There are few bicycle manufacturers with a stronger Italian flavour than Fondriest and this limited edition version of the firm’s TF2 model, which has just arrived at RoadCyclingUK for review, pays tribute to the brand’s heritage.
The frame bears the name of former professional Maurizio Fondriest, who founded the company in 1998 after a career in which the Italian won the world road race championships, Milan-San Remo and two stages of the Giro d’Italia.
The Italian-inspired paint scheme of our test machine is restricted to just 100 frames, justifying the “limited edition” tag. The number of each frame is stamped underneath the bottom bracket and ours is number four of 100. The paintjob itself combines the naked carbon weave with the Italian tricolore, with Fondriest’s national flag on the toptube and flashes of green, white and red throughout.
The Limited Edition model has also been designed specifically for electronic groupsets but, that aside, the frame is the same as a stock TF2, which in itself is available in 13 colour options.
The TF2 sits second-from-top in Fondriest’s range, beneath the super-light TFZero, which has a claimed frame weight of just 798g, and above the TF3 we reviewed this time last year. Claimed weight for a raw TF2 frame is 950g; add another 345g for the fork and 190g for the seatpost.
While the TFZero is made in Italy, the TF2 is manufactured in the Far East and the 56-ton monocoque carbon fibre frame is characterised by huge, box-section tube profiles. The downtube, in particular, is enormous and combines with equally oversized chainstays to create what Fondriest call a “monolithic” bottom bracket junction. You get the picture – this is a frame designed to transfer ever ounce of power from the pedals into the wheels.
The same theme continues at the front end, where the downtube and toptube, which maintain their profile in their entirety, meet to create an oversized headtube junction. The toptube itself wraps around the top of the tapered headtube to create a pronounced bulge above the Fondriest logo. Fondriest say the reverse sweep of the fork is designed to offer precise, stable handling.
The frame uses a proprietary aero seatpost, which slots into a neatly integrated seatclamp, while Fondriest have made some concession to comfort and say the seatstays have been designed to absorb shock from the road before it reaches the rider.
But this remains an aggressively styled bike and the geometry reflects that. The frame is available in seven sizes (XXS-XXL) and our medium test machine has 55cm top tube, compact 982mm wheelbase, tiny 14.5cm headtube and 73 and 73.5 headtube and seattube angles.
Our machine is built up with a complete 10-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset (with compact 50-34t chainrings), a carbon-wrapped FSA OS 99 stem, a full carbon FSA K-Force handlebar and a Fizik Arione saddle. The FRace wheels comprise of 40-mm deep carbon shrouds attached to alloy rims, running on Shimano R580 hubs. The wheels are wrapped in Vittoria Rubino tyres. Overall weight it a shade under 8kg on the RCUK scales.
The TF2 is available as a frameset for £2,100 or in a number of builds through Fondriest dealers. How much is our machine? Well, Fondriest’s UK distributor, Impact Cycle Trading, tell us customers interested in purchasing a limited edition frame should contact them directly.
Check back soon for a full review.