Silverback Scalera 1 £4260

Does impressive design and spec make this a dominant Silverback?

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Scalera 1 is the top-of-the-range model from tech-driven German brand Silverback. (We also reviewed the next model down, the Scalera 2, recently). The 1 is pitched as a racing all-rounder, with equal weighting given to stiffness, aerodynamics, lightness and comfort, these usually conflicting demands balanced out using advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software.

Given that few pro teams, let alone enthusiasts, can afford the luxury of a dedicated bike for every scenario, that makes the Scalera a compelling proposition.

  • Highs: High spec for price; performance
  • Lows: Not the best for weight or comfort

Silverback’s design brief described a frame with improved aerodynamics (compared with traditional round-section tubes) and high overall torsional stiffness while retaining vertical compliance and low weight. The frame is packed with interesting features, many aimed at enhancing aerodynamics without compromising the ride.

The seatpost, seatstays and seat tube all use truncated aerofoil shapes that improve airflow while keeping the weight down and stiffness up. The fork and the near-flat top tube could have come straight from a time trial bike, and the integrated seatpost clamp shows lots of attention to detail. The down tube holds its large diameter right to the ends, creating massive junctions with both the very beefy tapered head tube (which receives gear and brake cables at the earliest opportunity) and the large bottom bracket shell for extra rigidity.

The complete Shimano Dura-Ace groupset represents strong value given that it’s joined by high quality Deda parts and Mavic wheels. Only the direct-to-consumer brands, such as Canyon, can trump this Silverback if you want the most spec for your cash. Coupled with impressive spec, the frame won a design award at Eurobike 2013 and the Scalera gained UCI approval – so it really is good to go racing.

At a claimed 1695g, the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLS wheelset isn’t super-light and that blunts hard acceleration and climbing slightly, but there’s a genuine payoff in speed and, at 52mm, they’re rideable in all but the most gusty conditions. The alloy rim delivers great braking, too. The Deda cockpit is very stiff when sprinting, but firm, very skinny and wrapped in thin, slippy tape. It’s more a personal preference than a criticism, but worth thinking about. Saddle choice is personal, too, but the Prologo Zero is a quality item.

The Scalera is an out-and-out race bike and makes no apologies for feeling firm and focused. The front end is tight so it steers accurately and there’s decent power transfer stiffness for a semi-aero design. This is a bike made for fast rides and races rather than all-day epics.

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

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