Ciocc Extro LC £1703

Italian brand returns to the UK in style

BikeRadar score4.5/5

First things first – Ciocc is pronounced ‘church’. It isn’t a new brand, either, but it is newly returned to the UK, thanks to brothers Nick and Dom O’Brien who set up their company Grupetto Italia to reunite Ciocc bicycles with the roads that made them famous.

An evocative vintage range is offered, but we’re concerned with the bang-up-to-date road bikes. The Extro LC is the least expensive carbon frame in the Ciocc range, and it's a real star. It rides brilliantly, and if it had better wheels it would be a rocket. Plus you can have it made to measure in your favourite colours for no extra cost.

  • Frame: Any colour you like, custom sizing, beautiful ride and superlight – at this price you’ve never had it so good (10/10)
  • Handling: The Extro LC is smooth, stable, nimble and a willing partner in the climbs (9/10)
  • Equipment: Campagnolo Veloce doesn’t feel like a cost-saver; Deda finishing kit is good quality but ripe for a future upgrade (8/10)
  • Wheels: Fulcrum Racing 7s are reliable but nothing special – your first upgrade when you’re ready to step up the speed (7/10)

In the late Seventies and early Eighties, the Milk Race was dominated by Russian, Czech and Polish riders, and they rode Ciocc bikes. The brand became very popular in the UK and also gained cult status in the US, for the irony of riding the bikes of the Russian team during the Cold War.

The unusual logo is derived from Francesco Moser’s 1977 World Championships victory and, legend has it, a poker game between Ciocc founder Giovanni Pelizzoli, Ernesto Colnago and Ugo De Rosa. Pelizzoli won the game and the right to use the club of Colnago and the heart of De Rosa on his bikes.

At 1,100g the Extro LC's frame is a serious tool. Some top pro teams ride frames that are no lighter. You can choose any colours you like for the design and, more impressive yet, you can order custom tube lengths – all at no extra cost, just a slightly longer wait.

Every bike is made to order, in around four weeks, and with a fully customised spec. Our test bike had been built with one eye on price, so it rolls on Fulcrum Racing 7s and wears Campagnolo Veloce, topped with basic Deda components. Despite that, it weighs just 8.16kg, and it flies.

Give it full throttle and the Ciocc accelerates with some of the vigour of a true superbike, only limited by the heavy wheels. Fulcrum Racing 7s are good, and serve a number of more expensive bikes, but they’re easily outclassed by the Extro frame. There’s no doubt that, while the frame transfers your efforts commission-free, the wheels take the edge off the surge. Another £200 or so on the wheels would go a long way.

The Extro LC handles brilliantly and loves fast descents, although the 13-26 block holds it back – it needs the 11-25 option, if not a standard chainset rather than the 34/50 compact. It climbs so effectively that a 39T ring would suffice if the gradients don’t go far into double figures. That said, on the steepest of Bath’s numerous savage ramps we were definitely grateful for the 34x26 bottom gear, and for the frame’s firm refusal to flex.

The Veloce groupset impressed us a lot. It simply doesn’t feel like a budget option. The Ergopower shifters and noisy freewheel are acquired tastes, but we like the Multishift function that allows you to trim the front mech for chainline and shift four sprockets either way across the cassette in one go. It’s ideal to cancel out a shift to the inner ring in anticipation of an impending hill. Shifts are really positive and the brakes are good too.

For all its performance, the Extro LC is smooth and comfortable thanks to its curvy stays and ovalised down-tube. Undoubtedly, it would be a brilliant, fast sportive bike.

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