Just in: De Rosa Milanino

Alloy-framed road bike that's handbuilt in Italy

by Mat Brett   June 14, 2012  

For some people, only an Italian bike will do. Italy equals style in the world of cycling and much else besides, and De Rosa’s Milanino is Italian through and through.

Of course, lots of ‘Italian’ bikes aren’t really all that Italian. The brand might be, but the bikes are built in the Far East (not that we’ve got anything bad to say about the quality of bikes made in the Far East, by the way). The Milanino, though, is from Milan rather than Taiwan. It’s built in De Rosa’s workshop in Cusano Milanino, Provincia di Milano. And when we say ‘built’ we don’t just mean ‘assembled’, we mean that the frame is made there – there’s even a decal on the down tube that tells you so.

De Rosa has been around since 1953 and the bikes have been ridden by such cycling legends as Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser over the years. It’s a brand with plenty of heritage behind it.

Although you might think that £1,700 is a lot to spend on a bike, the Milanino is the cheapest model in the De Rosa range. They don’t bother fighting it out at the lower price points.

The Milanino is made from custom drawn triple-butted aluminium with smooth welds, and it gets a full carbon Mizuno fork up front. As well as this black version with Italian tricolore (red, white and green) graphics, it’s also available in azzuro blue. Both finishes look pretty retro; or maybe that should be ‘pretty and retro’.

We have the medium sized model here which comes with a sloping 54cm top tube and a 13.7cm head tube. The frameset on its own will set you back £699.99 but we have the complete bike and, as you might expect, it’s dominated by Italian components – although we won’t guarantee that they’re all handcrafted in Italy.

The groupset is Campagnolo Centaur. If you’re not familiar with the Campag hierarchy, it goes like this: Super Record, Record, Chorus, Athena and then Centaur – so it’s the fifth level down, the higher of the two 10-speed groups.

As with all of the other Campag groupsets, Centaur Ergoshifters stick with the principle of ‘one lever, one action’. Unlike Shimano where the brake levers double up as shifters, the Centaur brake levers are used only for braking, a lever behind the brake lever and a thumb button on the side of the Ergoshifter body taking care of gear changes. You can upshift three sprockets with one push and downshift just one sprocket at a time.

The chainset isn’t from Campagnolo, though. Well, actually it is. If that's confusing, it’s a Fulcrum Racing Torq R model and Fulcrum is Campagnolo’s sub-brand. It’s a compact chainset (with 50/34T chainrings to give you lower gear ratios than you get with a standard setup) featuring carbon cranks and it uses Campag’s Ultra Torque system. Ultra Torque is Campagnolo’s design for connecting the two sides of the chainset, interlocking teeth joining the two sides of the axle together.

The wheels are from Fulcrum too. They’re Racing 7s, the entry-level model in the line up. We’ve ridden them lots before and they’ve always stood up well to prolonged use so we’re hoping for more of the same this time around.

The saddle is a titanium-railed Prologo Zero and 3T provide the alloy ARX Pro stem and the Ergosum Pro handlebar, so almost everything on the bike comes from Italian brands. The only notable exceptions that we can spot on our quick perusal are the Continental Grand Prix tyres, Conti being a German brand. The Grand Prixs have always been a well respected tyre around these parts so we’ve no complaints there.

This is the first De Rosa we’ve ever had in for review at Road.cc so we’re keen to see how it performs out on the road. It’s particularly interesting in that it’s aluminium at a price point where you can get carbon these days, and it’s always good to see how different materials stack up against on another. The other interesting feature is the Campag groupset in a market that’s dominated by Shimano.

So, out the door it goes with our man Stu who will be getting the miles in over the next few weeks. We’ll get his review online as soon as we can. If you want more details before then, head along to the website of De Rosa's UK importer, i-ride.

16 user comments

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Mat, you really are getting some quality bikes in at the moment ! This looks like a classy aluminium number that could convert me back ... of course, I still need a little lottery win.

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [203 posts]
14th June 2012 - 9:36

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Saw one in the flesh the other day and the finish was excellent and the graphics classy. Certainly not a me-too bike.

Aly is a tough sell at the moment though, so it sits in the awkward middle ground of not really being an out and out racer (default carbon choice) or a steady miles bike (ti or steel). Looking forward to a review to see how it fares!

