Though Storck has offered more affordable road bikes in recent years, its heart lies in developing state-of-the-art high-performance bikes that push carbon fibre to its limit, resulting in some of the lightest and stiffest bikes road.cc has ever tested. And also some of the most expensive; such fastidious attention to detail and cutting-edge design doesn't come cheap. The new Fascenario.3 Platinum is no exception. The performance and handling are phenomenal, it's as fast as its looks suggest and for the most part also manages to be reasonably comfortable.
Launched late last year – Mat Brett took a first look at the bike and even took it for a world exclusive first ride – the new Fascenario.3 has been many years in development and is pitched as an all-round bike that balances aerodynamic efficiency, comfort, stiffness, and ergonomic performance. So well blended and advanced are these key attributes that Storck goes as far as calling it the best road bike ever. Well, they would say that wouldn't they, but what's it like when you let it loose on the open road?
Ride and handling
It's exceptionally fast, that much is abundantly clear. It's like you're being shoved along by a force 10 gale such are the high speeds the Storck makes easy, relatively speaking, to obtain even when you're not really shoving the pedals around with all your strength.
It picks up speed supremely well. When you open up the taps there's no hint of flex from the huge oversized bottom bracket, downtube and chainstays. Though it's not billed as an out-and-out aero road bike, there are some clear aero features – the bowed fork and Kamm tail down tube – which along with the deep section wheels gifts the Storck incredible speed and clearly help it to compete with other dedicated aero bikes that operate in this category.
You don't even have to be putting out big power to enjoy the speed it offers. It delivers great pace even when you're noodling along with your head in the clouds. I found I was able to clock higher average speeds with no big increase in power output, which was jolly nice. And there's certainly no need for a wind tunnel to verify its aero performance, the speed on the Garmin says it all. This bike is hella fast.
Relax into a canter, and you can revel in how the geometry provides nicely weighted steering, while the tapered head tube and the bowed fork provide a very direct feeling through the handlebars. It turns with great agility and there's fantastic steering response that makes it a fun and rewarding bike to throw into corners. Any corner – wide and sweeping or tight and cambered – poses no problem for the Storck. It has no hesitation putting the tyres exactly where you want them. It's a delight to ride through any twisting road or descent and for sure is one of the most exciting bikes I've tested this year.
The low weight of the bike and the high level of stiffness gives a delicious immediacy to the way the Storck responds to your inputs. It's oh-so-precise and nimble; point it at an apex and it'll follow your directions faithfully. And unlike some high-end stiff carbon bikes, the Storck doesn't get skittish or nervous when you're really pushing along at speed or getting a bit wild into the corners, nothing seems to faze it. It feels solid at high speed. It's a bike you can trust to look after you.
Ride quality is generally very good. Comfort has been considered in the design of the frame, the D-shaped seatpost and Storck's own carbon handlebar, and on the majority of road surfaces, it's smooth and reasonably supple. I couldn't really detect the saddle or handlebar deflecting under my weight, but after one seven-hour ride I leapt off the bike feeling as fresh as could be expected, though I couldn't say the same of my legs. So it manages long distances as well as short blasts.
But get onto a rough road surface and the Storck struggles to cope. Riding along the sort of road where the top layer of tarmac has been gradually ripped reveals the Storck struggling to cope to smother the ripples of vibration coursing through the frame and fork, and it can be a little unsettling. You certainly need to scan the road ahead to avoid hitting anything that looks rough and bumpy.
Despite that flaw, for the most part the ride quality was acceptable. That occasional hard-edged ride is a reminder that you're riding a bike that has primarily been designed to maximise your performance, not comfort. If comfort is high on your shortlist, you'll probably be better served by other choices. The 25mm tyres give the bike a little extra cushioning, provided you run the pressures a bit lower.
There's a lot of engineering know-how in this new frame, the result of Markus Storck's many years of working at the cutting-edge of carbon road bike design. The key to the bike's speed and aero performance is the 'Advanced Sectional Aerodynamic Shaping' found on the downtube. It's a teardrop profile with the trailing edge cut off, like a Kamm Tail. There's substantial aero design in the fork, with bowed blades intended to improve air flow between the front wheel and fork. That's not a new idea, we've seen it on Pinarello's Dogma F8 and some time trial bikes previously. The carbon layup in the fork is designed to ensure that stiffness hasn't been compromised in pursuit of aero gains.
The claimed 840g frame and 330g fork weight, which while not the lightest available certainly puts it in close company with other high-end carbon frames. It's achieved via Storck's own carbon fibre layup involving ultra-high-modulus and high-modulus carbon fibre. For this money, though you might reasonably expect a lighter frame. Both Trek and Specialized are offering lighter frames with their latest Emonda and Tarmac respectively.
All cables are internally routed and it's compatible with most current groupset options. Brakes are the dual pivot type and there is a press-fit bottom bracket and tapered head tube. And like most modern top-end carbon road bikes, the seat clamp is hidden inside the top tube, and the Torx bolt easily accessed via a port underneath the top tube. The F.3 seatpost has a D-shape profile that like Giant's Defy endurance bike is intended to maximise the amount of fore-aft deflection at the saddle.
