Review: 2016 Masi Speciale Giramondo

By | July 1, 2016

Review: 2016 Masi Speciale Giramondo: 

The Masi Dirty Girl impatiently waiting for the drawbridge on the way to work.

The Masi Dirty Girl impatiently waiting for the drawbridge on the way to work.

I love my vintage 1988 Cannondale ST1000.  It is a sweet ride that commands a lot of attention, but it is not the best ride for commuting.  The riding position is uncomfortable, the aluminum frame is harsh and the brakes are horrible.  Even so I managed to put about 3,500 miles on her over the year or so.  The final straw came when I broke the rear axle for the 4th time.  The old design places a lot of stress on the axle.  I was also breaking spokes with increasing regularity.  Being old school there were not a lot of options for replacement parts.  I also decided that this elegant lady was not meant to take the abuse of a daily commute on Seattle’s crap roads.  The ST100 would be better off being an occasional bike.  So it was time to get a new bike.

Getting a new bike is a major purchase.  In the past I would read reviews, compare components and test ride a dozen or more bikes before settling on my new pride and joy.  I typically agonize for weeks over a bike purchase.  This was not the case when I purchased the 2016 Masi Giramondo.  I had noticed it at Velo Bike Shop in Seattle.   After a minimal amount of research and a couple test rides I took the Giramondo home two days later.  That was on March 17.  Now after a 3 month, 1,100-mile test ride, it is time to give my impression of the 2016 Masi Speciale Giramondo.

Look at the Giramondo and it is obvious that this ride is made for touring.  It a heavy duty steel frame with disc brakes, wide rims with fat tires a 3×10 mountain bike drivetrain and a relaxed riding position.  It also has mounting holes for fenders and every type of rack and pannier imaginable.  My Giramodo came equipped with the following:

Disc brakes and knobbies.

Disc brakes and knobbies.

  • Brakes: Promax DSK-300R
  • Wheels: Weimann XC 32h rims with 32h disc cassette hubs.
  • Cassette: Shimano HG-500 11-32t, 10 Speed cassette
  • Cranks: Shimano Deore 44/32/24 with Shimano sealed bottom bracket
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore
  • Shifters: Shimano Microshift barend shifters.
  • Bars: Brev. M flared alloy drop bar
  • Stem: Brev. M 3d forged stem
  • Seat Post: Brev. M
  • Seat: Masi
  • Headset: FSA
  • Tires:  Clement X’Plor MSO 700X40c
Look at all those spacers. I need to have my steerer tube cut.

Look at all those spacers. I need to have my steerer tube cut.

The first thing you notice when you hop on the Giromondo is the tires.  It comes with 700×40 tires with small knobbies!  Max pressure is listed at 80 psi.  To be honest they do suck a few watts, but if aired up to 80psi they don’t scrub off too much speed.  What the tires do well is soften the cracked, split and rough Seattle roads on my commute.  The Clement X’plor tires inspire confidence on most surfaces, but they are a bit prone to puncture.  I had 3 in the first 500 miles.  After riding the ’88 Cannondale ST100 for the last year, the riding position was a big change too.  Both bikes are technically tourers, but the Masi is far more upright and comfortable for long days in the saddle.  My Giramondo came stock with nearly 30 mm of spacers under the stem.  Initially I found the position uncomfortable.  Who would have thought a riding position could be too upright?  Once the stem was slammed, the riding position was perfect for commutes, gravel rides and some mellow single track.  I have looked forward to having a bike equipped with discs, and they have not disappointed.  I expected to hate the bar end shifters, but found them to be quite convenient and rarely in the way.

The Positives. 

Bar end shifters

Bar end shifters

  • Disc brakes have plenty of power and good control.
  • Shifting the bar end shifters is very deliberate and satisfying.
  • Comfortable.  The Masi’s steel frame really eats up the road noise and the riding position is as comfortable as any bike I have ridden.
  • I love the Brev. M flared alloy drop bars.  Their width might not be the best for tight quarters, but they are great for people with wide shoulders.
  • The Clement X’Plor MSO 700X40c tires were a great for a variety of terrains.
  • The Avacado green color is sexy in a way your mom’s old appliances could only dream of.   She gets a lot of compliments.
  • There are mounting locations a plenty for bottle cages, racks, panniers etc.
  • After some adjustment, the wheels are proving themselves to be quite durable.
  • The 3X10 drivetrain has enough range to spin up to 30+ mph and low enough to climb a tree while towing a semi-trailer.
  • I have enjoyed the bar end shifters. The location encourages me to ride in the drops.
  • The bike can comfortably tackle a wide variety of terrain.  I have ridden pavement, gravel and even some smooth single track with confidence.  I enjoy hitting the gravel with the Giramondo.
  • The Giramondo comes in at under $1,100.  That is a lot of bike for the money!

