Bike at bedtime: Casati Marte HT

Tonight we celebrate a bike that's a tribute to Italian frame building art… or is it craft (maybe both). Oh yeah, it's got a hole in it

Last night we treated you to a bike with a twist, tonight it’s a bike with a hole – the Casati Marte HT. Like the Carrera Phibra the Marte was a bike that I used to make a point of seeking out at bike shows - after all who doesn’t like a bike with a hole in the top tube (that's a rhetorical question). 

Casati Marte - hole close up

Tonight’s encounter with the Marte HT takes us to Milan Bike Show in 2009. Now that was a show! Not just bicycles but motorbikes too - by the time of our visit the bike bit is down to one hall (but what a hall) and the rest is motorbikes. The next year the bike bit was basically down to one stand (okay it was a big stand - the Shimano stand) but the organisers cunningly  lured myself, Vecchiojo and our then head of… er, getting in to scrapes, TR McGowran by sending out a press release saying that 100 of Italy’s top bike brands would be showing their bikes at the show. They didn’t mention it would be one of each on all the way round the Shimano stand. You live and learn. But I digress…

Casati Marte hole 2.jpg

Truth be told that at one point during the mid-noughties almost every bike on the Casati stand had an extra hole in  - well, every carbon bike anyway. I couldn’t truthfully tell you if they were all Martes, my feeling is they weren’t. By this point in 2009 it was pretty much the Marte HT and though the number of holey bikes had diminished - to my eye at least the hole itself* had definitely increased in size - teardrop in shape and a few (reassuring) centimetres in from the top tube’s junction with the seat tube. 

Casati Marte - alt angle

Okay, okay you want to know what the hole is for. Picture a man shrugging - I’m sure if the Casatis (this was and is a small family business) had a hot marketeer on the team he/she’d have come up with something semi plausible involving the old vertical compliance schtick. I never saw any bold claims – mind you I don’t speak (or read) Italian. Instead I’d like to think it was done simply because they could - a demonstration of their skill as frame builders (Casati have been making frames since 1920 and still are**) and the fact that they knew enough about the material they were working with to stick a conversation piece hole in it confident that it wouldn’t kill, maim or injure whoever bought it. 

Oh, one other reason I’m fairly confident the hole did nothing, this is the bike industry if anyone who knew more than me about how frames work thought it actually bestowed a performance benefit (especially a marketable one) they’d have ripped it off/licensed it or in some way paid homage by making a hole and filling it with silicon… oh, hang on.

*Those two hole pics are a couple of years apart
** We featured their Steel Espresso RS in 2016, if the Casati website is any indication they don't seem to make any bikes with extra holes though I'm sure if you asked nicely…

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

Latest Comments

  • Spokesperson 1 sec ago

    I take it you are white

  • RobD 26 min 7 sec ago

    Haven't most studies determined that SUVs/4x4s are actually less safe in accidents than an equivalent estate or saloon car?

  • nniff 30 min 22 sec ago

    My latest, and most inspired, answer to this is Sainsbury's rich fruit cake with marzipan and icing.  £2.50 for a big block.  Cut up into 14 two...

  • nniff 42 min 45 sec ago

    A lot of this has to do with how hot you run and how hard you're working.  For me, knees come out at 8 degress, with a bit of latitude to around 10...

  • zerolight 52 min 26 sec ago

    Cheers. I'll add it to the list. I'm 61.5cm, but it's long and narrow.

  • fukawitribe 1 hour 10 min ago

    It does measure wind speed, and ground speed so can do some analysis (which is how they perform power estimation afterall) - should be good enough...

  • jaicamp 2 hours 13 min ago

    It's going back under Canyon's 30 day option. Shame - it's a fantastic machine apart from the paintwork

  • Prosper0 11 hours 8 min ago

    A spectacularly ugly bike. 'Jolly tractor' is the right descriptor as honestly it looks like a farm gate....

  • giff77 12 hours 4 min ago

    Not even then. I had footage of me swerving to avoid a collision and the constable wasn't interested. In fact the 'plastic peeler' at the desk...

  • SimonAY 13 hours 10 min ago

    I dont think you'll notice a huge amount of difference in your speed with any of those. Another suggestion would be the Orbea Orca, your budget...