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Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro Bike



Great looks, plenty of stiffness and a smattering of aero benefits, ruined by a cheap spec list and heavy wheels
Stiff frame and fork
Clean looks
Comfortable ride
Heavy wheels
Downgrade to chainset
Shifting feels affected by internal routing

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

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At the Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro's heart is a quality frameset that is stiff, pretty light and gives a good ride quality, but unfortunately that is all hampered by the weight of the entry-level wheels and components. It's not the most competitively priced, either.

I don't like kicking off with a negative, but I think we just need to get this out of the way; this bike is heavy! I often say you shouldn't focus too much on the numbers as bikes and wheels don't necessarily behave the way their weight would have you believe. Unfortunately though the Pressure does, and in some ways it feels heavier than the scales suggest.

> Buy now: Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro Bike from Sigma Sports for £3,799

This medium model weighs in at 8.98kg, or 19.8lbs in old money. Not so bad in isolation, but this is a bike costing £3,799.

It's mostly down to the Vision Team 30 wheels, but there also some deviations from the Ultegra groupset – such as the chainset – and it really spoils what should be a great riding experience.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - riding 5.jpg

On the flat, things are great. The Pressure zings along on the asphalt once up to speed, and a decent average is easily achievable without a huge amount of effort. The little aero nods make the frame slippery, and at 30mm deep you are getting a minimal aero kick from the rims too.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - rim.jpg

Everywhere else though, the Cinelli is compromised. It feels sluggish off of the line, to the point where every time I saw a red traffic light or a junction ahead, I'd release a little sigh as my thighs winced at the thought of powering up from a standing start again.

This obviously affects climbing too. This isn't a bike for a hilly ride, and sprinting isn't really something it excels at. Even on the steadiest of gradients it just feels like you are having to put way too much effort in.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - riding 3.jpg

Luckily for me I'm never short of a set of wheels to test, and after fitting the Scribe Elan Wide+ 42-D wheels – which weigh a cool 1,400g – the Pressure showed its true colours.

The frame uses a press-fit bottom bracket (BB) which means the bearings sit inside the frame, allowing a wider shell and a larger junction between BB, down tube, seat tube and chainstays. This means the stiffness is excellent and, with the weight closer to the 8kg mark it felt much more responsive, especially on rolling terrain and when climbing.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - bottom bracket.jpg

With this change the Pressure became a much more fun bike to ride – rewarding even. The ride quality is good for such a stiff bike. It's firm, but not overly so and even with the tyres pumped up to the high pressures I prefer, I never found the Cinelli jarring or overly harsh. It has a racy, purposeful feel to it.

It's the type of bike I could get out and smash around for a couple of hours or, if I was out for longer, exploit the faster sections while tapping out the miles elsewhere.

The geometry isn't that aggressive for a race bike; a 72° head angle paired with 45mm rake means the steering is quite neutral. It's quick enough to cope with bends at speed, just lacking the speed and precision of some.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - head tube badge.jpg

For most of us though it's perfectly capable, and the fork matches the frame for stiffness, minimising flex under steering/braking loads for further reassurance when the going gets technical.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - fork.jpg

On the whole, the Pressure is a decent frameset that just requires a build that can match its performance.

Frame and fork

After a bit of research, I've discovered it's common knowledge the Pressure uses an open-mold frame, which means that it's basically an off-the-shelf-option. Many brands do this to reduce costs, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. There can still be a certain amount of customisation in the carbon lay-ups the bike manufacturer specifies, which will tweak stiffness and ride quality – and as I've mentioned, the Cinelli scores well on both of these points.

At a claimed 990g for the Toray T700 frame and 390g for the fork, its weight isn't too shabby either.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - down tube.jpg

Like many bikes, the Pressure has gone completely stealth when it comes to the cable routing, with everything from the shifters and brake levers heading inside the handlebar, through the stem and into the head tube. They then exit the frame and fork where the hoses or cables are required.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - cable routing detail.jpg

Maximum tyre clearance is 30mm, putting it in line with many other aero bikes on the market.