    700X40 Clement X'PLOR MSO Tires

    700×40 Clement X’PLOR MSO Tires.

The Negatives. 

  • If you want a light weight bike buy something other than the Masi Giramondo.  This thing is an absolute tank.   It’s made to be a heavy duty tourer.
  • The Giramondo’s geometry makes for comfortable ride, but the small diameter top and down tube along with a long head tube make the bike look gangly and out of proportion.
  • I love having disc brakes, but they do not have the best feel.  The pads can be a bit grindy.  I am considering upgrading to Paul Component’s Klampers.
  • I like the bar end shifter location.  I like the feel of the shifts, but these shifters are not accurate.  The front pure friction works fine, but the rear indexed shifters are highly inaccurate.  Once a shift has been made, you often find that further trim adjustments are necessary.  I have thought of upgrading to non-indexed friction shifters, but worry that the adjustment on a 10 speed drivetrain might be to finicky.
  • The mountain drivetrain works great and keeps cost down, but I have no use for the smallest chain ring. I am convinced it only exists for pulling a trailer up a tree.  I can manage 20% grades in the second chainring.

So what is the verdict?

I bought the Giramondo with minimal research on a whim.  This is very much unlike me, but I am still elated with my decision.  This bike makes me happy whenever I ride it.  Swapping out a couple components will make it even better!  It is a big heavy tank and I like it that way.  In my opinion the extra effort pushing around the Giramondo will pay dividends on weekend fast rides on the road bike.  If you want a steady, affordable, comfortable commuter/tourer which can manage most any terrain buy the Giramondo.  If you want a fancy lightweight racer, don’t even think about purchasing the Giramondo.

Update 11/14/16

I had some questions about tire clearance, so I have added the photos below.   After 2,000 miles of use, I had to replace the rear tire with a 42mm Continental SpeedRIDE.  I was surprised that the Clements held up to 2,000 miles of mostly pavement riding.  However, there were quite a few flats so the puncture resistance could be better!  After nearly 2,400 miles, I have replaced a tire, chain, brake pads and trued the rear wheel twice.  Otherwise all I do is air up the tires and regularly lube and clean the drivetrain and ride.  The shifters continue to be a major source of frustration.  It may soon be time for an upgrade.  I will let you know when I do!

Non-Driveside Chainstay Tire Clearance is the narrowest.

Non-Driveside Chainstay Tire Clearance is the narrowest.

20161114_093141

Tire clearance to 42mm Continental SpeeRIDE tires is about 12mm.  Plenty of width for a wider tire if you wish.  How wide?  I am not sure.  I am no expert and I was unable to find any data on the web.

Update 5/10/15

A couple weeks ago I had what was supposed to be a nice weekend ride.  However, within a mile of starting I hit a wood screw with my rear tire.  So I swapped out the tube and was on my way.  I finished my ride and when I pulled the bike out of my truck, I noticed that once again my tire was flat.  Sigh.  While replacing my second tube, my heard sank.  I found hairline rim cracks at the majority of drive side spoke nipples.  Oh No!  It seems that the Weimann XC 32h rims with 32h disc cassette hubs are only capable of carrying my heavy ass for about 2,900 miles.  I am going with a DT Swiss mountain bike wheel as a replacement.

Immeasurable sadness. Notice the hairline crack at the spoke nipple. Ha! Nipple!

30 thoughts on “Review: 2016 Masi Speciale Giramondo

  1. Jo

    Hi,

    I’m quite interesting in buying a Masi Giramondo so thank you very much for this review. Hard to find one of these in Europe…
    You’re writing that the bike is quite heavy. Do you know the exact weight of yours?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for the comment.

      Unfortunately, I do not have an accurate scale. If I were to guess, I would say it weight somewhere in the 28-30 pound range, lets say about 13 kg.

      Good luck in our purchase and I hope you enjoy the bike if you get one!

      Lance

      Reply
  2. j

    Nice write up!

    Your comment about pulling a trailer up a tree was worth a good chuckle. I recently took a Giramondo for a 700 mile, ten-day tour. Large front and rear racks, tent and sleeping bag on top of the rear rack. I didn’t try any trees, but I tuckered out and walked before any hill felt too much for the lowest gears to handle.

