2013 Sensa road bikes - First look. Sensa велосипеды
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2013 Sensa road bikes – First look
Sensa have only just arrived in the UK, courtesy of Merlin Cycles, but the Dutch brand have been around for 20 years, assembling bikes in Almelo, east Holland. They have a full range of road, mountain, city and cyclocross bikes in their range, and BikeRadar have just had a sneak peek at the 2013 road models.
The Lombardia is built around Sensa’s fourth generation monocoque carbon frame and the carbon fork tapers to 1.5in. The remainder of the bike has a full 105 groupset, finishing kit from Deda and Mavic’s Aksium wheelset. It’s available now for an impressively good value £1,230.
We’ve already tested the 2012 Sensa Giulia, and were impressed with its well designed frameset, which has full internal cable runs and is Di2 ready.
For 2013 Sensa are offering this classy black finish, with internally routed Ultegra Di2 and a £400 upgrade to their carbon and alloy, deep section RC58 clinchers. The bike is priced at just £2,440, making it one of the best value electronic-shifting bikes around.
Sensa giulia di2:
The same frame as the Di2 Giulia, but built up with Shimano’s excellent new Dura-Ace 11-speed groupset and RS wheels. Available for £2,700.
Sensa giulia custom :
The Supremo has an optimised carbon layup, created to save weight over the standard Giulia frame. In fact, it’s lost 200g, bringing it down to a seriously svelte 800g. This version comes with mechanical Ultegra, Deda finishing kit and Mavic Aksiums for £1,770.
Sensa giulia supremo:
This triple-butted, hydroformed aluminium frame is partnered by a cyclocross-specific carbon fork. Running a 105 groupset and cross-specific Shimano CX50 cranks and TRP Promax brakes, the Fermo is available for £880. A higher spec Ultegra version with upgraded wheels is also on the market for £1,130.
Sensa fermo cyclocross bike:
Sensa’s top-spec aluminium road bike features a carbon fork and triple-butted frame. It’s available with a full Tiagra group for £750, full 105 and Mavic Aksiums for £880 or full Shimano Ultegra (the SL Pro) for £999 – great value.
Sensa trentino sl:
For more information see Sensabikes.com or Merlin Cycles.
Sensa Calabria Matt review - Cycling Weekly
The Sensa Calabria Matt is a great looking bike with a really good spec for its price.
Sensa is a Dutch cycle manufacturer that produces an extensive range of road and mountain bikes. Its bikes are sold in the UK by Merlin Cycles who import representatives of its carbon and alloy road ranges, as well as track, time trial and cyclocross bikes. The Sensa Calabria is an aero carbon framed bike and comes equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting. At £2000 it’s great value too.
>>> Shimano Ultegra Di2 review (video)
In fact the value is so good, that we gave the Sensa Calabria the runner up spot in the best value bike category in the 2016 Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year awards.
The Sensa Calabria’s frame features aero section tube profiles. There’s an aero seat tube with a cut-out for the rear wheel. The head tube is overbuilt, aero and had a chunky junction with the aero all-carbon fork. All cables are routed internally, entering the frame at the top of the down tube and top tube and there are full carbon dropouts.
>>> Sensa Umbria review
The Sensa Calabria frame features aero tube profiles
The down tube is also aero profiled and quite substantial, meeting the seat tube at a substantial PF86 bottom bracket shell. The seatstays are aero section too, meeting the top tube some distance below the top of the seat tube. The whole bike is finished in a classy-looking matt black and white colour scheme.
How much faster is an aero bike?
The Sensa Calabria comes equipped with a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, with the battery enclosed in the frame. The chainset is a compact 50/34 and this is paired with an 11-25 cassette, to give quite performance-focused gearing. The Calabria’s use of Ultegra brakes is welcome for their good stopping power.
>>> How to be more aero on your bike
The Sensa comes with a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset
Wheels are Sensa own-brand. They have quite a shallow profile and narrow section, particularly for a bike targeting aero performance. They carry Schwalbe Lugano tyres in 25mm width, which is now common for a bit more compliance and better rolling qualities.
>>> Six things no-one told you about Di2
The rest of the finishing kit is also Sensa own brand, including the aero section alloy bars and aero carbon seat post. The saddle is a San Marco Regale, which I found to be a bit narrow and underpadded for my taste.
The Sensa Calabria feels fast out of the gate and the chunky bottom bracket shell helps ensure that you can propel the bike forward with some urgency, helped by the fast-rolling Schwalbe Lugano tyres and a short wheelbase at 98.2cm for a 53cm frame.
