This 2.8 sits in the middle of Mekk’s six bike non-disc Poggio range, aimed at the endurance rider. First impressions suggest this model could cater for the sportive/fondo rider in a hurry, but we’ll see if our testing backs that up.
Sometimes a great component spec can be used to sell an ordinary frameset, some great framesets have ordinary component builds, and now and then we find bikes with a fine frameset, good components, and great price. Which will this bike be?
While that might sound solid but unremarkable, this is quite a wheelset. When released, the Saturae C50 carbon clinchers retailed for £799.99, so it’s impressive to find them on a bike at this level. San Marco, meanwhile, supplies the saddle, and it’s all hung on Mekk’s Toray T800 carbon frame.
The frame has performance and comfort elements. The former is looked after by the chunky, slab-sided head tube, partly ribbed down tube, and a wide BB86.5 bottom bracket shell within a heavily built tube junction that sprouts a pair of hugely deep and boxy chain stays.
The frame's upper section is designed to aid comfort
The frame’s upper section, on the other hand, is generally designed to improve the riding experience, with a gently curving top tube that flattens on its way backwards and slim, flattened seatstays. Aesthetically the black groupset and wheels are a good match for the matt grey and silver carbon frameset, so long as you’re not a fan of colours.
Our 56cm example, with 110mm stem and the Poggio’s relatively short head tube gives a lot of space to stretch out, and if you like to get down, the Poggio is no upright cruiser. It is a bike that likes to make brisk progress though; from the off the ride felt smooth, and the Poggio seems to hold speed effectively on the flat.
Back to those wheels again, their sealed roller bearings are claimed to be smoother running than cartridge bearings, and they’re certainly slick. With 50mm carbon rims and DT Swiss spokes laced to their magnesium alloy hubs, they’re well-featured, but do come with a rider weight limit of 90kg. Wider rims are a good thing, these are 24mm externally, and usefully spread the 23mm Continentals out to 24mm.
Standing on the pedals, the Poggio gains speed swiftly, the frame feeling quite efficient, albeit without the class-leading sense of urgency felt from the BMC’s superb SLR02 for example. The wheelset does close the gap a little, as even though they’re not feathery light at around 1640g, their lateral rigidity, aero assistance and hub quality give the bike an injection of almost unrelenting speed. They climb better than expected, but are more suited to short hills than mountain climbs, and even when descending on a blustery day, their stability makes crosswind blasts fairly easy to control.
The awesome Saturae wheels help elevate a decent frameset into a real contender
Shimano’s dual-pivot 105 brakes are characteristically powerful and precise, although the Saturae’s braking surface doesn’t quite translate their power in to braking bite. In the dry they’re positive feeling, and stop quite well, but wet weather performance is rather more hit and miss.
The frame generally has a good ride quality, but is a little jarring over big bumps. The saddle is fairly supportive and comfortable, but we think the ride would definitely benefit from a 27.2mm carbon seatpost instead of the alloy Saturae item fitted, and possibly a saddle swap too, depending on personal taste. The cockpit is much easier to live with, feeling plenty stiff enough and well shaped, and not passing excessive road buzz to your hands.
Our time aboard the Poggio 2.8 proved a couple of things. One, that a decent groupset, and particularly wheels, will go a long way to improving almost any bike, and two, that the Poggio’s frame isn’t half bad. Alone it’s no world beater, but as a package, it’s an entertaining ride with scope for the racier rider to enjoy many swift miles, and the only necessary upgrade is a seatpost.