Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Basso bikes

Old 11-30-04, 10:21 PM
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roscoe50
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Basso bikes

I'm thinking about buying a Basso Reef, anyone have any experience with this brand? Good or bad?
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Old 12-01-04, 02:04 AM
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I love Basso, and have owned a couple of them. The frame geometry was very favorable for me. I'm assuming that they're still made in Italy.
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Old 12-01-04, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by roscoe50
I'm thinking about buying a Basso Reef, anyone have any experience with this brand? Good or bad?
Towards the end of this past summer I decided to buy a frame and build it up. Looking around I happened to get a good buy on a new Basso Reef frame that would suit my dimensions; a friend also rode a Basso Gap that I was impressed with. The Reef is superbly finished and quite light; someone elsewhere has complained about the weight of the fork (ca. 500g) but this doesn't bother me. The integrated headset is a bit different than most and came with no instructions; see the Park Tool website's discussion of Microtech headsets. Installation wasn't bad, once I figured it out.

With the short days and cool weather I have only gotten in a few hundred miles on the finished bike, but I'm very impressed with the overall responsiveness and feel (it is a big step up from my 1992 Trek). Trying to keep within a certain budget I was able do do some savvy on-line buying combined with some eBay shopping to kit the thing out with 10spd. Campy Centaur, except the crank, which is Chours. Everything is new except for the crank, which was a pristine bargain off eBay for $45! Here is a picture:

Last edited by jemoryl; 12-02-04 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 12-01-04, 05:25 PM
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Does the rider with the same name have a connection here?
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Old 12-01-04, 07:18 PM
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I had a Basso Ascot which was an early 90's model made from Columbus MS (Multi Shaped) tubing. I liked how the bike rode. The ride was comfortable, and the steering was well-balanced and predictable. It was great for long rides and I rocketed down descents like a cruise missle. One of the the drawbacks of the frame were that it was on the heavy side, suggesting that it was overbuilt. In spite of this it also developed a crack in the weld between the seat stay and the seat tube lug after about 5 years of hard use. The frame used the "fastback" design for the seat lug, where the binder bolt clamped through the seat stays. Perhaps this put too much stress on that junction. The frame had some rust, so I opted to replace it with something lighter and more durable instead of repairing and repainting it. Basso has a good reputation over all, so I wouldn't let this experience scare you away. Just take a careful look at how the frame is designed, and ask about the warranty.
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Old 12-02-04, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
Does the rider with the same name have a connection here?
There is a rider named Basso that is connected, but it is Marino Basso, not Ivan Basso, who is apparently no relation. Marino was a high level pro and famous sprinter in the '70s and rode into the early '80. Alcide Basso is his brother and is the frame builder, who started his business in the early '80s. The Basso emblem, which is a stylized "B" that also looks like a "3" , is supposed to represent the three Basso brothers.
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Old 12-02-04, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jemoryl
There is a rider named Basso that is connected, but it is Marino Basso, not Ivan Basso, who is apparently no relation. Marino was a high level pro and famous sprinter in the '70s and rode into the early '80. Alcide Basso is his brother and is the frame builder, who started his business in the early '80s. The Basso emblem, which is a stylized "B" that also looks like a "3" , is supposed to represent the three Basso brothers.
Ah, cool. I figured someone would know.
Thanks.
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Old 12-02-04, 11:42 AM
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I think these frames are just re-badged asian models. Several venerable european marques (Motobecane and Masi come to mind) have been licensing their names to Taiwanese manufacturers, producing bikes that look VERY similar to the Bassos.

Performance is selling these framesets for $1,000...That's a LOT of money for a Taiwan frameset. Go to gvhbikes.com and you'll find comparable asian framesets w/ Columbus tubing (badged as Raleigh mostly) for like $350, or an American made Cannondale CAAD5 for $535.
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Old 12-02-04, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by peligro
I think these frames are just re-badged asian models. Several venerable european marques (Motobecane and Masi come to mind) have been licensing their names to Taiwanese manufacturers, producing bikes that look VERY similar to the Bassos.

