Fondriest TF3 1.2 - Bicycle.net Review - September 2013

The Fondriest TF3 1.2 frameset is unquestionably Italian, with incredible performance and stunningly handsome good looks. It is the kind of frame that stands out in any company. It consistently gave Bicycle.net team members that extra edge of motivation to put the pain on other riders, who, when they finally caught their breath, asked questions in rapid-fire secession: “Where did you get it? How much? How does it handle?” The best question we heard was, “Dude, did you get sponsored and go pro?”

This all-carbon beauty is from the company named after Maurizio Fondriest, the professional rider who won the 1988 world championships in a show of superior tactics and incredible bike handling skills. The TF3 embodies this win with a bike that has super fast, but light, handling, stiffness where it is truly needed, and just enough comfort to get you through a long day in the saddle.

At Bicycle.net we never go easy on the products that we review, and only bring you the best of the best of what comes our way. So, when we say we put the Fondriest TF3 through the product review of all product reviews, we mean it. After building up the frame with Shimano Ultegra Di2, Shimano handlebar, stem, and their tubeless wheelset, we took the TF3 on some challenging recovery rides in preparation for the beast called the BWR (Belgian Waffle Ride). The BWR is a 130-mile slog with five dirt sections, multiple water crossing, 8k of climbing, and not one meter of flat road. It is either going uphill or downhill, but never is it going flat. So when we got invited to not only cover the ride for the website, but also participate in the ride, it was an easy decision to do it on the TF3. What better way to try to break a frame in two, make it show it’s weakness, and prove that it is no more than its good looks?

It certainly sounded like a good idea at first, but when we hit the first dirt section about 24 miles in, I started to wonder if I had made the biggest mistake of my cycling career. But to my surprise, it may have just turned out to be one of the smartest decisions I could have made that day. The level of comfort that this frame delivers is very impressive, even after 130 miles of hell. The BWR is brutal, and the last real climb is a monster. The route has two peaks, each about 1k and over 20% gradient, coming at mile 120 or so. It was a true leg- breaker of epic proportions. Totally expecting that the second peak was going to be our demise, the TF3 was able to transfer the last few drops of power coming from our legs, and get us over the top without dying.

The best we can figure is that the bowed top tube design is able to absorb the road vibration, disperse it quickly, and still maintain its lightning fast handling. It is beyond our scope to go into the science behind the design of the frame, the tubes, and the carbon lay up, but what really matters is that the frame delivers superior all-around race worthy performance, while still being one of the most comfortable bikes we have ever ridden.

The frame has large, oversized tubes that are uniquely shaped with a graceful flow. The most unique element of the frame has to be the fork, which Fondriest calls the “Reflex”. It has reverse swept blades, which they claim increases the steering precision and front-end stiffness, while being extremely aerodynamic.

The frame comes in too many colors to count and is compatible with both mechanical and electronic group sets.

We are impressed with the Fondriest TF3 and have truly enjoyed having it in our stable of bikes. It will be a sad day when we have to give it back. If you are in the market for a new frameset, then we strongly encourage you to consider looking at the TF3. You won’t be sorry you did.

Bicycle.net rates the Fondriest TF3 Frameset
bicycle-review-5
5 out of 5 chainrings

Specifications:
UDM Carbon Monocoque
Carbon Tensile Strength: 50 tons
Raw frame weight: 990 gr
Raw fork weight: 370 gr
Seat Post: 240 gr
Available Sizes (Sloping):
XS – S – M – L – XL – XXL

Carbon Monocoque UDM: The TF3 frame’s special ribbing and the waisted cross-sections are the result of a painstaking design work using CAD 3D models and software. The TF3 is a young and simple frame design that is very fast on the road. It is perfect for accurate cornering and high performance while accelerating. It is the perfect compromise between weight and performance. Tapered head tube, integrated cables, a “semi-integrated” seat tube with an oval profile and “integrated” neck in the line of the horizontal tube. It also uses a new shaped fork which delivers high levels of stiffness, torsion and resilience. The TF3 frame can be fitted with either mechanical or electronic group thanks to the new interchangeable boxes. Integrated, one-piece carbon dropouts are also used.

Additional information