Holdsworth Stelvio £1999.99

British sportive or race bike

BikeRadar score4/5

Holdsworth are the latest famous brand name getting a new lease of life thanks to the renascent British cycling scene. 

  • Highs: Performance, looks, price 
  • Lows: Marmite paint scheme
  • Buy if: You value performance and British heritage

Plotting a parabolic trajectory similar to their 20th century contemporaries Raleigh and Falcon, Holdsworth for many years fielded a successful cycling team – the Holdsworth-Campagnolo team was formed in 1969 and dominated the British scene in the 1970s, so it’s only fitting that the precisely made high-modulus carbon frame and fork of the Stelvio is graced with a full Italian build.

Equipped with an Athena groupset and 3T/Fizik kit, the Stelvio continues a great tradition with baton firmly in hand. This multi-skilled machine is ready to race straight out of the box, yet just as happy to cruise along in sportive mode searching for that next flapjack-stocked feed station.

With excellent manners all round, handling is just about perfect. The longish 100cm wheelbase, in conjunction with classic 73-degree parallel angles, keeps the party steady even when the going gets tough: crosswinds, potholes and the other usual road nasties during testing left the Stelvio unruffled at both low and high speeds.

Campag’s brakes look great and work well

Also available as a frameset for £579.99, its pentagonal down and top tubes rendezvous with a classic round 35mm seat tube, and the whole lot is fronted by a carbon-bladed fork. With bonded and bolted forged dropouts, and stainless rivets fastening slotted cable guides, it’s all very tidy, unfussy and, above all, practical.

Cockpit ergonomics are excellent, our medium test bike measuring in at around 57cm for the virtual top tube length, which left plenty of scope for tweaking the reach with sensibly sized stems.

Campagnolo’s Scirocco wheels blow along with ease, providing plenty of stiffness in corners, while a Fizik Pavé CX saddle and 23mm Schwalbe Ultremo tyres keep comfort levels high, although we’re told future spec will rely on Vittoria Rubinos.

With the second coming of Holdsworth, the Stelvio might not be the Messiah, but for those seeking a great bicycle (and for the brand itself) it could well be their saviour.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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