De Rosa unveil Super King frameset – first look

De Rosa have unveiled the Super King frameset, a new addition to the Italian firm’s stable of top-end machinery.  We went to visit i-ride, the company’s UK distributor, for an exclusive first look.

The Super King comes in two guises: the Super King R frameset, for mechanical groupsets, and the Super King E, designed specifically for Campagnolo’s electronic EPS componentry. Both will be available in the UK, as a frameset only, priced at £2,799 and £2,999 respectively.

That puts the Super King close to the top of De Rosa’s range, beaten only by the King RS (£3,599), unveiled in 2011, and the Protos “special project” halo bike, which we spotted earlier this year, with an eye-watering price tag of £11,999.

Let’s take a closer look.

The Super King is built around what De Rosa call a “balanced geometry”, with a less aggressive position than that of the King RS. The intention is to offer a machine which, while race-tuned, offers a slightly more relaxed riding position.

While the Super King will only be available in the UK as a frameset, the dream machine we snapped was built up with a Campagnolo Super Record mechanical groupset, Fulcrum Racing Speed XLR 50mm deep section wheels, a De Rosa-branded Selle Italia SLR saddle and FSA cockpit.

The Super King has a distinctly aero flavour, with aero tube profiling on the fork, seat post and seat tube. Note the super-skinny seat stays; these, and chunky chainstays (below) are bang on trend at the moment, offering the promise of shock absorption and power transfer respectively.

This Super King is the mechanical version. The electronic-specific frameset has an internal battery enclosure on the underside of the down tube, close to the bottom bracket. De Rosa are staying loyal to their compatriots Campagnolo, with the Super King only compatible with the Italian manufacturer’s EPS groupset.

As electronic groupsets develop, we’re beginning to see more options for hiding the battery (Shimano’s new Dura-Ace Di2 9070 battery can be housed in the seatpost) which, until now, have  often been strapped to the down tube or slapped underneath the bottom bracket – far from ideal when you’re digging deep for a bike. De Rosa’s option seems a clean alternative, and they say it’s the first time this particular solution has been offered on a production frame.

The Super King’s key technology is H.AD – or Harmonic Active Damping (bike manufacturers love their three-letter acronyms). What’s H.AD? In short, the idea is that the occasional layer in the carbon fibre make-up is made from a non-setting resin which then fills the tiny cracks in the carbon which develop through use. De Rosa say this improves frame compliance and increases longevity, i.e. the frame stays stiffer for longer.

The Super King also utilises FSA’s BB86. That, combined with the chunky downtube and fat chainstays, results in a huge bottom bracket junction.

De Rosa, along with Colnago, Wilier and Pinarello, are one of four Italian ‘super-brands’ and they’re proud of their heritage. The red, white and green of the country’s tricolour on the bottom of the seatstays is a classy touch on an undeniably eye-catching machine.

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