Svelte Cycles without comproise

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Javelin Cortina.

It seems many of the best things in cycling come from Italy and the Javelin Cortina paired with its Campagnolo Super Record gruppo is no exception.

Though I do not agree with the choice of fork, handlebar, seatpost, cables and housing and even watter bottle cages these components are not the reason my good friends at Javelin so generously sent me this amazing machine to test ride.

Sorto, You rock my world. Un abraccio mi hom. The Cortina frame itself was splendid and offered true craftsmanship and quality. This honey-comb carbon tubed frame looks monocoque but it is not. Each tube is designed on par with its frames size then hand wrapped together at the joints producing a frame very close to 850 grams. I was amazed at how stiff and solid the Cortina felt for such a featherweight frame.

The rear end of the Cortina is something wonderful. Not only does it ride smooth, stiff, planted and responsive, it is strikingly pleasant to the eye and the "fatto in italia" craftsmanship and design through out is glaringly obvious. Top notch work.

Though very light, I would not be as confident that these bottle cages will hold a 20 oz bottle better than an Arundel cage... of course I am biased though! Note the gorgeous round tubes leading seamlessly into the robust yet not obnoxiously beefy bottom bracket shell.

Look closely to see the little bridge where the seat stays grow from the bottom bracket. I am sure this very minor fixture pays off large dividends keeping the rear triangle stiff and responsive.

A stunning seat stay from Javelin. The rear end of the Cortina feels amazingly grounded, solid and smooth. I'm sure this well designed bridge has something to do with that.

The Cortina makes those little glances back at the rear triangle while riding a real treat. They give me the same sensations as when I looked in the door rear view mirror when driving my M-Coupe of yore and seeing those wide, bold and confidence inspiring wheel wells. It's the little pleasures that make the big differences you know?

Fetching dropouts. These are made from a lightweight alloy which are epoxied into the frame.

Note the sweet carbon front derailleur clamp from Parlee. Utilizing a carbon clamp on a carbon frame makes it possible for only the meatiest of meat fisted mechanics to over tighten the front derailleur clamp and damage the seat tube. In fact, I would be willing to bet that Parlee designed this clamp to fail before a seatube would in said circumstance. Bob? Are you reading this?

I have "issues" with anything that gets filed under the weight weenie category and this little number from Schmolke was no exception. The carbon post is impossibly thin, the cradle offers no setback and the clamp design itself does not instill confidence. Lets just say were this my bike, I would have mounted a nice Campagnolo Record seatpost.

What is the worst that can happen when you snap a seatpost? Can't hurt too bad right?

Gorgeous and understated graphics from Javelin. Very well done and hits all my aesthetic pleasure buttons with authority.

The Zero fork is soft enough as to set itself drastically apart from the amazingly stiff charactaristics of the Cortina frame. Also, its finish does not match that of the Cortinas. Were this my bike I would install a nice, rock solid fork from Edge which would not only match the Cortina frame but more importantly (?) offer a more consistent feel on the bike throughout.

Nokon cables... I have never heard anyone complain about a nice set of Campagnolo cables and housing. Were this my bike I would have kept everything stock and proper with the Campagnolo cable kit and used the leftover cash on a trip to the cinema.

Ahhh. The new Campanolo hoods. The redesigned spacious and curvacious mold lends itself perfectly to my wide and long hands. Thank you Campagnolo. You are now back on par with SRAMs Double Tap ergonomics. With regards to the rest of the Super Record gruppo, it was everything I expected it to be... simply superb. Crisp, clean shifts mated with gorgeous design and the always refreshingly brilliant stiff and smooth crank and bottom bracket assembly.

More from Schmolke. With these bars there is simply no room to comfortably place your hands when riding in the drops. Also, would it have been so hard to put a little grid on the center of the bar to make accurate side to side mounting simpler? On a more positive note the bars sure felt light when rolling along at 25mph with my hands on the tops and I looked uber-cool while doing so.

In house wheels from Javelin under their "Zero" brand. I love the fact that you can true these wheels without removing the tire. Crisp, clean graphics, light, nimble... good wheels. The front wheel did feel slightly soft and flexy but those sensation may have come from the limp fork.

Italia. Ti voglio bene. The Javelin Cortina frame and Campagnolo Super Record struck me as amazing. Complimenti.

If you would like for me to build you a Cortina according to Svelte Cycles specs, please give me a call or drop me a line. The Cortina frame alone costs around $12k.

Justin Spinelli
603 943-4202


Anonymous said...

12K... yikes.

Anonymous said...

12k? same frame from FRM italy is only $3600. what gives? check it out.

Svelte Cycles - Product Reviews said...

overseas competition is very difficult to deal with. this is why i will be focusing on usa manufacturers in the near future.