Simoncini Corsa Strada £2000

Rock-steady steel machine

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Venerable Italian frame builders Simoncini know a thing or two about getting the most out of steel, having forged their own genesis out of the ashes of post-war reconstruction.

Working with what’s arguably the most advanced ferrous tubing yet developed (along with Reynolds 953), this beautifully handcrafted frame uses seamless triple-butted, cold-drawn stainless Hinox tubing, produced exclusively for Columbus by Trafiltubi.

Though respectable, its frame weight of 1,548g puts it at a slight disadvantage compared to some of the aluminium and carbon products on the market, which average 1,200-1,400g. But the £1,729 price is in line with the norm for hand-built frames made from this exotic material.

Once astride, although a loping canter turned to gallop with ease, the Simoncini felt like it was held back a bit by a fairly portly Campagnolo Veloce groupset and Khamsin wheels, specced primarily for hitting the £2,000 mark; it’s a pricing exercise that doesn’t entirely do it justice.

The Corsa Strada’s laid-back head angle of about 70.5 degrees was closer to mountain bike territory, producing rock steady handling – useful at high speeds but less exciting when cruising at a leisurely pace.

Unruffled in all conditions, the self-centring steering even prevented an unwanted plunge into the river when one tester’s grip slipped. A brief change to light wheels and sensitive rubber greatly enhanced the ride, capturing the essence of steel and delivering smooth and muscular performance.

The highly worked fillet-brazed tubing is capped off with exquisitely sculpted stainless steel dropouts. Tube diameters are oversized with restraint, and subtly ovalised in the head and bottom bracket areas, where extra rigidity is required; you’ll need a fair bit of muscle and body weight to fully tap into its potential though.

With an overall weight of just 9.09kg, this rare steed is poised to leap to new heights. Just let go of the reins and cut it free by fitting some high-end kit and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

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