Review - Ciocc Devilry:
Test Lab By Peter Rox
“My riding friends were puzzled at what appeared to be a sudden surge in form and were asking questions about my recent training regime.”
Cycling, being a traditional and dangerous sport has its fair share of superstitions. Pro cyclists are known to have lucky socks or shirts, wear lucky jewellery, carry photos or have rituals that they indulge in prior to racing. It is quite common at my local crits to turn up late for sign on and find the number 13 the only race number left. A superstitious rider forced to wear the unlucky 13 will often pin it on upside down in an attempt to ward off any bad luck. It is also said that Italian riders believe it is bad luck to pass salt when eating, preferring to place the salt on the table for others to pick up. So it is lucky that I’m not the superstitious type having taken delivery of the latest test bike. Now, it wasn’t the name of the Ciocc, ‘Devilry’ that bothered me, although it is a curious name for a bike. Before testing each bike I like to throw it on my scales just to see what weight I get, as claimed weights can sometimes be a bit misleading. I also usually weigh each bike three or more times and average the weights just to be sure. However when I put the Devilry on the scales the first reading I got was 666, yes 6.66kgs. I decided not to weigh it again as that was good enough for me.
Ciocc is not a name that everyone will be familiar with, however it is not a new name by any stretch of the imagination. Ciocc have been making bikes for over 60 years. Despite this history they are not a common sight on our roads as Ciocc claim to only make 800-900 bikes a year, all by hand in their factory in Bergamo, North of Milan. At a time in the industry when sales figures and market penetration seem to be the goal of many, even the more traditional companies, it is nice to see at least a few brands staying true to their roots.
I wasn’t sure what test bike I was getting this time around so when I picked up the Devilry on a Wednesday afternoon, and was due to ride Thursday morning I didn’t have time to research the websites or read any marketing spin before I was to head out. This turned out to be a good thing as it enabled me to take it for a spin with no preconceptions whatsoever. The thing that was immediately noticeable on the Devilry was the sublime smoothness of the ride. Hotmix, chipseal, in and out of the saddle, the ride quality was superb. My later perusal of the Ciocc websites showed that comfort is something Ciocc and Italian frame builders in general pride themselves on. Admittedly I was rolling on some nice carbon wheels with brand new Vittoria tubulars, but my experience with this type of setup is they only serve to enhance a great ride, they are not responsible for it. Due to my lack of Campy spares, I was without the ability to swap out the wheels for a generic wheelset during the test period, so I will just have to state that as a frame and wheel combination this would be amongst the most comfortable I have ridden.
The Devilry bucks the current trend of massing large amounts of carbon around the bottom bracket and then using spindly seat stays to try to smooth out the ride. The Devilry, instead, looks much more traditional but still utilises the wonderful properties of carbon fibre to achieve a great looking frame. Modern innovations such as large tapered head tubes are not overlooked in the design process, however from side on the frame doesn’t display any quirky curves or enormous tube sections. It is not by any means a thin tubed, standard looking frame. The shapes have been manipulated sufficiently to make them difficult to describe, but they are not garishly large as seen on some current high end frames. From above, the wishbone seat stays and slender but deep chain stays show subtle curves which no doubt hide the secrets to the ride quality. The paintwork on the Devilry is a lustrous high quality finish and the test rig’s blue and white is a refreshing change and the decals are bold and stylised without being too overbearing.
As you would expect from a proudly Italian frame the Devilry came equipped with Campagnolo Super Record 11 speed, which was faultless throughout the test. Although I don’t normally ride Campagnolo it was easy to settle into and the hoods are especially comfortable. The positive action of the gear changes is what really sets it apart from its competitors and makes it easy to understand why some folks will never ride anything other than Campy. The bar and stem combo were Deda’s Zero 100s and in their white livery they accentuated the bike beautifully. The saddle wasn’t my usual shape, nor was the bike quite the right size being a centimetre or so too big, but the fact I could happily get away with 100km rides on a bike not perfectly suited to me is a credit to the ride qualities of this steed. I felt like the Devilry wanted to be ridden fast so I gave it my best. My riding friends were puzzled at what appeared to be a sudden surge in form and were asking questions about my recent training regime. I took the compliments but knew it was partly due to the way the Devilry rolled. The slightly taller head tube also makes it easy to get a relaxed fit without the need for a stack of spacers and keeps you feeling fresh for longer.
The Devilry came equipped with some carbon wheels that were, I must admit, unfamliar to me. The Ursus Miura T45s are a nice looking pair of carbon tubular wheels. The 12k weave visually sets them apart from most other wheels. They have smooth rolling carbon hubs and weigh just 600 grams for the front and 720 grams for the rear. The tyre bed of these tubular rims is slightly different to others in that there is a slight shoulder where the tyre bed meets the braking surface. This makes the transition between tyre and wheel more seamless. I’m sure this is done for aerodynamic reasons, but it also looks quite good and makes gluing the tyres a little easier and neater. The wheels combined nicely with the Devilry to make the entire package light and easy to spin up to speed. Crosswinds aren’t much of an issue with rims of this depth, and in my opinion they look fantastic. Combined with the Vittoria Corsa tubulars, this wheel and tyre combination provided surefooted grip and cornering and, somewhat surprisingly, the braking on the Ursus wheels was also responsive and consistent, an area that is usually a compromise on carbon rims.
Now to simply say the Devilry is comfortable would be to do it an injustice. It is also nimble and light, which makes it not only a rider’s bike but also a racer’s bike. I could imagine using the Ciocc on a long road race, where at the end of a long stage the quality of the ride would leave you fresh enough to let the Devilry stretch its legs. While not being the stiffest bike on the market, no doubt a product of the ride tuning that has occurred on this frame, it is by no means flimsy. It is also worth remembering that any deflection of the bottom bracket is mostly paid back by the release of the stored energy and if that is the only price to pay for a bike this comfortable then it is a price worth paying. When out of the saddle I have a habit of getting a long way forward, and can unload the rear wheel to a point where it can lose traction or get a bit skittish. The Devilry, despite its light weight, remained firmly planted when I lurched out of the saddle and showed no signs of breaking traction. The balance and stability when standing and climbing on this bike was a revelation, to the point where I continued to ride standing on a few occasions after cresting the hill. It truly ticks all the boxes for a bike that suits all conditions and does it all with a great deal of aplomb and style.
The Ciocc Devilry is priced at $12,990, which for a 6.6kg bike with race quality carbon wheels and Super Record would seem like the right price point. Couple that with the fact that this is a genuine, 100% handmade quality carbon frame and the dollars seem easier to justify. Many would argue whether there even is ‘value for money’ at this end of the price spectrum. However, with the Ciocc you are buying an artisan built frame from a boutique producer, a bike that will be as individual as you are, and will certainly stand out in a crowd. When you stand back and look at the new bike in your possession, then look at the credit card statement just tell yourself “The Devilry made me do it!”