Olmo Trentanove £2800

Classic Italian brand looks beyond its homeland

BikeRadar score3.5/5

You’d be forgiven for not knowing Olmo. Compared with its Italian cousins such as Colnago, Pinarello and Bianchi, the Genoa-based brand has a much lower profile away from its homeland.

But it’s far from a new kid on the Italian bike builders’ block,  with a history dating back to 1939,  when Giuseppe Olmo and his three brothers set up their factory – Giuseppe having won numerous Giro d’Italia stages,  an Olympic gold in 1932 and also been a world hour record holder.

  • Highs: Five-star handling and ride quality  
  • Lows: Not the greatest value

The Trentanove sits in the middle of Olmo’s 2014 range. Our 58cm/XL test bike has typical Italian race geometry with a shallow head tube – for its size – and an effective top tube of 560mm. Its steep 73-degree angles keep the bike lively and the handling engaging, while the frame combines impressive stiffness with comfort where it’s needed, making it an ideal sportive – or gran fondo – machine.

The frame’s tapered head tube is deep where it meets the oversized down tube, giving the front a resolute solidity when sprinting. The slender top tube flows into seatstays that change profile towards the dropouts. Deep, flat chainstays kick upwards in the final few centimetres to blend seamlessly with the seatstays. Those deep chainstays are designed to counter potential twisting forces from cranking, while the extended seatstays are there to reduce road buzz.

The beautifully finished frame compares well with fellow Italian brands Scapin and Olympia for quality. In fact, some clever touches such as the double seatclamp – which holds the seatpost and seat-tube separately – are pretty much identical to those you see on Scapins.

The kit also has a distinctly Italian flavour. Campagnolo’s 11-speed Athena groupset offers a near faultless performance, with sharp shifting and braking that offers lots of feel. And though Deda’s aluminium bar, stem and seatpost perform well enough, at this price we’d have liked a carbon post – which do feature on many less expensive bikes. Fulcrum has improved and lightened its Racing 5s, which are impressively stiff and super-smooth runners. Schwalbe nips in from Germany to scupper the Latin theme, but its Durano S tyres are tough all-rounders.

We’re very impressed with the Trentanove’s composed handling and its superb smoothness, and it represents another welcome addition to our seemingly ever-expanding range of buying choices. Olmo is a genuine Italian ‘heritage’ brand and it has delivered a bike that fully justifies its reputation. But, as with many things in life, all that heritage and quality does come at a price.

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

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