The Oppy from reborn Australian bike company Malvern Star is being marketed as a racing rig for all conditions. Somewhat lacking in outright speed or edginess, we feel it may instead be best suited to the sportive rider or non-racing enthusiast who enjoys plenty of miles each year and is looking for a solid all-round machine.
Ride & handling: Surefooted and predictable
The Oppy C7 is particularly stable and comfortable on flat roads. The geometry is a little more relaxed than many racers with a 72.5-degree head angle and 73.5-degree seat angle, and the generous supply of headset spacers stands the controls high in the front and doesn’t require an aggressive lean to get onto the hoods or down into the drops. The head tube itself isn’t especially long though, so it’s easy to get down low if you choose.
Though the Oppy C7 feels less ‘racy’ than we expected, it’s very surefooted and predictable thanks at least in part to the tapered and oversized 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in front end. Ultimately, we found the extra stability to be a highlight rather than a detriment – there are no nerves or fuss and the composed nature really lets you get to the business of pedalling.
One moment where this was demonstrated was when we grabbed a handful of the Dura-Ace brakes on a twisty, steep, downhill run and the result was a smooth response with no jerking, panic, or drama – just as it should be.
Likewise, frame stiffness isn’t quite what we would expect for something aimed at a competitive setting and while it’s no whippet, the Oppy C7 doesn’t produce a spongy ride, either. Still, climbing on this bike is best done seated – pick your gear and pedal in the saddle for optimum results.
Despite this aspect, the bottom bracket area and square-tapered chainstays still deliver good power transfer. Everything does its job as required and the bike holds its speed well but it’s wouldn’t be our first choice for events that require frequent accelerations.
A solid bottom bracket shell uses some straight lines in addition to plenty of carbon layering to ensure strength: a solid bottom bracket shell uses some straight lines in addition to plenty of carbon layering to ensure strength Les Clarke
Frame & equipment: Good-looking chassis with top-shelf kit
The Australian-designed Oppy C7 sits second in the company’s range of bikes and is undoubtedly a good-looking machine with striking, swoopy lines and understated colour blocks dressing up the underlying tube-to-tube carbon fibre construction. The modified wishbone-type seatstays are elegantly slender and add to the comfortable ride.
Malvern Star even see fit to include some aero features such as the slightly cutaway seat tube and teardrop-shaped down tube. We’re not as convinced by the cursive ‘Malvern Star’ logos though, which look like they would be better suited on a recreational bike than something intended for high-level competition.
The internal cable routing is an indication of the leap to modernity Malvern Star have made since they last produced racing bikes. Despite the full-length housing running end to end, careful routing keeps friction to a minimum and cable tension is taken care of via convenient Jagwire inline barrel adjusters, located within arm’s reach at the front of the bike.
As befitting a premium offering, the finishing kit is top shelf, with the Fizik Arione saddle, FSA bars and stem, Dura-Ace groupset and Ksyrium SL clincher wheels adding up to a quality package. The FSA CarbonPro bars were particularly good in all areas with their compact bend – comfortable and suitable on either the hoods, the tops or the drops.
Shimano dura-ace brake hoods complete the clean look around the cockpit: shimano dura-ace brake hoods complete the clean look around the cockpit Les Clarke
PLEASE NOTE: RRP for the Malvern Star Oppy C7 is AU$5,999. The prices at the top of the review are a direct currency conversion. Actual cost may vary.