Battaglin S11 road bike  £498.95

9/10

Great introduction to race bred road bikes, currently selling at an end of 2013 bargain price

Weight 9660g   Contact  www.wiggle.co.uk/battaglin

by Steve Worland   December 8, 2013  

The Battaglin S11 Sora is a great introduction to race bred road bikes, currently selling at an end of 2013 bargain price.

The 2014 model is almost identical to the bike on test here but will have a Campagnolo Veloce groupset option if you prefer that to Shimano Sora.

The inevitable problem with testing bikes in the autumn is that it's close to the end of the selling year for many brands. In an ideal world we'd only be testing 2014 products now, but in the real world there are some great end of season bargains to be grabbed.

The Shimano Sora equipped Battaglin S11 is one of them. It was a pretty good buy at its full recommended retail price of £699. At the time of writing the UK distributor Wiggle is selling it for 31% less, with 105 and Ultegra equipped versions available for similar bargain discounts. As with so many end of season bargains though, sizes still available may be limited. As of Sunday December 8, Wiggle is showing stock of size S and M, and taking orders for L and XL at this price.

For those unfamiliar with the name, Giovanni Battaglin was a very successful Italian road pro between 1970 and 1984. He started Battaglin the company a couple of years before he retired from the peloton. It's not a particularly big brand, with just six frames in the range, a variety of component choices and a strong focus on affordability.

The 2013 range included Shimano Ultegra and 105 versions of the S11 as well as this mainly Shimano Sora equipped model. They're imported by direct sales giant Wiggle so inevitably the prices reflect a no-retailer-middleman approach.

Bear in mind that this also means you're not likely to get preferential treatment at your local bike shop if you need to get a problem sorted.

The frame

The S11 has a relatively ordinary 7005 heat treated aluminium frame with two sets of bottle bosses but no mudguard or rack eyes.

The oversized down tube is biaxially ovalised to boost strength and rigidity at the head tube and bottom bracket. The hourglass shaped steerer has integrated headset cups with a tall stack of washers for height adjustment over or under the stem.

A look at the 2014 bikes on Battaglin's web site would suggest that there are no major changes between the years in terms of the frame and fork: the fork has carbon blades with an aluminium crown and steerer.

We're surprised it doesn't get a tapered steerer for 2014 but it's really no big deal as very few riders can feel a difference between tapered and non tapered on a bike with an already very stiff aluminium frame.

Components

Shimano's Sora group, which accounts for the complete drivetrain and brakes on the S11, has dual control STI shifters with the downshift lever behind the brake and upshift lever, an improvement on the the old thumb button. It has external brake cabling rather than the under-bar-tape cables that come with a higher spec group.

A 50/34 compact crankset and 12-26 nine speed cassette provides a wide enough spread of gears for most riders on most terrain and shifts remained superbly smooth throughout the test period.

The wheels use Shimano Ultegra hubs laced (radial front, left radial rear) to Battaglin branded 30mm aero rims shod with reasonably grippy Michelin Dynamic Sport 23mm tyres.

The shallow drop handlebar, FKX seatpost and stem and Selle Aventis 3 saddle are all well made, nicely finished and feel the part, with a flat sweep forward on the bar creating a really comfy hand position on the lever hoods.

Better stoppers please

If we were to gripe about anything it would be the performance of the Sora brakes.

While we don't really expect to find better at this price, Sora brakes have a very wooden feel to them compared to the more modulated feel of Shimano's more upmarket offerings.

We'd recommend an almost immediate upgrade to better pads as the Sora pads don't grip particularly well in the wet and setting them up accurately is fiddly. You have to hold the pads very tight while you fasten the bolts, or they swivel out of line with the final turn of the allen key.

Impressive ride

On the road, with the low price in mind, we were very impressed with the ride of the S11.

We measured the geometry at 71.5 degrees at the head, 73.5 at the seat. It's hard for a manufacturer to get it wrong with those angles and the handling reflected that.

Steering was rock-steady but still sprightly enough for instant direction twitches to avoid weather-ravaged potholed surfaces.

The 'semi-deep' section rims made a bit of racket on rough surfaces and both rims suffered from poor joins that clicked on each revolution under braking. We sanded the rim joins flat after the first couple of rides.

The 9.66kg (21.25lb) weight is good for a bike at this price and you can feel the benefit on the climbs and in initial acceleration.

The long reach from the saddle to the bars is a plus factor on climbs too, making it easy to pull on the centre of the bars on long seated sections.

Comfort over rough roads wasn't really a highlight but fitting 25mm tyres instead of 23mm would improve that considerably, and go some way to damping down the slightly clackety ride of the V rimmed wheels. Again, for a bike at this price this isn't a big issue, and is easily rectified.

