De Rosa’s stylish King 3 is the bike of choice of the Rock Racing team, and Gabriele Bosisio rode one to a stage victory in the 2008 Giro d'Italia. Our test bike’s subtly understated matt black finish won admiring glances – and it’s clearly good enough for the pros – but is that enough to justify a hefty £3,000 frame and fork price in these times of credit crunch? In short, yes. It’s fast, reﬁned and makes quite a style statement.
Ride & handling: Light, agile and comfortable – perfect for sportives
Out on the road, the King 3 lives up to its royal moniker. Through blind technical sections it
Point the bike
Frame: Carbon monocoque chassis built to withstand the rigours of racing
The price tag doesn’t get you a BB30 bottom bracket or carbon
The frame is a monocoque made from Toray’s tough 700SC unidirectional carbon ﬁbre, which is pretty much as good as carbon ﬁbre gets. Like De Rosa, Toray has a decent track record – the Japanese company has supplied Boeing with carbon ﬁbre since 1982. The frame has internal cable routing, aesthetically great and very tidy – particularly on the bottom of the down-tube – but it’s ﬁddly to set up. Another area where the King 3 scores on looks is the head badge. This is one of the most attractive motifs out there, and smaller versions of De Rosa’s heart logo double as frame protectors, preventing cable rub. Very neat.
In keeping with many high-end bikes, the King 3’s seat tube extends well above the top tube. An advantage of this is that it removes the potentially damaging leverage effect that a full length seatpost can have on a frame. But with the frame available in 10 sizes you should be able to make sure you get one that ﬁts perfectly, and you can still adjust the saddle height by up to 2cm using a 5mm Allen bolt. The frame’s emphasis on strength over out-and-out lightness extends to the use of Kevlar reinforcements on the inside surface of the seat tube.
Equipment: Lightweight build takes bike under UCI race limit
The full carbon forks may look chunky, but at 315g they’re lighter even than the Scott Addict Ltd’s. Their stiffness helps them resist twisting when you’re accelerating over uneven surfaces but they feel smooth, soaking up vibrations from rough tarmac.
In keeping with an Italian theme, the distributors decked out the King 3 with Fulcrum’s top of the range Zero wheels, a 3TTT RRX aluminium oversized stem and ﬂat top carbon Ergonova Team handlebars. As specced and without pedals it weighed 6.69kg, under the UCI’s race weight limit, but with Shimano SPD-SL pedals it was bang on.
Campag’s ﬂagship 11-speed Super Record groupset uses more carbon ﬁbre and titanium in the gear mechanisms than Record and is a further leap forward in performance. The new Ergopower system has a crisper and lighter action than the outgoing 10-speed system, thanks to a ground-up redesign. This includes a distinct curve to the lever hoods reminiscent of Mavic’s Mektronik groupset. Gear changes are swift and smooth even under extreme pedalling pressure and the chain ﬂicks willingly to the next sprocket as you snick the lever inwards to change gear.
One ﬁnal note: during testing it became apparent that De Rosa has remained rather too tightly attached to its roots, as the traditional right-hand threaded bottom bracket cups needed a ﬁrm re-tightening, but in every other respect the King 3 scores a very ﬁrm recommendation.
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