    I kept the tires at 65 to 70 psi over roads, paved trails, limestone trails, gravel, and some grass with one leak in the front tube and a broken spoke in the rear rim. Everything else held up without issue. I tightened up the brakes at one point as they had worn down.

    I had a similar experience when purchasing the bike. I had researched touring bikes for a whle, and when it was time to go to the stores, I had the Marin Four Corners or Surly Longhaul Trucker in mind. After a few rounds of test rides, I walked out with the Masi on the same day. I am still very satisfied.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      That sounds like an awesome trip! Where did you go? With 2,000 on my Giramondo, I have replaced a tire and brake pads.

      Reply
  3. Ben

    Thanks for sharing, been looking for a bike with similar features, really think Masi did great on this one for the price. Also like the 27.5 version.

    What’s the tire clearance like with the 40mm MSOs? I’d really like to fit some slight let wider tires like the 45mm WTB riddler or BG rock n road.

    Stinks about the bar end shifters. Also looking at the Kona sutra. Costs a little more with some lower specs, but 3×9 bar ends, and iirc the rear can be run index or friction. Most friction specific bar ends I’ve seen don’t recommend going past 9 in the back. I believe Dia comp has a friction shifter that’ll do 11, but it can be mounted down tube only.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Ben!

      Thanks for the comment and the information. I may look into the Dia Comp Shifters. I have downtube friction shifters on my vintage Cannondale, so it should not be a big adjustment.

      There is still quite a bit of tire clearance on the Giramondo. Tire clearance is the narrowest at the non-driveside chainstay. With a 42mm Continental Speedride tire on the rear, I measured 12mm of clearance from the tire to the chainstay. This tire casing is wider than the Clement’s that came on the bike, but thanks to the knobbies on the Clement, the tires are pretty much the same width.

      I posted a couple blurry pictures of the non drivesite chainstay tire clearance at the end of the article.

      Thanks again!

      Lance

      Reply
      1. Ben

        Thanks for posting that Lance, very helpful! Really dig this bike! Looks like 45s would fit no problem.

        Reply
  4. Ben

    Fyi Lance, check out this link. Not sure if you’re familiar with the gevenalle shifter/brake levers, but I believe the ones Guitar Ted is reviewing here use the same microshift levers on you’re giramondo. Anyway, he mentioned both that the indexing can be “adjusted” and that they have a friction option for the rear. Might be worth looking into…

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=/amp/ridinggravel.com/gravel-news/gevenalle-gx-shifters-at-the-finish/amp/&ved=0ahUKEwjj0Pv3xOjQAhUEiFQKHUpJDtEQFggkMAI&usg=AFQjCNG2s6Z2uqrT9r2BzjH0o_S1BLjLLg

    Reply
      1. ben

        So I’ve noticed that there is a particular technique required for accurately shifting on the indexed cassette bar-end, which I have unconsciously adopted. The clicks indicate almost exactly where the gear is located, while the small bit of friction travel beyond causes skipping if you don’t trim back to the detent when upshifting to a smaller cog. I’ll try to explain:

        I only experienced the indexing problem my first few rides when shifting to a smaller cassette cog, but almost never when shifting to a larger one. When shifting to a smaller cog from a larger cog, the shift seems to occur almost exactly at the index click. Not beyond. So if you shift the lever down beyond the click to the point where you begin to feel the next gear’s index, you will be slightly out of alignment with the gear you wanted. This is exacerbated because in doing this you push the lever down, and your natural tendency is probably to push it until it stops/before it clicks again. But that is actually too far because that stop is the index for the *next* gear. You’ll need to pull up slightly to trim back toward the index you just clicked over, and then stop when you feel resistance. Once you’ve done this, you won’t experience any more skipping. Similarly, when you are shifting to a larger cog, you will click over the index and most likely keep pulling up until you feel the resistance of the next index. But because that index/stop is exactly where you’re trying to shift to on a downshift when raising the lever, you will be in perfect index when shifting to a larger cog. This is the sort of thing you’ll do purely by feel without indexing on pure friction barcons, but once you learn how the indexing plays on the Microshift, it becomes perfectly reproducible every time. In other words, it doesn’t automate the shifting, but it does take the finickyness out of fine tuning the cassette shifts. Just an FYI.

        Reply
        1. admin Post author

          I am a little slow, but eventually I did catch on! It does make sense! I will pay a little more attention to my shifts. My shifts have gotten better over time, perhaps I am doing it subconsciously?

