We reviewed the Avanti Corsa DR4 in January and having been impressed by the result accepted an invitation from the brand’s UK importer, Paligap, to cast an eye over the model year 2014 range.
Three models caught our interest, beginning with the Corsa SL2 aero road bike, an Ultegra-equipped machine from the lightest of the New Zealand brand’s sizeable range.
The Circa 2 cyclo-cross bike, equipped with Shimano’s new mechanical disc brake, and the entry-level Giro 1, another machine equipped with new Shimano product, this time the Claris groupset, were among the others we examined closely.
Here’s a look at all three, starting with the Corsa SL2.
Avanti Corsa SL2
A member of Avanti’s flagship range of aero profiled road bikes, this Shimano Ultegra-equipped steed represents the mid-point of a three-strong line-up that opens with the 105 spec-ed Corsa SL1 and tops out with the Corsa Team, fitted with Shimano’s mechanical Dura-Ace 9000 group.
The deployment of the latest iteration of Shimano’s second-from-top mechanical groupset is about as complete as you could hope for, extending to a 6870 direct mount brake caliper beneath the chainstays, and even as far as an Ultegra wheelset.
Frame weights in the Corsa range dip as low as 850g, and the Corsa SL’s chassis includes many of the features present on the previously tested DR4, including BMC-style shallow seat stays, internally routed cables and an oversized downtube-bottom bracket interface (the shell houses a 386 unit, rapidly establishing itself as the default among a host of manufacturers). The headtube is a tapered affair, dipping from 1.5” at the lower bearing to 1-1/8” at the top, placing heft where it’s most needed to resist flex.
Not present, sadly, are the subtle mouldings of fork and chainstay that allowed the quick release levers, front and rear, to rest snugly against the frame of the aforementioned Corsa DR4. The asymmetric chainstays (thicker on the driveside to better resist pedalling forces) and a neat, integrated mech hanger, remain.
The Avanti Corsa SL2 is made in seven sizes from 50.5cm to 59.5cm, and will sell for £2500.
Avanti Circa 2
It’s the time of year when the minds of road cyclists turn to the possibilities of a cyclo-cross bike, whether it be for racing, or for the winter-thwarting robustness of knobbly tyres and more powerful brakes. Avanti’s Circa 2 features both: 35c Kenda Commando treads in the first instance, and Shimano’s new BR-315 mechanical disc brake in the second.
At the heart of the Avanti Circa 2 (and the entry-level Circa 1, come to that) is a 6061 aluminium frame, with rack mounts. Up front, there’s a carbon-bladed fork with a straight, 1-1/8” alloy steerer.
Components come almost exclusively from Shimano’s ever-reliable 105 groupset, extending as far as the chain and cassette (12-27, since you ask). Impressive. The notable exception is the chainset, the non-series R565 offering, equipped with a compact 50-34 set-up, rather than a more ‘cross friendly 46-36 – perhaps an indication of how Avanti expect the machine to be used.
The wheels are built around Shimano’s R505 hub, laced front and rear with 32 stainless steel spokes to Weinmann double wall alloy clincher rims. They’re shod with the aforementioned 35c rubber. Finishing kit is branded Zero Attack and comes in a suitably robust format, including a 31.8mm seatpost and handlebar stem.
The Avanti Circa 2 is made in five sizes from 51.5cm to 60cm, and will sell for £1150.
Avanti Giro 1
Bikes on which to start your cycling career form a frequent topic of enquiry in the RCUK Forum, and our own recommendation is to budget at least £600 for your first machine. Enter the Avanti Giro 1, priced at £600 on the nose, attractively finished and nicely spec-ced.
Like the Circa 2 described above, it’s built around a 6061 aluminium frame, and (a bonus at this price) a carbon fork with alloy steerer. We’d expect a carbon fork to be lighter and more absorbent of road buzz than the steel equivalents typically supplied at this price point. The welding of the frame is tidy enough, and the box section tube profiles show some imagination and commitment to stiffness. The bottom bracket shell provides a discreet housing for a Shimano Octalink unit. The flattened pyramid profile at the foot of the seat-tube is becoming de rigueur on more expensive machines.
Shimano unveiled their new Claris groupset in March, a replacement for the unlamented 2300. The new 2400 group, which includes a lever design sans thumb shifter and therefore in line with the Japanese manufacturer’s upscale offerings, is deployed almost in its entirety here, including with a beginner-friendly 11-30 cassette. The choice of Tektro brakes rather than the new dual pivot Claris units, however, looks like an opportunity missed. Elsewhere, its Claris all the way, including chainset, front and rear derailleurs, and even hubs, laced with 32 stainless steel spokes to Alex R500 rims, the latter shod with Kenda Kontender rubber in an on-trend 26c profile.
The Avanti Giro 1 is made in five sizes from 52cm to 58cm, and will sell for £600.