It looks great even with this mechanical groupset, but there does seem to be some resistance – especially from the front mech – that's probably caused by the tight bends the cables require. I disconnected the front and rear mech to make sure they were running smoothly, and they were. So it can only be the cable routing.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - cassette.jpg

Like all race bikes, mounts are minimal: two sets of bottle cage mounts is it, although the down tube set has three bolts giving you some amount of adjustability.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - bosses 2.jpg

The seatpost is an aero job with an expander to clamp it into position, by way of a bolt under the top tube. It held firm once adjusted with no issues of slippage. Adjusting the saddle rails by undoing the single bolt isn't the easiest, though, even though its design means it really should be.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - saddle and post.jpg

The finish quality of the frameset is good. I like the pearlescent paint job and the neat details, such as the smiley face on the rear of the fork crown.

Geometry and sizes

Cinelli offers the Pressure in five sizes from XS to XL, of which we have the medium. Geometry wise we are looking at an effective top tube length of 545mm, with a short head tube of 135mm. The head angle is the aforementioned 72.5° while the seat tube leans at 73.5°. The chainstays are 410mm, giving a nimble wheelbase of just 990mm.

The stack and reach figures are 539mm and 385mm respectively.

Finishing kit

This is a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. It's based around an Ultegra mechanical groupset, of which you get the STI units and the front and rear mechs. Otherwise you are looking at a Shimano 105 cassette, a KMC chain and an FSA Gossamer Pro Evo chainset.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - drive train.jpg

Gearing is 11-32t for the cassette and 50/34t for the chainset. Personally, I'd say that is a little low for an aero bike – I'd be expecting more like a 52/36t chainset and probably an 11-28t cassette. The smaller gears do help offset the weight, though.

> 25 of the best and fastest 2021 aero road bikes: wind-cheating bikes with an extra turn of speed

This is normally the bit where I go on about how great the shifting is from the Ultegra groupset, but as I mentioned earlier it seems to drag here due to its cable routing.

The brakes work really well though, with a 160mm rotor at the front and a 140mm at the rear.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - front disc brake.jpg

Deda's Zero 2 handlebar has an aero shape to it, although it is quite narrow compared to most given the size of the bike – though that does at least speed the steering up a touch. It is comfortable though, and there is plenty of stiffness for those out of the saddle efforts.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - bars 1.jpg

The FSA stem looks good and again, has plenty of stiffness.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - bars 3.jpg

The saddle is a Selle Italia Model X and, while I found it comfortable enough, it is a little too flexible and squishy for my liking, both in the padding and the hull. I prefer something firmer, especially when getting the power down.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - saddle 1.jpg

Wheels and tyres

As I've mentioned the Vision wheels are the biggest weak point in this build. At over 1,900g naked they are a fair lump of weight, and they feel it too. The front wheel arrived out of true, but not enough to be an issue – especially with disc brakes. Rim brakes might have been a different matter. Looking at the cassette and brake rotors it seems this bike may have done a few miles before I received it, although I don't know how many.

2022 Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro - rear.jpg

Aside from the weight there aren't any real issues with the wheels. They feel solid and their trueness didn't get any worse throughout the test period.

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The Pressure doesn't scrimp on the tyre option though, as it's fitted with Schwalbe Ones which are fast rolling and very grippy (although the website says Lugano II in the spec list). The Ones aren't the most robust though in the longterm.


So, £3,799. That's not outrageous for a mechanical Ultegra aero bike, but the Pressure does have quite few compromises. My go-to for aero loveliness is the Orro STC Venturi. It's Orro's own mold and Spread-Tow carbon fibre, from which it gets its STC name. The ride quality is excellent, as is the performance. With Fulcrum's 400 DB wheels and a similar FSA cockpit setup it costs just £2999.99.

In fact, you can have the same build with an Ultegra Di2 12-speed groupset for just 99p more than the Pressure.