Performance is selling these framesets for $1,000...That's a LOT of money for a Taiwan frameset. Go to gvhbikes.com and you'll find comparable asian framesets w/ Columbus tubing (badged as Raleigh mostly) for like $350, or an American made Cannondale CAAD5 for $535.
Lots of framesets look similar. Do you have any knowledge of Basso abandoning frameset production in Italy? I think the case of Motobecane (and Mercier, etc) is different; it used to be a French company that made bikes in France, but now it looks like someone simply bought rights to the name to bank on an established reputation. Basso is still a going Italian concern... and the finish on the welds on the Reef is nicer than what I have seen on those Raleighs, etc.

In any case, it is interesting that my Reef does not say "Made in Italy" anywhere on the frame, but that is not unusual for Italian bikes (it does have an Easton tubing sticker that says "Made in USA", however). The fork did come in a box that had the "Made in Italy" tag; if any component would be made in Taiwan I would suspect a carbon fork...
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Old 12-02-04, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by peligro
I think these frames are just re-badged asian models. Several venerable european marques (Motobecane and Masi come to mind) have been licensing their names to Taiwanese manufacturers, producing bikes that look VERY similar to the Bassos.

Performance is selling these framesets for $1,000...That's a LOT of money for a Taiwan frameset. Go to gvhbikes.com and you'll find comparable asian framesets w/ Columbus tubing (badged as Raleigh mostly) for like $350, or an American made Cannondale CAAD5 for $535.
Do your research before making statements like that.

http://www.bassobikes.com/eng/home.php

I reiterate, Basso makes an excellent frame. The frames at Performance are amazing deals. If you can wait around long enough for the 20% coupon to come back I'd suggest that. Get the frame, if it fits. You won't be disappointed.
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Old 12-02-04, 04:48 PM
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The deals at Performance area amazing. They have an all aluminum modelwhich was under $400. Unbeatable value on an Italian frameset.
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Old 12-02-04, 04:54 PM
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Basso's are still made in Italy. I had a GAP for a few years......very good frame, excelent craftmanship.
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Old 12-02-04, 07:22 PM
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The bikes at Performance are clearance items and are 2003 model framesets, not a problem for me, I'm not the kind that has to have the latest and greatest. I'd be suprised to see a company like Basso selling out like that and would be amazed that Performance would sell a frameset that wasn't what it claimed to be, I have been a satisfied Performance customer too long to beleive that could happen. I have been researching Basso and have been unable to find nothing but praise for the workmanship and integrity that goes into their product so much so that I plunked down a grand for one of the Reef framesets that Performance had left, only four 56 cm remain if anyone else is interested. I'll let everyone know how my experience works out when I get the bike together.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:30 PM
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Good luck with the frame Rosco! I hope it works out well for you.
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Old 12-02-04, 11:48 PM
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i believe i test rode a Basso Gap frame with ultegra components...i forget which wheel set. VERY smooth riding bike. Unfortunately at that time, it was out of my budget i had laid out lol.

the coloring of the basso logo...is it supposed to represent the world championship jersey coloring?
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Old 12-03-04, 07:22 AM
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Oh yeah Jemoryl, nice job with the bike that's a nice looking ride. I hope mine comes out as well. Thanks to everyone for their input.
Roscoe
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Old 12-04-04, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by roscoe50
Oh yeah Jemoryl, nice job with the bike that's a nice looking ride. I hope mine comes out as well. Thanks to everyone for their input.
Roscoe
Thanks Roscoe. If you haven't already purchased your frame you might keep an eye on eBay - there are some new Basso frames that turn up from time to time at incredible prices. Mine's an '04 and I bought it new off eBay for substantially less than even the Performance price. I was shocked to be the only bidder and wound up paying the starting price; perhaps everyone else is too busy over-bidding on Colnagos or DeRosas....

Right now there is a no-reserve auction for a new 54 cm Basso Zero,9 (like the Reef but with carbon chainstays) that is at $1.00!

