Modern Italian steel from a heritage brand
Words and Images - James Raison
No sooner had I lobbed the Daccordi Noah I reviewed back through the door of Norwood Parade Cycles, had they whipped out another one for me to try. This time, it was a staff member’s steel Profidea. I’m yet to turn down an offer to review a bike. It’s just not in my nature. So I grabbed it and ran away for a week.
I plunged into details of Daccordi when I reviewed their Noah frame so I’ll give an abridged version here. Daccordi are very, very Italian. They’re a family business making an array of frames, for an array of disciplines, in an array of materials, in their Italian factory since 1937. Their relative obscurity might seem at odds with their longevity but there’s a good reason for that: they just want to make bike frames. They’re not churning out press releases, paying millions to get their bikes under World Tour riders, or doing weird naked photo shoots on their bikes like one Sig. Cipollini.
I’ve had the chance to ride two Daccordis thanks to Australian distributor and stockist Norwood Parade Cycles. Aussie buyers can contact them to chat about how to get their own Italian stallion Daccordi. I own my very own Daccordi too. A mid-1990s steelie I bought second hand from an old fella who was hanging up the bike for good. So I have a bit of experience with the Italian marque.
The Profidea is made from Columbus UltraFoco; a tubing known for its lightness, with a general minimum thickness of around 0.38mm, and being a little on the flexy side as a result. There’s a carbon fork, threaded bottom bracket (Hallelujah!) and 1 1/8 inch headset.
Those tubes are TIG welded into racey geometry. Its angles, and tube lengths are close to what you’ll see rolling around under the pros, and it’s exactly the same as the Noah. No individual number stands out as a point of difference that makes Daccordi geometry special. It’s the combination of them, honed and refined over decades that gives their frames an identity.
It’s worth noting that this frame is actually a couple of years old. Daccordi don’t run on the standard bike industry development treadmill of making a frame, bolting slightly different parts onto it for the next couple of calendar years, then redesigning it after 3 years and starting it all again. They design a frame then sell it. Eventually they’ll re-design it, but your guess is as good as mine about when that could be.
- Frame: Daccordi Profidea made from Columbus Ultrafoco tubing
- Fork: Daccordi-badged carbon fork
- Groupset: Ultegra R8000
- Wheels: Craftworx Ultima
- Finishing kit: Deda Superzero bars and Zero100 stem, Dritissimo seatpost, Selle Italia Superflow saddle
The Profidea, just like the Noah, is a joy to steer. Its superb geometry makes the bike respond well to leaning rather than muscling the bars. Pitch it into a corner, use some hip steering, and it’ll track true all the way through the corner. It’s not as stiff as the Noah at the front end (very few bikes are) but the carbon fork is plenty rigid enough for confident and stable handling.
Comfort is stellar. Steel has a magical ability to smooth the road. Vibrations are reduced, and even big bumps have substantially less sting. You’ll see a bump and brace yourself for a whack that never comes. It disappears into the frame and leaves you to keep pedalling.
It’s a frameset with an interesting balance; a stiff fork up front, but a springy steel rear. So you get that great handling up front and the comfort under your keister. It’s not going to suit everyone. Many people want a rock solid bottom bracket. The Profidea has a small but noticeable flex in it. It’s steel after all, and that’s just what light steel does. I provoked some brake rub thrashing out of the saddle so I opened the calipers a little and closed them for descending.
The Profidea is no lumpen bike in the hills. Its 7.9kg weight with Ultegra mechanical, alloy clinchers, and a nice Deda finishing kit felt downright lively when I wanted it to be. Sink your boot in and it’ll get up to a gallop just fine. There’s no escaping that modern aero bikes, and weenie climbing rigs will leave it in the dust but this was never meant to be a bike for the speed freak. A Profidea is for a different sort of lady or gentleman rider.
This is all sounding pretty isn’t it? Well it gets better. The Profidea is quieter than Marcel Marceau at an art gallery. Review bikes are usually quiet because they’re either new or well maintained. They all make noises eventually though. The Profidea hasn’t made a peep. Bring back threaded bottom brackets dammit!
Australian retail for the frame is $2,900. That’s a typical price for hand-made steel and doesn’t stand out as cheap or expensive. From a pure value perspective it doesn't compare favourably to mass-produced carbon or aluminium bikes. That's not what Daccordi is going for though.
This is not the frame for anyone who values lightness, stiffness, and blistering speed above all else. It’s for people who want sharp handling, spot-on geometry, smooth ride feel, and that lovely character of well-made steel. It’s for pure riding pleasure. The Profidea lets you get on with enjoying your ride. It’s whisper quiet and smooth on the road. It loves being threaded down twisty descents and climbing over your favourite bergs.
Just in case it wasn't clear, I enjoyed the Profidea greatly. I've been lucky enough to ride a stack of bikes over the last couple of years. Some of my enthusiasm for the Profidea comes from its difference from the rest. It stands apart from most modern bikes because of its modern-retro vibe. Again, it's not for everyone. If you want the best dollar-for-dollar performance, this isn't it. But those buying in this niche should consider a Profidea. It doesn't disappoint.
Disclosure statement: We gave the Profidea back and receive no benefit from Norwood Parade Cycles for doing this review.