Merida's aero bike the Reacto is available in a range of builds, with the closest to the Cinelli being the 6000. It uses a full Ultegra mechanical groupset and, while the Fulcrum R 800 DB wheels were described as weighty, it still comes in around 400g lighter than the Cinelli, and it's a lot cheaper at £2,950.

I loved Vitus' ZX 1 EVO CRS when I reviewed it last year, and it is an all-round better bike than the Pressure. The Ultegra model is £3,499.99, but you're getting a deep-section set of Reynolds AR58/62 DB carbon wheels and a carbon handlebar as well.

If you want wireless shifting instead you can get a SRAM Rival AXS eTap model for £3,899.99, and while you aren't then getting the carbon wheels the Prime Attaquers fitted are stupidly light.


Taking cost out of the equation and adding in some light wheels, the Pressure is a great bike to ride. It has likeable behaviour that's racy but not on the edge, and overall ride quality is good. It looks spot on as well, with its cool paint job and complete lack of external cables.

In this build though it just feels lethargic and, to be honest, frustrating – especially as I've been lucky enough to upgrade it to see how well it can behave. You shouldn't have to be tweaking the spec on a bike that costs nearly four grand though. This bike has so much potential, but doesn't quite hit the mark.


Great looks, plenty of stiffness and a smattering of aero benefits, ruined by a cheap spec list and heavy wheels test report

Make and model: Cinelli Pressure Disc Ultegra 11x Hydro Bike

Size tested: 55.6cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Components: Shimano Ultegra 11x Hydraulic

Chainset: FSA Gossamer Pro Evo 34/50T

Disc Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Hydraulic

Cassette Shimano 105 11x 11/32T

Chain: KMC 11x

Saddle: Selle Italia model X

Bar/Stem: Deda/FSA ACR (Internal Routing)

Wheelset: Vision Team 30 TLR Disc

Tyres: Schwalbe Lugano II 700x28c

Bottom Bracket: Press Fit 86,5x41

Seatpost: Aero Carbon

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?

Cinelli says, "Aerodynamics is the key to the Pressure, Cinelli's new stunning UCI Approved fully internal routed monocoque carbon road frame.

Born to race, this monocoque high modulus carbon T700 fibre aero road bike is designed to cut through the air. The sections of each tube are designed to not only be aero but help minimise drag, which is further reduced by "end to end" internal routing of all cables. This is thanks to the new ACR system of being able to route all cables internally within the steerer tube.

The fork and the seatpost are designed specifically for integration with the Pressure frame which is further enhanced by the graphics. Weight and stiffness are perfectly balanced to transfer all the power of the rider into speed.

The perfect choice for both mechanical and electronic groupsets."

It's a quick bike on the flat once it is rolling, but the overall weight of the wheels really saps the fun out of accelerating and climbing.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

Other than this model there is a Chorus Hydraulic model with Campagnolo Scirroco DB wheels for £4,799. A frameset is available for £2,499.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

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

It's a well made frame with neat attention to detail.

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

Frame: Columbus Carbon Monocoque made from Toray T700 carbon fibre.

Fork: Columbus Disc 1 1/8" - 1 1/2" Monocoque

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry is fairly typical of an aero bike, sitting somewhere between a race bike and an endurance bike. Full figures are in the main review.

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

The stack and reach figures are exactly what I'd expect for this size and style of bike.

Riding the bike

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

For an 'aero' bike I found the Cinelli comfortable, with no harshness from the tubing.

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

The large bottom bracket section ensures stiffness when putting the power out, and the fork copes well with hard steering and braking efforts.

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

Power transfer is good thanks to the frameset's stiffness.

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? Well balanced with a focus on neutrality.

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

It's not the fastest handling race bike, but the steering is still quick enough to be fun.

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

I found the saddle a little on the soft side, personally.

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

The Deda and FSA bar/stem has plenty of stiffness for hard efforts out of the saddle.

