When you're building a bike, the finishing kit is an component that should never be overlooked or skimped on: the bars, stem and seatpost are crucial to getting the most of any frame and getting the right 'feel' on a bike. We've been testing the fi'zi:k alloy Cyrano kit.
The fi'zi:k brand is an Italian icon, a name that will be recognised by almost any bike rider (even if you're a bit unsure of how to spell it correctly); from Peter Sagan to Julian Absalon, they have only the best riding their kit. Fi'zi:k were one of the leading brands in producing a "personalised fit" through their component range; depending on your level of flexibility, you can opt to be anything from a Snake (super flexible) to a Bull (rigid spine), and tailor your bars, saddle and stem choice to accommodate this, providing maximum comfort. The Cyrano range is aimed at the "Snakes" out there; the 'racing snakes' with flexible spines and an a desire for an aggressive position. Time to put them to the test...
fi'zi:k Cyrano R1 stem and bars
Your bars and stem will make up the cockpit of your bike; affecting the reach, control and handling of the front end. I opted for a 110mm Cyrano stem from Fi'zi:k, and a 42cm R3 Alloy Cyrano bar. These form a "Snake" cockpit: an aggressive low-slung racing position.
The first thing you'll notice with the fi'zi:k kit is that is superbly made; Italian flair is here in abundance, but so is beautiful quality and attention to detail. The stem has a smooth matt finish, with a glossy logo and accent band; it tensions with two torque bolts onto the steerer, and four on the handlebar clamp, providing a firm and secure fit.
This stem is stiff. It provides a reassuringly firm feel on the front end, and it's 7 degree drop makes it look and feel like a race-bred piece of kit. Very impressive.
The Cyrano R3 handlebar is the alloy option in the Cyrano range; it has a deep curved drop and longer lower section, to enable you to get low and stay low. The bar has some neat detailing which again shows the attention to detail that fi'zi:k have implemented here; the markings on the curves for the brake hoods makes getting them both at the same height very simple, and the markings on the stem help you to centre the bars.
I've always preferred riding all-alloy cockpits; they don't have quite the same vibration dampening as carbon bars, but the reassurance of strength in a crash, and the feeling of solidity is definitely a strong attribute.
The shape and feel of the Cyrano R3 is certainly right up there with the best bars I have ridden; they are comfortable on the hoods, aggressive and stiff on the drops, and they look the part with their classic curvature.
Cyrano R3 Seatpost
A seatpost should be a simple piece of kit; it joins your frame to your saddle. However, it makes a surprising difference to the way the bike feels and when it doesn't work (it has a poor clamp design) it can be a serious impediment. The Cyrano seatpost ticks all the boxes it seems; it's light, strong and has a great clamp.
The look of the R3 seatpost is similar to the Cyrano stem; it is matt black with gloss black detailing, it then has a glossy silver and gold clamp. I again opted for the alloy option; it's more affordable, and doesn't have that much of a weight penalty over a carbon seatpost.
For an alloy seatpost, the Cyrano R3 still seems effective at dampening vibrations through the rear end, whilst feeling flex-free and strong at the same time.
What really sets the Cyrano seatpost aside from many others for me though, is the clamp design. Firstly, it looks stunning; it's hard to get excited about a seat clamp design, but this really does look good. More importantly though, it is very easy to use and secure.
The clamp works with an allen key fitting on the rear, and a turn-knob bolt on the front; this design enables you to carefully adjust the angle of the saddle with the front knob, before tightening up the clamp with more force on the rear. It is simple, but it functions faultlessly, and even using this finishing on a "gravel bike" hasn't been able to shake the clamp loose.
It's the little things that make the fi'zi:k kit special then. It is the polished surfaces and tailored feel, it's the strong designs and high-end materials. Perhaps the smallest feature that show-cases this the best is the seatclamp collar on the R3 seatpost; a small rubber collar that protects your seatclamp from water and grit ingress: A neat, simple and quite obvious solution, but a solution that shows this Italian brand has spent years developing and testing their products to refinement.
Overall, a great finishing kit that would be at home on any racing frameset.