German brand Corratec are back with a huge range, covering the whole cycling spectrum from full-suspension mountain bikes to handmade time trial machines. The Corones is their top aluminium road bike, equipped with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic’s Aksium wheels.
Ride & handling: Aggressive geometry makes for plenty of speed
With its low and racy ride position, the Corratec is a bike that invites you to put the hammer down, and the unbending frame ensures you get plenty of speed. It’s punchy and direct, and doesn’t hang about.
It’s stable too, so you can get on with applying the power without the need to waste energy, keeping everything under control, and that’ll become even more of an asset if you it clip-on tri bars and hunker down on your forearms.
Get out of the saddle and give it some oomph on the climbs and everything stays where it should – no flex through the main frame tubes, no wandering bottom bracket, and little unwanted movement at the bars. And, as you’d expect with Shimano Ultegra, shifting up and down through the gears is spot on.
Yes, the Corones would get you to the top a little quicker if it lost a pound or two, but impressive rigidity counts for a lot. With those big aluminium tubes, we expected long rides to leave us battered and bruised but the slender pipework out back combines with the decent Selle Italia saddle to keep the feel easily the right side of harsh.
This is a rig that can handle everything you throw at it without any problem. Although lacking killer features, the Corones proves itself a viable contender at this price point, especially if you want something sleek and stable for racing.
Chassis: High level of frame rigidity ensures efficient ride, but some will find front end too low
The Corones’ race-focused frame is made from 6061 alloy and triple-butted to keep the strength where it’s needed, while shaving off the grams. Although by no means the lightest bike in its price bracket, it hits the scales at a reasonable 8.42kg (18.6lb) all-in.
It comes with a scaffold- pole-width down tube – we’re talking 50mm diameter here – and flexible it ain’t. The sloping top tube is almost as burly, helping to clamp the two ends of the bike together super-tight – there’s no discernible twist through the centre section.
It’s a big contrast at the back, where large round tubes give way to slim, elaborately shaped metalwork. Crimped low-profile chainstays run almost horizontally before darting up to the dropouts at the last moment, while biaxial seatstays meander in then out in hourglass style.
The chain rubbed on the seatstay of our pre-production model when riding in the smallest sprocket, but we’re assured that this has been sorted on the final production version.
Even taking into account the small size we had in on test, the Corratec has a low front end, which makes getting into a sleek riding position easy. Remove 2cm of headset spacers and you can go even lower for race day.
Don’t get us wrong, you probably won’t find the head tube too short for comfort on everyday rides, but check it out just in case. That head tube houses a larger-than-normal (1.5in) lower headset bearing for the carbon-bladed fork to spin on, adding extra rigidity up front.
Equipment: Hill-friendly gearing, solid wheels and grippy tyres
The Corratec comes with a Shimano Ultegra groupset, which is the default option at this price point – not that we’re complaining. The newly redesigned kit offers better braking from the hoods now thanks to a shift in the lever’s pivot point, and it’s got a cleaner appearance all round.
The compact chainset sacrifices big gears in favour of hill-friendly smaller ratios, although your legs occasionally become a blur as you try to keep the power on during fast descents.
They’re not especially light, but they spin up to speed quickly, reinforced nipple holes add to their strength, and there’s not a lot of rim flex when you lean hard into a corner.
They come with good Continental Grand Prix tyres too, offering grippiness and durability. We’ve not seen Zzyzx components in ages but the alloy stem, bars and seatpost each do a sound, workmanlike job.