When we reviewed the Basso Laguna for 2009's Bike Of The Year test it proved extremely popular with our testing team, but mainly among the racing fraternity. This year, the Basso Astra managed to appeal to not just the hardcore racers but to just about everybody who rode it.
The positive comments came thick and fast: “direct and sharp frame” ... “accelerates like a cheetah and climbs like an eagle” ... “ultra stiff frame, very positive handling but those of a racing bent will be unfazed by it”. The Campagnolo Centaur components and stiff and light Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels enhance the Astra’s racing credentials. The bike is pretty light overall too, weighing just 7.6kg.
It was generally agreed that the Basso was one of the best handling bikes out of the 49 machines on test. It’s phenomenally quick to wind up to a rapid pace and you get a lot of conﬁdence from the rigidity of the racy chassis. The slightly swept back handlebar and its wing shape also came in for praise, though a few testers didn’t get on with them, ﬁnding it a struggle to reach the levers.
It was Cycling Plus’s mechanic and former Belgium-based semi-pro rider George Ramelkamp who had most praise for the Basso. “By far the most exciting bike on test,” he said. “A hot-roddin’, drag-racin’, slalom-slayin’ Gran Turismo rolled into one.” We think that means he liked it! Calming down a little, George went on to praise the bike’s brilliant spec and wheels, and the way the frame uses the free-form possibilities of carbon to great effect.
Overall the Astra oozes class, not something that immediately springs to mind with the car of the same name. Basso might not be as well known as the classic Colnago and Pinarello marques, but if you’re looking for Italian style and high performance, then companies like Basso and Wilier are likely to offer better value while still providing lashings of Latin style. Bravo!