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posted by alotronic [247 posts]
14th June 2012 - 10:12

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Looks lovely, but after paying for the frame (let's sat the £700 quoted for purchase separately), I'm wondering where the other 1k has been spent - is Centaur that expensive, or is it the nice finishing kit?

Just seems that you could buy the frameset for 700 and build a higher-spec bike with the other grand than a fifth-tier group and the training wheels option from Fulcrum. 105 (poss even Ultegra) and Racing 3s seems achieveable.

It wouldn't be all-Italian, admittedly.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2938 posts]
14th June 2012 - 12:05

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A thing of beauty. I love Italian bikes (and De Rosa in particular); only the British (e.g. Genesis) come close for style and elegance.

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posted by Ghedebrav [1019 posts]
14th June 2012 - 16:22

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Personally, I don't have an issue with Centaur ... had the groupset on my Wilier for 5 years and it is still going strong ... nice carbon brake levers and gear mech - I think describing it as a 5th-tier groupset is a little harsh, even if numerically correct ! Also got Fulcrum Racing 7s on there and not even broken a spoke (yet ?!?!) - pawl springs needed looking at, but that is all. I admit that in the grand scheme of things they may be slightly heavier wheels, but they do stand up to an awful lot of abuse. Racing 3s would be a nice touch, though Smile
Swap my black carbon fibre Wilier Mortirolo for a black De Rosa Milanino ? Maybe not just yet !

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [203 posts]
14th June 2012 - 16:41

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i think campag like to divide the grupsets anyway as in 10 / 11 speed.

centaur is top of the 10 speed. its priced at retail to the 105 / apex level. but is actally 500g lighter than 105. i believe 2400g for the groupset vs 2092g for dura ace so its pretty good.

i think the frame is actually not that expensive compared to what i imagined it would be. top alloy is far superior to cheap carbon. i ride a caad10 out of choice and the frame weight (verified) is only 1200g. and fork 410g. its as light as most carbon frames bar the super bikes and things like the sub kilo felt.

i dissmissed one of these from 2011 on a silly price as i couldnt get up to test ride it. slightly regretting it now.. although my cannondale is sweet

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
14th June 2012 - 19:29

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Material doesnt seem to affect the price anymore. You can pay almost 2 grand for aluminum from cannondale or de rosa and also get a £700 carbon bike from ribble

hi

posted by cool guy 999 [54 posts]
14th June 2012 - 20:29

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This does look nice and not like everything out on the road. Seems to have a nice balance between durability and weight - especially for someone like me that doesn't race but wants a quality bike with reliability but not at a silly cost.

I feel sorry for Stu having to ride around on this for days and day, so if he needs a day off, just drop me a line here.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

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posted by ragtag [154 posts]
15th June 2012 - 9:36

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I would fight you for first dibs on it, Ragtag, but it is too big for me Crying

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [203 posts]
15th June 2012 - 10:20

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ragtag wrote:

I feel sorry for Stu having to ride around on this for days and day, so if he needs a day off, just drop me a line here.

well ragtag its a tough job but I seem to be just about coping Big Grin

The biggest dilema is deciding whether to get the Van Nick Aquilo out of the shed or the De Rosa....decisions, decisions Thinking

Stu

Follow me on-
Twitter - @StuKerton
Strava - http://www.strava.com/athletes/931095

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posted by stuke [301 posts]
15th June 2012 - 10:52

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How's the review coming on? Would be great to get a view on how this rides. It looks fantastic.

posted by Jezzag [37 posts]
16th July 2012 - 14:54

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Jezzag wrote:
How's the review coming on? Would be great to get a view on how this rides. It looks fantastic.

Keep your eyes peeled Jezzag it'll be here really really soon Smile

Follow me on-
Twitter - @StuKerton
Strava - http://www.strava.com/athletes/931095

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posted by stuke [301 posts]
18th July 2012 - 9:38

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Fantastic. If it rides as well as it looks I am very interested in buying.

posted by Jezzag [37 posts]
18th July 2012 - 10:50

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So, is it worth taking for a test spin or is it mutton dressed as lamb?

posted by Jezzag [37 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 13:08

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Stu has finished the review and the bike is back in the office, so standby for the review shortly.

(This is like a trail they do for the Olympic highlights on the BBC).

posted by Mat Brett [1818 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 13:23

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Great! (though please don't suddenly offer 24 multiple steams of content to confuse us all Smile )

posted by Jezzag [37 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 15:25

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