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

Efficiency is hampered by the heavy wheels. Swap those for something lighter and things improve massively.

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

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
Rate the drivetrain for value:

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

For this kind of money it would be good to see at least a full Ultegra groupset rather than other components like the FSA chainset. The shifting seems hampered by the internal cable routing, too.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
Rate the wheels for durability:
Rate the wheels for weight:
Rate the wheels for comfort:
Rate the wheels for value:

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?

The heavy wheels are the weak link in this build. I would say update to something lighter as soon as you can – but you shouldn't have to do that on a bike of this price.

Rate the tyres for performance:
Rate the tyres for durability:
Rate the tyres for weight:
Rate the tyres for comfort:
Rate the tyres for value:

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?

The Schwalbe tyres are quality, and go some way to restoring the performance the wheels rob.


Rate the controls for performance:
Rate the controls for durability:
Rate the controls for weight:
Rate the controls for comfort:
Rate the controls for value:

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 bit of mix 'n match for the finishing kit, but it all works well enough. The narrow handlebar speeds the steering up a bit.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Not with the standard wheels fitted

Would you consider buying the bike? No, but possibly as a frameset

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? I'd mention the pros and cons

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

The Reacto is Merida's aero bike and the 6000 model comes with a full Ultegra groupset and similar finishing kit as the Cinelli. It is to hampered by heavier wheels, but it's still 400g less than the Pressure and at least the £2,950 price tag allows you to upgrade to something lighter though. One of the best aero bikes on the market is the Orro Venturi STC with the Ultegra model coming in at £2,999.99.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:

Use this box to explain your overall score

The ride quality is good and the performance, once you get rid of the heavy wheels, is impressive. But this build is expensive for what it is, and those wheels just take the fun out of the ride.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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 team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 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. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment


marta marinelli | 1 year ago

Hi there,

I am new here and just bought a cinelli pressure.

Can anyone help me understand how I clamp the seatpost?


Miller replied to marta marinelli | 1 year ago

The article text mentions a bolt under the top tube. So look under the top tube just in front of the seatpost.

IanEdward | 2 years ago

Do Cinelli share a distibutor with Bianchi?

I remember considering a Bianchi and being put off by similarly mix-and-match component packages (Campag Potenza with OEM Bianchi brakes and cranks I think it was).

John Stevenson replied to IanEdward | 2 years ago
1 like

No, entirely different companies.

Given the reliability issues with Ultegra cranks (which Shimano still hasn't so much as acknowledged) I'm not convinced swapping the cranks for another brand is necessarily a bad thing. I wonder why we don't see 105 cranks as a cost-saver on Ultegra bikes.

IanEdward replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago
1 like

Fair enough, I thought I saw some similarities in the spec differences but was too lazy to check distributors.

I'm not going to comment on Ultegra crank failures (nervously eyeing new Ultegra cranks sitting on shelf waiting for new frame) but the Bianchi I was looking at had swapped out Campag cranks for some very ugly FSA variant, so it was a bit of an unfortunate corner to cut.

John Stevenson replied to IanEdward | 2 years ago
1 like

Loads of Potenza-equipped bikes used a non-Campagnolo crankset. I don't know why; maybe Campagnolo had problems making enough of them, or they were sufficiently expensive that bike makers judged a bike at the resulting price wouldn't be competitive against 105-equipped bikes.

Chris Hayes replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago

They're cheaper mate.  That's why most bike retailers mix and match. There's a big difference between the RRP on an Ultegra vs 105 cassette and a bigger one on an Ultegra vs FSA Crankset... 

The other major margin skimmers are wheels, handlebars and seats. 

wtjs replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago

Given the reliability issues with Ultegra cranks (which Shimano still hasn't so much as acknowledged)

The publicity, along with the credibility of our very own sufferer (that's you HP!), certainly affected me, a lifelong Shimano devotee, so I wouldn't go for Ultegra again. However, I think Sora 9-speed is really great!

