nice slice of Italy’s cycling legacy for not much of a spend.
• Lite means light
• Do you like stiff?
• Everyone will know where it’s from
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56 (tested), 58cm
Weight: 15.75 pounds