Whenever we're approached with the next great innovation in frame technology, we're often reminded of the old adage that ahem it's not the bike that matters, it's the engine. The down tube and bottom bracket of the De Rosa platform we chose for our in house Protos Ultegra Complete Road Bike may finally give the lie to that axiom, though. Compared to your typical race machine, the Protos' gigantic drive spine affords a claimed 35% increase in stiffness to weight ratio, and we've chose to dress that increased efficiency in a full complement of Shimano's Ultegra 6800 kit including the crankset, a spot where many manufacturers skimp on their factory builds. As much as we loved the revamped Ultegra, though, the Protos is the obvious star of this show. Few frame manufacturers have the penchant for capturing the imagination of cycling romantics like De Rosa. Maybe it's the 50 years of history behind the brand. Maybe it's the postcard sized images of Merckx riding the frames we pinned to our walls as kids. Or maybe it's the online image searches for Moser Roubaix, also on rebranded De Rosas, that we turn to while bored at work. Whatever the case, the brand's got pedigree. Despite that long standing presence as a big, historical deal, though, the Protos' unconventional to say the least frameset design indicates that De Rosa's not afraid to push the limits or blow them up to proportions approaching caricature. As you might expect given its down tube, we believe that the Protos may be the stiffest road racing bike that we've ever rolled through our doors. Whether during sustained solo efforts or long, gradual climbs, the bike almost feels like it's pulling the pedals through the dead spot for you. Taking a quick glance through the other bikes we carry should give the reader a sense of the enormity of that statement, which is itself almost as impressive a claim as the Protos' oversized down tube is large. Almost. The oversized drive spine means that, when our .