When we think of artisan frame building, we think of steel frames with thin, round, hand-welded tubes built on a jig by a misanthropic Italian master.
In that sense, Fondriest TF1 1.4 is not an artisan frame. But if artisan frame building is about the details that blend craftsmanship and art, then TF1 1.4 is it.
The choice of materials and the tubes’ bonding method we use opens a way for us to fine-tune the frame’s geometry for every size we make and that simple, minimalist finishing, thousands of testing kilometres we ride before we tick off the design, all of these things we do make our production approach with TF1 1.4 artisan in spirit if not in a dictionary definition.
Our layup, for example. We make TF1 1.4 in seven different sizes from XXS to XXL and for every one of them we use its own, unique layup. Most manufacturers don’t do that because it costs more to build frames like that. They design a monocoque M size and then enlarge or reduce the template to create more frame sizes from it. This is how you end up with an extra large frame that rides as if the rear triangle is a fishtail — the XXL size is just a larger version of M without any regard for a different geometry you need for a large frame.
We don’t want that.
It costs us more to build our frames the way we build them but our goal with TF1 1.4 has been from the beginning to make a bike that you would want to ride again and again because you have such a kick from riding it every time.
With TF1 1.4, the ride quality of an XXS frame is the same as that of an M frame or an XXL frame — and that is artisan craftsmanship.
Yes, we confess — we want those who bought the TF1 1.4 addicted to riding it.
Just like that misanthropic Italian master we mentioned, we’re not chasing recognition in the stiffness-to-weight ratio race to please the Euro pros. Not that we don’t care how light the TF1 1.4 is — we do. And it’s actually pretty light at 795 grams for a medium size. But weight is not where we focus when we design a frame like TF1 1.4. What we focus on is a ride quality that would please a hardcore racer as well as a gran fondo enthusiast.
In short, if you’re a serious cyclist, we have a serious bike for you — the Fondriest TF1 1.4.
Speaking of ride quality. The lack of aero beef on TF1 1.4 is by design. You chuck those meaty features on the frame to save watts but you pay with ride quality.
That butter-smooth glide the TF1 1.4 has is owed in part to tube profiles. We tried all kinds of shapes and settled on the shapes that gave us a bit of a steel feel to the ride and that kind of feel is hard to find on any other carbon fibre frame these days.
Those who love climbing will find the TF1 1.4 a capable companion going up the grades and a total blast to fly down the descents once they’ve crossed the summit. Its front-end setup gives the rider the confidence and the ability to pilot the bike downhill with a smile, not a fright on their face. The bike shines at high speeds and shows stability without the harshness of many modern lightweight frames on the market today.
The frame is equipped with high-end Shimano Dura-Ace components to complement its quality and character.