Road Bike Action Magazine: Latigo RS1-D Review
By: Franco Bicycles | November, 19, 2018
Road Bike Action Review Below:
The SoCal-based Franco brand was founded in 2007 by two bike-loving cousins who set out to build a brand with the end user in mind. Not thrilled with what was offered by the well-known brands, in their minds, they typified the customer they wanted to serve–someone passionate about going fast on a good-looking road bike that could be built with some level of customization.
The goal was simple–to not sell bikes they weren't excited about themselves. They started off with a consumer-direct sales model but it initially proved harder to pull off than they thought it would be. Fast-forward a decade and the cousins have built a credible legacy of exciting bikes and customer empowerment with a complete build-a-bike menu of component options.
Built with Torayca's top-tier MJ Series carbon, the Italian-made frame has all the finish qualities that you'd expect from an artisanal builder. The RS1-D comes with flat-mount disc brakes that can fit either 140mm or 160mm rotors with 12mm thru-axles.
For a race bike the tire clearance is plenty, you can fit up to 30mm tires. This means you could feel more comfortable on a variety of terrain. The top tube on our medium frame measured 55.6cm. With a 98.9cm wheelbase and 41cm chainstays length, the bike is compact, which gives it a racy feel.
Our test bike had a mixture of parts highlighted by a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes and a pair of HED Vanquish 6 wheels. Maintinaing its talian build, the Franco was spec'd with a Fizik Kurve saddle, one-pieve Ursus handelbar/stem combo and 28mm Pirelli P Zero Velo tires.
There are many build options that Franco offers, with three levels of SRAM builds, four levels of Shimano builds and four levels of Campagnolo builds. Franco is all about consumer service, so you can also build your bike from a custom menu too.
Once you throw your leg over the Franco Latigo RS1-D, you know that this bike is built aggressively for the serious-type rider with a hankering for race performance, Between the 98.9cm wheelbase, the 73.2-degree head angle and 120mm stem, the Latigo definitely provided an aggressive, performance-oriented ride and position.
The Franco is stiff, which is a plus for any bike in this category. In our local group rides, the bike accelerated well to cover any attack or acceleration, One aspect we did notice, though, was that the combination of the light feeling front end paired with the heavy rotational spin of the wheels had a bit counter intuitive feel to the ride when we were getting up to speed. Though once we were up to speed on the flats, the deep wheels turned over very well and kept us moving.
Once we hit the climbs, the Latigo felt right at home particularly on the rolling terrain as the wheels helped keep our speed up. Om the steeper, punchier climbs we felt a bit held back as the wheels slowed us down some when we would jump out of the saddle to accelerate.
We came away impressed with the bike's fit, finish and feel. Te Franco was stiff and agile, but we felt its full potential was held back on the climbs owing to the deeper wheels. With a more shallow wheelset (like Hed's new Vanquish 4), we think the overall feel could be much improved for all-terrain conditions.
Complete builds with either Shimano or SRAM start at $7750 while Campagnolo builds begin at $8950. The frameset sells for $4950 and is also available in a rim brake version. Frames with custom geometry will only set you back and additional $1000. Franco also offers a wide variety of color options and graphics to complete the personalized experience.
-Made in Italy
-Custom build options
-A real race bike
Price: $11,500 ($4,950 frame)
Weight: 16.81 pounds
Sizes: XS, S , M (tested), L, XL