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We chatted with Massimo Bartolini, president of De Rosa importer Trialtir USA, who pointed us to a couple of De Rosa frames that promise to bring the Italian tradition and geometry to more affordable price levels. The Avant is sold as a complete bike with SRAM Red and a mix of Stella Azzura and FSA components with a Selle Italia saddle and Michelin Pro3 Race tires for $,4500. It’s a basic monocoque carbon bike, built from 6K weave in 5 sloping top tube sizes. Avant frames have a more traditional look with standard seatposts, straight 1-1/8th-inch head tubes, and Italian threaded bottom brackets.
If you want something with more modern features, look to the Merak frame and fork for a BB30 bottom bracket, tapered head tube, and integrated seatmast. The Merak doesn’t change for 2011, except in price. Last year a frame and fork with integrated seatmast would have set you back $4,300. Now it’s $2,700. Hardly inexpensive, but it’s certainly a more reasonable price on the bike that the Fly V Australia team sprinters prefer for its superior stiffness and rigidity. Meraks are available as complete bikes with SRAM Red for $5,000 or Shimano Ultegra for $4,000. They come in seven sloping top tube sizes and three colors.