Sensa is little known outside of its native Holland (where it's been building bikes for 25 years), but in the short time that Merlin Cycles has been selling them to UK riders it's gained a reputation for very well put-together machines at great prices.
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The new Giulia G2 Disc follows on from the standard Giulia, which successfully blended an endurance position albeit with a racy edge. The disc frame tips the scales at 1,000g complete with its 12mm thru-axle and the fork comes in at 385g.
The well-styled frame features a substantial head tube junction with nods to aerodynamics thanks to the flush fitting fork crown and inset headset top bearing cover. The triangulated down tube is massively oversized and the top tube both arches and slims towards the seat tube and continues into super skinny seatstays. The bottom bracket shell is similarly oversized to the down tube and large box section chainstays all ensure a very impressive power transfer through the pedals.
The shaping of the Giulia’s geometry is one I like with the 594mm stack and 393mm reach offering a comfortable ride position, but one that’s low enough to allow you to get low and tucked to take advantage of beating the wind when pushing hard.
Classic parallel 73-degree angles and a 1,010mm wheelbase also ensure that the Giulia’s reaction to steering holds no surprises; confident yet quick to react thanks to the impressive overall stiffness throughout the chassis.
Where Sensa scores highly is on equipment. In-house brand Supra provides the mid-level alloy post, stem and nicely semi-wing-topped alloy bar — everything you’d expect for the money. Then there's a classic San Marco Concor saddle, which is rarely seen on new bikes but much appreciated for its slender curved top shape that’s both light and comfortable.
The DT Swiss Spline disc wheels add a touch of class, as does the excellent Schwalbe One rubber in a 25c width. The drivetrain is full Ultegra with a sporty, yet climbing friendly 52/36, 11-28 combo and it hasn't skimped on the brakes (as is often the case on bikes around this price) using Shimano’s excellent BR-RS805 flat mount brakes complete with classy Ice-Tech rotors for superb stopping power, exceptional feel and quiet running.
On the hills the Giulia’s solidity comes to the fore with every pedal stroke propelling you forward with rigid efficiency. However, all of this resolute stiffness comes at a price when it comes to descending and riding over rougher surfaces.
Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t find the G2 uncomfortable when considering the stiffness as very little buzz and vibration finds its way to you — but it does tend to thump and bounce over lumps and bumps in the road. I had a few instances on some tricky downhill corners where skitting across the surface hindered my speed, which meant line choice became important all of the time.
The Sensa Giulia is certainly a bike that requires you to keep your wits about you while riding on these sorts of surface conditions.
Overall, the Giulia is an impressive bike on great roads, but its only when the quality of the surface drops that the bike’s performance does too. So if you like a solid, powerful feeling and riding bike then I’d suggest trying out the Giulia G2 because the classy equipment levels and value packed price are all compelling reasons to give this Dutch master a chance.