November 1, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Formigli may not be a brand you are familiar with, but you should be, especially if you’re considering a custom-fit road bike. This high-end boutique brand is produced by a small family-run company out of Italy that specializes in custom handmade road bikes. Italy’s love affair with cycling is renowned, so we were excited to have the opportunity to test the all-carbon Formigli Asiel RF model that came fully decked out with Campy Super Record 11 speed with Campagnolo Bora wheels and a Deda/Enve handlebar/stem combo.
The bike is simply striking to look at, and our test model came in a flat-clear and flat-black finish, so you see the carbon handiwork that goes into the frame. Each frame is custom-made for the buyer and makes use of six-layer IM600 carbon fibre. Formigli uses carbon tubes that are custom-selected for each frame and then mitres them and wraps the joints in more carbon.
The design maximizes the quality of the ride and allows the frame builder to give the customer the type of ride desired. There are several options to consider when custom-ordering a frame, and the RF allows you to choose the type of bottom bracket. You can also choose the colour and paint scheme, as well as the type of cable routing that works for you.
The frame is a work of art in so many ways. Visually, it has sweeping lines that vary from the curving toptube to the aero-shaped seat-tube. Even the seatstays and chainstays have nice flowing lines, which make you think of an Italian masterpiece. The frame uses a seat mast, which is the norm these days and features carbon-fibre dropouts with a replaceable derailleur hanger.
A bike this nice to look at begs to be ridden. When I received the Asiel, I checked its weight, and it came in at a svelte 15lbs. Nice and light! Part of the feathery weight can be attributed to Campy’s Super Record 11 and Bora wheels, which are both lightweights.
The Asiel was not customized for me, as we didn’t have the time needed to get a custom frame from Formigli, but the “stock” bike I tested was a standard 56cm frame and fit quite well. All I needed to do was trim a small amount from the seat mast to get the perfect fit and I was ready to ride.
Once out on the road, I immediately found the bike to be incredibly smooth. It performed well on all types of terrain and did a great job soaking up the small bumps, though I did notice the mid-sized bumps a bit more than the small stuff. The power transfer to the road was distinct and very solid, and the bike never flexed or lost any power when sprinting or starting from traffic lights.
When it came to descending, the Asiel was true to form and holds its line exceptionally well. This is a bike that just wants to go. The Campy group performed very well, as it always does, and never missed a shift even under power. On the plus side, the carbon-fibre shifters, cranks and rear derailleur really complemented the aesthetics of the bike as well.
With its comfortable ride quality, I couldn’t help but think that this is a perfect Grand Fondo bike. The Asiel is very comfortable on long rides and transfers all of the rider’s power to the road on climbs. Descending is a dream and cornering is tight and accurate, which to my mind makes for a perfect 100-kilometre+ ride.
Masters racers who want a light race bike with a perfect fit will also find Formigli’s bikes are a great option. Keep in mind that when you order one of these custom bikes, you can spec it out however you want, and by doing so, you can keep the price in check as well. This is truly a sweet handmade Italian masterpiece that every cyclist can dream of owning one day.
Formigli is now being distributed in Canada, so check out www.formigli.ca for all frame options and colour choices.
Price: $7,200 (frame) as tested $15,800
Weight: 7.05kg (size 56cm)
Components: Campagnolo Super Record 11 Ti, Campagnolo Bora Ultra 2 Tubular wheels and Dedacaii handlebar
Frame/Fork: High-modulus IM600 custom carbon fibre, custom tapered carbon fork
Geometry: Headtube 73°/seat-tube 73.5° (tested size 56cm custom)
Comments: A sexy Italian dream machine with custom carbon fit and custom paint.