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Fondriest TF2

Editorial Review: Bicycling.com
Self-Help On Two Wheels

This bike will make you want to be a better cyclist. The light, comfortable frame easily handles speeds from cruising to aggressive group rides, while the Italian brand's race-winning pedigree will inspire you to tackle any challenge from a gran fondo to a category upgrade--or even a return to lost racing form.

And with good reason: Company founder Maurizio Fondriest won a world championship at age 23 and Milan-San Remo, in his native Italy, at age 28. In 1992 his brother Francesco started building bikes, and Maurizio started racing on them in 1996. I found myself remaining seated more frequently while climbing on the TF2--a good idea because it encourages you to use your leg muscles more efficiently, helping you ride longer. Though the frame, designed for racing, gave me a long, low position that harkens to Maurizio's winning days, it remained comfortable on long rides. Fondriest says the chainstays are oversized to give a consistent ride feel in turns as they balance braking and torsional forces. The rear wheel is tucked tightly against the seat tube, which has a small cutout to accept the wheel.

The carbon-fiber frame is built in three pieces: The rear triangle, main triangle and bottom bracket are molded separately and bonded together. To keep the bike stiff, Fondriest employs a large BB, tapered steerer and broad fork blades that curve forward. At the rear, the seatstays bow up and out to absorb bumps. A large down tube is paired with a skinnier top tube, both squared to better resist twisting from side to side, while the chain-stays are triangular, stiffening the frame further. I most appreciated the bike's rigid frame when it encouraged me to build my confidence by shooting through corners at a higher speeds than I'm used to.

On one occassion, I slipped off the back of the group ride, which forced me into a long chase and gave me firsthand experience with the bike's performance under a hard effort. The TF2 provided me with a stable platform for chasing at a high cadence and let me fly down hills. Once back in the group the straight-tracking bike let me sit up and recover without fear of wandering into a ditch.

The TF2 is positioned in Fondriest's line as a bike for racing or fast fondos, so cyclists who prefer to take the scenic route may not get the most out of its speed-oriented design. Core racers, on the other hand, may feel that the position isn't quite aggressive enough for top-end performance. But if you're a rider looking for an edge, the TF2 1.0 can bring your riding to a new level and push you to test your limits. And that's pretty much all you can ask of a bike.

Buy It If: You're fast and love to compete, but you don't welcome aches and pains
Forget It If: Your greatest cycling moments happen on fund-raising rides

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