Cinelli might be best remembered as the bar and stem of choice throughout the 80s. Even though it may have lost a certain amount of ground in this field, it has always been a pioneer in frame technology and frame tubing.
Now part of the same manufacturing group as Columbus tubing, the Estrada is the result of a collaboration between an expert frame builder and a well-established tubing manufacturer.
The heart of the Estrada is the XLR8R compact frameset. Consisting of oversized, round tubes, the frameset has an understated look that, with the right component choice, makes for a classy-looking bike.
Considering the Estrada is the top model in the Cinelli range that Chicken Cycles imports, it was perhaps a little surprising to see it equipped with Campagnolo Centaur - the third tier of components from the Italian brand.
The quality and weight may not be exactly the same as Record, and certain internals may differ slightly, but it is otherwise very difficult to find fault with this choice of groupset.
Although not exactly featherweight, the Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels weren't noticeably cumbersome on long climbs and they certainly put up with a large amount of abuse over the past months. They have stayed true and not needed any attention despite getting a pretty severe introduction to some of Majorca and Berkshire's roughest roads.
The compact geometry keeps the flex often associated with large frames to a minimum, and there was little or no flex detected when making efforts either on the turbo-trainer or out of the saddle. The front end was equally stiff, which made the bike a joy to ride when sprinting out of corners or up a hill at the end of a race.
A bike retailing at £2,199.99 is in the mid-ground between performance and out-and-out race bike, and this bike is as near to the perfect choice as I could ask for.
The Estrada has been raced on since the end of February and shows no signs of letting me down so far. The groupset has been the revelation of this test and partly explains both the reasonable price and the good score we have given it.
The only thing we'd change if selecting this bike for ourselves would be the handlebars, simply for the peace of mind of not having to worry about carbon bars.
CINELLI ESTRADA SPEC
Distributor Chicken Cycles www.chicken-cycles.co.uk
Frame Cinelli XLR8R Carbon
Fork Tusk Monocoque Carbon
Size range XS, S, M, L, XL
Groupset Campagnolo Centaur
Alterations Selle Italia SLR, Cinelli Vai Palm
Gear ratios 53/39 with 12-25
Wheels Mavic Ksyrium Elite
Tyres Vredestein Fortezza
Bars Cinelli Neo Morphe
Stem Cinelli Neo CK
Seatpost Cinelli Ram
Saddle Selle Italia Filante
The full version of this test originally appeared in Cycling Weekly May 15, 2008
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