          Thanks you!!!

          Lance

          Reply
  5. ben

    I just picked up a 2017 700c model size XL, two days ago. I’m about 6-1. Re your comment regarding its weight: It doesn’t feel much heavier than my mid 70s Reynolds Raleigh Gran Sport, and on a doctors beam scale, it weighed in at 26.5# sans pedals, which I don’t consider particularly heavy, especially considering the gravel-oriented wheel setup and the fact that there are plenty of aluminum rides weighing in around 25#. Aside from a seized chain link which has kept me off the 11 thru 17 cogs, I’m really enjoying the ride so far – it seems to eat up all surfaces without complaint – and I find myself in general agreement with the positive attributes you cite above. So far I’m about 60 miles in.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Ben! I had a seized link too in the first 500 miles. I have not had any problems since.

      My Giramondo is much heaver than my mountain bike and road bike and about the same weight as my 1988 Cannondale ST1000. Considering the fact that this bike is built to be carry Panniers the robust weight and construction is to be expected. However, the weight is very noticeable when switching from my road bike to the Masi.

      Again I really enjoy all your comments. I really hope you love your Giramondo!

      Reply
      1. ben

        Quick weight comparison before a more detailed review of my own experience: According to REI’s website, a Salsa Vaya Deore weighs in at 27.3# on average, so this bike is right in the ballpark. I’ve had it for two weekends, I’m about 200 miles into it, and can say it is a fantastic bike. My LBS swapped out the seized chain for a SRAM chain, and no more skips. It is very comfortable in the drops or on the hoods – the bars are wide and have a nice splay on the drops that feels like a more natural position than typical road bars, which adds up to increased comfort, a stable ride, and lots of mechanical advantage when climbing. Although it has an “upright” position, it practically invites you to stay in the drops, out of the wind, and in reach of the bar end shifters. I like the shifters quite a lot. I know you had issues with trim, but having plenty of experience with non-indexed barends, I really appreciate the clicks – no need to look at the cassette to know what gear I’m in – and I trim as I always have almost unconsciously. My only complaint is the bar tape. I’m used to tightly spaced cork, this is a thinner rubber tape, and while grippy, it feels smaller and harder by comparison, so I’ll probably wrap cork over it. I’ve run it at several different tire pressures, and at 40psi (40c Clement MSO’s) it rides as smoothly as you could reasonably expect a bike to ride (vintage Reynolds road frames excepted – they will always ride better than just about anything that exists but lack tire clearance) over gravel, crushed limestone, roots, and pavement – though at that pressure it rolls a little slow on paved. At 55psi, it’s rolling a lot more like a road bike but the tires still eat up almost all debris, next up I’ll test 70psi. The stock 40c tires it comes with leave a lot of room in the chainstay area, and I suspect it could handle 2 inch rubber on the 700c wheels while still maintaining acceptable clearance. The gearing range is such that I can pedal into a descent at 30mph and still have cadence to spare, and maintaining 17-18 on flat paved surface is no problem. Gear inches are about 19 to 106. The lowest gear is nearly effortless and would probably serve well on heavily loaded ascents or climbing really gnarly surfaces. I’ve had no difficulty climbing in the 32 and 44 chainrings, though. In terms of ride quality no unpleasant vibrations to speak of. I haven’t ridden hydraulic brakes, but the mechanical brakes feel fine compared to all other brakes I have experienced, modulate well, and have good stopping power once broken in and properly adjusted (I had LBS shorten the cable pull so they begin engaging almost immediately – personal preference). I’ve been riding with studded Wellgo MG1 pedals (which are practically like gluing your feet to the pedal) and a broken-in Brooks B17 saddle. All in all, I think Masi assembled a really nice package – it’s versatile, comfortable, not too heavy, fast enough, has a lot of setup options, is attractively priced, and above all fits well. I’d be interested in a side by side Vaya/AWOL/CrossCheck/Giramondo ride comparison.

        Reply
        1. admin Post author

          Dude! That is a sweet review. Want to write for CYCLEBUTTCRACK? I can guarantee you the same excellent pay I receive as the CEO of CYCLEBUTTCRACK.com! HA!!!

          You are absolutely right. The Giramondo’s weight is in line with other touring bikes. However, it is heavier than what I am used to compared to other bikes. The bars on the bike are awesome. I know you like cork bar tape, but after 2600 miles, the stock bar tape hardly shows any wear. I do struggle tih the shifters, but hope to find peace with them. I am considering mounting them on the down tubes. It is a great package and offers a great price point and is super durable!

