These days, when off -the-peg carbon frames are generally excellent, reliable and affordable, is there a need for custom carbon? Or put another way, when a chain store suit fits, why go to Savile Row?
Handily, Veneto-based Sarto takes its name from sartor, Latin for tailor – which is just what the Italian company does with its carbon frames.
- Highs: Exquisite frameset, excellent ride quality
- Lows: High price – and you may never want to ride anything else
- Buy If: You feel your precise needs aren’t being met by mass market bike offerings
As well as a range of stock sizes, it offers a full bespoke service. If you want it, Sarto will build it. Our example was made for a flexible 63-year-old who has short legs for his height. Because of a lower back problem, he wanted something that would remain comfy and handle well with no toe overlap, as he mostly rides in the saddle.
What we have is a fairly long semi-compact frame and, thanks to its 130mm stem, a fairly aggressive position. The 160mm head tube has only a 5mm spacer, adding solidity to the 1 1/8–1 1/2 in steerer tube, and the tubes are generally rounded, with no angular shaping. A subtle sweep in the chainstays and slightly flattened seatstays with a Y-shaped brake bridge are the most notable features.
Made in Italy to your own specification – so if you don’t like the look of the bike it’s your fault
This isn’t a cheap frame, but if you’re wondering whether you’d feel the difference between it and your current ride, the answer in almost every case is yes. The Sarto has a refined sense of urgency, and within a couple of miles we felt completely at home, the bike seemingly working with us to speed our progress.
It might ‘only’ have a BSA threaded bottom bracket, but power transfer from the Shimano Ultegra crank and the rear end is such that you’ll not want for more. With a 31.6mm seatpost, albeit in carbon, we wondered if the ride might be firm, but the carbon layup and vibration-reducing Y-Tech bridge is dismissively smooth even on the worst roads.
Spin’s Koppenberg Fat Boy wheels are designed and built in England
The Spin wheels play a part too – rims that are 25mm wide and tall fitted with 25mm rubber not only roll over road obstacles, but grip gloriously. Seat tube clearance is tight, but as an all-round wheelset, the Koppenbergs are excellent.
The Sarto’s handling is impeccable, combining stability and seat-of-the-pants telepathic control. Climbing is fast, and the Dinamica’s descending composure gives confidence. On a hard, hilly ride, there was nothing we could fault. The Dinamica is race bike-rapid, sportive-crushingly capable and all day comfy. Whether it’s for Sunday best, or just because, try custom, you won’t be disappointed.
Spec as tested:
- Weight: 7.29kg (custom geometry)
- Frame: M46J custom carbon with 3k finish
- Fork: M46J carbon with 3k finish
- Gears: Shimano Ultegra, 50/34, 11-28
- Brakes: Shimano Ultegra
- Wheels: Spin Koppenberg Fat Boy
- Tyres: 25mm Continental Grand Prix 4000S II
- Bar: Deda Zero 100 shallow alloy
- Stem: Deda Zero 100 alloy
- Seatpost: Sarto 31.6mm carbon
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Flow Team Edition