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Cinelli Pressure review

Verdict:

Bags of potential and a brilliantly ‘Cinelli’ design, the Pressure could do with a wheel upgrade to unlock its full potential

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£3,799
For 
Stiff • Eye-catching • Racy
Against 
Wheelset • Weight

Open mould. It used to be a dirty phrase because it meant carbon product X came out of a mould that anyone could access, and hence it tended to be lower quality. Closed mould, by contrast, meant exclusive. Exclusive meant money, and money meant high levels of quality control and R&D.

Yet as technology has trickled down, open mould components are now often very good in quality terms and near identical in design. It’s hard to defend intellectual property in the Far East, so they say.

The aero-fied Pressure is unashamedly open mould, albeit Cinelli vice-president Fabrizio Aghito says it ‘is a shared project’ with the factory that makes it. Cinelli used its own research to pick this frame from many others on the grounds that its shape was specifically fast, he says.

Cinelli also specified it be built with a more advanced and more costly EPS moulding process – where polystyrene mandrels are used instead of air bladders to give better compaction, higher strength and lower weight.

I’ll accept all of this at face value, and certainly the finish of the frame is quite glorious – when turned, the backside of the fork crown even reveals a little smiley face. A claimed 990g for the frame and 390g for the fork is reasonable for an aero bike, and it’s also wonderfully clean to look at – all cables hidden – with room for 30mm tyres. But after this promising start I suddenly found the Pressure and me in conflict.

Buy the Cinelli Pressure now from Chain Reaction Cycles

Heavy hitter

Whatever else an aero bike is, it needs to be noticeably fast, and in this build the Pressure isn’t. The reason? It is nearly 10kg – and feels it.

Out of the traps, accelerating and climbing, the Pressure felt somewhat anchored and the ride muted and lumpy. So where on earth was the Pressure hiding the kilos? It just had to be the wheels, and lo and behold, shorn of rotors and cassette they weighed in at a staggering 3,197g. The Pressure deserved a wheel swap.

 

Here a few people will groan, because the only wheels I had to hand were DT Swiss ARC 1100s, all 1,472g of them. Done up with 28mm Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres the set weighed 2,092g. Total cost just over £2,200. Of course these wheels would make any bike better, but let’s leave that at the door for now and focus on what the Pressure revealed itself to be.

The frame is a unit at the back, making for the kind of bike you can cause to skip a rear wheel in a sprint if you have a mind to. It’s also stiff up front, with little detectable flex from bars to fork tips.

In this regard it was great fun to go full-gas, and given the bike had dropped over a kilo in weight (down to 8.46kg) the Pressure and I were finally getting to where we wanted to be: fast.

Climbing still didn’t come naturally and geometry was stable if a touch slow on descents. However feedback through the controls was vastly improved by the wheel change, although front shifting still felt heavier than raising a barn.

Buy the Cinelli Pressure now from Chain Reaction Cycles

But that’s often the price you pay for internally routed mechanical systems – all tight angles and long lengths of draggy cable outers – and crucially this mattered little, because the Pressure now felt alive.

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Supply demands

As presented, the Pressure rides like a very average bike. Yet I have to be fair and look at it in the context of the current market situation. Brands and distributors are suffering at the hands of the supply chain and spiralling costs.

The Pressure is priced at £3,800 because that’s what it needs to cost to produce workable margins for its UK retailers, and the parts here such as the wheels and FSA chainset bring the bike in at a certain cost. Better wheels or an Ultegra chainset would add more to the RRP.

 

Then there’s the supply chain. A bike like this comes to the UK as a frameset and is built up by its distributor, so if the latest 8000-series Ultegra levers can’t be sourced older 6800s will have to do. No one in the trade could have foreseen a time when they’d struggle so much to source parts.

Buy the Cinelli Pressure now from Chain Reaction Cycles

There’s one thing that I can’t understand here though: the tyres. These Impac Racepacs weigh 450g each and have a 24tpi carcass – a trolley wheel would be more supple. But in a twist of fate, all’s well that ends well. I’ve just had word from the UK distributor that the tyres will swap to Schwalbe One TLEs at no extra cost.

That’s a huge win for the Pressure and, if my own tyre trials proved anything, will begin to unlock this well-conceived frame’s true potential, making it a real head turner that’s also great fun to ride.

Pick of the kit

Ashmei 3 Season jersey, £198, ashmei.com

This is a real oldie but a goodie. I reckon on this being the 3 Season’s fourth season but the thing still looks and feels new and is still just as strangely warm. I say strangely because the material appears thin yet with a base layer under it the 3 Season feels almost as warm as a softshell, and is water-repellent too.

Ashmei says this is down to the high-density weave, which also gives the jersey its compressive properties – it does have a bit of a wetsuit feel. But it is comfortable and its low bulk, high-weather resistance make it a great spring jersey.

Buy the Ashmei 3 Season jersey now

Alternatively…


Cinelli Nemo Tig Disc

The epitome of modern steel, the Nemo (£2,299 frameset) is made in Italy from Columbus Spirit tubing and possessed of aggressive geometry that can mix it with the best race bikes of any material.

Buy the Cinelli Nemo Tig frameset now from Sigma Sports

Cinelli Superstar Disc

The Superstar (from £2,799) places handling at the forefront. A top tube kink helps keep the frame rigid and predictable under heavy braking forces, while the geometry is billed as ‘Italian racing’.

Buy the Cinelli Superstar Disc 2020 now from Chain Reaction Cycles

Spec

Frame Cinelli Pressure
Groupset   Shimano Ultegra R8000
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 6800 STI levers
Chainset FSA Gossamer
Cassette Shimano 105
Bars Deda Zero2
Stem FSA NS ACR
Seatpost Cinelli Pressure
Saddle Cinelli C-Wing
Wheels Vision Team 30 TLR Disc, Impac Racepac 28mm tyres  
Weight 9.68kg (size medium)
Contact chickencyclekit.co.uk

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

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