          Thanks again for all your comments.

          Reply
          1. ben

            Thanks! So you pay like $2 a word right???? Also I realized another Ben was posting before me. If you haven’t had dt shifters recently, I would strongly advise against them. It really destabilizes your handling just like reaching down for a bottle can at the wrong moment. Instead, if you continue struggling with the barends, I’m pretty sure 3×10 Tiagra brifters will get the job done, given that Salsa specced the Vaya Deore w Claris brifters and a Deore cassette, but you’ll need to confirm w a mechanic that the indexing is compatible. You can find a good looking set on ebay for like $80.

          2. admin Post author

            $2 a word? Ha!

            I did have down tube shifters on my last commuter and liked them. I will likely not be changing things up anytime soon. The current shifting issues are only an occasional minor inconvenience.

            Thanks for all the comments! Your check is in the mail 😉

  6. Michael

    Where I live, there are no models available to test ride. I’m not sure of what size to order. I am 5’10.5 and have a 31″ inseam. I am think a medium.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for the comment Michael.

      I would advise against ordering and paying for a bike without riding it. I rode 2 sizes before deciding on my XL Giramondo. I am 6′-2″ but only have a 32″ inseam. I would guess that a Large would work for you, but it is hard to say.

      I really hope you can find a way to ride a Large and Medium before you settle on one!

      Lance

      Reply
    2. ben

      You’re only two inches shorter than I am, and I’m right on the edge of L/XL. I went with the XL after trying out a couple Marin Four Corners’ with pretty similar geometry, and determining that the L would still have too short a headtube for my purposes. If you can compare to a bike w/ similar geometry at a Masi dealer, they ought to accomodate. The stack measurement is about 1in shorter on the L v the XL, so if you’re 2in shorter than me, 1in will probably be in your upper body, and 1in in your lower body. Total variation in reach is about 1in across all 4 sizes, so your LBS can fix that pretty easily if needed.

      Reply
    3. GaHushovd

      I’m 6’1″ with a 32″ inseam and wanted the lower standover height of the size large so I could get on it with my kid in a rear kid-carrier & not kick her in the face. Fits me very well (I flipped the stem to increase stack ever so slightly, but I have bullhorn bars on mine). For comparison sake I ride a 59.5cm in a traditional level top-tube road frame. I’d go medium. One thing about this bike — with the trail, the super-roomy rear trianghle and the long wheelbase, it corners like a Mack truck, so I’d ride the smallest frame w/ enough stack (like someone else said, reach stays pretty constant).

      Reply
  7. Evan McClung

    Another weight comment, folks: I just bought a 2016 Giramondo, size L, and it weighed in with stock components at just over 27 lbs. My own personal experience thus far is that this weight isn’t an issue for the type of riding the bike is designed for (I’m 6′ 0″ and 190 lbs). I’ve been riding up 20% slopes on it on my potholed Pittsburgh streets with no problems. I love the geometry and am looking forward to some real touring. Great bike!

    I read the reviews above before making purchase, and appreciated the comments and reviews. Thanks!

    Evan

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for the comment! I am glad you are digging your Masi!

      Reply
    2. ben

      Evan – Out of curiosity, have you ridden the Dirty Dozen on your Giramondo? Seems like the gearing would make that a (relative) cakewalk.

      Reply
      1. admin Post author

        Being a West Coaster, I had to google the Dirty Dozen. Looks intense!

        Reply
    3. MS

      I just got my XL Giramondo and feel that it fits me ok. I’m 6’5 with a 34″ inseam.

      Reply
      1. admin Post author

        Congratulations on your acquisition! Good to hear the XL works for you!

        Reply
  8. GaHushovd

    Love this bike too, have it set up as a commuter. Get lots of compliments on it. I’ve put 42c winter tires on (with SKS fenders) and no clearance issues. Besides the chintzy ProMax brakes, my only complaint, as I noted above in response to someone’s size question — some combination of the head angle, 50mm trail, long stays & long wheelbase makes this thing corner slower and with more wheel-flop than anything I’ve ever owned — makes my old Trek 520 feel like a crit bike. I’m sure it’s nice for fully loaded touring on bad roads, but it’s less than optimal for weaving in city traffic.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for the comments! Your comments regarding the handling characteristics make perfect sense, but had never occurred to me. That geometry really does make for a stable ride at high speed. My Masi feels the most stable of any of my bikes on high speed descents. However, that is not really its intended purpose.

      Reply

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