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The Mekk Poggio 1.5 is a good all-round road bike with tons of upgrade potential. It was originally priced at £1,099.99 but Mekk have now dropped the price down to £899.99 until the end of the product year (round about February), which is a bargain price.
Here are five things you need to know about the bike...
The highlight of the Poggio 1.5 is undoubtedly the frame. It's really good for a bike of this price.
The frame is a carbon-fibre composite monocoque, the same one that Mekk use across the whole of the Poggio range right up to the £2,399.99 Poggio 3.5 (which comes equipped with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset). It's a busy design with a few interesting features in a not-too-over-the-top kind of a way, and the fork that plugs in at the front is full carbon too.
The head tube is tapered, as you'll find on ever more performance-orientated bikes are these days. It takes a 1 1/4in bearing at the top and a 1 1/2in bearing at the bottom (the old standard being 1 1/8in at either end). The extra beef in the head tube and the steerer is designed to add front-end stiffness.
Rather than using outboard bottom bracket bearings in screw in cups, the bottom bracket is a press-fit BB86. The frame builder makes full use of the extra width with a humungously large-diameter down tube and widely spaced chainstays. Again, the idea is to add frame rigidity.
All of the cabling is internal with neat entry and exit ports, the rear mech cable emerging towards the end of the driveside chainstay. As you'll have deduced from the info above, the frame is compatible with Di2 electronic shifting with an exit point for the front mech at the bottom of the down tube and a battery mount behind the bottom bracket. We can't imagine too many people upgrading this bike all the way to Di2, but it's certainly an option if you want to do that over time as the existing components wear out.
The Poggio's geometry is closer to that of a race bike than an upright sportive model like the Specialized Roubaix. If you're after a more relaxed fit, Mekk offer that in their Potenza endurance bikes. It doesn't have the steepest frame angles ever (72° seat angle, 73° head angle on our 56cm test model) but the head tube is fairly short (16cm) and the top tube is lengthy (56.5cm).
This could add up to quite an aggressive ride position if that's what you're after. Slam that stem right down on top of the headset and you'll get a low and efficient setup for racking up the fast miles, although a whole stack (5cm) of spacers take the handlebar up higher for a more back-friendly position.
Mekk have the Poggio tagged as an all-rounder but it lacks mudguard mounts which you might want for year-round riding. Still, you can always fit clip-on 'guards instead.
With such an impressive frameset, it's obvious that Mekk will have had to cut corners elsewhere to make this price point, but they've still managed to include some decent branded components.
The mechs and shifters, for example, are from Shimano's 9-speed Sora range. Sora might be Shimano's fifth tier road groupset but it is still good stuff and a lot better than previous versions.
The most notable improvement is the dual control levers. The little thumb shifters that used to sit on the inner face of the lever body have now gone and you change in both directions via two finger-operated levers, the same as you do with Shimano's higher-level mechanical groupsets.
I'm not fully into the optical display on the top of each lever that tells you which gear you're in – it's a bit, you know... amateur – but in terms of function the Sora setup is hard to fault.
The Selle Royal Seta saddle is a decent offering too. It's very flat and I don't think it looks particularly comfortable, but there's quite a bit of flex in the rails and shell, and the foam cushioning is just the right side of squidgy. Saddles are a very personal choice so maybe you'll disagree, but I was perfectly happy getting in the big miles on this one.
Mekk deviate from Shimano Sora by speccing their own compact chainset (50/34T chainrings). You couldn't say it's the best-looking option on the planet but it does the job, and matched up to a 12-28-tooth Shimano cassette it provides a good spread of gears. Stronger riders might find themselves hankering after some bigger ratios for fast descents but we imagine that most people will be happy with what's on offer here – it's getting up the hills that people usually worry about most.
The dual-pivot brake calipers are branded Mekk too. They're an obvious money-saving option and they're competent rather than spectacular. When it's time to change the pads, I'd upgrade to a better compound for improved all-weather performance.
The seatpost, stem and handlebar are all alloy with a wet look black finish. Again, although they're nothing to get too excited about, they put in a solid performance. The bar in particular is a good shape with a useful amount of rearward extension at the ends. We imagine that the fact that its low-drop will be popular among most potential buyers.
Lots of bikes at this price come with no-name wheels. We're not saying that necessarily means they're bad but the Shimano R500s fitted to the Mekk Poggio are definitely good.
