Fondriest TF3 1.2, an Italian-Asian Fusion


TF3 1.2 with Ursus wheels

A bike so verbose, with that much to say loudly about itself, like an Italian, deserved an overblown photo shoot. The Fondriest TF3 1.2 is intended to pop at the next Grand Fondo in a field of otherwise bland domestic brands. An Italian/Asia collaboration, it’s a monocoque carbon frame, and shipped to us spec’d with a Campy/Tiso drivetrain, and an all-Italian kit. Tiso what? Exactly and that’s what this bike is about: getting attention. Like any high end carbon bike, it goes good and comes down to a matter of taste and the flavors you prefer. Put checkboxes next to all these descriptors: stiff, compliant, fast. Choose the TF3 over a boring bike because it’s a Fiat 500 compared to a Nissan Versa. It’s reasonably light, sure, but laid up more for the ride than the weight-weenie’s scale.

In this segment, the one that targets the Grand Fondo market, there’s a homogenization of design from the Italian and Asians. In the various model years, compact cars resemble each other and so do bikes. The TF3 was designed in Italy, laid-up in Asia, and finished/painted in Italy. The paint and all the marketing words indicate how European brands are increasingly partnering with and relying on Asian manufacturers for more than just the factory labor. Shapes and lines like this have been current for 5 + yrs with little new in carbon layup technology. That’s not a bad thing, as this bike has the sex appeal and ride you’d expect, just an observation about what’s current in the market and being imported. What’s definitely good is that the bike buyer has more choices than ever and Fondriest designed the eye-catching Reflex fork in 88. Last year, the junior world-championship road race was won on this frame.

Fondriest with Tiso

Fondriest with Tiso

To the drivetrain, because they’re so refined now, people have drawn lines by which style of shifting they prefer instead of how well they work. SRAM, Shimano, or Campy with some Tiso to me are like a dinner of bratwurst, sushi, or pasta, I don’t prefer one or the other, but appreciate the choices in a wide palate. The cnc’d-derailer from Tiso, is worth a few hours of bike ride talk time with your bros who’ll want to know what it is. It shifts well with a loud, metal crack sound. If you want a distinctive factory bike and components, the Fondriest is it.

Find the Fondriest at a dealer near you, as built up our demo bike costs about $3K.

Every time I post the Fondriest to Instagram, the phone lines light up. Sexy eye candy works online and I expect it will on the road too. Back to the roof shoot, the rest of the photos are lightboxed on G+ and Flickr.

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