Malvern Star Oppy C5 2010 – First Impression Review

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Malvern Star Oppy C5 2010 – First Impression Review

Postby familyguy » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:58 pm

Name of product
Malvern Star Oppy C5 2010 – First Impression Review
I will revisit in 3 months once everything wears in and its had some serious miles


Where bought and price
$2499 RRP – can be had for less depending on your LBS, extras purchased at the same time, etc
Purchased from Dee Why BikeHub

How it is used
Recreational/fitness riding (2 x distances to 45km plus shakedown half-hour to date)
Possible road-only commuting

Malvern Star Oppy C5 2010 – XL size
Carbon tube to tube construction with carbon rear dropouts
Monocoque carbon fork with carbon steerer and carbon dropouts
FSA 1 ½” to 1 1/8” integrated headset
Full 105 groupset (175mm crankset on XL)
FSA WingPro OS bars (44cm c/c on XL)
FSA OS 150 XT (120mm stem on XL)
FSA Carbon Pro 31.6mm seat post
Velo Race (MS branded) seat
Mavic Aksium Race (bladed spokes, Mavic rim tapes) with Hutchinson Equinox 700x23 tyres - replaced with Gipiemme/Ultegra wheelset and Rubino Pro tyres

+ the ride quality is excellent, a noticeable improvement on my previous bike
+ design features like internal cable routing through internal ‘socks’ in the carbon tubes
+ carbon tube to tube construction system allows for improved quality control over monocoque
+ tapered headset did feel a little more stable, yet responsive
+ new 105 10-speed black groupset definitely crisper than previous 5500 9-speed set
+ 105 black groupset looks better on this bike than I’d thought
+ pre-installed cable adjusters at the shifters are easier to reach on the fly
+ value

- the paint around the headset is not 100% finished to the races - I’d give it 99%, you have to look close to see it but I know how nitpicky you people can get :wink:
- the back wheel skipped over a few fast downhill bumps due to the stiffer frame - possibly due to my riding style, I’ll let you know if this is an issue on the longer term test
- give it time, something may come up

Additional notes
I wasn’t going to give you the full on Ride Magazine type review, but a personal first impression of this after shifting off my previous bike (Giant OCR1). However, it pretty much turned into one :roll: . I will also add that I’ve never ridden a full carbon fibre bike before.

Out of the box and away from the LBS on the maiden test, it felt tighter. Not that the Giant was any slouch off the mark, but the carbon frame felt stiffer. As it should, this one is brand new.

Much of this is probably due to this:

Compare that to the Giant:

Can you say “beefy bottom bracket for improved power transmission”? The frame is certainly stiffer than the Giant, as the wheel flex that I knew existed in my Gipiemme's becomes obvious a little earlier on the Oppy. Over bumps the frame made barely a noise, just the internal cables tapping against the tubes on big bumps. The downtube changes shape to a narrow, more aero central section, before flaring out at the BB. The curved top tube is very much from the Specialized school of bicycle design. Among others.

The narrow seat stays dont really come into play under load, though the improved ride quality over small bumps is noticeable. The carbon seat post assists in this area. I could feel decidedly less bumpiness through the seat than the Giant (with its aluminium seat tube and BB shell and titanium seat post) on the maiden Sunday run on the exact same roads as before. The chain stays are squarer shapes, and quite large by comparison, meeting at the bountiful bottom bracket area.

The seat stays are not as big as a Cannondale Six or Synapse series frame, and may not be quite as large as Trek's Madone series seat stays. They look similar in size to the Avanti Cadent and Quantum series frames. I'll pay attention to other bikes and try to get a comparison. They're not wheel-huggers like some more serious performance oriented frames, giving the back wheel a wide berth from top to bottom.

They join the seat tube in a solid connection, with a nice brake bridge detail.


The fork looks chunky, with the straight-tapered blades. No Pinarello waves here. The bigger 1 ½” lower headset bearing gives it a look consistent with the current tapered head tube setups on a growing number of bikes. I was sceptical about the claims of increased stability with the dual-sized headset, but it felt less twitchy than the Giant. It cornered directly, and I had to pull up out of a couple as it pointed in faster than the Giant. Some of this may be due to the stem size, but the head tube to fork interface made it easy to corner. I was confident to sit up and spin with no hands on the bars from the get-go, given its directional stability over the Giant.


The white/grey/black colour scheme looks better in the flesh than on the MS website. The grey is more silver in the sunlight. It garnered a few looks as we rolled along from people going the other way, but I couldnt tell if they were in the 'genuine interest' or 'dismissive elitist sneer' camp.

