The range of Basso bikes has always been special. While the majority of carbon frames on the market are manufactured in the Far-East these days, Basso continues to hand-build every frame in Dueville, Italy as it has always done- producing purebred carbon race bikes that are both high quality and brimming with Italian passion. For 2020 the range consists of sought-after bikes that will challenge for a place in our guides to the best road bikes and best gravel bikes.
The family-owned company was founded in 1977 by Alcide Basso who continues at the helm to this day. Alcide Basso grew up watching his brother Marino Basso race professionally while learning his trade from the Italian master frame builders of the time. Although Alcide saw success as a racer himself it was the mechanical side of racing that he found a passion for. Starting as a mechanic for his brother's teams he went on to travel Europe working for some of the biggest names on the circuit. In 1976 he began producing frames and in 1981 he opened the factory in which Basso’s frames are still produced. With frame building being undertaken in-house, Basso can continuously innovate with materials and design. Striving to create bikes that combine superb ride quality and elegant aesthetics with the durability to withstand hard riding year after year.
Basso is currently a sponsor of the Morvelo Basso RT team that competes in UK domestic races. They also sponsor Australian amateur racing team MAAP/Basso who race both road and criterium.
Basso Bikes: The range explained
Basso offers most of their bikes with a choice of groupsets by Campagnolo, Shimano or SRAM plus customisation of chainset and cassette ratios when bought directly. Basso uses its own brand Microtech for much of the finishing kit and options of different stem lengths, bar widths and crank lengths can be specced to suit a rider’s fit on their high-end bikes. Like the frames, Microtech manufactures its wheels in its own facility in Italy.
An aggressive and agile road bike that emboldens the inner racer
Brakes: Disc and rim | Frame: Carbon | Type: Road | Sizes (cm): 48-61 | Price: Starting from €5,428.00
The Basso Diamante is Basso's best road bike for all-round racers. Just by looking at it, the aggressive ride quality is obvious. From the slammed head tube which allows the stem to sit lower than the top tube or the short chainstays and slammed rear wheel, this is a bike designed to reward riders who ride fast.
Basso is proud of the stiffness it has been able to achieve quoting just 0.2mm of bottom bracket flex and 0.4mm from the head tube. This may not promote a silky ride quality but on smooth tarmac descents, the Diamante will allow you to push hard into corners with pinpoint accuracy.
Tube shapes feature a semi-aero shape and an integrated seat clamp continues the clean aesthetic of the frame. Basso’s 3B clamp system clamps the seatpost with an elastomer to absorb vibrations. Brake options are either direct-mount rim calipers or disc and both will fit 28mm tyres for enhanced grip and comfort.
Basso Diamante SV
A fiercely aggressive Italian thoroughbred that makes no compromise in its search for speed
Brakes: Disc and rim | Frame: Carbon | Type: Race | Sizes (cm): 48-61 | Price: Starting from €5,387.00
The Diamante SV is Basso's best aero road bike, designed for out-and-out speed. Basso set out with one goal for the Diamante SV, to create a true Italian race bike. SV stands for ‘Super Veloce’ (super speed) and there have been no compromises made. The geometry forces a low and long position that would be expected from an Italian superbike. Basso offers a ‘comfort kit’ that increases the stack by 20mm although, in reality, this only brings the handlebars inline with most other brands’ aggressive positions. Handling is sharp with light touches and subtle shifts in body weight are translated to confident and precise cornering.
As accentuated aero designs take over the high-end race bike scene, the Diamante SV resists. Choosing stiff tube shapes that are designed to help propel the bike forward rather than over elongated Kammtail shapes. That's not to say aerodynamics haven’t been considered, subtle considerations have been implemented around the headtube, fork, dropped seatstay and the seat tube junction fairings.
The Astra is a great option for those with slimmer wallets and stiffer backs who seek that Basso race DNA
Brakes: Disc | Frame: Carbon | Type: Road | Sizes (cm): 45-61 | Price: Starting from €3,659.00
Geometry costs nothing, so despite its lower price point, Basso has still injected the Astra with its tried-and-tested race bike geometry. There have been some tweaks made, with the Astra getting a slightly more relaxed ride position compared to the very aggressive Diamante models.
