Cinelli has two distinct flavours to its road bike geometry — the Grand Tour-inspired Supercorsa on its carbon and high-end steel road machines and the steep aggressive geometry of its fixed gear bikes.
In recent years Cinelli’s fixed models have become the most popular brand for fixed-gear criterium racing, such as the Red Hook series. The company’s now opted to take the geometry of the fixed bikes and bring it to a geared road bike.
The Vigorelli has head and seat angles around a degree steeper than your average road bike, 74 degrees for the head tube and 73.5 degrees for the seat, making for sharp, fast handling that borders on twitchy.
The wheelbase is extended slightly by 3mm and the bottom-bracket height raised by 23mm for cornering clearance. On a fixed-gear bike grounding a pedal through a corner can be a problem, as you can’t stop pedalling, but on a standard road bike this means the Vigorelli can be cranked over at some serious angles through a corner.
I also found the confidence to throw the Cinelli into big lean angles thanks to the 28mm Michelin tyres, which add welcome cushioning to the Vigorelli’s firm ride.
Cinelli Vigorelli Road frame and kit
The frame is beautifully finished with a weld quality that is the equal of any premium custom steel bike. The design is interesting, usually if a steel frame has internal routing it’s the rear brake through the top-tube, but here the rear-brake cable-routing is external, with Cinelli internally routing the gear cables through the down-tube with lovely brazed rectangular ports.
Campagnolo is becoming increasingly hard to find on lower priced bikes, but the Vigorelli’s predominantly Centaur drivetrain works with all of the reliable precision we expect from the Italian marque. The reshaped shifters are comfortable, with the shift action sharper than ever.
The stepped-down shape of the button shifters is easy to operate from the hoods or the drops. The Miche chainset isn’t any match for the Campagnolo unit it replaces, but it works very well. It’s nice and stiff and the chainring tooth pattern aids shifting.
The action for the Miche brakes is fine, but performance from the waxy one-piece pads is only acceptable. They lack bite so any attempt at precise braking is lost as you’ll be grabbing fistfuls of brake just to slow down.
Cinelli’s VAI level components are all decent. I like the bar’s shape, the drop is comfortable and the shaped and sculpted top section gives plenty of hand-hold options.
At just shy of 9.5kg the Cinelli is not light, but it doesn’t ride heavy on rolling terrain, and it motors on flat stretches. On long uphill drags, though, the Vigorelli feels ponderous.
I often found myself getting out of the Prologo Kappa saddle to put in a 50m sprint to get the bike up to a speed I’d like, rather than accept the slow way it seems to gain momentum.
The oversized Columbus Thron tubeset belies its fixie roots as this is one stiff machine. The stiffness feels right combined with the purposeful handling, but you can’t get away from the fact that it’s firm. Take the Vigorelli on its own merits and hammer it through bends on smooth roads and it’s as exciting as steel gets.