Mekk use the same frame across the Poggio range, which means that this £1,099 entry-level carbon bike is built on the same chassis as the £2,399 Poggio 3.5.
That bike has Ultegra Di2 components, so even if you're buying the entry-level 1.5 you know you've got a frame that's poised and ready for electronic shifting - all the cables are already routed inside the frame, but there's also an extra exit port next to the front mech and bosses for the battery under the chainstay. We doubt that most Poggio 1.5 buyers will end up fitting an electronic transmission, but if you do you can rest easy that you won't have to rely on zipties.
- HIGHS: Weight, frame, rewarding ride
- LOWS: Brakes, distracting cable housings
- BUY IF... You want an impressive all-round package for a bargain price
The test bike arrived with the levers in a frankly daft place on the bar, making it hard to find comfortable hand positions, but that's a setup issue rather than an inherent flaw - just make sure the shop gets it right, retaping the bar to sort it out will be a pain.
That aside, the Poggio's riding position is fundamentally well sorted, with its all-rounder credentials boosted by a front end that hovers usefully between race-bike slammed and sportive-bike lofty. There's scope to go lower by shuffling spacers as you gain experience (and flexibility).
Given the price of the full bike, it's not that surprising that the Poggio is adorned with entry-level parts. The latest generation of Shimano's Sora groupset is good stuff though. Gone are the old thumb-operated release levers that were inaccessible from the drops, with the shifters now working just like the rest of the Shimano range.
The concealed gear cables haven't trickled this far down the range yet, though, and Mekk's choice of shiny silver-coated housings can occasionally produce a distracting glint.
While Shimano's high-end groupsets are now 11-speed, Sora still gets by with 9. Mekk's chosen a middling-range 12-28 cassette to go with the compact chainset. Strong riders might find the high gears a little lacking, but for the kinds of people likely to be looking at a £1,099 carbon bike it's a well-chosen set of ratios.
Many bikes at this price make do with Octalink or even square taper bottom brackets, but Mekk have plugged their own-brand two-piece chainset into the Poggio's BB86 press-fit bottom bracket.
The wheels are a good spec for the money too. Shimano's R500s aren't going to set the world alight, but you'll find a lot of unbranded hubs and rims on bikes for similar money. The Shimanos are reliable and robust. Vittoria Zaffiro tyres are similarly entirely competent and reasonably light. Apart from the chainset, the only non-Shimano interlopers are the brakes. They're Mekk-branded dual-pivot units - they do the job but they're nothing special, though a change of pads would improve them.
It all adds up to an impressively low weight for the price - we've tested bikes considerably more expensive than this that can't match the Poggio's 8.8kg. With the Sora shifters being very nearly as smooth in action as Shimano's posher kit, from the saddle you really don't feel like you're riding what is essentially an entry-level bike (unless you look at the gear indicators). Certainly you'd notice an acceleration boost with lighter rims and tyres, but it still picks up speed with little hesitation.
The handling is on the nippy side of neutral, thanks to angles knocked back just a tiny bit from full race numbers combined with a short rear end. It's a sensible geometry for a bike pitched as an all-rounder at an accessible price. There's bags of upgrade potential, but considering that it's essentially budget parts on a high-spec frame, the overall package is impressively well-rounded.