Bergamont bikes, a German company which has been designing and producing mountain, road, touring, urban and children's bikes for 15 years, are now being imported to the UK.
The Dolce Team falls into Bergamont's high end road range and is second in the line-up, only being topped by the 9.7 model. The frame is a carbon monocoque construction and features a painted high modulus outer layer of 12K carbon, a standard construction that you'll find used on many a carbon frame. That's not to say the Dolce Team is your run of the mill carbon frame and the smooth curves of the box section down- tube and seatstays distinguish the looks and ride. The carbon frame is finished in a luscious and hardwearing paint job.
The fork is carbon, as is the steerer, and the straight bladed legs are ribbed for improved rigidity. This creates a very direct feel at the front - more on that later.
The finishing kit is high. A mix of Shimano Dura-Ace shifters, brakes and cassette marries well to Truvativ's carbon armed Rouleur chainset. The speccing of the carbon Rouleur is a nice bonus: it's light, shifts smoothly and holds that all important carbon look. The compact 34/50-tooth gearing should suit the sportive rider the bike is aimed at, while the rear cassette is a 10-speed 12-23 unit.
The wheels follow the same capable lines of the frame and component package. The Shimano Ultegra wheelset is light and stiff. There's little noticeable flex when going hard out of the saddle and the bearing quality is excellent. Because the hubs run on loose balls they can be easily serviced. All good, sensible stuff that keeps the weight down and lasts. Our 58cm test bike weighed a very reasonable 7.650kg/19.9lb without pedals.
For 2008 the Dolce Team will come equipped with the more expensive SRAM Force groupset, the same Rouleur crankset, a pair of Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels and a Syntace cockpit over the current Truvativ stem and Ritchey WSC bar combo.
Opting for more traditional frame lines rather than going down the compact route, the Dolce Team is best described as an all day grand tourer. Speed is something you build up to rather than burst into but once there the Dolce Team holds high speed cruising very well. The frame is also suited to high miles and the back end delivers plush comfort without any noticeable flex. You get the odd front mech rub on the chain when stomping up sharp climbs but the back end is definitely stiff enough to deal with big power, a heavy rider or both.
There is some stiff competition out there though, and the Dolce Team will have similar carbon frame bikes from the likes of Focus, Ribble and PBK biting at its wheels. All offer similar spec packages at very competitive prices.
The only shortcoming to the ride is at the front when riding more aggressively. The mix of a steepish (74 degree) head angle and a sharp trail figure (5.4cm) creates a fast front, but this is at odds with the comfort and power cruising nature at the rear. This becomes more noticeable when attacking sharp corners at speed. The steep head angle causes the front wheel to feel like it's skipping and struggling to find extra cornering grip. We never lost control but it's not exactly confidence inspiring. The Dolce Team really needs a more sedate head angle and fork to match the smooth feel of the frame. However, as a fast sportive ride the Dolce Team still performs, just don't expect criterium, handling and performance.
The Dolce Team is a quality, well specced, fast and lightweight sportive bike. The only letdown is the fork, but for covering high, steady miles that probably isn't going to bother you a great deal and the higher front will suit riders after a more upright position.
© BikeRadar 2008