With the calendar turning from October to November, there’s no better time to test a bike designed with winter training in mind and the De Rosa Milanino Training is such a machine.
In truth, it looks more than that on paper, with a handbuilt aluminium frame, a good spec and eyelets ready to accept full mudguards and a rear rack. The first 70 miles of our test suggest this is better described as a four-seasons machine with a lively, engaging ride.
The Milanino Training is the cheapest (or, more appropriately, most affordable) of the bikes imported by De Rosa’s UK distributor, i-ride, at £1,699.99, but the triple-butted, custom-drawn frame is made in the Italian firm’s workshop in Cussano Milanino (hence the name) and the frame is proudly stamped with ‘Made in Italy, Cussano Milanino’ on the non-driveside chainstay.
The Milanino Training is based on the existing Milanino frame (which remains in the range), but the addition of mudguard and rack eyelets, and the ability, De Rosa say, to accept 28c tyres and ‘guards with long drop brakes, give it its Training moniker.
i-ride, being UK-based and, therefore, well aware of the demands of winter training on these shores, say they had a big influence on the Milanino Training, first added to the range last year. The Milanino Training is also offered as a frameset for £799.99 (and with a claimed frame weight of 1,400g for a size small) for riders who prefer to put together their own bike build.
The frame is very easy on the eye, with super-smooth welds, and while white may not be the most sensible choice for winter, the contrast with the azure blue panels (which in turn are lined with red, white and green bands to give the frame a distinctly Italian look) on the downtube, seattube and chainstays is stunning. Ugo De Rosa’s signature features on the right-hand chainstay.
Up front, a fork with carbon blades and an aluminium steerer slots into a straight-through 1-1/8″ headtube which typifies a classic-looking frame made up entirely of round tubes, save for the box-section chainstays.
The geometry is fairly traditional, too, with four sizes (S-XL) and horizontal toptube measurements of 52.5, 54, 56 and 57.5cm. Our large (56cm) sample also has a 16.5cm headtube, a 73 degree seattube angle and 40.6cm chainstays.
The frame is something of a showpiece for other brands from the i-ride stable, but that’s no bad thing, with Campagnolo providing the groupset (as is only befitting for a handmade Italian frame), 3T supplying the cockpit, Prologo the saddle, Fulcrum the wheels and Continental the tyres. Only the De Rosa-branded aluminium FSA seatpost deviates from the theme, and while i-ride supplied our machine with a bottle cage, that doesn’t come as standard.
While Veloce may be Campagnolo’s entry-level groupset, it’s a setup we’ve had a good experience of to date and is fitting for a machine of this ilk. The 10-speed shifting is a little agricultural compared to the Italian firm’s upscale offerings, but it retains that positive, one-button, one-function feel synonymous with Campagnolo. Whether that, and the ergonomics of Campag’s levers, works for you is a matter of personal taste. The compact chainset and 12-25 cassette should provide a fair spread of gears.
The only deviation from Veloce are the Tektro R539 long drop brakes. First impressions are positive, with plenty of bite and a good amount of modulation offered over the opening miles of our test.
The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels are a sensible choice for a winter bike: stiff, tough and utterly reliable, though far from the lightest choice at a claimed 1,750g. We’re looking forward to slotting in a lighter set of hoops to see if our ‘four seasons’ prediction is true.
Otherwise, the wheels are wrapped in Continental Ultra Sport tyres – not rubber we’ve had much experience with. They sit at the bottom of Continental’s road range and we expect that an early upgrade to a wider winter tyre will bring justifiable reward.
The 3T Ergosum Pro aluminium handlebar is shallower than a traditional ‘bar, with a drop of 128mm and a reach of 89mm. 3T say the tight radius makes it easier to accurately adjust the angle of the shifter handhold. The handlebar is paired with an aluminium Arx Pro stem.
All that’s left to mention, then, is the Prologo Zero II TiroX saddle, which is a £99.99 perch in its own right. The Prologo range is split into three distinct sections, with the Zero collection offering the flattest profile, while Nago Evo saddles are described as being ‘semi-round’ and Scratch models as, well, ’round’. Back to the Zero II TiroX and Prologo say the updated stainless steel rails offer improved vibration dampening over the previous titanium rails.
Finally, before we head out on the road to log more winter miles, the Milanino Training tips the RCUK scales at 8.5kg.