Good luck,
Joe
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Old 12-04-04, 12:47 AM
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Joe,
Thanks for the heads up on the E-bay, but actually what happened is that my frame that I bought back in 93 was a titanium sold by Performance and it cracked on the chainstay and like everything they sell if you have the original receipt then it"s 100% under warranty. So I'm applying the 845$ against the Basso which leaves me coming up with around 150$ for the frame, not too bad for such a nice frameset.
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Old 12-04-04, 03:37 PM
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Ahhh, you have me dreaming again. I'm not even done with my current build, and already, I'd love to start on another Basso. My old one was just such a sweet ride.
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Old 12-04-04, 05:25 PM
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What the heck one can never have enough bikes. What are you currently working on? I'm a little freaked about working on the headset front fork setup on my new one. Do you know a good way to cut the forks other than a hacksaw? I was thinking about using a pipe cutter. Do you have to assemble the whole thing to get the right height on the stem? Not familiar at all with these so you'll have to excuse my ignorance.
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Old 12-05-04, 03:45 AM
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I wussed out, packed up the frame fork and headset and drove to my LBS. Just something about cutting the fork that gave me the willies. I'm told it's very easy, but I'm sure that's the second time. It's the first time doing it that's got me nervous.

My current project is a titanium frame I picked up for real cheap ($499.00), new. I'm almost done. Just waiting on the drivetrain.
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Old 12-05-04, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by glevii
Just something about cutting the fork that gave me the willies.
Damn, cut it twice and it's still too short!

Cheers...Gary
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Old 12-05-04, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by roscoe50
What the heck one can never have enough bikes. What are you currently working on? I'm a little freaked about working on the headset front fork setup on my new one. Do you know a good way to cut the forks other than a hacksaw? I was thinking about using a pipe cutter. Do you have to assemble the whole thing to get the right height on the stem? Not familiar at all with these so you'll have to excuse my ignorance.
The Reef was the first bike I ever set up with an integrated headset and carbon steerer so I too was wary about sawing on my new fork. Most of the shops in my area are swimming with attitude and see $$$ everytime someone walks in the door. Since I was determined to put the bike together on a fairly tight budget, I decided to do the fork myself; I've had chances to mess up much more expensive equipment in my life.

Unlike most integrated headsets, the Microtech headsets have sealed bearings with square shoulders. You want to grease the outside of one and press it into the top of the head tube using the appropriate tool - I improvised and used a threaded rod with some large washers. The fit is not as tight as a proper press fit; I think some call this and interference fit. The other bearing should be pressed onto the fork (place the thin ring supplied with the headset between the fork and the bearing). Here, the fit is a bit tighter and you want to use a tool like that used to press the lower race onto the fork in a traditional headset. For this I went to a shop and the mechanic was able to do this in about 5 minutes (one place wanted to charge me $45 for this, the second charged me $7!).

Once you have these bearings seated, you can insert the steerer through the headtube and by pressing down on the frame seat the lower bearing into the seat on the headtube (again, lightly grease the outside of the bearing). Slide the top ring (the thing that says Microtech) over the steerer to seat, add some spacers and install the stem. At this point, you can see where you need to cut the stem. I initally used a stack of spacers totalling 30 mm, which is close to the maximum height recommended by most carbon fork manufacturers; you can always cut off more later.

When you are certain you have the correct height, pop the fork out (hit the top of the steerer with a rubber mallet - the lower bearing will stay with the fork), clamp the steerer gently in a vise and cut. There is a special tool that you can get that acts as a cutting guide but I just used a hoseclamp and took care to assure that I was cutting square. Use a hacksaw blade with 32 teeth per inch and don't breathe the dust; clean up with a file when finished. See the Park Tool website for more ideas - of course they will suggest you need every tool in the book....
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Old 12-05-04, 09:07 PM
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Joe thanks alot for the headset advice, great to talk to someone who's been there and done it.I decided to replace the wheels as well with a set of Neuvation M28 areo. Have you a thought on these? The price was very good but I'll admit I know very little about these, they look great!
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Old 12-05-04, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by roscoe50
Joe thanks alot for the headset advice, great to talk to someone who's been there and done it.I decided to replace the wheels as well with a set of Neuvation M28 areo. Have you a thought on these? The price was very good but I'll admit I know very little about these, they look great!
My bike has Campy 10spd. so I couldn't consider the Neuvation wheels - they only come in a Shimano version. Sounds like people are generally happy with these wheels though. After studying various factory built wheels (e.g. Campy, FSA, Mavic, FIR) I decided to have some wheels built to my requirements using Velocity Aerohead rims - this can be done for between $200-$300 and I'm quite happy with the results. The rear rim, an Aerohead OC, has off-center spoke holes to distribute the stress more evenly - very nice.
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