Bikes are what they are but sometimes they have an ingredient that can make them dyno-mite. Case and point. My associate finally assembled his 2005 Masi Gran Corsa Premio. Knowing the type of rider/bike geek that he his, I assisted his build in two ways. 1: Surprised him with a fresh, clean smelling pair of Masi logo'd socks for his hairy feet. 2: Knowing the Shimano 550 wheelset was average that came on it, picked up the phone and ordered a set of FSA RD-400 hoops for his ride. Reason for this, the wheelset has a major role in how the bike rides, right...duh. Well, it's an overlooked item many times during the bike purchase. Overlooked like, lets say rebuilding your hubs annually. Anyway, I got on it today for a spin around the estate. Lets just say the bike rides like one that costs 800 buck more. Shifting was clean with the Ultegra 10spd group. (Who'da thought the with the advances that road bikes have made in the past 20years we'd go back to saying....10spd10spd like tube socks, well not really.) The carbon rear is always welcome. The chainstays are vertically bladed, sort of the verticle flex prevention design, haven't figured out that one. The bike's head tube is a tad tall-ish for a bike of this size. Not a bad thing. Masi has the unique fit/feel still nailed down with this frame geometry. The head tube lends to a comfortable bar position/height were rolling the bike into a corner is super smooth. Not like superbike, whip it down and hang on but with the slightly stiff RD-400 wheels, enter the corner at your given input, roll the apex and the bike is stable at medium speeds as it is at high speeds. FSA has done well at creating a wheelset that can be used for daily training as well as sessioning the local crit/circuit race for BAR points. A slight whirring/resonating sound while spinning reminds you that the turbo is coming up to boost and a gear change isn't far behind. The FSA cartridge bearings are glass smooth compared to the loose ball Shimano set up...which is sort of like stirring a bowl of gravel with a screwdriver by comparison. Shimano's Ultegra hub with the MA3 hoop would be a better assembly, IMOO at this bike's price range. In summary, great bike, compact geometry on the side of semi-compact....man Ullrich's geom looks like his rig is a trials bike with 700s-haha. Masi frame quality is tight and unusally cool that you can lift the bike (56cm frame) off of the ground with one finger under the Masi crest that's located on the top tube and the bike is level/balanced as you hold it, now don't try and throw it into the wood block that the circus lady is standing in front of...Wheelset upgraded to FSA RD-400 is worth the extra 100 bucks retail. A bike that isn't poured from the ladle of kool aid that the rest of the county is drinking, let the word be spread, so it shall be written, so it shall be done.
Until later have a good weekend.