Legendary Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini has kept himself busy since retiring from the pro peloton in 2008. The fruit of his post-pro labour is the MCipollini bike line, with the flagship RB1000 the plum product. It has the potential to be a peach of a bike too, built around an all-Italian package of Campagnolo Super Record, FSA K-Force Light tubular aero wheels and K-Force finishing kit.
The RB1000’s geometry and tube shapes make it apparent this bike has a single purpose – to go fast. The down tube is shaped around the front wheel for aero efficiency, the seat tube curving around the rear to complement the front, and the super-shallow head tube (127mm on our 56cm test bike) gives a really low front end.
With an oversized, tapered 1½-1¼in head tube to keep the front end planted, this is a machine with a seriously aggressive position. On the road the RB1000 has a superb ability to hold onto speed, partly due to the efficiency of the chassis and partly down to the superb FSA K-Force wheels – deep-section carbon tubulars that are remarkably unaffected by sidewinds.
The RB1000’s riding position feels close to a full-on time trial bike that just happens to have a standard drop bar, but the handling is more akin to a road bike, with a longer and shallower fork slowing down the steering and eliminating toe overlap. The massively oversized head tube and steerer combo creates a taut bike that’s brilliant at holding its line and is great fun to ride hard.
With a structure that appears this overbuilt and stiff you might expect comfort and weight penalties but, at 6.99kg, it’s as light as you’d ever need, and comfort, at least in respect of road buzz and vibration damping, is remarkably good.
That said, we wouldn’t want to spend all day on the RB1000 as the aggressive position, with its large saddle-to-bar drop, means you’re always in an ‘attack’ position. This puts a lot of pressure on your lower back and it’s not easy to sit up. For time trialling, road racing or the occasional triathlon, though, the RB1000 could be the perfect bike.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.