The new Shimano 105 shifters feel longer and thinner in the hood/body than the 5500 series 9-speed on the Giant, but not uncomfortably so. The rounded tops are slightly better to hold than the pointier 5500 levers. The lever blades are narrower, but didn’t feel small under my hands. Shifting was a step above the 5500 series. After a shakedown adjustment, the rear shifted precisely every time. I dropped the chain out over the big ring a couple of times when I got overzealous on a change, but a front derailleur adjustment would fix that issue. The cranks didnt feel better or worse than the carbon Rouleurs I had been using, so flex or slop isnt an issue. The brakes stopped well, even if the pads may be a little slow to bite. Nothing Kool-Stop cant fix for anyone. I’d certainly rank this new 5600 series 105 above my 2-year old Campy Veloce in terms of crispness and feel, whereas the 5500 of the same era was on par.


The bars are too wide for my liking, and I'm unconvinced of the shallow drop for my liking either, but thats not enough to give it a negative. A set of 42cm c/c bars with a bigger drop will be going on in time unless I grow to like the standard model. The seat is good, padded enough so you dont feel like you're riding a surfboard, and not chunkily out of place on an overtly sporting bike. The two-bolt FSA seat post can take a minute or two to adjust, but its a set and forget setup item.

<vanity warning> :D
I had my concerns about the black groupset, but the more I looked at it, the more it looks better than I’d thought it would.


</vanity warning>

If you're thinking about a carbon fibre upgrade and only have limited funds, can you go past it for value for money? I dont think so, unless you’re wary of the "untested" nature of the brand. The LBS staff have told me of people coming in and dismissing the Oppy range simply because of what is printed on the down tube. That said, the limited production facilities that exist for carbon fibre bike manufacture mean that the line that produces these may well handle other 'big name' makes in the same shift.

The tube to tube construction system would give MS an extra quality control step. Whether they do it or not I dont know.

The frame is the same across the Oppy range (C5, C6, C7, Pro), and all come with a lifetime warranty.

Considering what you get, comparable models based on specs alone are:
Giant TCR Advanced 2 - $3000 (composite alu/CF frame)
Trek Madone 4.5 - $3999
Avanti Cadent 1.0 - $3600
Avanti Quantum 1.0 - $3600
Orbea Bira - $3700 (stated as Made in Spain)
Specialized Tarmac Elite ’09 - $3900 (105 parts, Tektro brake calipers, Tiagra canks)
Specialized Tarmac Comp ’09 - $4500
Specialized Roubaix Elite ’90 - $3900
Specialized Roubaix Comp ’09 - $4700
Ridley Orion - $3995 (R600 cranks)

(Prices are RRP from Freedom Machine and Clarence St websites)

Hurry up and get one, otherwise you could miss this:


Malvern Star know the cyclists penchant for coffee!

More pictures here.


Quality Image

Performance Image

Value for money Image


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Re: Malvern Star Oppy C5 2010 – First Impression Review

Postby familyguy » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:53 pm

A few things have come to light after riding this for a few hundred km and deserve follow-up...

+ ride quality and comfort is proving to be good even with the increased stiffness in the frame - and now I've learned how to keep the back wheel on the ground
+ pre-installed cable adjusters at the shifters are very handy - great if you swap wheels
+ 105 black groupset looks even better on this bike than I’d thought - especially now with the red bar tape

- the paint around the headset really is not 100% - now I’d actually give it 95%
- the rear brake cable is routed alongside the head tube, then into the top tube, and it has rubbed a graze in the paintwork already (a clear patch is now installed, perhaps something that should've been done up front) - I wonder how soon you'd wear the paint right away if its soft/thin

Negatives - minor and/or quibbling
- the rear derailleur cable ferrule (plastic) has snapped along its length - a simple enough replacement for a metal one
- the front derailleur cable is frayed at the pinch bolt - this is a complete cable out replacement and readjustment
- somewhat oddly, the star badge on the front has slipped down

It took a little getting used to the revised throw on the shift levers with the new 5600 series. The outward slant on the levers means you can get overzealous on front changes, dropping the chain over the outside of the big ring even after adjusting limit screws. Front has increased feathering over the 5500 series 105. Rear changes are crisp and smooth.

Having swapped wheels, the LBS and I failed to notice that the 10-speed cassette requires a 1mm spacer on 9-speed hubs to avoid the RD hitting the spokes. I was hearing the RD shaving the spokes when climbing in first gear, but inserting the spacer and tightening the wheel have fixed that.

There was some creaking from the front end on climbing, but an adjustment to the headseat/steerer/cap has solved that. A torque wrench is a MUST for anyone even thinking about even minor adjustments like this with a full carbon steerer.

click pic for more

Overall, I'm very happy with it.


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