A lower-grade carbon has been used to keep costs down at the sacrifice of a few grams. Basso claims that this doesn’t affect the ride quality as the Astra benefits from all the knowledge and technology that has been gained from years of building premium bikes. In fact, there are many details from the higher Diamante ranges which garnish the Astra such as the straight-legged fork and rear triangle from the SV as well as their 3B clamp system.
Basso Venta offers hand-made Italian quality at an astounding price
Brakes: Disc and rim | Frame: Carbon | Type: Race | Sizes (cm): 45-61 | Price: Starting from €1,799.00
The Venta is Basso’s best budget road bike and although considerably cheaper than its other framesets, still manages to boast a hand-made carbon frame with no aluminium hardware. A description that, for most other brands, is usually only reserved for prestige superbikes. This is achieved by continuing the excellent attention to detail that is invested in all of Basso’s frame manufacturing.
As the Venta is aimed at a more intermediate rider, the riding position is not as extreme, with a higher stack and shorter reach than Basso’s other models. This fit shouldn’t be mistaken for relaxed, thanks to a steep head angle and short wheelbase the Venta still has that racy Basso feel.
The three paint finishes are more subtle when compared to other Basso models with a deep purple and two monotone options available. Component choices are limited with alloy Microtech wheels (Kruim for rim brakes and MCT Disc specific wheelset) and the choice of either Shimano 105 or mechanical Ultegra groupsets.
An adaptable carbon cyclo-cross bike hand-built in Italy
Brakes: Disc | Frame: Carbon | Type: Cyclocross | Sizes (cm): 52, 55 and 58 | Price: Starting from €2,860.00
While the Fastcross is designed primarily as a cyclo-cross bike, Basso says that the Fastcross is versatile enough to take on gravel adventures by fitting a pair of gravel tyres, or group road rides with the addition of some road bike tyres. Basso hand-builds the Fastcross from TR50 and MR60 carbon for stiffness and to tune in compliance where needed. The frame features a 100 x 15 front axle and 142 x 12mm rear axle, flat-mount brakes and a flattened top tube for shoulder-friendly carrying.
The Palta takes race bike speed off-road with its quintessential Basso ride
Brakes: Disc | Frame: Carbon | Type: Gravel | Sizes: XS-XL | Price: Starting from €3,290.00
The Palta is the best gravel bike in the Basso range, designed to cover miles quickly no matter what the terrain. Cut from the same unmistakable cloth as Basso’s other bikes, the Palta prioritises speed, performance and an aggressive riding position over comfort and compliance. Taking geometry cues from their road bikes, the Palta not only dispatches the rough stuff with urgency but will happily turn its hand to tarmac rides with the addition of some slick tyres. If a more upright riding position is preferred Basso offers an endurance pack which lifts the stem by 20mm.
The 100% carbon frame features mounts for three bottle cages to give plenty of storage for longer gravel races, along with internal cable routing and a vibration dampening seatpost. Designed as a 700C-specific bike, the Palta’s clearance for gravel tyres maxes out at 42mm, this may seem limiting by modern gravel standards but the aim of the Palta is fast-rolling speed, not comfort.
The build kit is available in 1x options only from Shimano and SRAM although the frame can take a front derailleur if needed. Basso also gives the option of speccing either Microtech’s alloy MCT Disc or carbon MR 38 gravel wheels.
An aggressively low TT bike designed to slice through the air
Brakes: Rim | Frame: Carbon | Type: Triathlon | Sizes (cm): 51, 53 and 55 | Price: Starting from €7,039.00
Basso describes the Konos as a ‘speed weapon’, featuring new geometry and improved tube shapes. A semi-integrated front end improves aerodynamics and maintains torsional stiffness in corners. A similar front end to the Diamante has been used, giving the Konos a head tube of just 80mm (on a 53cm frame) and the option for an extremely low and aggressive riding position. Basso includes spacers to lift the stem and raise the bars if required. Width and length adjustments can be made to the aero bar and 10mm of fore-aft saddle adjustment to tune the fit.
An integrated seatpost and Fourier’s V-type brakes (hidden behind the fork and bottom bracket) further improve the slippery qualities of the bike. The wheels are lightweight carbon Microtech MTT tubulars, featuring a 50mm and 88mm depth to balance stability with aerodynamic efficiency.