Reviewing the Cipollini Ad.One: Aero road bike

Reviewing the Cipollini Ad.One: Aero road bike

Late last year a shipment from Italy made the 16400km journey to our store. We were eager to tear open the boxes. 6 bikes, including 4 client orders, had arrived from Cipollini. One container included an Ad.One, that we knew was heading for some extreme saddle time during the break. It was imperative to get these bikes built.

The new owner, Gianluca, happened on our doorstep six months before. To this day he can't believe his good fortune. Not only did we hold the range of bikes Gianluca aspired to ride, he was also an Italian from the same home town as Chainsmith co-owner David Piacenti. The Bologna flag in the workshop was like a home coming. The purely coincidental meeting has now developed into a strong riding relationship with our weekly Chainsmith riders.

Gianluca was ready to order the bike of his dreams. Because we tailor bikes to their owners, and not the other way around, we have a no-fail process to get the right bike for the job.

The very first stage ensured Gianluca's future bike would suit his athletic expectations and involved understanding his needs. A bikefit using our IdMatch lab accurately recorded his measurements and, using the smart bike, simulated his ideal position for the Ad.One. From here, we could record the perfect sizing of the components. This was especially important considering Gianluca chose the one piece integrated Deda Elementi Alanera handlbar/stem. You can have no doubts when choosing this bar.

During the period of waiting for the frame to be prepared and painted in Italy, we cemented the orders for his chosen components. A loyalist to Italian brands and manufacturers, Gianluca's choice was easy: a competitive Super Record EPS groupset, Deda Elementi Alanera bar, alongside Campagnolo Bora WTO wheels complete with Pirelli rubbers.

But the Italian choices didn't stop there. Gianluca has a competitive nature, if not with others certainly against himself. He had a wish for a reliable power meter to accurately record power transfer and later study stats. Our favoured PM pedals, (as the first to introduce them to Australia many years ago), was added to the build: Assioma, by Italian company Favero. The last touches of Deda Elementi Loop bar tape and San Marco saddle finished what has to be one of the more aesthetically pleasing and finest performance driven machines to date.

The choices have produced a phenomenal result in Gianluca's riding, but also added to the incredible motivation to better himself on the road. We're proud to have Gianluca join us on training rides and camps, watching how the bike handles both steep ascents and descents beautifully.

There's no second guessing, this frame is incredibly stiff. It's described as utilising every aerodynamics advantage to translate "pure power". This isn't the same light handling as seen in Wilier's Aero/road bike, the Filante SLR. The profile has thicker set tubing, the rear stays are notably lower set making for an explosive response when you put your foot on the pedal. The thicker wedged head tube always appears ready for any damaging demands of a sprinters strength. We have no hesitation believing this head tube can handle treatment by a rider who physically forces the bars to comply. Of course, this is an expected influence by Cipollini himself.

"Instead of relying on a stiff aero frame to provide comfort, we make sure to use all our tools and match a rider's goals of spending long hours in the saddle."

At the same time, we raise an eyebrow when we hear the seemingly paradoxical claims that a bike is designed both aero and comfortable. This is a fascinating concept that so many manufacturers recently use to sell bikes. We also note the continued purchase of bikes by riders who may be suited to more endurance styled geometries and comforts, as explored in the article, “Prioritising Aerodynamics over Comfort: Road Bike Performance.”

My thoughts on the aero/comfort relationship? Comfort is a difficult word to define because it's as subjective as much as it is relative. Comfort is relative to any pre-existing rider injuries or ailments, relative to a rider's flexibility, mobility and strength, relative to their bike fit as well as their skills at handling the bike. Comfort can also come from various sources other than the frame itself. Which is where we have found our own assertions that comfort need not be a promotional tool used to sell frames, but should be an aim found by sales staff fitting the ideal bike to the needs of the rider.

Instead of relying on a stiff aero frame to provide comfort, like in Gianluca’s case we ensure all our tools and equipment match a rider's goals which is to spend long competitive hours in the saddle. That need requires us to soften the ride feel, even when facing one of the stiffest frames on the market.

But like all good reviews, the proof is in the pudding. We've asked Gianluca to add some words of experience for anyone looking at the Cipollini Ad.One. And below is his response,

"This is by far the fastest, most stable, fun-to-ride bike I've ever had... I did not know cycling could be so much more exciting with a top-end custom setup.

What impress me the most about about my Cipollini? The longevity. I've already ridden more than 3000km, in less than two months, and it still feels like the first time.

This bike is so realiable, responsive and steady...I really could not be happier with my purchase. We're going to have so much fun together in the next years to come"

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