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Brand new Elite with Columbus Spirit HSS tubeset in Campagnolo Chorus build lands in the road.cc bike shed

This is Enigma’s redesigned Elite, handbuilt in the UK from the latest Columbus Spirit HSS tubeset by Joe, the son of company founder Jim Walker at their Hailsham workshop. A frameset costs £1,499 and the Campagnolo Chorus 11-speed build we have here would set you back £3,450.

Enigma may be best known for producing fine titanium frames, but they do a lovely line of steel frames as well. The Elite has been in the range since 2008 but for 2014 it has been updated and makes use of the new Columbus Spirit HSS triple-butted tubeset, which features an oversized 44mm profiled down tube and tapered head tube (1 1/8in-1 1/2in). 

It’s a handsome looking frame, the oversized tube profiles give it a good presence in the company of carbon and aluminium rivals. And while it has never gone out of fashion, it does feel like steel is in vogue at the moment, especially with a company like Columbus still developing new tubesets that push the material even further than has previously been possible.

The frame is finished with stainless steel braze-on fixtures for the bottle and front derailleur mounts, Breezer dropouts and a traditional English threaded external bottom bracket. They say the frame weight is 1,600g, which is about what we'd expect for a good steel frame. 

The Elite looks resplendent in this shade of red, don't you think? Contrasting white panels on the inside of the fork legs and stripes across the top tube and down the seatstays set it off nicely. You can choose any colour you want, and you can also specify the colour of the decals. They’ve also painted the stem and full carbon Columbus Grammy fork to match which is a really nice touch.

Four sizes are available from 53 to 59cm, each a compact geometry with a 9° sloping top tube. This is a 55cm with a 55cm top tube, 51cm seat tube, 15.5cm head tube, 72.5 degree head angle and 73 seat angle. As the frame is handmade in the UK, they offer a custom option so you could get it made to measure if you don’t fit the stock frames.

It has been sent to us with a Campagnolo Chorus 11-speed groupset with Campagnolo Neutron Ultra wheels, fitted with Continental GrandPrix 4000S II 23mm tyres. Enigma’s own stem, painted to match the frame, is joined with their own-brand aluminium handlebar and carbon fibre seatpost. The saddle is a Fizik Aliante.

The complete bike as pictured here weighs 7.93kg (17.48lb). That’s competitive with other steel bikes we’ve tested, such as the Stoemper Taylor and Genesis Volare Team. It’s also competitive on price, other options for steel frames you could add to the mix include a Rourke Reynolds 853 for £1,270 or a Condor Super Acciaio for £1,299.

So plenty of choice, then. The Enigma gets an extra nod for being made in the UK and for being available as a custom order as well, which will appeal to many people. I’m interested in seeing how the Elite compares to the Taylor and Volare, three steel bikes that use quite different tubesets.

Full review soon. More at www.enigmabikes.com/products/elite

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.

15 comments

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themartincox [466 posts] 1 year ago
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looks delightful!

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Doper [66 posts] 1 year ago
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That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

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NickK123 [93 posts] 1 year ago
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Looking forward to the full review - but then I am biased as an Enigma Ti owner!

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 1 year ago
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Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

No... and I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this comment is too small to contain.

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David Arthur @d... [651 posts] 1 year ago
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Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

I'm sure Enigma would build one just like that for you if you asked them nicely

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jova54 [644 posts] 1 year ago
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fukawitribe wrote:
Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

No... and I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this comment is too small to contain.

Oh, go on. You've got me wondering what this 'remarkable proof' is and it's Friday afternoon and the weekend is arriving soon.

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jova54 [644 posts] 1 year ago
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That's a really good looking bike.
There was an article on Enigma in Cyclist(?) a couple of months ago about their Ti bikes.

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 1 year ago
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jova54 wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:
Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

No... and I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this comment is too small to contain.

Oh, go on. You've got me wondering what this 'remarkable proof' is and it's Friday afternoon and the weekend is arriving soon.

 1 Fermat never would tell, I can't either....

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 1 year ago
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David Arthur wrote:
Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

I'm sure Enigma would build one just like that for you if you asked them nicely

You could ask them to build it up with road discs for you too  3

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David Arthur @d... [651 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
fukawitribe wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

I'm sure Enigma would build one just like that for you if you asked them nicely

You could ask them to build it up with road discs for you too  3

They already do the Evoke if you want an Enigma with discs

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
David Arthur wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
Doper wrote:

That bike would look so much better with traditional geometry.

I'm sure Enigma would build one just like that for you if you asked them nicely

You could ask them to build it up with road discs for you too  3

They already do the Evoke if you want an Enigma with discs

Ah indeed - but it was rather Mr. Dopers views on the aesthetics of discs on road bikes I was alluding to.

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sunDOG [23 posts] 1 year ago
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I have the previous generation Elite; it is very much my 'go to' bike despite it weighing just over 1kg more than my Cervelo.

It's a beautiful machine to ride, and really goes to show that weight isn't everything  41

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Jonny_Trousers [245 posts] 1 year ago
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Looks wise I'm not a fan, I'm afraid. It's painted like an 80s Ferrari and I don't know what Enigma are doing with that new font of theirs.

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stan [4 posts] 1 year ago
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3450? nonsense

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RobD [282 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm quite taken with that, it looks pretty cool, very modern but quite restrained. I'd love to know how this compares to the stainless model they also do, maybe they'd be willing to send you one of those over afterwards for a comparison.
Also, I wish more companies offered a colour matched stem, I think it really sets a lot of bikes off well.