- Great value for money
- Shimano Ultegra
- Ineffective brakes
Price as reviewed:
Sensa is a relatively new brand here in the UK, but being established in Holland over 20 years ago they sure know a thing or two about putting together race-ready bikes. There are two different cyclo cross frames on offer from Sensa, the Fermo and the Fermo SL, each with various build options, making it easy to get the perfect cross bike for your needs. For us it was the former that got a cross season shake down.
First thing first – the Fermo’s specific cyclo cross geometry leaves you in no doubt Sensa know how a cross bikes should feel and handle. The short reach allowed full control on technical sections, yet still enabled us to stay comfortable on longer off road rides. The two crucial elements of cyclo-cross, have been thoroughly thought out in the frame design so there’s plenty of space for shouldering the bike as well as clearance around wheels for muddier days.
On the bike, the Alloy frame was stiff and responsive giving excellent power transfer. The standard Fermo build comes equipped with Sensa’s own line of components and wheels, ‘Supra’. The Supra Comp Line bars had a refreshingly old school feel to them, consistently curved throughout the bend and drops, which is a personal preference, but one we liked so gave great control when descending on the drops.
Unfortunately, although cyclocross cantilever brakes are known for not being the sharpest, the Radius ones left a lot to be desired. We had a few not quite stopping in time near misses when trying to scrub of speed. They’re fine for cruising around, but more serious riders may wish to consider an upgrade in this department.
Similarly if you want a full season of winter riding off road on this bike a tyre change is a must for proper muddy days – the factory standard Schwable CX tyres just didn’t offer us enough grip these conditions.
With the rest of the groupset consisting of Shimano Ultegra, the very reasonable price tag, just under £1040, made us think there must be a downside. Other than the brakes, the only possible issue could be the weight.
At just under 10kg, it’s hardly flyweight and it can make riding in thick mud harder, but if weight is that much of an issue, there are load lightening upgrades on offer, for just a few more pennies. For us though, we found the Sensa Fermo a great value cyclo cross bike. Whether for an entire season of racing or to mix on and off road riding during winter months, you can’t go far wrong with the Fermo.
Frame: Superlite Y-9 Alloy Triple Butted
Fork: Supra Carbon STR8 1.5
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra
Seatpost: Supra Comp Line
Handlebar: Supra Comp Line
Stem: Supra Comp Line
Wheels: Supra RA Comp Basic
Tyres: Schwalbe CX
Saddle: San Marco Era
Size range: 51, 55, 58, 61cm
Size tested: 51cm