Strengths: Great handling, fairly light, excellent power transfer.
Weaknesses: Fondriest the original company is OOB. New Fondriest company doesn't have anything to do with original. Not made anymore.
I've had this bike longer than any of my others. I really enjoy it! It is "old" technology when considering all the latest carbon and Ti stuff out there, but when it first came out, it was on the cutting edge of technology. Made of Dedacciai U2 tubes but at a thicker gauge and re-designated U107 with carbon seatstays and a Mizuno full carbon fork. The BB area has CNC'ed chainstays which look way cool, although I admit I don't know how or if it really affects the vibration damping or stiffness.
OK so about the ride! My Carb Level rides about as well as any other bike I have ridden. I like my Ext C and TF1 better but it may have more to do with aesthetics than anything else. While I frequently state in my posts or reviews that Colnagos are the best handling bikes I have ever ridden, I will say that Fondriests are the second best. They are GREAT handling bikes! Both my Carb Level and TF1 inspire confidence in the descents. The reason, I say the Colnagos handle better is because I feel more confident leaning the bike to steeper angles. The CL is just a tad quicker handling. This bike climbs extremely well and is smooth for an AL bike. I have a Klein Quantum Race, and although not as stiff as that bike, the CL is more comfortable and climbs just as well.
Currently, I use this as my winter/wet weather bike and commuter with fenders and lights on it. Because I use it as my commuter, it gets the most miles than the rest of my bikes and I never feel it lacking any performance characteristic. I think this wass one of the best AL bikes made. Too bad that AL has lost some its luster because when you put this up against the rest, it holds its own. I can say that other bikes are better at one thing or another, but really, when the CL trails, it doesn't trail far behind. If you get a chance to pick up a used Carb Level at a good price, I highly recommend jumping on it!
Bike Setup: Campy Proton wheels, '08 Centaur group, Vred Tricomps, Ritchey WCS stem, Ritchey AL bars, Thomsen post, SI Prolink
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2007
Strengths: Keep going up even if you say you can't.It also can sprint like a cheetah on two wheels.
Weaknesses: Rubbery paint job is bit hard to clean after each ride,but nothing is perfect!
I must say before I took the big step from Columbus steel frame onto Dedaccia U2 aluminum was a struggle.Especially a sloping frame design come into play it was another variable.But,after a year of riding the Carb Level up my favorite mountain roads and pushing it on the straight flat tarmac I realized it is a much better built machine.Not saying I don't like steel anymore,it's the magic a Carb Level displayed that I can't stop riding it.
Similar Products Used: Colnago C40,De Rosa Professional SLX,Atala Professionisti,Colnago Custom Time Trail bike,De Rosa Merak,etc....
Bike Setup: Campagnolo Chorus shifters,Centaur brake calipers and rear derailleur,Record front derailleur,crankset,Time pedals,Fizik saddle,Campagnolo Neucleon tubular wheelset,Deda Newton stem and bars.
Strengths: Black matte paint, stability, spinning, grinding, sprinting. Nice short chainstays. Perfect geometry makes it feel as if it was built for me.
Weaknesses: Clamp on front derailleur, hard to find 28mm clamp. Didn't buy one sooner.
Status Deda EOM 16.5 w/ carbon seatstays. Very responsive and comfortable frame. Seems to lunge forward constantly. Feels at home grinding fast downhill, powering up steep climbs, or spinning up long drags. Nice tight rear triangle for excellent sprinting. This frame negates my need to slide for/aft on saddle to maintain comfort.
Stoudt fork for good/stable hard cornering.
The faster you go, the more "at-home" the bike feels.
The best steel I've ever ridden.
Wow! What a bike. Glued to the road and very solid feeling, yet always seems to want to go faster. On my first ride I set a record time on my usual fast loop. Feels like steel but with more "jump". And hills...
Of course the graphics (on the Monumental SAT) are spectacular as well. The finish looks like that of a custom bike. Very nicely detailed and finished.
Would agree with someone who reviewed another Fondriest---this is a bike that makes it easy to clear out the garage... as it does everything you need a road bike to do. Other bikes suffer by comparison.
Similar Products Used: Serotta, Colnago, Look and ti Holland, as well as others.
Bike Setup: Came to me with Shimano 10 spd 105 gruppo and FSA crank, as well as Easton Circuits.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: March 27, 2007
Strengths: Handling, Balanced, Stiff, and the Road feel is awesome. I have expierenced none better. A GREAT deal at $550 for a new frame and fork as original retail was $2699, which I think it is worth.
Weaknesses: Only that Fondriest is no longer distriubted in the U.S., and this frame is no longer made. I hope this one last a long time, as I will have to make a trip to Europe to buy my next Fondriest.
After an exhaustive search to find this frame, I finally found a NOS frame at ATA Cycle in Boston. It was worth the wait. Wow! I have been riding a long time and I am not sure what perfect frame would ride like, but so far this is as close to perfect as I have found. The bike is light, stiff, balanced, and geometry and handling is dead on. The bike road feel is like the best carbon and soaks up bumps and road noise with amazing ability. It is tight with no rattles of any kind. Just solid. The Carb Levelfeels like an extension of your body. It climbs great, and corners like a dream. I built up as durable daily bike and weight comes in at 17.5 lbs, which is dead on for a good solid road bike. I was worried when I sold my Lemond as I was very happy with it, but after one ride I was like Lemond who? I am still in awe each time I ride.
Bike Setup: Campy Chorus 10 spd Shifters
Campy Record Ti-steel Cassette
Campy Record Chain
Campy Record Brakes
FSA ISIS Carbon Cranks 53/39
Token Scandium BB
Fulcrum Racing Evo 5 Wheels
Fizik Arione Saddle
Specialized Carbon Post
Ritchy 4 Axis WCS Stem
3T Less Bars
Speedplay Zero ChroMo Pedals