Olmo Link Pro review£1,599.00

Long-established Italian firm’s entry-level carbon steed

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Olmo may be a lesser-spotted brand, but having been making bikes since 1939 it’s no newbie. The Link Pro is its entry-level carbon frame, weighing a claimed 1240g. It is available in numerous builds, including mechanical and electronic Shimano Ultegra and six Campagnolo setups from Xenon to 11-speed Chorus.

Ours came with kit based around Shimano 105 and Miche – we were going to test a bike with a more exotic build, but that was sold the day we went to collect it!

    The Link Pro frame has been tweaked over the last few years, and is – of course – claimed to be stiffer than earlier incarnations. All the cabling is internal – very neatly routed and rattle free, which isn’t always the case – and it has a BB86 press-fit bottom bracket, typically oversized down tube, tapered head tube and a slightly bowed top-tube, beloved of Specialized, among others.

    The Miche brakes can easily be improved with cartridge pads

    Geometry is pretty aggressive, with a shortish head tube and long top tube. Do check the sizing though, because an XL Olmo is the same as most brands’ 56cm frames.

    To hit the price point Olmo has had to make kit compromises. Shimano 105 is the dominant groupset at this level, but it’s usually the 11-speed version. Not only does the Olmo have the older 10-speed version (which, being Shimano, still works well of course) but it’s accompanied by Miche Performance brakes with solid, non-cartridge brake blocks.

    Mechanically they’re actually pretty decent budget brakes, but they’re no match for 105. The Miche Team crankset also doesn't look as good as 105, but thankfully it’s a decent piece of kit and shifting was faultless under testing.

    The Link Pro’s ride is very good, but there’s no doubt that its overall performance was held back a little by the build. There’s no getting away from the fact that – like the middle-aged tester – this is a bike carrying a little excess weight.

    This is where alloy bikes around this price really score. The less expensive Hoy Sa Calobra we tested alongside it, for instance, not only weighs 750g less, but its Mavic Aksium wheels are nearly the same amount lighter, too, which is all-important rotating weight.

    Hefty rolling stock and an unforgiving 26t largest sprocket will have most riders out of the saddle earlier than desired:
    Hefty rolling stock and an unforgiving 26t largest sprocket will have most riders out of the saddle earlier than desired:

    Hefty rolling stock and an unforgiving 26t largest sprocket will have most riders out of the saddle earlier than desired

    The Olmo Cyber wheels do roll smoothly, but a frame this polished needs much better. We swapped out the Olmo’s wheels for a lighter set on one test ride, which unsurprisingly boosted its performance.

    Get to a hill and this is a difference you can feel, especially as the Olmo’s largest sprocket is a none-too-generous 26t item. It’s a double whammy that forces you out of the saddle earlier than most riders would like.

    But weight is only one facet, and the Olmo has lots of plus points. It’s a smooth, accomplished and comfortable ride, plusher than we expected for a pretty racy carbon frame at this price. The acceleration is good too, the BB86 bottom bracket, chunky chainstays and short, tapered head-tube contributing to a poised and purposeful performance.

    Overall, though a good bike, we’d recommend stretching your budget and going for at least the £1,900 11-speed 105 option with Fulcrum Racing 7s, which would make more of the frame. Or you could even buy the £1200 frameset and fit it out however you’d like it. It’s worth it.

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

    Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
    • Age: 53
    • Height: 175cm / 5'9
    • Weight: 75kg /165lb
    • Waist: 33in
    • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
    • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
    • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
    • Location: Bath, UK

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