Cinelli has reworked the Experience for 2011 with great results. We tested last year’s model for sister magazine Cycling Active and concluded that it was a bit of a lump – a shame because Cinelli is a classic marque with an unparalleled racing heritage.
The redesigned frame weighs 100g less but there’s more to it than that – it has a grace and poise that its predecessor lacked. The old one had the words ‘No Flex Tube’ and ‘Supersection’ on its monster down tube.
Cinelli appears to have got over its identity crisis and has remembered that it is Italian and not Scottish, and that cyclists want a bike with the flavour of espresso not Irn-Bru.
The frame, made of Columbus Airplane 7005 aluminium, comes in either black with yellow, orange and red flashes or a subtler white. Some key features are the neat internal cable routing on both top and down tubes, conical seat tube which is wider at the bottom bracket and narrows to a 27.2mm seatpost, and oversized manipulated chainstays.
It’s Campagnolo Veloce throughout – the latest version of the groupset with the one-piece axle crankset and non-skeleton brakes. The wheels are the new Campagnolo Khamsins – entry level in Campag’s ‘medium profile’ range (‘high profile’ means deep rim and ‘low profile’ means a very shallow rim for climbing) and weighing 1,873g. Bar and stem are naturally by Cinelli.
The Experience is nimble with a smooth ride that feels smoother the faster it goes. The frame is very compact and helps keep the handling feeling neat – it changes direction with the slightest encouragement. The internal cable routing is smartly done and avoids rattles – in fact, one of the enjoyable characteristics of the Experience is that it runs completely silently, even over rough sections.
There’s nothing like a cable constantly slapping against a tube or a shifter buzzing to spoil a ride.
The top tube at 54.5cm was a little short (the next size up wasn’t available), but the new-shape Campag levers extend considerably further than the old stubbier models and a shorter top tube means you can make better use of the ‘third’ hand position of the latest hood shape.
Besides, the smaller size handled so well, and comfort was great with more seatpost out, that if we were buying one, we would probably go for this size and use a slightly longer stem. The head tube at 15cm allows for a higher front end but any higher would be too high.
The latest generation Campagnolo groupsets have excellent braking power, and it was good to see that the new Veloce calipers don’t let the side down. There’s really nothing to fault here.