“True love doesn’t rust”, at least that’s what people say. The traditional Italian brand, Stelbel, take it literally with the Antenore Disc, presenting every stainless-steel lover’s dream come true with the revised version of their road all-rounder. We put the – fatto a mano – steel bike to the test to see what it’s capable of!
If you want to know the future, you must look to the past: it’s 2017 and the GRAN FONDO test crew elect the Stelbel Antenore (review here) – still relying on rim brakes at the time – as the group test winner. Their reasoning? “Although the Stelbel Antenore is neither the fastest nor the lightest race bike in the test field, it offers the best overall concept and renounces the short-lived cycles of the current battle of materials. Its performance is excellent, the workmanship of the frame fantastic, the price fair and the fit always to measure. The Stelbel Antenore is a modern classic. It’s a bike with style and character that doesn’t just deliver but is also a good investment.” However, our conclusion from 2017 left one question unanswered: what more could you want? Stelbel have spent the past year finding an answer to this very question, proud to present the brand new Stelbel Antenore Disc. Our size 58 test bike weighs 8.48 kg and costs € 11,633. What does that get you? Read on to find out.
Details, components, and geometry of the new Stelbel Antenore Disc
According to Stelbel, the Antenore Disc is designed to amaze. The tailor-made frame consisting of high-end Columbus XCr stainless-steel tubing and the increased reliability and power of the disc brakes make this bike stand out. It’s made for all those who want an exclusive product that combines traditional craftsmanship with high performance.
If you want to know more about Stelbel, you should definitely check out our piece titled “Stelbel x Campagnolo – An Italian love story of Artisans and Pioneers”. You might ask yourself: what makes the Antenore stand out from the other bikes in Stelbel’s portfolio? It is a tribute to Antenore Belletti, Stelio’s father, and the frame builders’ rich history. Stelbel rely on stainless steel for the frame of the Antenore. This material was chosen to honour the best teacher Stelio could hope for – Antenore Belletti. He was one of the first to experiment with TIG welding these special steel alloys.
The Antenore Disc is the latest development of the range made of XCr stainless steel – a high-end material whose workmanship requires very skilful hands, but which offers incredible performance. For the 3rd generation of the bike, Stelbel have given the Antenore Disc numerous upgrades to bring it up to date: the flat-mount disc brakes are a perfect match for the frame material and the use of thru-axles helps reduce lateral flex in the overall system. The non-tapered chainstays with their oval cross-section are a characteristic feature of modern Stelbel frames, and the Antenore is no exception. The specially developed chainstays have an oval cross-section of 30 x 20 mm. The Antenore Disc features redesigned rear dropouts that are CNC machined from a single block of steel, making the frame lighter and stiffer. This leads to improved braking performance and ensures perfect alignment of the wheel and calliper.
The cable routing of the mechanical drivetrain is partially internal, whereas the cables of the electronic option are internally routed almost throughout. The tension of the shifter cables can be adjusted thanks to the inline adjusters of the stainless-steel cable guides on the down tube. The cables are routed externally around the stainless-steel T47 bottom bracket housing, while the shifter cable for the derailleur is routed internally through the drive-side chainstay. The rear brake line is routed internally through the down tube and then through the chainstay. You can get internal cable routing for a mechanical drivetrain on request. If you decide to go for electronic shifting, you can even have the cables completely hidden with cable routing going through the stem, head tube and frame.
Key features at a glance
- T47 bottom bracket – stiffer and more durable
- new head tube, which is even lighter
- optimised chainstays
- rear calliper mount and dropout are machined from one piece: stiffer, lighter and super accurate tolerances
- skinnier 27.2 mm seat post for improved comfort
The geometry of the Antenore Disc is completely custom, and the frame can be adapted for mechanical, electronic or wireless groupsets. The third-generation Antenore on test is also available in a version with rim brakes. Like all Stelbel bikes, the frame is entirely handmade in Italy. #fattoamano
Stelbel rely on proven components: for the shifting and braking, the Italian frame builders rely on the Campagnolo Super Record 12V EPS V4 DB groupset with 172.5 mm cranks, a 52/36 t chainset and 11–34 t cassette. The brakes are paired with a 160 mm rotor up front and a 140 mm version at the rear. Other components, such as the 120 mm Deda Superleggero stem, 440 mm Deda Superleggero handlebar and Deda Superleggero RS seat post with a 25 mm setback are all colour-matched to the frame, integrating seamlessly with the bike’s exclusive look! However, caution should be exercised when adjusting the seat post height: the glossy paint scratches quite easily. The Campagnolo Bora WTO Ultra 45 DB wheelset is stylishly combined with 700 x 30C Pirelli P-ZERO Race TLR tires. All in all, it’s an absolutely coherent build!
The Stelbel Antenore Disc in review
The Antenore remains good-natured and comfortable even as it glides over rough surfaces such as broken asphalt or poorly maintained roads in the hinterland. A small pothole: a quick swerve – the Stelbel is super composed, but it’s always ready to manoeuvre. Overall, the handling strikes a good balance between stability and agility. Due to the long stem, you have a lot of weight on the front wheel, allowing you to corner aggressively and navigate tight bends if necessary. The combination of sportiness and touring capability is best compared to a touring car and we’re big fans!
You can win the home-stretch sprint aboard the Stelbel, but if you’re serious about racing, you will want a stiffer, quicker accelerating bike. Due to the custom design, the geometry is usually perfectly adapted to the rider, and you’ve got some leeway in your dialogue with the manufacturer. Long reach and short head tube for an even more aggressive stance or a more compact and somewhat upright riding position to be better able to take in your surroundings? You choose!
Our conclusion on the Stelbel Antenore Disc
The Stelbel Antenore Disc is a piece of hand-made Italian craftsmanship that you can own and enjoy. It combines modern features with decades of tradition and the handling strikes a good balance between composure and agility. If you want an exclusive, long-distance, all-round bike with character and custom geometry, you will find it here. Priced at € 4,290, the bespoke Stelbel Antenore will never be a bike for the masses, and that’s a good thing. Long live the Italian stallion!
- excellently coordinated spec
- custom-made, stainless-steel frame
- generous tire clearance
- good vibration damping
- no flyweight
- best to adjust the seat post height just once
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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf