The Bond is the newest bike from Mario Cipollini's eponymous brand. Cipollini was known for being fast, outspoken and stylish, and his passion for the bike seems to have crystalised in the new Bond.
This is available as a frameset only for £2,600 from UK distributor Paligap, which built our test model with kit from some of its other brands and an older Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed groupset, to a value of £5,675.
- HIGHS: Composed, compliant, rapid
- LOWS: Individual look won’t suit everyone
- BUY IF… You want a stylish ride that doesn't skip comfort
Cipollini builds its frames by hand in Italy, and the Bond’s monocoque main triangle is mated with the independently constructed rear end using a patented Atomlink process, which, disappointingly for Ian Fleming fans, is the bond in question.
Beefy asymmetric chainstays envelop each side of the bottom bracket shell, creating an efficient BB386 EVO unit that sets the bearings as wide apart as possible, while allowing for stiff 30mm axles.
Want to ride in a pro bike race? Cipollini’s Bond gets the UCI’s seal of approval…
The flattened seatstays meet the teardrop-shaped seat tube as a monostay above the rear wheel cutout, keeping the rear triangle tight, while the triangular top tube and diamond-shaped down tube meet in a muscular head tube that supports the deep-bladed fork.
The Cipollini RB1000 was a hard-as-nails flyer, so it was a relief to find the Bond compliant and composed. It’s fast enough for almost anyone too, but while some super-stiff frames offer a great response and agricultural feel, the Bond trades some absolute rigidity for suppleness, so it conforms to the road surface rather than skipping across it.
Over patchy tarmac, comfort is admirable, and when cornering or descending, the impressive road feel builds confidence, and subsequently speed, while rock-solid stability keeps you relaxed in the saddle, better able to exploit the involving handling.
Where the flattened seatstays meet the teardrop-shaped seat tube
Ritchey’s aluminium cockpit is as solid and reliable as ever, but its WCS Apex carbon clincher wheels proved a pleasant surprise. These feature Reynolds Assault rims, Ritchey’s TriFecta spoke pattern and WCS sealed bearing hubs, and are well matched to the Bond, with speed, stability and predictable handling.
The Challenge tyres mix file and ridged treads to good effect, exploiting their supple carcasses and resilience for excellent security on filthy, wet country roads.
The Bond is a stylish, engaging ride, with comfort that you’ll appreciate after hours in the saddle, with safe, precise and immediate handling and more than enough speed to satisfy most riders.