While you could buy the frameset for £5,600, Storck offers a number of builds to suit your budget (which had better be sizeable). We were supplied with a bike built up with the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical groupset, and there aren't any more words I can add to the collective thumbs up this new flagship groupset has already received. You can read our first ride review of it here.
Edco's Aerosport Umbrial 45mm carbon fibre clincher wheels proved a good match for the Storck, and at £2,200 they contribute to the high price of the complete bike. With a claimed weight of 1,448g, the wheels contributed to the Storck's climbing prowess, and the stiffness matches the frame and fork stiffness, providing accurate and precise handling.
Edco has developed its own rim profile that is neither V or U shaped intended to produce good all-round performance, and though straight line aero performance was good, they lack the stability in crosswinds compared to similar rim depth rivals that I've tested in the last 12 months. Braking in the dry was good and quiet with the company's own brake blocks, but deteriorated rapidly in the wet and is on a par with what I'd expect of most carbon wheels and noticeably a step behind the latest Enve rims with their moulded brake track.
Atop the seatpost is a Selle Italia SLS Monolink saddle, a design that Storck clearly prefers to a conventional saddle mount because it has featured on just about every Storck bike we've ever tested. It's said to be lighter than a regular setup and more comfortable, but that was tricky to detect because I simply don't get on with the saddle. I did manage seven hours on it, but I was shifting and squirming towards the end, and I'd prefer the easy option of being able to fit my preferred saddle rather than being tied into a system that requires harder-to-find saddles from just a handful of brands. There is, however, a conversion kit available that lets you fit a conventional saddle, so that would be something to look into.
Storck supplies its own aluminium stem and carbon fibre handlebar, the latter is claimed to damp front-end vibrations. It was possible to detect it at times on rougher roads at higher speeds, but it's certainly not flexing all over the shop. While I liked the shape of the top section, I didn't get on with the drops where I prefer a bit more extension.
The bike that most came to mind when testing the Storck was the Pinarello Dogma F8. They have a very similar ride quality with a high level of stiffness and engaging handling. The Dogma is by no means a cheap bike, but the Campagnolo Super Record build I tested last year cost £8,250, which does make the Storck look very expensive. And at this sort of price, I'd be seriously looking at the Colnago C60 which in my opinion offers a more rounded, and slightly smoother and more sublime ride quality, and can be built up for similar or less money.
It would be easy to sum up the new Storck as an overpriced carbon race bike, but the performance is top-level stuff, up there with the best rivals in this exclusive superbike category. Precise handling, great speed and generally good comfort ensure there's a lot to like. But there's no getting away from the fact the Storck is very expensive even compared to other prestigious high-end bikes. As good as the Storck is, it's hard to recommend when you can get the same performance for less money.
High-end performance but you might just have to sell a kidney to afford it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Storck Fascenario.3 Platinum
Size tested: Medium
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
In terms of aerodynamics, comfort, ride characteristics and technology, Storck models such as the Fascenario and the Aernario set standards. The Fascenario.3 builds on the greatest achievements of the Storck developments and impresses with features that elevate the road bike to an all-new level. 'Advanced Sectional Aerodynamic Shaping' and a fork rigorously designed for aerodynamics signify a further development of the engineering design approach focused on aerodynamics. The reduction of the seat post cross-sections and use of 'Flat Section Technology' result in notably enhanced comfort, while the utilization of 'Nano Carbon Technology' produces a frame with exceptional physical properties
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
FASCENARIO.3 PLATINUM FRAME SET INCLUDING FASCENARIO.3 PLATINUM FORK, INTEGRATED HEADSET 1 1/8 "- 1 1/4" >> MATERIALS CFR / UD / NTR - OPTIMIZED >> CFR BOTTOM BRACKET SECTION >> CFR HEADSET SECTION >> CFR DROP OUTS >> INTERNAL CABLE ROUTING BRAKING / SHIFTING >> REPLACEABLE DERAILLEUR HANGER >> BB STANDARD: PRESSFIT ™ DIAMETER 41 X 86.5 MM >> '�'�F.3 SEAT POST >> ELECTRONIC AND MECHANICAL SHIFTING SYSTEM >> COLOR: MATT BLACK> > WEIGHT: FRAME FROM 770 G, FASCENARIO.3 PLATINUM FORK FROM 330 G, FRAME SET FROM 1100 G
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Exceptional design and finish
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Full carbon fibre frame and fork with ultra and high modulus carbon fibres
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
On the racy side but not super aggressive, comfortable enough for long rides and aggressive enough for flat out blasts
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
I found it a perfect fit once I fitted a longer stem
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
For the most part, yes, but it struggled on the roughest roads
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness was off the scales, superb when sprinting and climbing
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Without hesitation or delay
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Responsive
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Handling was sublime, fast and engaging yet planted at high speeds
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels added speed but I'd change the saddle simple because my bum and it didn't get on too well
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
No I wouldn't
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Maybe
Would you consider buying the bike? Maybe
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
It's a mightily impressive high-performance road bike but when it makes the Colnago C60 and Pinarello Dogma F8 look cheap, it's tough to justify such an outlay
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.