Strengths: failry light at 1050 gms for the frame. Complete bike with pedals and cages= 15 lbs 12 oz. Stiff. Smooth. Light, What more could you ask for? OK, maybe that they still made them??? :)
Weaknesses: Not made anymore.
I picked up a very slightly used 2005 TF1 Top Carbon w/ Chorus10 in 2010 for great price. I swapped to R11 and Reynolds DV clinchers. It is unfortunate that these aren't made anymore because they are incredible riding bikes. The frame is very stiff and smooth. The ride feels very similar to Colnagos but maybe a tad quicker. I have 3 Colnagos and they are by far my favorite handling bikes. The TF1 comes very very close in the handling department. The TF1 climbs great (best climbing bike I own) because of the well balanced stiffness. Although it looks like a lugged frame, it is actually a monocoque design. The craftsmanship is superb.
Favorite Ride: Fernwood in SoCal, Left Hand to Ward in Boulder, Skyline Drive in Portland
Similar Products Used: Colnago Extreme C, Colnago C40, Colnago Mix, Fondriest Carb Level, Klein Quantum Race, Kestrel Talon, Tommasini Tecno, Mondonico Futura Leggero, Dean ti El Diente, Gios Torino Professional, Gitane
Bike Setup: Record 11, custom Reynolds DV clinchers with White hubs in front and Record hubs in back, Specialized Shallow Drop SL bars, 3T Team post and stem, SI Kit Carbonio Flow saddle, Look Blades cromo spindle, Fizik tape.
Strengths: Same as for the others here ... stable, smooth, comfortable, light, responsive.
Weaknesses: They don't make them anymore.
This is for a carbon Fondriest TF1 Duo from 2006, the last they made before the company changed hands. It was one of a series of custom frames they made for the Pro Teams they sponsored.
I wasn't even looking to buy this, as I had a nice Colnago CT1 (Titanium), that was my "dream bike". But someone I knew was selling it, and I took it for a 5 minute ride "just to see". I was just amazed by the difference with any of the bikes I'd ridden. Lighter, quicker, smoother yet stiffer, and more responsive and comfortable, so I just had to have it. Climbing is easier because of the stiffness, responsiveness and lightness, and then the descending is reliable and confidence-inspiring. Just find the line, and the bike holds it, Thanks to the comfort and stability, I feel fresher right through to the end of longer 5/6 hour rides. Overall, I'm quicker on all my standard loops.
If they still made these, I'd buy another one .. just to have when this one eventually wears out, perish the thought. Perhaps there are better bikes out there, but I've certainly stopped looking.
Strengths: Handles well on mountains and descents. Very light weight.
Weaknesses: Warranty is worthless, no North American distributor or support.
Fondriest Top Carbon- While I like the bike a lot I cannot recommend it because they do NOT support their 4 year warranty. I have a damaged bike frame that cost $4400 and they won't replace or fix it. Also, they no longer have any North American distribution which is part of the problem.
Similar Products Used: I have ridden Colnago C40, Look Hinault, Specialized carbon, Masi steel, Vitus aluminum,
Bike Setup: Mostly Campy, used FSA compact chainring.
a Recreational Rider
from Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2003
Strengths: Neutral, quick, rock-solid handling. Very low mass. Excellent rigidity at BB and head tube. Outstanding vibration absorption.
Weaknesses: It draws crowds; be prepared to pontificate.
After 4 months and about 3,000 miles on the Fondriest Top Carbon F1, I finally can write what I feel is a fairly accurate review of its qualities. What a positively wonderful machine: the Top Carbon epitomizes light weight, ride quality, handling, stability and beauty in equal proportion.
The carbon weave employed is truly a thing to behold. While the paint of my previous bike ( a Colnago C-40) was undeniably attractive, the sumptuous, almost zebra-striped appearance of the Top Carbon’s fibers shining through its clear coat on a sunny day give one a much more palpable feeling of true industrial art.
I’m a weight weenie, often sacrificing other aspects of the bike to low mass, but in this case I haven’t had to sacrifice a thing: the 56cm F1 is outfitted with Campy Record drivetrain, Campy Hyperon wheels, FSA carbon crankset, Stella Azzurra Tirreno bars and stem, and weighs only 15.6 lbs. I was initially concerned that the ride quality of the bike might suffer with the extremely stiff Hyperons, but I needn’t have worried: the F1 frame tempers the harshness of the wheels to make for an unbelievably quick, yet very comfortable ride.
The true ride qualities of a bike are only brought out in harsh conditions: pavement anomalies, hard climbs, screaming descents, and near-crash panic handling. I’ve encountered all these with the Top Carbon now, and can honestly say I’ve finally found my Dream Bike. I live and ride extensively in the Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, where this summer has seen a multitude of road projects wreak havoc on the local roads. The bike has encountered all the challenges of road-building: tractor-tire ripples in fresh chip-seal, rumble-strip scarps, bunny-hopping broken pavement, etc. with total grace and stability. The frame’s vibration-damping qualities are at par with a C-40, but the F1’s handling and stability far surpass Colnago’s offering.
My favorite rides in the local area are Trail Ridge Road and Mount Evans, both of which provide ample opportunity to test climbing and descending skills. My C-40 disappointed in both respects, with a somewhat flexible bottom bracket and very twitchy descending in the hairpins (primarily due to its 1-inch head tube). This is the arena in which the Top Carbon so clearly outshines the Colnago: the Fondriest is absolutely superior in climbing and descending.
Previous Top Carbon reviews have mentioned dead-stable descending and stability in corners; I absolutely concur. Indeed, I believe the Top Carbon’s neutrality and stability of handling saved my life in a mishap coming down Trail Ridge Road earlier this year. That road has degraded considerably in the downhill corners; constant RV traffic has caused several tight corners to develop standing waves in the pavement due to large-chassis wheel hop. These standing waves can be extremely difficult to spot at certain times of day; they don’t represent a marked contrast to the normal pavement such as would be presented by a pothole. I was riding on the brake hoods, deep into a corner, when I encountered a series of 4 very high standing waves at about 40 miles per hour. One of the previous (NOT Stella Azzurra) stem’s bar-clamp bolts broke, causing the bars to rotate downward almost 90 degrees. This instant, radical change of positioning (I was suddenly looking at the ground directly beneath my front wheel) caused my curvature through the corner to straighten out, propelling me directly toward the outside of the un-guard-railed corner. Despite the fact that I had only a (death)grip on the hoods, I was able to brake the bike to a halt less than 6 inches away from the edge of the road. If I had gone over I would have died from the fall. Throughout this hair-raising episode, the bike’s handling was totally neutral and solid. I believe a lesser machine would have almost certainly resulted in my demise.
To sum up, the Top Carbon IS the Dream Bike. You will have no periods of second-guessing your decision to purchase it.
Bike Setup: Campy Drivetrain, Campy Hyperon wheels, Stella Azzurra Tirreno bars, Viceversa stem, Fizik Aliante saddle
a Road Racer
from Denver, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2002
Strengths: Power transfer, comfort, road feel and tracking. Incredible finish and workmanship.
I just received my new Top Carbon, presumably the second one in the country. The wait was worth it. By far the best bike I have ever ridden. Smooth, powerful and incredible road feel. It is almost impossible to describe how good this bike is, but suffice it to say, there is a huge difference from this bike and all of the carbon frames I have owned! If you like riding your bike, you may never want to get off of this one.