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Dauphiné Libéré
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EICMA show

Milan, Italy, November 8 - 11, 2007

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Part 3 - More frames from Italy's old and new guard

By Gregor Brown in Milan

Casati extends its carbon creations

The new Marte retains last year's cutaway section
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Integrated seatposts and wrapped tube-to-tube carbon construction were the must-have items at this year's EICMA show, and Monza-based Casati continued the trend with its top-end Marte and Vola frames, both of which use Dedacciai tubesets. The new Marte shares last year's dramatic cut-away section in the top tube, but the newly wrapped junctions trade the previous version's carbon lugs for a smoother and more cohesive look. The integrated seatpost only adds to the effect, and its aerodynamic profile is topped by a painted-to-match seat cap.

Casati says it has exclusive rights to the unique tubes used in its new Vola frame, which trumps even the Marte's smooth styling with elegantly executed internal cable routing. Save for the front brake, all of the housings enter the frame right at the head tube; the brake housing then exits directly at the rear of the seat tube (which wouldn't normally be possible with a conventional seatpost), and the rear derailleur doesn't show itself until popping out at the rear dropout.

Thanks to the tube-to-tube wrapped joint construction, both the Marte and Vola are available in custom sizing in either standard or sloping frame geometries.

One of Casati's most impressive displays might not be suited for your next road race, but the aluminium VIP single speed bike would certainly be at home under any stylish rider in Milan's city of fashion. A Miche Primato flip-flop rear hub allows you to go fixed or free, and the entire bike is claimed to weigh just 7.3kg (16.1lb). The cost is a fairly steep €1200, but its looks may make it well worth it to the right buyer.

Passoni: Race and Mirror

Passoni's full-titanium Top Evolution
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Based just south of Lecco, Italy, Passoni enters into 2008 with stunning nods to both cutting-edge and classic bicycle technology. Passoni's three main frame models will now be available in 'Race' versions, all of which feature integrated seatposts. According to Honorary President Luciano Passoni, the new Race range was brought forth to produce a frame that was "a little more rigid but also because of the market [demands]." Like the company's 'Classic' line, each Race frame is made to measure but features a more aggressive profile with its sloping top tube.

Passoni shuns carbon fiber for its all-titanium Top Evolution model, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of the company's 180 to 200-bike annual output. Carbon can be more readily found on the Mito, however, whose carbon fiber top, down, and seat tubes are joined with elegantly carved titanium lugs. The new options provided by the Classic and Race models, both with all-titanium rear triangles, will replace the TBO of 2007 which used a carbon rear end.

Those carbon and titanium offerings were quickly forgotten, however, when a certain glare caught Cyclingnews' eye. The Mirror is completely new for 2008, and utilizes triple-butted Columbus tubes TIG-welded together in perfect harmony and hand polished to a gleaming sheen. In fact, the only part of the frame that wasn't sparkling was the sandblasted logos. At 1400g, the frame weighs slightly more than the featherweight possibilities of newer technologies, but looks absolutely bella (even if the rear tire was flat on the display).

Luciano Passoni added that the complete range can be viewed at the upcoming North American Handmade Bicycle Show coming up next February in Portland, Oregon.

Olmo's Zeffiro goes Vectran

The Zeffiro
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Michele and Giuseppe Olmo founded their bicycle company in 1939, and over the last 70 years there have been an hour record victory, Milano-Sanremo wins, Giro d'Italia stages and the 1999 World Championships by Oscar Freire. Since the start of the new millennium, however, technology has changed considerably and Olmo responds with its new Vectran- and Kevlar- reinforced carbon tubes.

Those tubes are integrated into the new 2008 Zeffiro VRT, which replaces last year's Zeffiro KT. According to Olmo, the addition of Kevlar and Vectran fibers into the monocoque frame adds substantial toughness and durability in the event of a crash, as well as improved ride quality and rigidity.

Like the vast majority of frames spotted at EICMA, the clean-looking Zeffiro VRT includes an integrated seatmast, and Olmo uses the additional frame space to continue its smart paint schemes (which come in red, blue, white and gold). The frame is assembled in Italy, and has passed the stringent "EN 14781" frame test so Olmo feels comfortable to give it a guarantee of five years. Olmo will offer the Zeffiro VRT in five sloping sizes, with the large size weighing at a claimed 980g, plus another 347g for the matching monocoque carbon fork.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com

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