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Thompson Capella Carbon Disc review

28 Mar 2017
Verdict:

Fast, stable, comfortable and in just about any colour you can think of

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£2,879
For 
Fast and stable, wide customisation options, very comfortable
Against 
Tyres not the best on grime-covered roads, harsh fork, minor problem of toe overlap

We would be willing to bet that most people, including many hardcore cyclists, will not have heard of Thompson bikes – not to be confused with American company Thomson (no P), which makes finishing kit.

But while the Belgian family-run business isn’t well known in Britain, its history stretches back to 1921 and nearly a century later is now starting to spread its wings.

The Capella is available as either a disc or rim brake frameset, with our test bike fitted with discs. While they are fast becoming the norm on road bikes, it is still relatively rare to see a bike with race-inspired geometry, such as this one, fitted with them.

First impressions are positive, with a much more comfortable ride than we expected. The rear end is especially smooth while also being very responsive to sprints or high-power efforts.

The Novatec wheels are decent all-rounders and perfect for year-round use but at 1,900g for the pair, there is certainly room to upgrade and drop some weight.

The rims are also tubeless-ready, so it was a little disappointing not to have our test bike supplied with tubeless tyres.

That said, the supplied Schwalbe One tyres are fast and light, even if they lack a little grip on typically grimy winter roads.

Handy on the hills

While the Capella does carry a little more weight than many of its immediate rivals, it doesn’t feel any slower on the climbs, with a comfortable cockpit and sensible gearing.

And when the gradient flips from upwards to downwards, it transforms into a bike that just loves to go fast, helped by stable, confidence-inspiring handling.

The Shimano disc brakes are fantastic, adding to that feeling. One of the big selling points for Thompson is the option to choose your frame colours – included as standard in the pricing.

With thousands of combinations, it would be easy to create something unique or simply dress it in your favourite colours.

There are a few small issues, such as a bit of toe overlap experienced by our tester when his toe hit the front wheel, on tight turns at slower speeds.

The beefy carbon chainstays also cause the chain to rattle on rougher roads. But, these don’t really affect the overall performance. This is a joy to ride. 

Ratings

Frame 9/10; Components 9/10; Wheels 9/10; The ride 9/10

Verdict: The Thompson Capella is a revelation, with a fast and comfortable back end and geometry that makes it both very fast but also stable through the fastest of bends. With customisable colour frame hand-painted in Belgium, it offers the chance to own something truly unique.

Spec

Frame Monocoque HM Carbon 3K, full carbon disc fork
Groupset Shimano Ultegra 6800
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 6800
Chainset Shimano Ultegra 6800, 50/34
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-28
Bars TRC Evo
Stem TRC Evo
Seatpost TRC Evo
Saddle Fizik Arione
Wheels Novatec Thirty
Weight 8.6kg (54cm)
Contact thompson.be

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