Cinelli’s striking purple and chrome Vigorelli was designed in conjunction with riders from Team Cinelli Chrome, winners of the Red Hook Criterium series. Along with the Genesis Volare 853, also on test, this puts it very much at the racier end of the spectrum.
I tested the 2019 Vigorelli, which is still widely available right now and often at a discount, but the 2020 Vigorelli moves from SRAM Apex seen here to a Shimano 105 compact, the Columbus steel frame is unchanged, though.
A frameset is also available for £799.99.
SRAM 1x is being replaced by Shimano 105 on 2020 models. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Cinelli Vigorelli frame
With so much history, steel is the most traditional of frame materials but that doesn’t mean steel bikes, even with rim brakes, have to have both feet planted in the 19th century – and this Vigorelli has some modern features in both its frame and components.
The Megahead head tube is a flared 1 1/8–1 1/2in design and houses the tapered full-carbon monocoque fork, which weighs just 350g, compared with the comparatively heavy 2kg frame.
Both the butted Thron frame and Futura fork are made by Columbus, which is part of the same company as Cinelli.
Cinelli has increased the fork rake from previous models a little to reduce the likelihood of toe overlap, adding a little more stability; it has also raised the bottom bracket to give greater pedal clearance when cornering, which really allows you to attack bends.
As befits a bike with a competitive pedigree, the frame angles are steep, and my medium-size model has a 73.5-degree head angle and 74-degree seat. That aggressively chunky head tube is a race-friendly 136mm and the wheelbase a tight and chuckable 981mm; even the largest model’s wheelbase is less than a metre.
As a result, the handling is fast, flighty, fun and exciting. That said, I did appreciate the 28mm tyres because they soften what is a pretty firm and efficient ride, though it’s not so harsh that you can’t rack up the miles on it.
SRAM’s 11-speed Apex works excellently but does limit gear range. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Cinelli Vigorelli kit
Most of the kit is from Cinelli itself in the form of its Vai bar and stem and the slightly surprising oversized 31.6mm seatpost, though I got on well with the comfortable Cinelli saddle.
SRAM’s single-ring setup works perfectly with good gear changes throughout the range, but with only 11 gears there are inevitably some bigger gaps, especially towards the larger sprockets, but this didn’t have any negative effect on gear changes.
The Apex lever hoods are pretty small, and if you’re used to quite large hoods as a handhold, you’ll find these rather minimal to grip.
While I’m a big fan of SRAM’s 1x setup on commuting and gravel setups I’m not convinced it’s quite as successful on a more aggressively minded ride such as the Vigorelli.
The 2020 model’s 50/34 FSA chainset and 11-32 cassette will provide a near-20 per cent higher top gear, 120in compared with the 2019’s 101in that you may well spin out on.
The frame angles are racy on the Vigorelli, but the 1x gearing less so. Robert Smith
The Miche brakes were a pleasant surprise, the calipers offering very decent bite and good control. They don’t compare with today’s hydraulic discs but aren’t that different from Shimano’s excellent 105 caliper brakes and performed very well even in the wet, windy and wintry conditions in which most of the testing was done.
The Vigorelli is never going to major on versatility and at 9.59kg it’s carrying a kilo compared with a £1,500 carbon machine, but this bike is an absolute blast – and it looks good too, with its brash purpleness.
Cinelli Vigorelli overall
I enjoyed the ride and it took me out of my usual muddling-along comfort mode and into full-on, out-of-saddle sprinting, just what you want over the early part of the year to get your heart pounding and weight dropping.
The Vigorelli bombs along, the beefed-up front end delivering spot-on point-and-shoot handling, but the slightly limited gearing in this spec is a little restricting.
Cinelli Vigorelli geometry
Sizes (* tested): XS, S, M*, L, XL
Seat angle: 74 degrees
Head angle: 74 degrees
Seat tube: 53cm
Top tube: 55cm
Head tube: 13.6cm
How we tested
This bike was tested as part of a five-bike grouptest of steel road bikes and road-biased all-rounders.
Steel might be the oldest of bike building materials but can be used to create comfortable, long-lasting and repairable bikes. It’s also recyclable, so better for the planet than you might think.
Modern tastes are felt though with disc brakes, tubeless tyres and clearances for wider rubber all making an appearance.
Bikes also tested: