Test: The Cinelli Zydeco 2020 is not only a visually striking, but also technically convincing gravel bike that should appeal to sporty riders in particular.
Cinelli Zydeco 2020: the facts
Frame material: Aluminium
Wheel size(s): 700c
Maximum tire clearance: 42 mm
Axle dimensions (v/h): 12 × 100/142 × 12
Mudguard Eyelets: Ja
Luggage carrier eyelets (v/h): No Yes
bottle holder: down tube up, seat tube
Other: Eyelets on the top tube
Weight wheels v/h/total (with tires and brake discs): 1.720g / 1.905g / 3.625g
Weight complete bike without pedals (size M): 10,10kg
Price: € 1.899
High-quality frame with crosser genes
The Zydeco from the traditional Italian manufacturer Cinelli is an old acquaintance: it has been in the portfolio for a few years now and was originally the inexpensive entry-level crosser. In the last generation, however, Cinelli already blurred the already vague boundaries between cyclocross and gravel, in order to then fully back the Gravel card for the 2020 model year - this is also shown by the lettering Gravel Design Concept on the top tube. The new "gravel features" on the beautifully finished aluminum frame made of Columbus Zonal tubes in the typical Cinelli design are above all the numerous mounting points for bottles and/or bags, the slightly redesigned geometry and, last but not least, the front and rear thru axles.
Let’s stay with the topic of mounting points for a moment: With the usual two placements for bottle holders on the seat and down tube, rear luggage rack eyelets and also the attachments for mudguards, which are now almost standard, the Cinelli Gravelbike also comes with two eyelets on the top tube, so that too to be able to attach a bag here. The bike doesn't offer quite as many options as proven bikepacking specialists, but the selection should be sufficient for touring riders or sporty commuters. Especially since the designers at Cinelli have also thought of the details: The wheelbase has been selected in such a way that even with mounted mudguards there is hardly any dreaded toe overlap, i.e. you don't hit the front wheel or the mudguard with your toes.
Visually alone, the Cinelli stands out from the crowd - there was no gravel bike remotely as conspicuous in our test field either. That's a matter of taste, but we really like the color scheme. The same applies to processing; Clean weld seams, no unsightly edges and excellent dimensional accuracy, for example when screwing in the rear thru-axle, know how to please. With a frame weight of approx. 1.760g and the high-quality attachments on the Italian, which costs 1.899 euros, our scales for a size M Zydeco stop at a good 10,1kg.
As mentioned, the geometry of the Cinelli Zydeco has been adjusted for this season and trimmed a bit towards Gravel. Nevertheless, the bike cannot completely hide its crosser genes: On the one hand, there is the sporty stack-to-reach value of 1,45, with which most riders should sit on the Zydeco rather stretched and with a noticeable overhang. The steep steering angle promises a lot of agility, while the 440mm chain stays, which are almost unusually long, should noticeably improve smoothness – especially off-road.
Cinelli Zydeco 2020 Geometry
|seat tube (in mm)
|Top tube horizontal (in mm)
|head tube (in mm)
|chainstay (in mm)
|Wheelbase (in mm)
|Steering angle (in °)
|Seat angle (in °)
|Stacks (in mm)
Round equipment without significant weaknesses
Three bikes in the Cinelli portfolio for 2020 bear the Zydeco name. In addition to the Zydeco 2020 we tested, these are the Zydeco Lala and the King Zydeco. Even if they share the gravel field of application, they all rely on their own frames. The entry-level model, the Zydeco Lala, is given a somewhat simpler aluminum frame, while the high-end model, the King Zydeco, comes with an elegant carbon frame. The Zydeco 2020 comes with quite attractive and appropriate equipment for the asking price. The light Columbus Futura Gravel full carbon fork is also worth mentioning here - not a matter of course in this price range.
Drive and brakes come almost entirely from Sram. The Apex 1 drive with a 42 ring in front and an 11-42 cassette in the back offers a 382% gear range. That should be enough for most riders, but the 42 gauge up front requires a little bang in the legs on steep climbs. The hydraulic Apex brakes, which have been tried and tested for several generations, in combination with 160 mm discs ensure good braking power even on longer descents.
|Cinelli Zydeco 2020 Columbus Zonal
|Columbus Futura Tapered
|Formula hubs / Shining rims
|WTB Riddler 37mm
|FSA Omega 42t
|Sram Apex flat mount
|Cinelli 6061 31,6mm
|Cinelli SSM Monza
|Cinelli Flare 6061
The wheels come with in-house rims and Formula hubs - in terms of weight they are in the middle of our entry-level bikes. The mounted WTB Riddler tires measure 37mm wide and have more than enough throughput on the Zydeco. Cinelli itself specifies 42mm as the maximum tire clearance.
Let's Gravel: The Cinelli Zydeco 2020
For us, the Cinelli Zydeco 2020 was definitely one of the surprises in the entry-level test field.
Visually, the classic Italian looks great and convinces with its beautiful shape in combination with striking design elements. The high-quality processing of the Columbus Zonal tubes of the aluminum frame also contributes to the successful look.
In addition to the optics, the Cinelli Zydeco 2020 also has a lot to offer on the go. The balanced and yet sporty geometry shows relatively quickly that this bike can't completely shed its cyclocross past. This is also noticeable in the quite agile driving behavior, since the Zydeco 2020 has good acceleration and is characterized by direct steering behavior. However, you quickly realize how serious the Italians are about gravel when you take a closer look at the smooth running of the bike.
This is greatly encouraged by the long struts and offers pleasant safety on rough ground or on faster passages without the bike feeling sluggish. Due to the rather steep steering angle and the sporty platform, however, the driving comfort suffers a little, which is not a problem on normal gravel tracks, but can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially on long tours and hard passages.
If we are already talking about long gravel routes, we must of course also praise the large number of mounting points for bags, carriers and holders. Again, you can see that the Cinelli developers really want to focus on Gravel. Especially on long tours or multi-day trips you will be able to attach all material, which speaks for the versatility of the Cinelli Zydeco 2020.
This package is rounded off by a successful equipment. With a Sram Apex 1-speed group including 160 brakes you are prepared for all eventualities. The in-house rims fit well into the overall picture and provide everything you need on gravel rides.
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