Bike Test: Favaloro Excalibur

Albabici is an import company founded by Gianluca Caliari and Alessandro Godi with a goal of bringing some of the best that Italy has to offer in cycling accessories to the American market. One of the Italian brands they import are the custom road and mountain bikes built by a young craftsman located near Lake Garda. His name is Michele Favaloro, and for years he has been cranking out handmade carbon and aluminum road and mountain bike frames. 

Like everyone else, he, too, has seen the rise in popularity of e-bikes, so he decided to jump in the ring to see what he could build himself. With the help of Italian scooter motor maker Polini, they have created what we see here—a one-off aluminum e-road bike. 

Since everything that Michele builds is made to order, our test bike really represents a test mule for what the future will bring. When it comes to pedal bikes, custom sizing and paint are the hallmarks that Michele Favaloro has built his eponymous brand on. Will those same talents pass over to an e-bike? 

THE BIKE

Favaloro bikes are custom-built to customer specification. The frames are made-to-measure, TIG-welded, and available with an integrated seatpost/tube or with a standard, adjustable seatpost. The price at around $8900 (depending on components) doesn’t seem that high when you consider that every frame is made-to-order, including the paint scheme. 

 They don’t have any ready-made frames, so customers need to know their own body measurements. The number of companies that make custom, one-off pedal bikes like the Favaloro are not that many, but there are even fewer still—if any at all—doing so with e-bikes.

THE PARTS

In addition to custom frame design, customers can select their own components. Ours was outfitted with SRAM Force drivetrain and brakes, with FSA cranks, and Ursus bars and wheels. The tire choice they sent was a set of Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 700x32c clinchers.

The Marquardt display/controller is one of our favorites. It offers features like a power meter that most others don’t.

THE MOTOR

This was the first bike we’ve seen that was fitted with a Polini E-P3 powerplant, and that’s because, like Michele, this bike, too, marked their entry into the e-bike market. Polini is a large Italian company that has been producing high-performance racing accessories for Italy’s scooter market. 

The E-P3 motor puts out an impressive 250 watts and 70 N/m of torque. It’s one of the smallest mid-drive motors on the market, designed to make it possible for designers to have a chainstay length of only 420mm on a road bike. Its relatively light weight of 2850 grams (6.28 lbs) makes it one of the lightest motors out there. Polini has designed this motor to make it easy for bike manufacturers to run all wiring internally, and the whole system can be set up to run lights from the internal battery.

“You can’t pedal to pick up speed, because the motor fights you on this.”

The system is set up with a torque sensor, cadence sensor and wheel-speed sensor. The three work together to offer dynamic control. It also has a walk mode that allows the bike to push itself at up to 6 kph, should you need to walk it up a hill. As light as this bike is, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it is a
nice feature. 

The 36-volt, 500-Wh integrated battery sits in the downtube to improve the look of the bike. The case is made of aluminum to match the frame, and it can be fitted with a bottle cage. 

The display is Polini-branded but made by Marquardt. We’ve seen this same display on most Brose-motored bikes of late, and the design looks like it borrows from the stealth fighter, with steep angles forming the buttons. We like it and love the integrated
power meter.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

Someone who wants a good-looking, drop-bar e-bike, that is hand-built to their specifications. However, style points aside, if you’re trying to keep up with your fast roadie friends, you may find this bike limiting.

THE RIDE

Since the motor cuts out at 20 mph and offers significant resistance if you try to go faster, the Favaloro can quickly be outpaced by a fit roadie on a pedal bike. This has been a common complaint with many drop-bar e-bikes, especially if there’s significant drag above the cutoff point. This may not be problematic if you’re commuting, but if you ride with a group, it’s not nearly enough speed for what most road cyclists are capable of rolling at. The motor holds you back a bit, even on descents. You can’t pedal to pick up speed, because the motor fights you
on this. 

We liked the wider tires and rims on this bike. With an aluminum frame, the higher-volume tires and the Ursus wheels took up the energy from bumps nicely, even on a short gravel run. The highest power mode helps on gravel
for sure.

Total range is about 30–40 miles. If you like centuries, you’ll have to wait for the extra battery option. 

THE VERDICT

As you might expect for a one-off artisan-built bike, the Favaloro is a stunning bike with great lines. It can be made to fit you like a glove. There’s plenty of power to help you climb hills, and it’s a fun bike to ride by yourself if you only go 20 mph. If you’re on a ride with a group, however, you’ll get dropped almost instantly unless it’s a steep uphill-only ride. We like the Polini powerplant but don’t like this bike as a Class 1 bike. If Polini could convert it to a 28-mph motor, which still keeps it street-legal (Class 3) for bike lanes, it would be much better.

SPECS

FAVALORO EXCALIBUR

Price: $8900

Motor: Polini E-P3 mid-drive, 250W, 70 N/m torque

Battery: Polini 500W

Charge Time: 4–5 hours

Top Speed: 20 mph

Range: 30–40 miles

Drive: SRAM Force 1 Group 11 with hydraulic disc brakes  and FSA crankarm

Brakes: SRAM Force, hydraulic disc

Controls: Polini (by Marquardt)

Fork: Aluminum 

Frame: Favaloro made-to-measure TIG-welded aluminum frame with integrated seatpost (available with standard seatpost as well)

Tires: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 700x32c clincher

Weight: 29 lb.

Color choices: Any (custom)

Sizes: Any (custom)

www.albabici.com


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