Tommasini Premier Light road test
IRI0 TOMMASINI began making frames in 1948 while he was racing as an amateur. He started his own business in 1957 in his hometown of Grosseto, Italy, which is northwest of Rome.His story so far reads like the origins of several other famous Italian cycle brands, however, Tommasini has chosen to stay small. All frames are totally handmade and production is around 2,000 to 2,500 frames per year. Because of this, you won't see the Tommasini brand being used by a major international pro team and if you buy a Tommasini, you're unlikely to see too many others out on the road.Exclusive TubingI tested a Tommasini Premier Light frame. This frame is made from Columbus bell shaped Altec Two tubing, which has been designed by Tommasini and is exclusively made for them by Columbus. The frame finish is faultless. The engraved Tommasini 'T' on the rear brake bridge and dropouts is a nice Italian touch. Perbaps not quite so stylish but definitely practical, are the brazed-on cable bosses on either side of the headtube. These prevent the cables rubbing on the frame, which invariably happens if the bosses are at their more usual position on the downtube.The test bike was fitted with a Campagnolo Record 10 speed groupset with Atlanta 96 Aero rims and Veloflex Pavè tyres. However, as the bike is sold in Australia as a frame only, this article will concentrate just on the frame.Unique CharacterThe Tommasini Premier Light was one of the stiffest bikes I have ever ridden. The Unicrown forks were extremely stiff in the crown area. There was no flex under heavy braking. There was also no noticeable bottom bracket flex, which allowed the bike to accelerate quickly and transmit power very efficiently. In fact, when riding the bike, it was hard to imagine that this frame weighs just 1,220 grams for a 55 cm size.If anything, I felt this frame was more like a critenum bike than a traditional Italian road bike. There was relatively high ground clearance and a tight wheelbase. In fact there was not quite enough toe clearance for my size 44 foot, but because the overlap was so small, this could easily be over come by dropping my heel in a tight tum. I think the Premier Light would be ideal for a larger or stronger rider who might have trouble with flex in other frames. It would also be well suited to Australian circuit and criterium racing, as well as general road racing. For a longer ride I would like to try standard road wheels because, combined with the deep section wheels, the ride was fairly harsh on bumpy ad road sections. Mind you, the Vuelta Excalibur gel saddle didn't help. Saddles are a personal preference and this one didn't suit me! In conclusion, for around $2,500 retail you will get a very competitively priced, handmade Italian frame and fork. It is ideally suited to Australian racing conditions and is equally at home on a Sunday morning cruise to the cafè.