New Zealand’s Avanti are still fairly new to UK shores. But an impressive bike lineup that’s well priced and full to the brim with tech touches should help establish them as major players.
The men’s road carbon range is split into three camps – the Corsa is the aero-optimised racer, the Cadent is the sportive model, and the Quantum occupies the race-ready slot. We’ve got the latter in the Bike of the Year mix because it claims light weight and responsive handling that’s tempered by a smooth ride.
Frame & equipment: Flex free and ready to race
The frame’s construction uses high-grade carbon fibre combined with two distinct types of resin. HTR (High Toughness Resin) is used where the frame needs to be stiff, and also where it needs to be protected from impacts. A more flexible EPS resin helps damp out road vibration.
The frame features a tapered head tube of 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in, mated to a Pinarello-like forward and back curving fork. The down tube changes profile from a squared-off vertical box section at the head tube, morphing into a diamond-profile mid section and a horizontal box section joint at the oversized BB86 bottom bracket shell. The rear chainstays are asymmetric and meet slender arched seatstays. The geometry is pure race, with a short wheelbase making the bike plenty nimble.
Kit-wise it’s – yes, you guessed it – Shimano 105, though it uses the non-series Shimano R550 chainset in its race-ready 53/39 format. Avanti’s own component line provides the bulk of the remainder.
The combination of a Zero Attack Pro aluminium bar and nicely machined stem make for a solid cockpit that’s free of flex. A mid-drop to the bar makes for a flat-out race position in the drops.
At the back, a carbon seatpost is a nice touch. It’s topped with the Zero Zelix Pro saddle that, despite its futuristic, angular shape, proved remarkably comfortable.
DT Swiss provide the wheels in the form of the classy R1900s. They certainly aren’t the lightest around – the 1900 in the name refers to the weight in grams. But they are as tough as old boots and offer a flex-free roll that isn’t overly stiff. Kenda provide the puncture-protected Kadence tyres, which are average performers in the way they roll, though the grip is fine and the toughness welcome with the current UK weather conditions.
Ride & handling: An odd combination of smoothness and racing speed
What really impresses with the Quantum is the way it rides. Under power it accelerates with gusto, and although it may be slightly hampered by the tyres and the extra heft in the wheels that’s countered by responsive, confidence-inspiring handling. All this makes for a bike we revelled pushing ourselves harder and harder on.
The gearing choice combines a 53/39 chainset with an 11-25T cassette – pro racing tall and leaving us with little option but to go for it. The spec choice, geometry and handling all suggest a rigid race bike but the Quantum is one of the smoothest bikes in our Bike of the Year roundup. It has an innate ability to glide over broken road surfaces with ease.
We’ve tested plenty of comfort-oriented bikes that couldn’t match how accomplished the excellent Avanti’s frameset is at isolating you from fatigue-inducing buzz. It’s not just the small stuff, either – big ruts, potholes and washboard undulations don’t phase the Quantum’s comfort or the way it tracks.
That makes the whole experience of the 2.0 a bit schizophrenic – the ride is sportive smooth, the handling race-bike quick. That’s our preferred mix, no doubt, but the gearing choice is reserved for the fastest and fittest around.
If that’s you then the Avanti would make a brilliant option, especially if you prefer your bike brands to be a little leftfield. For most of us, however, to get the best from the Quantum would mean a switch to a compact chainset or wider cassette.
When we tested the Quantum it was at the top of our Bike of the Year price range, at £2,000, but Avanti have just lowered the cost substantially. That puts the 2.0 in top 10 contention.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2013 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 273, on sale Friday 1 March and available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.