As far as the best aero road bikes go the Basso Diamante SV is one of the most complete packages in the segment - fast, nimble and pleasing on the eye
- Beautifully designed and packaged
- Superb build quality
- Sharp, reactive handling
- Straight-line speed
- Climbs better than expected
- Well priced
- Not the lightest in the segment
- Firm ride quality affects comfort
- Not tubeless out the box
The Basso Diamante SV enters a highly competitive aero road bike category that is currently dominated by the Merida Reacto, Cannondale SystemSix and Specialized Tarmac SL7. This dominance has made it increasingly difficult for smaller brands to stand out and Basso was naturally forced to repackage its ageing Diamante SV using the contemporary design manual for the best aero road bikes.
Unlike the original Diamante SV that was launched back in 2017, the second-generation model is only available in disc-brake guise - a rim-brake option is available on the standard Diamante. The SV moniker itself is a giveaway of the bike's intentions. These two letters stand for Super Veloce or super fast, which, historically, is only bestowed on Italian machines that truly embody the notion of speed.
With version two, Basso has looked at ways to improve its go-faster recipe and claims that through meticulous attention to detail the Diamante SV is now faster than ever. We spent three months testing it in an effort to establish where it sits in the category.
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Design and aesthetics
The new Basso Diamante SV bears a striking resemblance to its forebear but a series of aerodynamic tweaks and amendments has brought it more in line with the speedy design principles that underscore the current crop of aero bikes. Apart from the truncated, angular tube shaping the biggest change comes in the form of a completely overhauled fork/tyre/wheel interface which offers wider spacing to maximise airflow, reduce drag and accommodate wider 32mm tyres.
It certainly looks very slippery. There isn't a visible cable or hose in sight thanks to a fully integrated cockpit complete with adjustable spacers under the stem. In fact, everything from the tube profiles and dropped seat stay configuration to the d-shaped proprietary seat post complete with hidden clamps hint at its modus operandi. Even the sharp-silver matte-metallic paintwork is aero - Basso says it contains compacted ceramic nanoparticles that are less prone to drag and dirt contamination.
As a package, the Diamante SV is a beautiful machine. The combination of silver and black is balanced and used effectively to accentuate the angular cutaways of the frame which is constructed from a meld of 3K Torayca T800 and T1000 HM carbon fibres. The refined and premium aesthetic is further boosted by the minimalist-yet-tasteful approach to logo placement - the Alcide Basso signature on the top tube is also a classy touch. The Diamante SV and the Basso portfolio as a whole is very Ferrari-like in its ethos relying more on reputation and lineage rather than brazenly designed graphics to make an impact.
Specifications and build
While Campagnolo and SRAM groupsets can be specced from the factory, the Basso Diamante SV pictured here is built around a Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 hydraulic configuration. We've tested many bikes over the years specced with this very groupset and have never been disappointed by the reliable performance. In this instance, a 52/36, 11-30T chainset is driven by 172.5mm cranks - standard crankarms for a size 53cm Diamante frame - which proved a worthy spread of ratios for the lumpy, often rolling topography that makes up my test loop here in the Surrey Hills.
Basso has surprisingly elected to outfit the entire Diamante SV line-up with rather shallow profile wheels - nothing deeper than 38mm is available across the standard-issue Campagnolo, DT Swiss and Microtech rolling stock options. Our test bike came fitted with the brand's in-house Microtech MR38 clincher carbon wheels and shod in 28c Continental GP5000 rubber. Basso's fully integrated Aero System handlebar arrangement and Diamante SV Carbon seat post are specific to the Diamante SV and have been designed to work seamlessly with the frame's aerodynamic properties. (The bars are available in five widths and five stem lengths).
The Diamante also came fitted with the Basso Service Kit. Essentially a frame protection package, the Service Kit includes rubber caps and cable stops (if you're converting from mechanical to electronic) as well as an aluminium chain catcher and clear stickers to protect the drive-side chainstay and bottom bracket area from dropped chains.
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Ride, handling and performance
Clues to the Diamante SV's ride character lie within the geometry figures which are on the racier side of the spectrum. For a medium (53cm) the baseline numbers are as follows: 384.3mm reach, 560.3mm stack height, 404mm chainstays and 987mm wheelbase. At 7.9kg it's a little on the heavier side but what it lacks in lightweight snappiness it makes up for in straight-line shove. The super-stiff bottom bracket area means acceleration is instant - both from standstill and rolling starts.
As with the leading players in the category, the Diamante SV is exceptionally good at devouring rolling terrain and carrying momentum. It does an equally impressive job when the road begins to point upwards, too - the stiff underpinnings coupled with the relatively short rear end ensures superlative traction and forward progress. Things only start getting laborious when gradients push upwards of 8-10 per cent but for the most part, it's fairly adept at overcoming gravity and I'm inclined to think the 38mm profile wheels help a bit in this regard. That said, I did also test it using a set of Scribe Aero Wide+ 60D wheels which ramped things up a notch on the flats and further validated its hunger for peripheral blurring.
In terms of ride quality, however, the SV errs on the firmer side despite a couple of trick vibration damping measures located in the stem spacers and seat tube junction. While most of the road buzz can be tuned down using lower pressures it's only once I converted the wheels to tubeless that things improved. Basso issues the wheels with Continental GP5000 28c clincher tyres which compliment the package but detract somewhat from the bike's potential. Changing to tubeless tyres - ENVE SES 25c - allowed a certain degree of added compliance to be dialled into the ride quality through lower pressure (50/50psi front/rear at 61kg). This not only improved the overall feel but traction too, unlocking more trust from the front end - especially when threading it through a series of downhill twisties.
In such a competitive segment it's particularly tough for smaller, boutique-like manufacturers to make as big an impact as more established brands but Basso has nailed it with the Diamante SV.
As the SV acronym suggests, it's super-fast in a straight line, minces rolling terrain with ease and scythes through sinuous descents with poise and control. The Diamante's firm ride quality can, at times, distract from its otherwise brilliant road manners which is why I haven't given it a perfect score. This, however, is not a flaw but rather part of its personality.
At £7,430 / $10,390 / €8,699 it represents impeccable value for money considering most of its rivals fetch upwards of £10k at this spec level. Compared to the Merida Reacto, the Diamante SV can easily hold its own when it comes to out-and-out performance - it actually feels more alive and communicative in comparison.
It's also a superbly put together, tastefully designed superbike that will turn more heads down a high street than a Lamborghini Aventador SV burbling on the overrun. Okay, maybe not as many heads but you get the point.
Logbook: Basso Diamante SV
- Temperature: -2 to 5 degrees
- Weather: Wet, cold, windy
- Road surface: Wet, mixed surfaces
- Route: Tarmac, B roads, rolling topography
- Rides: 12
- Mileage: 826km
Tech Specs: Basso Diamante SV
- RRP: £7,430 / $10,390 / €8,699
- Frame: 3K Torayca T800, T1000 HM
- Size: Medium, 53cm
- Weight: 7.90kg
- Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-R9100-P power meter chainset, 52/36T
- Wheels: Microtech MR38 carbon
- Tyres: Continental GP5000 28c / ENVE SESE 25c
- Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace RT900 Centerlock 160mm rotors front/rear
- Bar/stem: Basso Aero System
- Seatpost: Diamante SV Carbon
- Bottle cages: Microtech Carbon
- Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Boost Carbon
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