15th December 2010 Words: Nick Rearden
If you've grown up with mountain bikes all through the boom of the 1980s and 90s there's a good chance you will have heard of the Italian bike brand Sintesi. Now, thanks to an enterprising new bike shop, we'll know them for their road bikes as well.
Sintesi made - and still make - mountain bikes with a distinctly European flavour which is no bad thing if you enjoy that crazy Alpine off-road cycling school where you down an expresso and ride really, really fast down a mountainside.
It's as if the Italians instinctively know that road bikes are the only true way but that their lumpy-tyred brethren make a perfectly acceptable alternative to skiing while the slopes are lacking in the white stuff.
Now that interest in road bikes is booming here, the Sintesi road models are coming, too, and they've appointed a dealer for the UK, based in Durham.
Sequal Retrobikes is a new shop that's been open since January 2010 in High Pittington, four miles east of Durham City. The owner, Ian Jobling, is surrounded by good bike shops selling all the usual top bike brands and clearly sees the value in concentrating on doing a good job with something different, which is where Sintesi comes in.
And he thinks he has an edge. Where the massive retailers like Halfords, with their Boardman brand, and Chain Reaction Cycles, with BeOne and now Vitus, have gone off to source their own brands, here a minnow, and a newcomer at that, has now done likewise with his own unique manufacturer. "The result", says Jobling, "is a keener price than the usual independent bike shop because we're a dealer working directly in Italy with the brand. It’s a real pleasure to be working with Sintesi."
There are Sintesi production bikes starting at reasonable prices based on a tidy-looking welded 6061 aluminium frame. Then moving through carbon models with increasingly exotic specs and culminating in a flagship model based on a high-modulus carbon frame that can be custom made to order and shipped to the UK "in a month" according to Ian Jobling.
Needless to say, there are some pretty exotic carbon machines that will keep Jobling busy into the night with custom fitting, building and delivering all over the country.
Strictly with our Mr. Sensible recession-busting hats on, though, we have winging to us an £850 X1 Pro for a group test we're working on for the March 2011 issue. We think there are quite a few folks who are going to be looking for exciting road bikes that can be ridden to work all week and then for fun at the weekend. All for the sort of money that can happily coexist with the gas and food bills.
The Sintesi road range:
X1 Comp 6061 alloy frame with Shimano Sora components £649
X1 Pro 6061 alloy frame with Shimano Tiagra components £849
Z1 Comp Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Apex components £1,399
Z1 Pro Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Rival components £1,599
Z1 Marathon Carbex monocoque frame with Shimano Ultegra components £1,899
Z2 Marathon Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Force components £2,499
Z2 Race Carbex monocoque frame with SRAM Red or Dura-Ace £3,290/£3985
M1 Marathon 3K bonded carbon frame with SRAM Force or Ultegra £2,599
M1 Race 3K bonded carbon frame with SRAM Red £3,499
M2 Marathon 1K bonded carbon frame with SRAM Force or Ultegra £2,850
M2 Race 1K bonded carbon frame with SRAM red or Dura-Ace £3,699/£4399
M5 Full custom 3K carbon reinforced w/UD Toray T700 fibre £poa
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