De Rosa Protos Road Bike Frameset - 2016
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First in class.
Though De Rosa doesn't specify which particular frame it's using as a basepoint, it claims the Protos Road Bike Frameset's stiffness-to-weight ratio is a full 35% better than "traditional competition racing bikes." We admit that we don't have the equipment or technical know-how to properly vet this claim, which is part of the reason we eschewed the technology of testing and metrics in favor of the traditional method of determining a given frameset's qualities: we rode it.
As you might expect given its down tube, we believe that the Protos may be the stiffest road racing bike that we've ever rolled through our doors, first in class when it comes to power transfer efficiency. Taking a quick glance through the other bikes we carry should give the reader a sense of the enormity of that statement, which is itself almost as impressive a claim as the Protos' oversized down tube is large. Almost.
That titanic down tube is most notable when a crankset is mounted (the crank arms look like tiny toys next to it) and when the pedals are mashed in anger. The Protos reacts like we've always wished the Close Door buttons on elevators would; it's responsive to the point of personal injury, jumping from the speed of noodle to full-on sprint as soon as the freehub engages. There's no hesitation or wind up — it just goes.
On long, steady climbs, the huge down tube feels like it's pulling the cranks through the pedaling dead spot for you, keeping the pressure on with what may be the least amount of watts lost to bottom bracket flex that we've ever felt. Even under riders in the 176lb/80kg range, the frame is virtually impervious to flex. That aggressive efficiency is mirrored in the Protos' geometry, which is low and predatory — perfect for diving through corners on the inside line. The head tube alone measures between 20 and 30mm shorter than on models that we'd typically considered slammed for crits or fast circuit races, definitely bucking the current industry trend toward "endurance" geometries in favor of undiluted racing aggression.
Obviously, the huge down tube has some aerodynamic tradeoffs, and De Rosa doesn't roll out the claims of wind-dodging tube shaping that we've become accustomed to seeing on frames in this price point. The smooth transition between the head and down tubes and the flattened fork blades suggest a low-drag leading edge; however, given its powerful efficiency during sprints and interval-type efforts, it's pretty obvious that the Protos is built as a road racing machine instead of a triathlon bike. The same holds true for comfort. This thing is built to efficiently convey input, regardless of the source, so it isn't ideal for gravel or gran fondos.
In addition to the tube shapes, the frame owes its effort-rewarding stiffness to three different carbon fibers. Half of the material used is TI 800, which is a modulus that we typically see as the stiffest part of a frame. Here, it's the "comfort" material, which goes some way toward explaining the Protos' obscene stiffness-to-weight ratio. Key areas of power transfer are made with the even stiffer TI 1000, and a final reinforcement of XN60 carbon adds the equivalent of rocket fuel to the Protos' titanic power transfer spine.
- Item #DER000B
- Q & A
Regarding the De Rosa Protos, the size in the chart is it measure from center to center (c-c) ?
Yes; all tubes are measured center to center, unless otherwise specified, as the seat tube which is measure center to top (c-t).
If I can assist with sizing in any way, or with anything else, please feel free to contact me directly!
Customer Account Manager