‘Italians did it better’ is a hashtag often claimed by Cicli Corsa on their social media feeds, and when it comes to the exquisite engineering of cycling components, it’s often true. The Stelbel SB/03, dripping with parts from PMP Bike and WR Compositi, is a case in point.
Of course, the only thing missing from this picture is a Campagnolo Super Record EPS gruppo, but the performance of Shimano’s Dura-Ace set is comparable, albeit slightly less bellissimo, so we’ll let it slide. It’s a stunning scene, nonetheless.
Cicli Corsa, purveyors of the finest Italian cycling brands, were the primary catalysts behind the reinstitution of Stelio Belletti’s name as a producer of the finest bespoke bicycles — reinterpreted for a modern age. The SB/03 is the champion of the new range, named because the production version is the third iteration after two working prototypes.
Stelio’s specialty was TIG welding bicycle frames — a first within the industry — and a ground-breaking style of manufacturing that was successful due to his high level of skill with the torch. All models in the lineup are made in this way, the same as it was forty years ago.
If you’ve been lusting after a modern steel Italian thoroughbred, this is it. The SB/03 Disc is primed for the latest innovations in component technology: designed specifically for Di2 and disc brakes, although due to its tailored nature, can be configured for a mechanical groupset and standard caliper brakes.
The aim was to produce a steel race bike that was equivalent to a carbon frame. The oversized rear triangle ensures a rigid rear end, without sacrificing road feedback. With the Italian Alps and the Dolomites as training grounds, it will climb and descend with ultimate confidence.
There’s a tapered head tube up front, clenching a full-carbon 1.5″ Columbus fork that guides a WR Compositi FC42 Clincher wheelset. WR Compositi has been producing high-end carbon automotive and cycling components in Italy since 1992, and their 4-stroke motocross bike is a work of art in itself.
The rims, shod with open tubular Challenge Tires Criterium rubber — and latex tubes — are laced with Sapim CX Ray spokes to PMP K-DISC hubs, which are proudly made in Italy also, with a carbon body and aluminum alloy flange. Needless to say, the rear hub sounds reassuringly efficient.
A PressFit 30 bottom bracket has been incorporated into the SB/03, increasing stiffness and power delivery. Cicli Corsa specified a Deda Superleggero finishing kit, in tune with the rest of the Italian components, along with a striking Fi’z:ik Volta R3 saddle.
The sumptuous paint is a deeper shade of red than rosso corsa, which only makes it more seductive. It seems to be begging for some mountains to play with. Won’t you oblige?