De Rosa SK Pininfarina review£7,450.00

All hail the (Super) King: an aero bike to thrill and comfort in equal measure

BikeRadar score4.5/5

De Rosa is one of those names almost guaranteed to make cyclists of a certain age get a little weak-kneed and nostalgic.

Yet despite having heritage as rich as an oligarch, the Italian brand has occasionally struggled to find its feet in today’s fast-paced carbon-everything landscape.

Supercar design pedigree

But fast-paced is precisely what De Rosa is aiming at with its new SK Pininfarina. This abbreviates the Super King name, and shares the limelight with the Pininfarina design house (think Ferrari, Alfa Romeo…).

We'd have to say though, we were initially expecting the bike to cost much more than it does. De Rosa is hardly giving it away, but the only unticked box here is electronic shifting, and the frame has universal routing for either system.

Campagnolo’s 11-speed super record groupset on the de rosa sk pininfarina
Campagnolo’s 11-speed super record groupset on the de rosa sk pininfarina

Campagnolo’s 11-speed Super Record delivers shifting is as good as you’ll get from any mechanical gear system

The frameset combines 60, 24, 40 and 30-ton carbon in ascending quantities. It mixes swoopy curves with straight lines and familiar aero features such as lowered seatstays, split fairing in front of the rear wheel and hourglass head-tube.

The forward-facing tubes have rounded Kamm tail profiles. But despite epic expanses of carbon, it’s not overly aggressive-looking.

A road aero frame, integrated cockpit and 80mm-deep Vision Metron rims equals hard and fast, right?

A Teflon don of a bike

Wrong. Somehow the SK is as smooth as Teflon-coated silk with a ride quality like a high quality endurance bike. If that wasn’t enough, it still has the raw speed to embarrass TT machines, and classy road bike manners – an aero road bike that doesn’t demand weekly physio appointments to get the best from it.

Your watts are channelled directly to the rear wheel, where they’re converted into relentless speed. From the saddle it was easy to forget how deep those wheels were, as they never made their presence felt in a way that was anything less than positive. Laterally stiff, accelerative, and useful on punchy or power climbs, along with supple and grippy tyres, they only enhanced the ride.

Riding shot of the de rosa sk pininfarina, showing a close-up of a small red heart logo on the head tube
Riding shot of the de rosa sk pininfarina, showing a close-up of a small red heart logo on the head tube

Somebody’s stolen all the colour, apart from a little red heart, as De Rosa rides the monochrome wave

Then there’s Campagnolo’s precise-shifting Super Record groupset. Although Campag’s new direct mount calipers were fitted to some show bikes, ours had De Rosa-branded units, which don’t offer such crisp feel or fine adjustment, but with Vision’s SwissStop pads, never lacked power.

The SK is what we want an aero bike to be – engaging, awesome-looking, fast everywhere, and with no comfort compromises. We’re off to squeeze in another ride before it goes back.

Also consider:

Bianchi Specialissima

Its understated design, in a world that's aero-obsessed, is a testament to the simplicity you can find in a great race bike. It's a bike that doesn't need to shout about going fast - it simply does it. Read our full Bianchi Specialissima review.

Look 795 Aerolight

A unique aero machine that sails through the wind, boasts integrated design, and comes with the mystique of the legendary French brand. Read our full Look 795 Aerolight review. 

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Related Articles

Back to top