Cinelli’s Gazzetta Della Strada (not to be confused with the Gazzetta, which is a track-inspired fixed wheel bike) is described as being for ‘sporty urban’ riding – it’s the shape of a performance road bike, but has the fixtures and fittings of a commuter or light tourer, including a distinctive front rack.
Cinelli have a long heritage and the Della Strada could hardly be more traditional in construction, short of actually being lugged. The frame and fork are both Columbus chromoly, and while TIG welding is a modern way of sticking tubes together, the Gazzetta has an array of endearingly old-school details. Features like the curvaceous seatclamp, diamond reinforcements at the bottle cage bosses, ring-reinforced head tube and down tube shifter bosses all hark back to a classic era.
Highs: Classic looks, town-friendly ride
Lows: A little heavy, only average value
Buy if… you’re after a multi-purpose bike to serve sporty urban duties
The Gazzetta isn’t so classic as to actually have down tube shifters though. The bosses carry bolt-on cable stops, with shifting carried out by Shimano 2300 STI levers on a thoroughly contemporary oversized shallow-drop bar. Given the Cinelli’s asking price, the inclusion of Shimano’s budget 2300 8-speed parts is perhaps a little underwhelming.
Similar bikes, such as the Genesis Equilibrium 00, can muster the rather more elegant Sora components for less money. In fact, all of the parts are a step or two down from what you’d hope for – there’s nothing wrong with any of it, and everything works entirely acceptably, but there are other bikes out there that offer a better value package.
Our test bike arrived without pedals, but the Gazzetta is supplied with a pair of VP pedals that are clipless on one side, with a rubber platform on the other. It’s perfectly in keeping with the bike’s ‘sporty urban’ ethos – stick your bike shoes on if you want to put the power down, but ride in trainers if you’re just popping to the shops.
That front rack very much plays to the idea of a multi-purpose bike too. It’s not designed for masses of luggage, but you can bungee a backpack to it to save wearing it and it’ll take a small pack of beer quite neatly. To carry more stuff, there are mounts for a rear rack and you could swap the little front rack for a low-rider and carry panniers at both ends if you wanted. You’re out of luck if you want to use a handlebar bag though – the Gazzetta has in-line cyclo-cross-style brake levers that get in the way.
The extra brake levers are an unusual feature on a road bike, but they have their uses. The Cinelli already has a fairly high front end, emphasising comfort and a good view of the road over pure performance, and the cross levers mean that you can sit even more upright while still having access to the brakes. It’s a useful position when trickling through traffic.
While the Gazzetta has many of the features – and most of the weight – of a touring bike, the geometry is very much performance-orientated. Yes, the front end is high, but the angles and lengths are really quite racy. It’s very adept when dodging through traffic and its nimble feel goes some way to offsetting the overall weight, though its heft is only noticeable on long hills. And you could liven it up considerably by replacing the wire-beaded Kenda tyres with something lighter when they wear out.