Our size Large sample bike (also available in Small, Medium and Extra Large) had a 57.5cm centre to centre top tube, a 54.5cm seat tube (bottom bracket centre to top) and a 17.5cm head tube. With so much adjustment on the steerer's washer-stack and the possibility of running the stem either way up, the bar position can be tuned to suit pretty much any rider.

The stem is fairly long and the bar has a generous forward sweep so some riders who feel happy with the seat tube length may find the reach from saddle to lever hoods too long; a stem swap solves that.

We'd say the 2014 S11 is well worth looking out for, especially in its Campag Veloce incarnation, but if you're quick you might still grab an absolute bargain on a 2013 model. We don't have prices on the 2014 bikes yet.

Verdict

Great introduction to race bred road bikes, currently selling at an end of 2013 bargain price.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Battaglin S11

Size tested: L/57

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Welded 7005 heat treated aluminium frame, carbon fork.

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

It's intended as a race bred bike at a budget price, and it achieves that nicely.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

For the price, it's superb.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

7005 aluminium frame. Carbon fork with aluminium steerer

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

71.5 degrees at the had, 73.5 at the seat. 54.5cm seat tube. 57.5cm horizontal top tube reach

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Fairly long reach for a bike with a 54.5cm seat tube, but loads of bar/stem/saddle height adjustment

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

25mm tyres would have added to comfort but already surprisingly comfy for a race style bike at this price.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Felt just right.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Very efficient.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Rock steady handling but still nimble enough for quick steering adjustments.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Comfy saddle, comfy bar shape with a good flat reach to levers.

25mm tyres would be an obvious upgrade

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Excellent drivetrain and wheels considering the price.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
6/10

Inevitably not as sprightly as a more costly bike.

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10

For the price, excellent.

Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10

Again, for the price 21.25lb is excellent

Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

We suspect some riders would like a 28 rather than 26 biggest cassette sprocket, but with a 34 up front it's manageable.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
7/10

For the price, excellent.

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
7/10

Bigger tyres would add to comfort.

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

The tyres and wheels are far better than average for a bike at this price.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
9/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The stem is long for a bike with a 54.5cm seat tube, so check sizing carefully. Lots of height adjustment potential though.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? No.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
10/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

We don't know what 2014 prices will be yet but at the time of writing this model is still available in some sizes and is reduced to real bargain levels.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 58  Height: 181  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Merlin Ti  My best bike is: Ibis Silk SL

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Aye - I bought the C12 a year ago (almost to the day) and bagged an all carbon 10sp Veloce equipped machine. Its nice!

posted by Trull [67 posts]
8th December 2013 - 16:30

27 Likes

Ultegra hubs? Bit up market for this.

posted by Will Steed [48 posts]
8th December 2013 - 17:04

11 Likes

Are those external cables not for the gearing? That'd be a strange way to route the brake cables...

posted by mb429 [76 posts]
8th December 2013 - 18:48

14 Likes

mb429 - Yes, gear cabling, not brake cabling. Not sure how that crept in.

SteveW

posted by Steve Worland [95 posts]
8th December 2013 - 19:06

13 Likes

Sora cranks (HT2 instead of some FSA vero square tapered) and Sora brakes (Instead of some noname caliper) already gives this machine some edge over the competitors.. But he ultegra hubs sound too good to be true. Smile

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [47 posts]
9th December 2013 - 11:40

12 Likes

I'd agree that this is well worth a look if this is your budget. I paid about £150 more in August to get the 105 equipped version (mechs & shifters though, not full groupset), which is also still available at Wiggle. A few other differences to the spec, most notably Fulcrum 7 wheels and a 12-25 10 speed cassette.
Best equipped bike I could find for the money at the time, and certainly no regrets.

posted by numbercruncher [28 posts]
10th December 2013 - 13:00

15 Likes

I bought one of these a couple of months ago from Wiggle as a winter bike...I was able to get SKS mudguards on it with some p-clips. Sadly my bike came with less fancy wheels (Sora hubs built 3x onto Ambrosio 30mm section rims) and a different looking frame (some kind of triangulated 'aero' tubing). Initially I didn't like it too much due to its weight, having been used to riding my nice bike over the summer, but after a few hundred miles it has grown on me. It handles quite well and seems to cope well with the cacky Surrey Hills lanes (though I did need to tension the rear wheel properly, change the tyres to Conti Ultra Gatorskins and fit better brake pads). The weight is now something I don't worry about, seeing it as part of having a cheap winter bike. For my under five hundred quid budget it is fine.

The older I get, the faster I was

posted by hubba [8 posts]
26th December 2013 - 21:52

12 Likes

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