We like a bit of British design in the RCUK office, especially when it results in a bike as striking as the Orro Gold STC.

Here is a bike that screams premium, from the clear lacquer that exposes the broad and distinctive carbon weave, to the little flashes of detail across the frameset, as well as the actual engineering that’s gone into making the Gold STC one of the best sportive-focussed bikes on the market.

Without getting bogged down in the finer points, it’s under the sheen that the Gold STC has a metaphorical ‘heart of gold’. In order to create a bike that responded like a racer, but had the all-day comfort of an endurance machine, Orro turned to British carbon experts Sigmatex, who provided their unique ‘spread-tow carbon fibre’ for the job.

‘STC’ is used at strategic points around the frame and fork, and is claimed to reduce the amount of resin used in the layup process. The result is intended to increase stiffness and reduce weight, boosting ride responsiveness, while actually improving the ride quality. For a bike that’s designed to be no less than “the perfect gran fondo bike", it sounds like quite a recipe.

The sub-kilogram weight (Orro claim it weights 985g), means it’s right up there with the latest generation of frames of this ilk, while the geometry is suitably relaxed despite the sprightly nature of the frame construction. A tall headtube keeps things sensible at the front end, while the long wheelbase helps to relax inputs, in tandem with a 71.4-degree steerer angle that dulls any harshness of response from the front wheel.

As a result – and bear with us on this – there are behavioural parallels with a luxury saloon car or grand tourer when traversing long miles on the motorway. Those cars are designed to eat miles without taxing the driver heavily and leaving them fresh after a long day behind the wheel. And so it is with the Gold STC - just with a lot more energy expenditure on behalf of the rider.

RCUK 100 2017 - Orro Gold STC Dura-Ace
RCUK 100 2017 - Orro Gold STC Dura-Ace

It’s no snoozing giant, however. When we had our hands on one, we found it to be absolutely everything a keen sportive rider could want when chasing a quick time around a sportive event. Always ready and willing to respond to your accelerations, this is a bike you can attack and feel the reward in the present, as well as at the end of your event.

Inevitably, this comes down to the immediacy of the whole bike, and while the long wheelbase and overall geometry prevents the Orro from having the all-out razor sharp ride of a race machine, the components do nothing of the sort. This model is fitted with Shimano’s brand new Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical groupset, which as you’d expect is absolutely pro-level spec in terms of feel and performance.

RCUK 100 2017 - Orro Gold STC Dura-Ace

The performance is matched with a tinge of practicality – racers may mock the 11-30t cassette that the new Dura-Ace allows, but gran fondo lovers should have no such qualms and you get a climb-friendly spread of gears.

The Dura-Ace brake calipers have also been redesigned and, along with the generous clearance of the Gold STC frame, allow for comfort-enhancing 28c tyres to be fitted, although Orro have opted for 25c Continental GranSport rubber as a starting point.

RCUK 100 2017 Orro advert

Orro Gold STC Dura-Ace

The rubber is shod to another clear highlight of the bike: Fulcrum Racing Zero hoops, which boast low overall weight and super-smooth rolling thanks to ceramic bearings - another plus point for those long rides, when you naturally want maximum speed from as little effort as possible.

The bike is tied off with an alloy 3T finishing kit including Stilo seatpost and Ergonova bars, along with a Prologo Kappa Evo saddle. You even get a seatpost clamp complete with a built-in LED light for increased safety. It's a decent metaphor for the attention to detail Orro have clearly paid while designing the Gold STC.