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The Basso Diamante Disc can easily slip beneath the radar if you're thinking about Italian superbikes, but if you get the chance to ride one – such as this Ultegra Di2 model – you'll soon realise your error. This is one very refined bike indeed, from the build quality and finish through to the way it behaves on the road. It's class; understated class.
I've ridden quite a few Diamantes over the years and have a fondness for the way that they behave. It's mostly down to the impressive ride quality, but the way the geometry works is important too. It's a quick bike designed for those who don't want to hang about, yet it's not tricky to live with. The handling is balanced and never twitchy, while the whole package works extremely well.
This model is also lighter than the aero SV version I tested, so feels very responsive and nimble. Basso describes the Diamante as a versatile racing bike, and I'd very much go along with that.
The ride quality is excellent even though the Diamante feels a little more rigid than some. That gives it a slightly buzzy feel over poor road surfaces, but in a kind of fun way that makes it feel eager and very involving.
There's a lot of feedback from the tyres, which means the Diamante is a ton of fun in the corners and when descending, but despite the rigidness it stays planted on the road.
Some very stiff bikes can feel a little unsettled on less than smooth road surfaces. They can also give too much feedback, which can make a fast bike actually slower as you have to back the pace just to process all the information. The Diamante strikes a great balance, which means that that isn't an issue here.
I felt like I could really let the Basso go on my downhill test section, and it never felt as though it was getting away from me or needed a dab on the brakes to reign it in.
This stiffness makes the Diamante an impressive sprinter, with no flex whatsoever around the bottom bracket area. The front end and fork resist heavy braking forces well. It's ideal for days in the hills with plenty of long climbs and fast descents.
If you're spending time on the flat then the ride position isn't as extreme as it looks with that slammed front end. The frame geometry balances it all out, letting you get aeroish without needing to have any ribs removed.
The overall comfort is decent for such a stiff bike, helped by some well-chosen kit. This is a bike I could spend many, many hours aboard without issue.
Basso controls the whole creation process of the Diamante, from the design to the prototyping and the eventual manufacturing of the carbon frame in its Italian factory. The result is a very, very beautiful bike.
This colour scheme leaves plenty of carbon on show beneath the clear lacquer, and while I think it is pretty frame, you also get that engineered look in places – you can see the various carbon fibre sheets, most notably the bottom bracket area.
Like most road bikes lately, the Diamante embraces full internal cable and hose routing, but unlike a lot of others it is compatible with both electronic and mechanical groupsets.
All wires, cables and hoses are directed inside the handlebar/stem and down into the head tube, and only reappear where they are required. That's a bit of a faff to set up, no doubt, but it does make for one very clean-looking machine.
Everything else has also been tucked away, so you get a fully integrated headset, an internal seatpost clamp and a pressfit bottom bracket. In fact, the only things you really see sticking out are the bottle cage mounting points.
The Diamante offers decent clearance, with space for tyres up to 32mm wide. That's not as wide as some on the market, but more than enough for a road bike, in my view.
The Diamante is available in five sizes from UK importer Chicken CycleKit, and Basso claims it's 900g in the 56cm/large. It's 1.3kg for the frame and fork, and 2.15kg for the full frameset as sold, apparently.
The line-up kicks off with the 48cm XS and tops out with the 58cm XL, with corresponding top tube lengths of 515mm to 575mm.
Something about the Diamante's frame makes the bikes look bigger than they actually are, though – at least to me – and a lot of that is the seat tube length. On this 56cm for instance the top tube and seat tube are exactly the same length at 560mm, which is what creates that traditional look – a look that faded away in the mid-to-late nineties as compact frames and sloping top tubes became the norm.
As for the rest of the geometry, the head tube is 155mm long and the bike ships with 15mm of spacers on top. This, along with the top tube and various other bits and bobs, means the stack and reach figures are 584.3mm and 386.9mm respectively.
The chain stays are 400mm long and the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to fork dropout is 593.5mm. The head angle is 73.1°, and the seat angle is 73.5°.
This Diamante Disc comes with the latest 12-speed Ultegra Di2 R8170 groupset and, whatever your beliefs about putting Shimano on an Italian bike, you can't deny this is a very good groupset indeed. You need only read our full groupset review to see that.
We have a 50/34T compact chainset fitted here, which ties in nicely with the Diamante's 'versatile' description by giving you a lower spread of gears for the climbs compared to a 52/36T.
The shifting from this groupset is top notch – quick and precise – and I like that it feels slightly heavier than Dura Ace, as it maintains a kind of a mechanical feel. I enjoy the slight clunk of the chain as it passes across the cassette or chainring.
Basically, it can't be faulted for shifting or braking performance, and it does well on value too.
The majority of the rest is made up of Basso's own components, including the carbon fibre integrated seatpost and the Levita Integrated cockpit.
The handlebar/stem comes in a range of sizes per frame size, and it's no surprise to see a 420mm bar and 110mm stem on this 56cm bike. Basso offers 13 variations from 90x400mm to 130x440mm, though, if you need that tweaked.
Assuming it fits this is a very pleasurable setup to use. The slight aero shape to the top of the handlebar gives plenty of comfortable hand positions, and the shallow drop shape isn't too extreme for the less flexible of us to use.
