In a couple of low-key presentations Italian bike maker DeRosa has just debuted a major overhaul of their premier carbon road race machine – the Protos. Mostly know for its giant downtube and resulting stiffness and precise handling, the new bike mostly carries that over, but refines the bike with some subtle updates that make it more slippery in the wind and an improved carbon blend and layup that are said to reduce the sub 1kg bike by another 20%. The New Protos will take the top spot in their road line-up this year and is being raced by Italian Pro Conti team in a eye-searing orange bike that will also be available to consumers…
In fact to introduce the new Protos, DeRosa Bike opened up their factory to the local public just before the end of 2016 so that fans could get a hands-on look at the new bike and where it has been designed and crafted.
After two years of development, the new bike gets a more complicated carbon construction to optimize its stiffness to weight ratio. Stiffness was a key trait of the previous generation of the bike, so that carries over, but with a new mix of 4 types of various moduli of carbon DeRosa is able to keep the same performance with a claimed 20% reduction in frame weight.
The new material – dubbed CM63 – mixes ultra-high modulus carbon fibers on down to create a balance of stiffness and comfort designed to suit everyone from the pro racer to the amateur cycling enthusiast.
With the new frame design come some aero optimizations, including a aero foil shaped headtube, a dropped smooth transition from the wide-set fork blades to the downtube, a Kamm tail -style aero seattube with a small cutout for the rear wheel, and slim foil shaped seatstays. The downtube keeps a lot of its girth, but does get a more pronounced, squared-off Kamm tail shape.
At the seat cluster transitions get tidied up with smooth shaping from the toptube to the seatstays, a proprietary shaped seatpost, and a hidden internal wedge seatpost clamp. The bike also adopts new direct mount brakes for an improvement in brake stiffness, drag reduction, and tire clearance while keeping them in their traditional locations both on the fork and seatstays.
DeRosa wasn’t precise with official weight claims, but we’ve seen the previous generation between 880-950g, so that could bring it into the 700-760g range paring it down to the lightest range we typically see in production road frames these days. The bike will be available in 8 standard frame sizes from 45-58.5cm for the actual seattube lengths and tight 405-408mm chainstays depending on size.
The new Protos now sits atop DeRosa’s road line, paired with the aero SK Pininfarina and the endurance (think Gran Fondo) King XS, as their premier Black Label made-in-Italy road bikes.
In keeping their racing heritage, DeRosa will offer a special edition of the new bike – the Protos Nippo Fantini 2017 – a precise replica of the bikes built for their sponsored team. The team will ride the same Special Edition New Protos with a Campagnolo Super Record EPS V3 group, Campagnolo wheels, FSA Attack bars and Selle Italia saddles. Customers will be able to buy the same orange bikes that come out of the DeRosa workshop exactly as the team bikes.