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Basso Diamante Disc review

14 Mar 2022
Verdict:

A brilliantly aggressive and stiff bike that is just a few spec changes away from brilliance

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Stiff • Aggressive • Impressive handling
Against 
Bulky wheels • Overall weight

The Basso Diamante Disc is Basso’s classic race bike. The geometry is aggressive, the frame is stiff, handling sharp and the ride is undeniably firm. These are all hallmarks of an Italian ride, some surprise this bike is also made in Italy from the carbon upwards.

In this spec the Diamante is good, but make a few changes and becomes outstanding.

Basso Diamante Disc frame

In keeping with their Italian roots, Basso’s bikes are classically aggressive, and the Diamante Disc is no stranger. It’s 56cm square (56cm top tube and 56cm seat tube) with parallel, 73.5° steep seat tube and head tube, and long 392mm reach.

The head tube is 155mm and Basso’s own stem is -11°, which means an already low 567mm stack height becomes even lower as the stem points the bars at the floor (most bike stems are +/-6° rise).

• Buy the Basso Diamante SV Disc from Chicken Cycle Kit

 

Without spacers the stem also tessellates with a recess in the head tube, further lowering the front end while making you look exceedingly cool.

Rounding things off are 402mm stays, the shortest I’ve seen on any bike, especially one with discs. To permit this, the frame bears a lovely seat tube scallop that helps bring the rear wheel inbound.

It all adds up to a bike that goes likes the clappers and handles like the proverbial turning of dimes.

Fast and furious

This bike is stiff in the way that the hulls of ferries are stiff. Its chainstays bulge and flare; the front end/down tube/bottom bracket spine runs through the bike like a fence post. 

Given this, the bike’s pedalling efficiency is tremendous, but there are side-effects.

The Diamante is firm. It’s not quite buckeroo on a central reservation firm – Basso has fitted the bike with its 3B elastomer sleeve betwixt seatpost and seat tube, designed to absorb offending road buzz, and has upped tyre clearance to 28mm. Still, this is a bike that challenges any padded shorts to a duel – yet there is an easy win.

These Miche Revox wheels are 38mm deep and weigh 1,674g, and as such they were always going to be found wanting in a frame that Basso claims is 780g. Most problematically, though, their internal rim width is just 17mm. Wheels of the 1900s were wider. 

I therefore decided to swap the Revoxs for a pair of Hunt 44 Aerodynamicists - 44mm deep, a claimed 1,466g and 20mm internal width. That might sound unfair, but this isn’t me stuffing in a pair of hoops that doubles the bike’s price and, quelle surprise, the bike is better. The Miches retail at £986.99, the Hunts are £879.

These wheels were shod with Goodyear Eagle F1s, 28mm and tubeless (comparable to the excellent Schwalbes on the original spec), and the difference was night and day.

The bike lost 200g and gained a vast amount of straight-line speed. But crucially, those 28mm tyres came out at 29.7mm splayed across such wide rim beds, which in volume terms is huge.

With tyres now running at 55psi/60psi the Diamante became almost smooth. Not buttery, but at least jam level.

And another great side-effect was increased cornering grip, which allowed me to exploit the pinpoint handling of this bike more fully. Which is another laudable quality. The Diamante’s short rear triangle, steep head tube and short 985mm wheelbase combine to create a demon of a descender. 

Basso Diamante Disc verdict

If I were a customer I’d change the wheels, but I’d also swap a few other parts to make for a lighter ride. A full Ultegra group – chainset, cassette and rotors – would save around 150g, for example, and a fancier saddle could save the same (see ‘Pick of the kit’, below).

Of course, these changes would cost, but there is one place a mere £20-30 would pay dividends: bar tape. Never underestimate its importance. Here the tape is basic and feels hard and thin, but better-quality tape would enhance ride feel – ergonomically and psychologically – no end.

Right about now Basso and its UK importer are probably hating this review. Yet I’m saying all this because the Diamante frameset is simply brilliant.

I love how it looks (that paint!), how it fits and how it handles. It just needs a smidge more from its spec to unleash its inner superbike.

• Buy the Basso Diamante SV Disc from Chicken Cycle Kit

Pick of the kit

Selle Italia Model X Green Superflow saddle, £44.49

This all-new saddle from Selle Italia is on trend – it’s snub-nosed at 245mm long, has a generous cut-out (that’s the Superflow moniker on Selle Italia saddles) and a hull made from recycled materials, while its construction is apparently ‘glueless’ and therefore more sustainable.

I’ve long been in the Selle Italia saddle camp, and the Model X borrows a sit-bone position and curvature familiar to me from its Flite and SLR saddles (it is 145mm wide), but the snub nose here is just that tad more comfortable, especially when rotating forward in an aero tuck.

At a claimed 315g it’s on the heavy side, and the upper material is supremely grippy in a way some will dislike. As for me, I’m a fan of the upper and I accept the weight given the incredibly keen price. And if you want to get down to 247g, the Novus Boost Evo (which comes with this bike) is a very similar shape and costs an equally fair £75.

• Buy the Selle Italia Model X Green Superflow saddle from Wiggle (£44.49) 

Basso Diamante Disc alternatives

Basso Diamante Disc rim brake

Basso is Italian, and as such it still very much believes disc brakes are for countries where it rains, hence an identikit Diamante is also available with rim brakes (£2,699 frameset).

Basso Diamante SV Disc

The Diamante SV takes the same geometry as the Diamante Disc but gives it an aero facelift and arguably a more compliant ride due to narrower tubes. Tyre clearance goes up to 32mm (£3,899 frameset).



Basso Diamante Disc spec

Frame Basso Diamante Disc
Groupset   Shimano Ultegra R8000
Brakes Shimano Ultegra R8000
Chainset FSA Gossamer Pro
Cassette Shimano 105
Bars Deda Zero alloy
Stem Diamante -11°
Seatpost Basso Curore
Saddle Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Superflow
Wheels Miche Revox RC38, Schwalbe Pro One tyres
Weight 8.6kg (56cm)
Contact bassobikes.com

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

Price: 
£3,099 frameset; £4,699 as built

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