The Basso Diamante SV might be showing its age a little compared to aero road bikes launched in the last 18 months, but it's still a real head-turner and a fine option for those who want quality Italian craftsmanship and are prepared to pay for it. Paired with the finest Campagnolo groupset and some deep carbon rims, the Diamente SV not only oozes style but, as the name suggests, it's super-fast too.
Launched in 2017, the SV stands for Super Veloce, or 'super fast' in English, and is basically a more aero version of Basso's standard Diamante frame. It has slim lines and plenty of aero-inspired features such as the blade shape to the seat tube, although the top tube maintains a more traditional rounded shape.
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You could say it looks a bit dated compared with aero bikes launched 2019 onwards that support complete cable integration, but Basso is confident of the frame's aerodynamic performance achieved mostly through CFD analysis and a little bit of wind tunnel time to develop it.
Its production facility experts also produce composite structures for the aviation and automotive industries, so we can be confident they know their stuff, although we have to take Basso's word for it without any actual wind tunnel results available to analyse.
The frame is one hundred per cent handmade in Italy using Toray T1000 and T800 carbon fibres, with "only the best carbon selected", according to Basso. This blend of carbon has a very high tensile strength, which has allowed Basso to make a very stiff frame with less material to bring the weight down to 954g.
With a 530mm stack and 393mm reach on my 53cm test bike, it's about as aggressive as you're going to get on a road bike; it's longer and lower than both a Cervelo S5 and Specialized Venge. Some of the shapes are a little more rounded than you'd expect on a full-on aero bike around the head tube and fork, but there's still no doubt this is a fast yet balanced frame that is meant to be ridden at speed.
The unusual seatpost design is known as the 3B-Basso system. It allows for a totally smooth and clean clamping mechanism, with the U-shaped seatpost sliding into a wedge in the down tube that all tightens together with three Allen key bolts at the back. It's super-clean, works very well and there's also an elastomer surrounding the post that's supposed to add a bit of vibration damping for a smoother ride.
The middle bolt takes a tiny 2mm Allen key, and it's important not to overtighten because it's a lot more fragile than larger, single bolts you find in front of the seatpost or on a clamp wrapped around it on most other bikes.
The head tube has a 20mm headset spacer integrated into the frame on my test build, which looks neat and tidy; you can even remove it to run the stem flush with the head tube for a super-aggressive position.
The head tube and fork steerer are tapered, and all Diamante SV frames are made with BB386EVO bottom brackets, the wide shell helping to eke out every last watt.
Using Basso's stem, which comes supplied as part of the frameset, there is no option to route cables through this and into the frame. This meant the wires for my EPS control unit were left exposed and routed into the frame through a port on the down tube.
The rear brake cable routes through the side of the top tube, which does look a bit dated compared with the latest wave of pro-level aero road bikes. It's not something that troubled me too much, but if I was spending five figures on a bike that's meant to be as fast as current technology allows, I might be inclined to go for something with more integration.
Colour and build options
My test frame came in the Pastel White colourway, with blue and burgundy details, making it not too showy but stunning all the same. The 2020 colourways listed on Basso's website are Diamond Silver, Phantom Black, Thunder Blue and Mars Red.
When I got hold of the frame for a long-term test I felt it deserved a suitably luxurious build, so with some begging and borrowing I managed to dress it with the rim brake version of Campagnolo's EPS 12-speed groupset, Campagnolo 60mm Bora WTS wheels paired with Vittoria Corsa Speed tyres and a Deda Superzero carbon bar.
The Diamante SV is not only fast, but is surprisingly smooth too. I rode it in places I felt like I shouldn't ride a bike this expensive and didn't notice any discernible harshness when riding over rough roads, finding it on the comfortable side compared with other aero bikes I've tested.
Four hours in and I did have to stretch my back out a bit, but most people in the market for this bike likely won't be riding it for that long most of the time; those who are will probably be more flexible than me and far better cyclists.
As you'd expect with a frameset of this quality, handling is lively but not twitchy, and overall I was very impressed with the responsiveness.
Price-wise, even amongst more speciality framesets the Diamante SV is reassuringly expensive: the Look 795 Blade RS comes in at £3,000 and you can pick up a Colnago Concept for £3,499.95.
It is designed and handmade in Italy, though, and it's by no means the most expensive Italian frameset, with Pinarello's Dogma F12 as used by Team Ineos coming in at £5,000 in its rim brake guise.
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You can buy a Basso with a slightly less luxurious build, but according to Basso's price lists, a Diamante SV with Super Record EPS, Bora WTO 45mm wheels and Microtech Quantum handlebar will set you back a whopping 11,685 euros – so we can safely assume my test build would cost well into five figures.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Basso Diamante SV. Although the cable routing is starting to look a little untidy compared with the latest generation of aero bikes, the overall appearance is stunning, and really quite different to what else is out there.
Fast, unique frameset with an excellent ride quality, just a little less refined than the current crop of aero road racers
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Make and model: Basso Diamante SV frameset
Tell us what the frameset 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?
Basso says: "Designed for the aerodynamic position lovers. Its tube shapes are able to cut through the air like blades. The rear turbulence is almost non-existing. We have improved the air penetration by designing new tube shapes, and reactivity by making a straight blade front fork. We have also applied the new system with double pivot brake fixing. And much more."
State the frame and fork material and method of construction
T1000 and T800 carbon fibre - handmade in Italy.
Overall rating for frameset
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
It looks stunning, and is really quite different to what else is out there. The cable routing is starting to look a little untidy compared to the latest generation of aero bikes, but that's probably not that important to Basso's target customer.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
This is of the raciest geometries we've seen recently, with this 53cm model having a 545mm top tube and a 127mm head tube, if you don't include the 20mm integrated spacer.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
This 53cm model has a stack of 530mm and reach of 393mm. Dividing the stack by the reach is a very quick and dirty way of comparing those two measurements to get an idea of the riding position you can expect. In this case you get a figure of 1.35. That's very low. Most other peloton-ready bikes of this size have a figure of at least 1.4 – it's longer and lower than both a 54cm Cervelo S5 and Specialized Venge.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
It's a race bike and rides like one; perhaps not one for huge days in the saddle. It's reasonably smooth but can vibrate a little bit on rougher surfaces.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yep, it's super-stiff.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Big bottom bracket area, large chainstays and the stiff frame transfer power very well.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Rather lively steering.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The lively feel can make you think it's a bit rough to begin with, but when you get used to it the bike handles well on descents and through corners.
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How did the build components work with the frame? Was there anything you would have changed?
The frameset was built up with absolute top-of-the-range components from Campagnolo, including 60mm Bora WTS wheels and a 12-speed Super Record EPS groupset. There's really nothing that could have improved the ride in my opinion.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Even amongst more speciality framesets, it's expensive... the Look 795 Blade RS is £3,000. But it is designed and handmade in Italy, and Pinarello's Dogma F12 as used by Team Ineos comes in at £5,000 in its rim brake guise.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes (if I could afford it).
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes (if they could afford it).
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Use this box to explain your overall score
It's an exciting frame to ride and a great option if you want something that stands out and you're prepared to pay for it – some might like the fact that it's a bit different, but I suspect it won't perform as well in the wind tunnel as the current crop of aero road bikes with complete integration.
Age: 27 Height: 179cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Triathlon races
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