John Stevenson replied to wtjs | 2 years ago
1 like

As are Tiagra and 105; we haven't been able to find any reports of failures of them.

Joe Totale | 2 years ago
1 like

So you're basically paying a big load of money for an open mould frame with a nice paint job and specced with components found in the corner of the warehouse.

If you're going to go down the watt weenie aero look with hidden cables then mechanical gears are TBH a bit of a bodge.

Pot00000000 replied to Joe Totale | 2 years ago

Who makes the frame ? Thanks 

Joe Totale replied to Pot00000000 | 2 years ago
1 like

Not sure to be honest although a bit of research would probably reveal who makes it.

However, there are other brands about selling the same frame:

Pot00000000 replied to Joe Totale | 2 years ago

Thanks, I'll do some digging. 

Destroyer666 replied to Joe Totale | 2 years ago

While I do tend to agree that this bike seems expensive for its parts and possibly for its frame production technique, I wish to add my five cents to the discussion by noting that the issue is not simply that "open mold" = cheap / poor frame, "proprietary mold" = expensive /quality frame. Surely fabricating a proprietary mold is an extremely expensive first step that doesn't have to be taken in the open mold fabrication process, but after that there are a vast amount of steps that affect quality /expense, such as the used carbon fibre and epoxy, layup technique and quantity as well as quality control. Consequently, even within the realm of open molds while it is certainly possible that for example the ENGINE11 and Cinelly frames follow identical production steps all the way to the paint stage, this is not necessarily so i.e. it is possible that factories that offer open mold frames enable customers to have an influence beyond paint job selection. Also, open mold frames can therefore be made with as high or higher quality materials and processes than "proprietary molds". Looking at the Engine11 and Cinelly frame prices might be explained in part at least with such quality attributes. Thirdly, companies can also for example give different types of warranties to same frames - usually in the form of "more expensive-> better warranty". And so on.
So, I don't make judgements about carbon frame/bike prices simply based on the mold type (which should be called "desing type" in the first place).

Joe Totale replied to Destroyer666 | 2 years ago

I never passed judgement on the quality of the frame itself, gone are the days where open mould meant poor quality, in fact for many people without deep pockets buying direct from China is a good way of getting a quality bike for a good price.

It does appear though that both Cinelli and Engine11 are putting a high mark up on what is effectively a nice paint job and localised customer service.

Put that in contrast to wheels where brands such as Hunt and Scribe bring in parts from China but keep the pricing very competitive compared to buying directly from China.

Secret_squirrel replied to Joe Totale | 2 years ago

Which suggests if you do a bit of digging you may very well find someone in the UK bringing in similar frames from the same mold at better prices.

Joe Totale replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
1 like

For sure, Planet X for example are very up front about using open mould frames but do so at very reasonable prices. The EC130-E Aero looks pretty similar and is less than half the price of the Cinelli Pressure.

Jimmy Ray Will replied to Joe Totale | 2 years ago
1 like

Reference open moulds, the genuine concern is the lack of accountability and potential QA issues that potentially come with that, as there is seemingly no  brand manufacturer to 'trust'. Instead you are trusting a retail brand to trust an unnamed third party to build to the specs promised. 

In reality, many bike brands are trusting third party manufacturers to make their proprietary frames, so there really isn't much difference. 

One of the big price differentiators on different brands use of open mould frames is arund who is doing the painting. A good paint job costs a lot of cash, and if Cinelli is painting the frames themselves, or using a third party outside of the frame manufacturers factory, then the base costs could be significantly different. 

And that's where we fall into the subjective world of perceived value. Do you value high quality paint, the name on the downtube, or are you just about the frame performance? The huge variance of frame costs out there, show that people are willing to a lot for something that won't affect your performance. 

lesterama | 2 years ago

Cinelli is all about the aesthetic. Open mould doesn't cut it, especially not at that price.

Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

Hmm. Cinelli's seem to have a habit of turning up in the end of season sale section of the Planet X website. 
This feels like it may be another one on the way. 

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