>>> Sensa Fermo cyclocross bike review
With all the bottom bracket stiffness and a relatively light 8.14kg weight, the bike climbs well too despite the 34-25 lowest gear yielding a ratio which is quite high by modern standards. The substantial build also means that the Calabria tracks well through corners and on descents.
Aero seatpost and Selle San Marco saddle
The down-side of the frame’s stiffness though is quite a harsh ride on typical UK roads. There’s a lot of vibration passed through to the bars from typical surface dressed back roads and the bangs from larger holes are passed through to you when you hit them.
This effect is even more pronounced at the rear, where the aero seatpost and narrow saddle provide little comfort from the buffeting. Although bearable for shorter rides, this made any longer excursions on the Calabria an uncomfortable experience. When I found sections of smoother tarmac the Sensa was a lot more comfortable, suggesting that it would be fine to ride further on better surfaced roads.
The price tag of £2000 for a bike equipped with Ultegra Di2 is compelling and the Calabria’s aero frame certainly makes it look purposeful. It’s a bike which stands out from the crowd with its design and colourscheme too.
Super-stiff bottom bracket shell and wide bearing placement lead to great power transfer
It does feel as if compromises have been made elsewhere though to meet the £2000 price tag, with the own-brand components not really looking as if they match up to the quality of the groupset. And although the harsh ride would probably not be too noticeable on the smoother tarmac of its native Holland, it doesn’t make this a good bike for longer rides on UK roads.
For more details visit the Merlin Cycles website.
If you're after a top quality race bike that won't break the bank, then the Sensa Calabria Matt is a great option. With a super-stiff frame and an Ultegra Di2 groupset for two grand it's a good value package, although the ride is pretty harsh over rough British roads
Weight (without pedals):8.14kg/17.95lb
Frame:Monocoque Generation5 - Zero Void Curing - Carbon Fibre - SAF-design
Fork:Supra Full Carbon Monocoque AirFlow 1.5
Shifters:Shimano Ultegra Di2
Front Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra Di2
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra Di2
Chainset:Shimano Ultegra, 50/34
Cassette:Shimano Ultegra, 11-25t
Wheelset:Supra RA Pro
Tyres:Schwalbe Lugano, 25mm
Handlebar:Supra Speed Line Wingshaped, alloy
Stem:Supra Speed Line, alloy
Seatpost:Supra Speed Line aero, carbon
Saddle:San Marco Regale
Sizes:50 – 61cm
Sensa Romagna Special review - BikeRadar
The name may sound Italian, but the Sensa Romagna is Dutch. On the face of it, the £839.99 price tag makes the Sensa look pricey in some budget company, but right now UK distributor Merlin are discounting this bike to £754.99.
Your money buys a beautifully finished hydroformed and double-butted aluminium frame – showroom glitz with smooth welds and neat graphics. The stout head tube, near box-section top tube and chunky down tube area promise a responsive and efficient ride.
For such a large frame the Sensa has a relatively short top tube (57.5cm horizontally) but this is offset by a tiller-like 13cm stem on our 62cm test bike. The head tube is a lofty 21cm.
Any doubts about the geometry were dispelled in the first few miles. The long stem slows down the steering slightly at low speeds, but the faster you ride the more the Romagna likes it. Wind up the speed and the Sensa livens up without ever feeling nervous.
The tall head tube achieves a back-friendly riding position which suits sportives, while the Supra carbon fork keeps the front end tracking accurately, even when cornering hard on rough roads. Comfort is better than expected from such a thick-set frame, too.
Sensa romagna special:
Schwalbe’s Lugano tyres aren’t the lightest or grippiest, but they don’t hold the bike back and we wouldn’t change them until they wear out. Combined with Supra RA Comp wheels, they make for a light wheelset, spinning up to speed well.
Shifting is courtesy of Shimano 105. We’d be happy to see 105 on a bike costing almost twice as much, and though a couple of corners have been cut by fitting Shimano 560 brake callipers and a compact chainset, that’s easy to forgive at this price. Switching between chainrings was swift and reliable, and the brakes perform well.
Although 105 is a step up, the Sensa’s single-minded approach won’t appeal to everyone. There are no mudguard or rack mounts, for example, though you could fit clip-on ’guards. If you’re looking for a fast commuter you may have to look elsewhere, but if you want a quick sportive or race bike, the Sensa is fantastic value.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.