Fondriest TF2

Radical looks for radical stiffness

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Maurizio Fondriest has been producing bikes since the mid-nineties, even providing them to the team he rode for at the end of his career. The TF2 is the second-string frame, but it could easily fit in at the top.

With its oversized tubes, it succeeds in

The size and shape of those tubes will not appeal to all, but those

Ride & handling: Surefooted and incredibly stiff

In spite of the conventional 1 1/8in non-tapered steerer tube on the

While the frame managed to stay stiff in the desired lateral plan –

Many will consider this a minus point, but for others this rigidity and feedback from the road is a

The TF2’s styling may be radical and its ride

While it

Frame: Modular monocoque with monstrously oversized tubes

Fondriest places a clear emphasis on rigidity for its distinctively

The huge top and down tubes form such massive joints with the head tube that it’s difficult to see any way that the front end would flex.  Those enormous tubes carry their square profiles for their entire lengths with the down tube narrowing only slightly as it flows around the bottom bracket shell to form a pair of oversized chainstays.  

Likewise, the top tube flows cleanly into a large monostay, which again divides just in time to allow the rear wheel to pass through. Bisecting it all is a deep-section non-integrated carbon seatpost secured by a neatly integrated clamp.

Equipment: Flawless Dura-Ace, responsive Mavic wheels and Italy's finest finishing kit

Our test bike was built up with a complete Shimano Dura-Ace 7800 groupset, Mavic Ksyrium SL Premium aluminium clinchers shod with Vittoria Open Corsa Evo-CX tyres, and an assortment of Italy’s finest for the finishing kit that included a Selle Italia Flite saddle, ITM Volo carbon fibre bar and stem, and two carbon bottle cages supplied by Fondriest’s in-house 4US range. The complete package, with the provided Look KeO Carbon pedals, came in at a race-legal-but-not-by-all-that-much 7.28kg (16.05lb).

As we expected, the Dura-Ace componentry package performed outstandingly in all departments with smooth shifting both front and rear plus reliably predictable braking. In fact, it was flawless to the point of raising a lot of question marks over whether there’s any need for mere mortals to replace the outgoing 7800 series with the new 7900 groupset. Though the new set improves in a few areas – notably front shifting and braking – 7800 is still superbly capable and will undoubtedly offer excellent value as retailers make room for new stock.

The Ksyrium SL Premium wheels were a good match for the TF2’s personality, offering up a responsive ride that was even firmer – though 130g heavier – than our Mavic R-SYS reference wheelset. Seeing as how the Vittoria tyres are the clincher version of the rubber that half the peloton races on, it was no surprise that these saw us happily through any number of kilometres in all kinds of road conditions.

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