How could we have kidded ourselves so much? The ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing, no one expected the steel Stelbel Antenore to ride to test victory in this group test, with a vamped-up performance capable of rivaling the crème de la crème of today’s carbon bikes.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: What’s the best road bike for Mallorca?

Stelbel Antenore | 7.92 kg | € 7,299

Forget musing over whether steel is still contemporary enough for road bikes, and take heed of its current revival. Custom-made from Columbus XCr stainless steel, each Stelbel takes a full four months to be produced. The Antenore relies on intricate artistry, from the slim, sleek tubes, partially internal and partially external cable routing with golden adjustment caps, the achingly beautiful integration of the seat clamp, right through to the dropouts… This is one purebred Italian steed that’ll have any road cycling aficionado frothing at the mouth.

“The Stelbel carves its own road through the impressive carbon competition, delivering an outstanding performance, a timeless design and tons of lovingly and meticulously crafted features.”

As soon as we hit the tarmac, we confirmed that this Stelbel is just as fast as it is stunning, all fears of excessive comfort from the steel were quickly wiped away. The Antenore was impressively stiff and defined in its handling. The Deda Elementi aluminium cockpit steers with the ultimate precision and agility, giving the rider precise control over direction. With no energy wasted, this bike picks up speeds like a lit firework, even though its weight of 7.92 kg is heavier than the rest of the test fleet. Yet so much stiffness comes with a dark side, sacrificing long-distance comfort, which isn’t helped by the titanium seatpost and steep and straight seatstays. However, switching the seatpost and the bars with a carbon alternative will bring back a decent dose of comfort.

More than any other rim brake in the test fleet, the Campagnolo Super Record brakes impressed with their predictability, tranquility and a sense of refined modulation, enough to quell any talk of disc brakes. On this timeless-looking bike, the Campagnolo Super Record groupset is the ultimate choice both aesthetically and technically. Yet the image of perfection was contradicted somewhat by the rattle of the spokes on the Campagnolo Bora One wheels, serenading vigorous out-of-the-saddle efforts. The hand-made Challenge Strada Pro tires with a 25 mm width delivered an all-round good performance.

Casquette Rapha Classic Cap | Glasses Porsche Design | Jersey Rapha Peace Race Jersey | Baggy Rapha Randonnée Shorts | Shoes Dromarti Race Classic

Including the Chris King headset and custom paint job, the custom-built frame will set you back € 3,150, providing a solid basis for a truly custom bike. The Stelbel proves how staying true to steel and keeping it simple yet expertly delivered can not only create a bike that’s ready for daily grinding, but also a product with longevity. After two or more seasons, no one will accuse this bike of looking ‘old’. The Stelbel carves its own road through the impressive carbon competition, delivering an outstanding performance, a timeless design and tons of lovingly and meticulously crafted features.

The Stelbel Antenore in detail

Drivetrain Campagnolo Super Record, 11spd
Wheelset Campangolo Bora One Dark Label, 50mm
Brakes Campagnolo Super Record
Tires Challenge Strada Pro, 25 mm
Weight 7.92 kg
Price € 7,299
More Info stelbel.it

A marriage of titanium and steel – the transition from the frame to the seatpost has us frothing.
Smooth welded Columbus XCr tubes of perfection.
True quality: the adjustors of the gear cables.
Porno: Tapered Chris King Inset7 headset in the straight steerer tube.
The winning rim brake combination of the group test stems from Campagnolo!
Geometry
Stelbel Antenore

Conclusion

Neither the fastest nor lightest bike on test, the Stelbel Antenore leverages the best all-round concept and it’ll certainly last multiple seasons. It rides brilliantly, comes with a first-rate frame built to measure and a fair price. A modern classic that rides with aplomb, the Stelbel Antenore has style and character en masse – plus it’s a safe investment. What more could you ask for?

Strengths

+ Timeless design
+ Precise handling
+ Custom-made
+ Serious love for details

Weaknesses

– Comfort

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: What’s the best road bike for Mallorca?

All bikes in test: BMC Teammachine SLR01Cannondale SuperSix Evo HiMod Ultegra Di2 DiscCanyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2Cervélo S3 Disc Ultegra Di2Festka Spectre Space Odyssey EditionGiant TCR Advanced Pro DiscHeroïn H1 Limited EditionLapierre Xelius SL 700 UltimateRose X-Lite CDX 8800 | Standert. KreissägeTrek Madone 9.5 Ultegra Di2


This article belongs to the GRAN FONDO Issue #004. For the full interactive experience we recommend reading it in our magazine app for iPhone & iPad – it’s awesome – and free!

Words: Robin Schmitt, Manuel Buck, Benjamin Topf Photos: Julian Mittelstädt, Valentin Rühl