Shimano make great hubs and these are well sealed and serviceable, as long as you know what you're doing. They should last an age with some regular TLC. There's even a wear indicator groove in the brake track to warn you when the 24mm-deep rims need replacing.
The R500s aren't mega-light (1,884g the pair, excluding the quick release skewers) but they keep their shape when you lay the power down for your Marcel Kettel-style sprints.
The tyres are 23mm Vittoria Zaffiros. They're a budget option but they provide a reasonable amount of grip without wearing too quickly.
The Poggio 1.5 is a good option for all-round road riding. Weighing in at 8.8kg (19.36lb), it's reasonably light and responsive when you put in the power – a lot more than many similarly priced bikes out there. The impressive frame stiffness, particularly around the bottom bracket, certainly gives you the feeling that all of the effort you're putting in is being transferred efficiently into forward motion, and there's no notable flex from either end when you get out of the saddle and sprint.
The Poggio proves very manoeuvrable when you're chucking it around on the descents or trying to find your route through a group, the only drawback being the braking. Don't get me wrong, you'll stop when you need to stop but you don't get the confidence of masses of power at your fingertips.
When it comes to the climbs, the Poggio handles everything that comes its way without breaking stride. You're not going to get to the top as fast as you would on a super-expensive superbike, of course, but it gets on with the job without fuss. When the going gets really tough, the 34-tooth chainring matched up to the 28-tooth sprocket will see you right. That's a small enough gear to get most people up most climbs, and you don't feel like you're lugging a massive weight as you do so.
As we mentioned above, the ride position is fairly racy but not ridiculously so for a bike of this type. Picking the right geometry is always a question of horses for courses – some people want low and stretched, other people want a much more upright setup. Personally, I found it a comfortable compromise once I'd swapped a couple of headset spacers around.
Speaking of comfort, I got on well with the Selle Royal saddle and Mekk's own bars too, and didn't feel too much vibration coming through from the road. I wouldn't say it's a silky smooth ride, but it's far from harsh – right down the middle on that score.
When this product year ends, Mekk are changing the Poggio 1.5's frame colour but the frame will remain essentially unchanged in terms of technology. What will change is the spec. All of the Poggio bikes will get full Shimano groupsets (including brakes and chainsets), with the 2014 Poggio 1.5 priced at £1,000.
In the meantime, this Poggio 1.5 is a good bike with a very good bike inside trying to get out. Huh? What I mean is that the frame and fork are very impressive. They could form the basis of a much more high-end performance.
Specced up as it is, the Poggio still represents good value for money – it's just that the performance is held back a little by the competent rather than remarkable components. Get what I'm saying? It's a nippy all-round road bike, but it has the potential to be much better if you upgrade some of the components over time.
Solid all-round road bike built around a very good frameset for the cash - loads of upgrade potential.
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Make and model: Mekk Poggio 1.5
Size tested: 56cm
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame New 3K Monocoque carbon frame / Tapered Head Tube / BB86 structured and chain stays / contoured tubing and integrated cable routing / Di2 Compatable
Fork 3K full carbon tapered fork
Sizes 47 XS - 50 S - 53 M - 56 L - 59 XL
Tyres Vittoria Zaffiro 23c x 700
Wheelset Shimano R500
Shifters Sora 9 Speed
Front derailleur Sora 9 Speed
Rear Derailleur Sora 9 Speed
Crank Mekk Compact 50 /34 172.5 Matt Blk & Tit
Casette Shimano 9-Speed 12-28T
Chain Shimano Silver 9 speed
Saddle Selle Royal
Seatpost Mekk Black Wet Look
Handlebar Mekk Compact Black Wet Look
Stem Mekk Black Wet Look
Headset Nico aluminum / Steel intergated
Brakeset Mekk Dual Pivot Brakes, Cartridge pads
Tape Velo Mekk Gel Tape
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?
Mekk say: "The classic fit design of the lightweight Poggio was conceived to produce the perfect all-rounder.
"We've evolved the Poggio's frame to incorporate full internal cable routing and Di2 compatibility. Our new tapered head tube is matched by a lightened all-carbon 1.25 to 1.5 tapered fork.
The down tube profile is bi-ovalised to mate perfectly with our oversized bottom bracket shell and deeper profiled chain stays.
"The new stiffer lighter chassis combines responsive handling and smoothness. Whether you want to race, commute or challenge yourself to an epic sportive we think the Poggio will give you the best ride for your money."
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The frame and fork are easily the highlight of this package.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame is a carbon-fibre composite monocoque.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.