Renowned former professional rider Phil Anderson fronted the television ads for reborn Australian bike company Malvern Star during last year's Tour de France and his claim that the Oppy C7 road racer could be ridden professionally is a grand endorsement coming from someone who has won stages in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia as well as the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré overall.
Depending on the needs of the rider who purchases it, this bike may be suited to either the racing or non-racing enthusiast who enjoys plenty of miles each year and is looking for a solid all-round machine.
Ride and handling
The Oppy C7 is particularly stable and comfortable on flat roads. The geometry is a little more relaxed than many racers with a 72.5-degree head angle and 73.5-degree seat angle and the generous supply of headset spacers stands the controls high in the front and doesn't require an aggressive lean to get onto the hoods or down into the drops. The head tube itself isn't especially long, so it's also easy to get down low if you choose.
The Oppy C7 feels very surefooted and predictable thanks at least in part to the tapered and oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end. Ultimately, we found the extra stability to be a highlight rather than a detriment – there's no nerves or fuss and the composed nature really lets you get to the business of pedaling. One moment where this was demonstrated was when we grabbed a handful of the Dura-Ace brakes on a twisty, steep, downhill run and the result was a smooth response with no jerking, panic, or drama – just as it should be.
While the Oppy C7 is no whippet, it doesn't produce a spongy ride, either. Still, climbing on this bike is best done seated – pick your gear and pedal in the saddle for optimum results.
The bottom bracket area and square-tapered chain stays still deliver good power transfer. Everything does its job as required and the bike holds it speed well but it's not our first choice for events that require frequent accelerations.
A good-lookin' Aussie with top-shelf kit
The Australian-designed Oppy C7 sits second in the company's range of bikes and is undoubtedly a good-looking machine with striking, swoopy lines and understated color blocks dressing up the underlying tube-to-tube carbon fiber construction. The modified wishbone-type seat stays are elegantly slender and add to the comfortable ride Malvern Star even sees fit to include some aero features such as the slightly cutaway seat tube and teardrop-shaped down tube.
We're not as convinced with the cursive 'Malvern Star' logos though, which look like they would be better suited on a recreational bike than something intended for high-level competition.
The internal cable routing is another indication of the leap to modernity Malvern Star has made since it last produced racing bikes. Despite the full-length housing running end to end, careful routing keeps friction to a minimum and cable tension is taken care of via convenient Jagwire inline barrel adjusters, located within arm's reach at the front of the bike.
As befitting a premium offering, the finishing kit was top shelf, with the fi'zi:k Arione saddle, FSA bars and stem, Dura-Ace groupset and Ksyrium SL clincher wheels adding up to a quality package. The FSA CarbonPro bars were particularly good in all areas with their compact bend - comfortable and suitable on either the hoods, the tops or the drops.
Ultimately the Oppy C7 is an all-round offering best suited to the rider - racing or otherwise - who may remember the brand as a source of Australian cycling pride whilst simultaneously being aware of the need to take advantage of modern technology.
Despite a perceived lack of 'edge' per se, the Malvern Star Oppy C7 would serve riders well in longer sportive events (and the training needed to complete them) though and would make a suitable partner worth considering when it's time to replace the trusty old steed with something from someone you can trust. And for those in the Australian cycling community, few names conjure more excitement than the legendary 'Oppy'.
Price: AU$5,999 RRP
More information: www.malvernstar.com.au
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