Bikes from Spanish brand Massi are a relatively rare sight in the UK but there’s a lot to like about the distinctly Continental feeling, outstandingly surefooted and customisable Pro SL.
Ride & handling: Smooth, surefooted and inclusive-feeling
We’ve got some diverse shapes (and the odd orthopaedic war wound) in our test team, but the overwhelming feedback from everyone who rode the Massi was that it felt ‘right’ from the start. Even broad-shouldered types who’d normally grumble about the narrow bars agreed that they suited the stable, straight-line focused handling. The steady head angle makes it a bike that you naturally guide and steer through knee drop and bodyweight shifts rather than flick around through the bars.
The headset felt slightly sticky when circling before setting off but once up to riding speed it’s just part of the Pro SL’s character and not a problem. In fact, the enthusiasm and commitment with which the Massi attacks descents is properly inspiring. Even though our bike came with reversed brakes (production bikes will be switched over so the front is on the right) we never felt remotely nervous, even when blasting twisty Yorkshire Dales descents with arse up and head down.
The Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels’ slightly compliant, surefooted and smooth-spinning performance again syncs really well with the Pro SL. The Massi own-brand tyres never gave us cause for concern either, so don’t automatically think you need a better-known brand. While the tubes of the compact frame are pretty chunky, clever carbon lay-up and plenty of seatpost extension mean it never feels over-harsh on rough roads. Combined with the steady steering, this makes it a relaxing and stress-free way to pass hours in the saddle, and we never came back feeling beaten up, however far we’d gone.
The curved top tube gives this Spanish flyer flowing lines that match its smooth and relaxed ride character
While the tall head tube means you won’t get a particularly low position, the handling and ride character make the Massi eminently suitable for slapping some tri-bars on, and it happily handled 50/60mm aero wheels without any drama. If all this is sounding like yawn-inducing carbon fibre cocoa, then don’t worry – this Spaniard is still more than capable of running with the bulls when the climbs start or that ‘social’ ride starts scuffing the ground and snorting aggressively.
Whether you’re turning over an efficient tempo in the sticky seat or dancing out of the saddle, matador style, the big tubes channel all of your power to the right places. It still manages to feel lively and buoyant too, which keeps climbing very much a ‘head up and hungry for the top’, rather than ‘staring at your bottom bracket wishing it would stop’ experience. This all means that despite relatively heavy wheels (1,180g front, 1,640g rear) and overall mass (7.72kg), the Massi has no trouble staying in the mix with lighter price rivals when things get competitive.
Frame & equipment: Lightweight, Di2-ready chassis and customisable spec
The Massi is a good-looking bike, with curved lines flowing throughout the frame, starting with the smoothly tapered fork legs. The top tube gets a curved hump and flattened hexagonal section, with internal brake routing keeping things neat. The triangular down tube joins the tapered head tube to a big press-fit BB block, and the chainstays are equally stout.
The seatpost is secured by a big chuck section inset into the back of the top tube, and the front mech is bolted to a dedicated clamp on the seat tube. Even with this extra metal installed, the Pro SL frame is a good weight, at 991g. It’s also fully Di2 compatible, with all the relevant battery and cable ports. There are only four sizes, though, so it may not fit everyone.
As ever, Shimano Ultegra’s gear shifts are unerringly smooth and accurate, and from experience will stay that way almost indefinitely as long as you keep things clean and oiled. The carbon-look 110mm stem and relatively narrow bars are definitely heading towards Euro ‘pro- spec’ territory but they actually suit the handling of the Pro SL. The super-tacky rubberised saddle wasn’t to everyone’s taste but that’s where Massi’s ‘Kit Concept’ comes in – the idea is that you can create your own custom-spec bike, which will be built in Spain and shipped over for final set-up and handover through your local dealer.
The Pro SL frame is equipped to handle either conventional gear cables or the latest electronic shifting systems