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Cinelli introduces its Columbus XCr stainless steel road frame

By Matt Pacocha

Cinelli XCr: The stainless Cinelli.

Cinelli XCr: The stainless Cinelli.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

Cinelli’s XCr frame is an interesting experiment that mashes together classic steel bicycle frame craftsmanship with new world technology.

From the classy side, the XCr features its choice of steel for a material, exquisite Italian welding and craftsmanship, not to mention, a classy design — including the seatstay-integrated seat post clamp.

These features are juxtaposed by the incorporation of, arguably, the industry’s most advanced steel alloy, a progressive BB30 bottom bracket design and an integrated headset.

The result, though not cheap, has an interesting, contradictory, alluring draw. One thing is certain: we’re not sure what type of customer is going to be attracted to this frame; like the frame itself, it’s ideal customer could be a mix of old school connoisseurs and cutting-edge techies.

Cinelli XCr: The seatstays incorporate an elegant old world style seat post clamp.

Cinelli XCr: The seatstays incorporate an elegant old world style seat post clamp.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

The Cinelli XCr is built from Columbus’ XCr stainless steel tubeset. It’s the most expensive steel tubeset in the world, but it’s also the only seamless stainless steel tubeset available; Reynolds’ 953 is a welded tube.

The biphasic martensitic seamless tubes are manufactured with high quantities of chromium, molybdenum and nickel to enhance its strength and resistance to cracking, especially during welding.

The properties of the metal give it a high strength to weight ratio and allow tubing sections as thin as 0.4mm. Besides its strength advantage over other metals, XCr stainless steel is corrosion resistant. Columbus offers butted and double-butted tubes for the entire tubeset. It also offers a broad range of complementary stainless components, including the integrated cups and BB30 bottom bracket shell found on Cinelli’s XCr. Last year the Cinelli XCr won an award from Germany’s International Forum of Design.

Cinelli XCr: The stock XCr comes with an integrated headset.

Cinelli XCr: The stock XCr comes with an integrated headset.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

As you’d expect, using the world’s most expensive steel tubeset — and welding it in Italy, no less — doesn’t produce an economically priced frame. Cinelli’s XCr costs $4,600 in its stock configuration. Cinelli does include headset bearings and a new Columbus carbon fork designed specifically for the XCr. The carbon fork has traditional curved blades that Cinelli believes better fits with the XCr’s aesthetic. The fork weighs just 350 grams and is claimed to be the lightest fork Columbus has ever produced. Other details including the frame’s high polish finish, laser etched graphics and titanium head tube badge highlight the ‘spare no expense’ attitude of the XCr.

Cinelli XCr: The XCr is the first steel bike we’ve seen that incorporates the BB30 bottom bracket design.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

A mid-sized, 53cm, XCr frame weighs a claimed 1420 grams. Cinelli offers five stock sizes and, for a $500 up-charge, full custom geometry. At $5,100, Cinelli includes customization not only of the geometry and sizing, but all of the frame’s traits, so a traditional threaded bottom bracket, traditional head tube or even an integrated seat mast are within the scope of a custom project. Oh, and they’ll air ship it from Italy when it’s done, at no extra charge.

One thing is for sure, Cinelli’s XCr offers an interesting alternative to the current carbon trend that’s just as expensive, but guaranteed to be a unique addition to your local group ride.

Cinelli frames are distributed by BTI in the U.S. More information can be found at cinelli-usa.com

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