By Colin Dennis
RRP: From £3595
Sizes: 50 52 54 56 58
Size tested: 56
First impressions count, and if we did the whole star-rating thing at Cycle Reviewer the Dassi Road bike would simply go Super-Nova. The cockpit position and reach alone felt perfect and allowed me to easily hang comfortably onto the drops to speed off and make the most of this lightweight thoroughbred at every oportunity.
Italian flair, Far East know-how, or good-old British tenacity?
The word Dassi sounds a lot like Italian, but I’m assured it isn’t. Dassi is as home-grown as the people who created the brand – if you get my drift. It is an exotic name though and one which sits well with the bike.
How much can you tell from a 35 mile bike ride though? Put it this way, those 35 miles are probably the quickest and most comfortably ridden miles that I can remember. We hope to get the Dassi Road bike back in December when we can give the bike a more thorough testing. But just like when you first met your girlfriend’s parents – you only get one go to make a good impression, and that’s exactly what the Dassi Road bike has done. Feet well under the table, as they say.
The sweetest thing
But the Dassi Road certainly moves quicker than any angry father! It sweeps along the road with the comfort of an endurance bike but enjoys the handling and performance of a pro-peloton machine. Cold-cutting engineering efficiency blends this bike together with a composed maturity beyond its years, plus the sweetest handling and enjoyment-factor that I could wish for – yep! I worked all that out in just a single two hour ride. To be completely honest, the Dassi Road summed it all up for me during the first few miles - such is the ride quality. Comfort and speed – perfect riding partners!
But there’s an awful lot more to Dassi than just great performing road bikes. There is the whole Dassi experience of ownership and customer involvement that could be very hard to find with much larger bike companies. Customers looking to spend their hard-earned looking for the right bike often look beyond what is hanging up with all the rest at the local bike shop.
You can spend an awful lot of money riding what a lot of other people are using, nothing wrong in that, you could argue that that option offers riders a level playing field when riding the same bike. But who really wants that when it comes to a sport that thrives on passion? Cycling is often about so much more. Isn't that why we do it?
The cutting edge
Individuality is paramount with Dassi bikes, it’s what helps to set them apart from the mainstream, but Dassi aren’t swimming against the stream, they are at the vanguard of carbon fibre development in the UK and soon you will be able to have your own UK made bike: frame, forks, wheels, bars, stem, and whatever component Dassi can grow – that’s right, grow! More to follow on this concept as I get my head around it.
Sitting in the deep leather chair as I listened intently to the mastermind behind Dassi Bikes, Stuart Abbott. Stuart's passion and self-belief in his work and bikes is almost palpable. The smell of the strong coffee steaming away in front of me probably helped, but I was already seduced by the many bikes and frames either standing on the carpet or hanging from the rafters. Especially the Jackson Pollock finish on the Aero Road bike that I’d first seen on the YellowJersey insurance stand at this year’s NEC show – the very same one that I had now come to collect.
First impressions are lasting impressions
There is something akin to child-like glee when you first throw your leg over a bike that you’ve seen and wondered if you’ll ever get to ride. One phone call to Simon Lythgoe at YellowJersey and he was able to put me in touch with Stuart at Dassi.
Our test bike, as I mentioned, was the display model from the NEC and is decked-out in full Campagnolo Record running gear. It's the mechanical version, but all Dassi bikes are ESP and Di2 ready. Campagnolo is still the choice of many discerning riders and there's a feel of quality to the shifting that only those who have experienced top-end Campag can appreciate. Campagnolo wears in - not out, as they say.
This variation of the Dassi Road will set you back around the six grand mark, but it feels worthy of every penny - even down to the Schwalbe Ultremo tyres, nothing is left to chance. It's cherry-picking at its ripest.
Back to the future
Stuart’s background is in aeronautical engineering, and twenty years’ experience at Rolls Royce taught him that when you are developing new technologies and techniques at the highest level – there is no second chance – bit like the girl friends parents thing again but with much tighter tolerances.
I listen to Stuart extolling the virtues of carbon fibre and what the future will hold for Dassi Bikes. The frames are currently still made in the Far East, but that’s due to change next year. In conjunction with the formula one industry, Dassi are in the process of developing their own carbon fibre moulds in which to craft their very own UK-made carbon frames and components. There’s some other, very interesting developments that exist now and can be used in repairing carbon frames, but more of that in the next episode of the Dassi Road bike experience.
Roll on December is all I can say!