Brought to UK shores by Merlin Cycles, Dutch brand Sensa offers bikes for every budget. The Trentino SL is a full on aluminium racer that looks to offer a decent spec for its £1,000 price.
Thanks to some beautifully smoothed welds and a satin black finish, you could be forgiven for thinking the Sensa has a carbon frame. You have to look very closely indeed to see any evidence of joins at all, and the subtly profiled and manipulated tubes give the bike a clean, modern look. Sadly, this restraint does not extend to the paint job – despite a muted palette, Sensa's graphic designers have plastered the Trentino with a truly absurd number of logos which, as we're anoraks, we decided to count.
For your information, the word 'Sensa' appears 11 times, the word 'Trentino' a modest six, while in-house component brand 'Supra' makes an unforgivable 31 appearances.
That excess aside, there's plenty to appreciate. The fork is full carbon and tapered, the cables are neatly routed through the top tube and down tube, and shifting is taken care of by Shimano 11-speed 105 components. The cranks and brakes are non-series Shimano to keep things in budget, but both perform well, the former finding a home in a mechanic-friendly threaded bottom bracket.
Finishing kit is from the aforementioned Supra and, branding aside, it's perfectly competent stuff. We liked the shape of the shallow-drop ergo bars while the 30mm deep RA Pro wheels give a nod to aero considerations, and roll on fit-and-forget cartridge bearings. Annoyingly, they're shod with Schwalbe Lugano tyres that actually measure up at even less than their already-diminutive 23mm nominal width, but there is at least space for fatter rubber if you want it.
Trust us, you will want it. Riding revealed that Trentino prototypes were likely tested on smooth continental roads only, because if the designers had tried the bike out in the UK, we suspect they'd done things a little differently. Its power transfer is unimpeachable, but ride quality falls somewhere between the proverbial rock and a hard place – it's unrelentingly firm. The slim tyres, ultra-stiff bars and 31.6mm aluminium seatpost all play their part, but the frame itself is the main culprit – it simply doesn't have any give built into it, making for a punishing experience on a typical UK road.
Geometry that's fairly long and low means the Trentino will likely to appeal to those with competitive ambitions, and if we're honest, we wouldn't choose it for much outside of crit racing because there are other bikes at this price point that offer a far more rounded riding experience. It's decently specced and well made, but refinement is in short supply.