You get mounts to hold your GPS computer, and there's just enough flex in the bar to take the sting out of rough roads without it feeling too soft when climbing hard out of the saddle.
Speaking of saddles, here you'll find a Selle Italia Flite Boost Carbon SF, which I found a pleasurable place to sit. The padding is minimal, which I like, and the cutout helps minimise numbness.
For the wheels Basso step in (or perhaps roll in) again with its Microtech range. The RE 38s use a 38mm-deep carbon rim with an inner width of 23mm. With 24 Sapim CX spokes in each it's definitely a racer's wheelset, and at a claimed weight of 1,560g they are decent on the weight front.
I found them to roll well and work on a range of terrain. They're light and stiff enough to cope with climbing, but give a small aero benefit on flatter sections and descents. You won't need to swap them out on windy days either, as they don't get caught by the breeze. They ran true straight out of the box, and I had no issues with reliability throughout the review period.
On importer Chicken CycleKit's site the Diamante is specced with Continental GP5000 tyres, although ours was fitted with Vittoria Corsas. This happens a fair bit with demo bikes, but whichever of these tyres you get, their performance will match that of the Basso.
We have reviewed many variations of the GP5000s and have always found them among the best tyres on offer for their balance of performance, grip and durability.
This model is £7,199, which looks pretty high against something like Orro's Gold STC Force D2 Etap AXS Tailormade at £4,899.99. But you have to take into account the Diamante's frameset; it's built by hand in Basso's own Italian factory, and that obviously adds a premium over one built in the Far East.
If you must have an Italian bike, Pinarello has released its 'F-Series' of performance-orientated road bikes with similar geometry to the Diamante. The Ultegra Di2-equipped F7 comes either with a set of Most Ultrafast 40 wheels (£7,000) Fulcrum's Racing 500s (£6,500). We haven't reviewed one yet, but we have tested the X3 from the X-Series endurance range.
The Diamante is a lovely bike to ride thanks to Basso's expertise with the ideal lay-ups and specs of carbon fibre grades. It manages to pull off that firm ride without coming across as harsh, and even turn that to its advantage: the Diamante combines excellent road feedback with a surprising amount of comfort.
Basso may not have the big-name draw of Colnago or Pinarello, but it definitely deserves it... or actually, maybe let's keep quiet. That way it keeps hold of that understated persona to be enjoyed by those in the know.
Blends modern performance with traditional styling to stand out from the crowd – and it's a joy to ride
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Basso Diamante Disc Ultegra Di2
Size tested: 56cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Components: Shimano Ultegra Di2 12x Hydro
Chainset: Shimano Ultegra 12x
Disc Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Di2 Hydro
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 12x
Chain: Shimano Ultegra 12x
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Boost Carbon SF
Handlebar/Stem: Basso Levita Integrated
Seatpost: Basso Integrated
Wheelset: Microtech MR Lite Disc
Tyres: Continental GP5000 700x28c
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?
Basso says, "Leaving the starting point to go elsewhere, outside your own schemes, to explore and then come back enriched, so as to evolve what you started from. A circular movement that becomes a spiral as it perfects itself, enclosing the past and the future. The spirit of Basso flows in the circular tubes of the Diamante frame. A shape that is not just an aesthetic solution but the research to obtain the best performance from a material, carbon."
I'm not sure what that actually means, but I found the Diamante a lot of fun. It's a road race bike with plenty of stiffness, yet it doesn't need to be ridden flat-out all of the time. Neither do you need the performance or flexibility of a seasoned pro to get the best out of it.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
The Diamante is available in this Ultegra Di2 build, a SRAM Force AXS option and a Campagnolo Super Record Wireless build.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
A high-quality frame and fork in terms of build and finish.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The Diamante uses a blend of Toray 40T, 30T and FAW 50 carbon fibre.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is quite race orientated with steep seat and head angles.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Even though the frame looks bigger than it is, the stack and reach figures are fairly typical for this size and style of road bike.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes. For a stiff frame which transmits a small amount of road buzz, comfort is still impressively respectable.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness is very impressive throughout the frame and fork.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Thanks to the stiffness, power transfer is very good throughout the lower half of the frame.
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? Lively, but controllable.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The Diamante is a quick-handling machine that's direct too. I never found it a handful though, which makes it a lot of fun to ride quickly through the corners.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I liked the shape of the cockpit, and the saddle is comfortable too.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Microtech wheels are stiff and show no signs of flex when pushing hard out of the saddle.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The mix of stiffness and low weight means the Diamante feels efficient.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
A great groupset for durability and battery life, and decent value too.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
A good 'all-rounder' set of road wheels. Light enough for climbing and aero enough for flat work.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
We didn't have the Continental tyres specced on the standard builds, but these Vittoria Corsas are high quality tyres which blend performance and durability well.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
It's a well-specced build with components that work from an ergonomics and comfort point of view. I wouldn't be in a hurry to change anything.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Diamante is similarly priced to Pinarello's new F Series, and while something like Orro's Gold does come in a fair chunk cheaper, the Basso's 'handbuilt in Italy' construction inevitably means a premium.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Diamante is very well built, not only in the visual sense, but also in the way the carbon is laid up. The ride quality is great. It's a highly versatile road bike that earns a solid score of 8, as it is really very good throughout.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!