Cinelli Saetta Sprint review

Beautifully buoyant, effortlessly sprung

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,579.99 RRP

Our review

Smooth charisma and spirited performance with plenty of upgrade potential
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Spawned by pro rider Cino Cinelli in the immediate post-war period, Cinelli have always been among the most iconic and pioneering of Italian bike brands. The curvaceous Saetta proves that they’re still among the best, even if its Sprint moniker is marred by wheel choice.

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A noticeably sprung feel is the first obvious trait from the Columbus carbon fibre frame, thanks to the ‘progressive flexion control’ curve that forms a leaf spring effect through the top tube and wishbone seatstay. This doesn’t just smooth out road shock, it also creates a difficult to describe but plain to feel sensation of momentum surge between accelerations, like a slight tailwind/downhill.

Despite the spindly retro looks of the chainset, the octagonal down tube, big bottom bracket and chainstays mean the bike still climbs and accelerates enthusiastically. Heavy wheels mean it’s not as sharp and firm in its progress when torque rises and cadence drops, but it’s no noodle either, whether you’re spinning in-the-saddle or stomping and shouldering a big ratio over the top of a climb.

While the tall head tube and straight-steerer Columbus fork mean it’s not anchored to the ground, overall balance is good and there’s enough feedback to foster trust. As a result it definitely doesn’t feel as nervous as some other bikes in this category when turning into corners or hitting muddy, post-flood sections on back roads.

Despite average rather than high-traction tyres, the light feel never strayed the wrong side of the vague line either, and our confidence increased steadily as we spent more time riding it, until we were happily diving and duelling on our favourite descents, however wet and greasy they got.

While blunt, riveted guides for the external cable routing don’t exactly purr ‘premium product’, the sleek lines drew admiring comments, and there was a lot of praise for the Campagnolo Athena groupset too, particularly among those old enough to have grown up gazing lustfully at Cinelli’s radical 1980s Low Pro frames.

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The Saetta Sprint would definitely benefit from a smoother shifting genuine Campagnolo cassette than the Miche one here though, and it’s gagging for a lighter set of wheels to set free its underlying acceleration and altitude gain potential.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Saetta Sprint road bike (11)
Brand Cinelli

Description Chainset: Campagnolo Athena Power Torque 2-piece compact, 50/34t rings
Stem Graphis
Rear Wheel Weight 1818
Rims Vento
Saddle SL
Seat Angle 73
Seatpost Graphis
Shifters Athena Alloy 11SPD
Trail 6
Rear Hub Vento Reaction
Spoke Type Stainless steel double butted black
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 26.2
Chainstays (cm) 40.8
Seat Tube (cm) 46
Standover Height (cm) 78
Top Tube (cm) 55
Rear Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro 700 x 23 C
Rear Derailleur Athena
Available Colours RED
Fork Weight 400
Available Sizes M L XL L M S S S S S S M L XL XL XS XS XS XS XS XS S M L XL XS S M L XL
Brakes Athena Skeleton
Cassette Miche 12-25 11spd
Chain Athena
Fork Carbon, 1 1/8in steerer
Fork Offset 4.5
Frame Material Carbon
Headset Type integrated 1 1/8in aheadset
Frame Weight 1210
Front Derailleur Athena
Front Hub Vento
Front Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro 700 x 23 C
Front Wheel Weight 1320
Handlebar GRAPHIS XL
Head Angle 73
Wheelbase (cm) 98.5