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Bespoke, made in Italy, 700g carbon frame with a Campagnolo Super Record build arrives for testing

Sarto is a family-owned Italian company with a long history, but it’s a history that few people will be aware of. The manufacturer has been building frames for the past 60 years with the majority of those frame going under the cover of other brand names, but in recent years Sarto have decided to launch their own range of frames.

This is the Seta, their latest offering and it’s also their lightest ever frame, with a claimed weight of just 700g. That puts in right up there with Cannondale SuperSix Evo and Cervelo R5, two of the lightest frames money can buy. The Seta, as with all their frames, is produced by hand in Italy, and that includes the actual manufacturing of the tubes as well. 

The Seta doesn’t come cheap, it costs £3,800. Yes that's a lot of money, but it is handmade in Italy remember, in an era when most carbon frames are made in the Far East. Sarto as well offers a full bespoke option with the frame so you can tailor every aspect of it to make it your own and ensure it fits you perfectly. The frame is constructed using the tube-to-tube assembly process, which involves precisely mitred tubes being bonded and wrapped at the junctions where they meet, and is how they're able to customise the frame for every customer.

The Seta is constructed from Toray M55J and M46J high modulus unidirectional carbon fibre and features new profile main tubes, with a flatter top tube and really skinny chainstays. There's a tapered head tube with carbon bearing surfaces and a PressFit 86.5 bottom bracket, but you can specify any bottom bracket standard.

There are new seatstays with an “X” design brake mount that is intended to allow more compliance in the rear triangle, and there's a 27.2mm seatpost. You could, if you wanted, opt for an integrated seatmast. All cables are internally routed and this frame has been designed for a mechanical groupset, but you could of course specify a Di2 or EPS compatible routing.

Sarto don’t sell complete bikes, so UK distributor Impact Cycle Trading kindly built up this bike for us to test. They haven't held back, it’s built up with a brand new Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed mechanical groupset and Deda handlebar, stem and seatpost, with a slender carbon fibre saddle colour-matched to the frame.

The wheels are the brand new DMX960 Dark Matter wheelset from Spin’s 2015 Koppenberg X Series range. This is the first time they’ve been shown in public, so consider this an exclusive. We were really impressed with their excellent Koppenberg MAX25 alloy clincher rims this year, and the DMX960 Dark Matter wheelset here use the same 25mm wide rim profile.

The front is 60mm deep and the rear is 90mm, and they have a claimed weight of 1,755g for the pair (770g front, 985g rear). They feature their own SPN Precision forged and machined hubs, are 11-speed compatible and cost £1,249 for the pair. Spin offer custom wheel builds and a range of coloured decals. Unfortunately they wheels are so new they didn't leave them with us, but we have some other current Spin wheels for the purposes of this bike test. The tyres are 23mm Vredestein Fortezza Tri Comp tyres.

It's a spangly build make no mistake, and of course on the scales it's very light, 6.8kg (14.99lb) to be precise. It'll go lower; we've got some lighter Spin wheels to actually test with the bike.

The Sarto Seta then, with its high price tag and Italian origins, joins some illustrious company. Springing to mind by way of comparisons is the Alchemy Helios, Guru Photon R, Legend HT 7.5 and of course the Colnago C60. That’s some stiff competition, so we’ll going to take the Seta onto the road for a couple of weeks and see how it rides.

Find out more at www.sartoantonio.com and www.impactct.co.uk

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.