Strengths: Ride characteristics. Stiff, supple, compliant, agile, quick....what more can I say. This is such a terrific "do-it-all" bike that I cannot recommend more highly.
Weaknesses: Odd sized seatpost.
Wanted to upgrade from my '87 Paramount (which isn't really possible) to something lighter. But, wanted to stay with the wonderful ride provided by steel. Purchased this as a closeout '02 model. 54cm from Columbus Niva OR. Internal rust-proof coating from the facotry, Scapin seatpost and Advanced Composites fork with alloy stem. All for $700 (50% off). Excellent, clean welds. Definitely fabricated by a craftsman. Paint is of excellent quality. One pinhead sized chip in ~6K miles. Rear dropouts are not flaking. Very light and very stiff. Just what I wanted. And, at 200 pounds it doesn't seem to mind at all. I ride about 4500 miles per year. Odd sized seat-tube limits choice of seatposts, though. Too many stick-on badges, etc. So I've peeled off all but the headtube badge. Much cleaner looking. Awesome bike. I was going to sell when I bought a Ti frameset, but is such a nice handling/riding bike that I put a new Centaur group on and use as my 'flatland' ride. Just a great bike!!!
Similar Products Used: Lugged Paramount, Colnago Mexico (Italian built), Vitus 959, Serotta Rosse, Trek 770, Nishiki International 800.
Bike Setup: Full '03 Centaur 10-speed double with a Chorus right-hand shifter, Phil Wood alloy BB, Chris King headset, Thomson stem, Ksyrium Elite wheels, Connex chain.
a Road Racer
from Mexico City, Mexico
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2002
Strengths: Very comfortable, can be ridden on the dodgiest roads all day without problems. Excellent climber/sprinter, just wants you to go faster and faster. Seems indestructible. Beautiful paint job (you can see why Gary Fisher copied the colour scheme!). Got a good deal on this semi-new, wouldn't buy a used Al. frame in my wildest dreams.
Weaknesses: Paint is a little fragile, in an uncommon way, maybe because it is so hard - almost impossible to scratch in the middle of a tube, but areas like dropouts and bottom bracket suffer from flaking.
It might be a little heavy compared to a U2 tubed bike or whatever, but to be honest I neither like nor trust Al. frames, and built this comes up lighter than the majority of Al. bikes. So there!
This one is from '99, or thereabouts, it is lugged with Columbus Max, and doesn't have the asymmetric tail, paint uses the AWP system in the red / yellow / black scheme, same as was used by the Ballan team. Classic Italian workmanship and aesthetics. Solid.
Similar Products Used: Fat Chance Yo Eddy (similar ride quality)
Bike Setup: Record 10sp./ Chorus / Daytona / Athena mix, Ouzo Pro, Reflex 28H rims, DT Revo / Comp, Time Mag, Pa
a Recreational Rider
from Perth, WA, Australia
Date Reviewed: August 22, 2001
Strengths: Pleasurable riding experience. Quality of engineering, build, and finish. Great looks (color just like shown on the 'slooping' model). Weight 9kg ready to ride.
Weaknesses: Comes with matt finish paint, had mine clear-coated. Price.
I'm a 57 year old clydesdale class who rides 200-300 km/wk. The most important factor in a bike to me is comfort on long rides. The geometry is 53x54.5 which fits my short legs/long torso body very well.
The build quality and ride is comparable to my Waterford and much better than the Colnago which I found somewhat harsh and crude in comparison.
The FOCO tubing frame is very light but stiff. There's no derailleur rub on steep out of the saddle climbs. Although the bike is very responsive it's not twitchy at all. It's closer to the Waterford than the Colnago in that regard.
The trick engineering bits like the assymetrical chain stays and 'Geoide shaped' down tube are nice. The welds and paint are perfect. The local frame builder who did some of the prep on the frame said it was the best quality Italian frame he'd seen.
In many ways the Scapin is at the opposite end of the steel bike spectrum from the Waterford: tig welded/Silver brazed lugs, fancy tubing shapes/round tubes, modern graphics paint/silver & red pin stripes, not well-known/long tradition. It's like a modern vs. traditional bike. However the ride experience is similar with the Scapin perhaps a bit more agile.
This bike is great on long rides, climbs without much flex and is confidence inspiring on descents. It's been a total joy so far.