A Spanish speedster that offers race-ready performance at a sensible price.
Handling: urgent but not desperate
The Massi Team Carbon 105 Compact has quite a stretched ride position, though it’s far from excessive. Some sportive riders might prefer the more relaxed set-up you’ll find on something like a Specialized Roubaix, for example, which has a higher front end for the same length of top-tube, but most of our testers found the compact chainset enough of a concession to long-ride comfort.
The Massi’s ride is so similar to that of the BH Speedrom 105 L51 that it’s hard to tell the bikes apart in most situations, even when they’re ridden back to back. They’re equally matched on the climbs and both bowl along on the flat with a real sense of urgency. The most significant difference is that the Massi’s 105 brakes have more punch than the BH’s Titan units and gave us more confidence when hitting unknown corners. But, that aside, it’s hard to split them with each providing a sound all-round performance.
Frame: classic compact carbon
The Massi’s unidirectional carbon fibre frame is built to exactly the same geometry as that of its Spanish compatriot, the BH Speedrom 105 L51, to produce a fairly standard road bike position.
You get a single 3cm headset spacer but you can easily swap in smaller ones if you want to fine-tune the front-end height or, as usual, you could flip the stem for a more upright arrangement.
The top-tube transforms from round section to hexagonal as it slants towards the outsized seat-tube junction. As with all the other bikes on test here, this leaves a lot of seatpost exposed to help with day-long comfort. The down-tube widens along its length to envelope the bottom bracket shell fully and bowing wishbone seatstays add good compliance at the rear end. All the tubes curve slightly into one another to give a smooth, attractive look while up front the carbon bladed forks keep the front wheel on track just fine.
Equipment: solid Shimano 105 and good own-brand parts
The key components are mostly Shimano 105 with a 25-tooth largest sprocket. The cranks on our XL frame are 170mm rather than 172.5mm – we would have preferred them longer.
It all performs exactly as 105 usually does – with solid reliability. We find it one of the most low-maintenance groupsets out there though there’s obviously a weight penalty to be paid compared to Shimano’s high-end ranges.
As is usual in this price range, the bars and stem are basic own-brand items, but Massi trumps its rivals with a carbon seatpost that shaves off a few grams and adds cachet – and it is carbon rather than alloy in a carbon overcoat and false moustache.
Massi’s narrow-nosed saddle divided opinion among our testers: the cutaway mid-section is either supremely comfortable or a medieval instrument of torture depending on who you ask.
Wheels: reliable Shimano R500s with grippy Michelins
If you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you might have noticed that our Massi has a Shimano R500 wheel at the rear and an R550 up front. Don’t tell fibs: you didn’t.
Cast the R550 from your mind, though. The production version comes with a pair of R500s. They’re a reasonable weight and the black chrome plated spokes (20 front, 24 rear) hold them surprisingly firm; we only managed to get brake rub when throwing the bike about on the climbs in a ridiculously high gear.
We’ve found that the R500’s cup-and-cone bearing hubs often need a little tweaking to keep them running smoothly although the contact/labyrinth seals are effective enough and long-term durability is good.
The Michelin tyres are not especially fast rolling, but they are pretty grippy even in greasy conditions and come with a good life expectancy.