Just in: Obsydian Invictus frameset

High-strength alloy race machine for heavy riders and crit racers

by Dave Atkinson   August 18, 2014  

There are a number of good reasons why you might want a strong, dependable alloy frame to thrash around on. You might be on the heavy side, and looking for something that you can depend on: you don’t want to be troubling the weight limit of a superlight bike. Or you might be doing the kind of riding where you could reasonably expect to end up on the deck at some point, such as crit racing. If you’re paying for your own bike, you’ll not want to be forking out for a new one if you do go over.

Enter Obsydian. They’re a new bike brand and their first frame is the Invictus, which is designed for just the above. It’s a race-oriented 7005-T6 alloy frame and full carbon fork, and the emphasis is on stiffness and coping with the stresses of a larger rider. It’s unusual for me, at 102kg, to be on the light side of the target demographic for a bike. But Obsydian have designed the Invictus to be good for riders of 110kg and above. There’s no upper weight limit.

You might expect, the Invictus, then, to be a bit heavy for racing: it’s not. The frame weight is less than 1,500g according to Obsydian; that’s clearly a lot more than some superlight platforms but it’s only a couple of hundred grams more than WorldTour-proven frames such as the Ridley Fenix, and less than the Reynolds 953 Volare frames that Madison-Genesis ride. The key to designing for greater stresses is making sure that you put the extra material in the right places, and Obsydian have been working with their framebuilder in Taiwan to do exactly that.

Even in the XL size that we have it’s a fairly beefy looking bit of kit. The downtube is drawn almost to a point at the head tube to maximise the vertical weld area, and at the bottom bracket it’s squashed a long way across the PressFit bottom bracket shell. The chainstays are also pretty meaty; the straight, round seatstays also say stiffness rather than comfort. The frame is double-pass welded for extra strength, and after welding it’s shot-peened to relieve stresses and improve the fatigue resistance of the alloy. Up front the 360g monocoque fork is tapered, using a 1.5” bottom race, for extra stiffness there.

Obsydian are confident that their frames will take some punishment, and they offer a lifetime warranty on the Invictus. That warranty is void if you do manage to stack it when you’re racing, but if that happens and you do bend your bike, Obsydian offer a crash replacement policy (valid for five years) which allows you to get a replacement frame at 40% off the retail price.

The frame and fork will cost you £700. We’ve received ours built up by Obsydian, a service that they will be offering if you don’t fancy doing the job yourself. Ours is based around a full SRAM Force22 groupset, with a standard 53/39 chainset (for those nice high racing gears) coupled with a WiFLi 11-32 cassette (for the punishing hills round here). In terms of range you get the same bottom gear as a compact 50/34 with an 11-28 cassette, but a few more high gears to play with. The payback is slightly large jumps in the big gears.

The wheels are handbuilt units from August Wheelworks with H PLUS SON rims and Bitex hubs, 24 Sapim Race spokes at the front and 28 at the rear. They’re designed to be stiff and strong without adding too much weight; at around 1,600g they’re a similar weight to plenty of off-the-shelf wheels that get raced on.

Finishing kit is mainly 3T, and mainly alloy, with a Fizik Aliante saddle. It’s all solid kit and if you wanted to go lighter than the 8kg the bike wighs in this build then there are plenty of fairly easy savings to be made. A sub-7.5kg build would be pretty straightforward. Obsydian priced this build up at around the £2,000 mark. As it’s a custom service you can spec pretty much what you want, although obviously they don’t have the economies of scale that other, larger, manufacturers enjoy.

What will I be doing with the Invictus? Well, I’ll be crit racing my heavy arse on it, trying to cover all use cases in one perfect storm. I’ll also be heading out on some chaingangs and doing more general riding. Once I know how it performs, so will you.

www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk

39 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

joemmo wrote:
quite nice but, although I'm not one for 'The Rules', what is going on with that stem and bar combination?

Price wise, maybe a little high compared to offerings from Kinesis & Canyon for example? Especially considering it's a new company with unknown pedigree and some of the welding looks a little industrial... good to see some more choice in metal frames though.

Hey Joe,

The bar and stem were picked specifically for Dave who is reviewing the frame. Without going into too much detail, they were picked to give him a less aggressive riding position.

As Dave points out we do not get the same economies of scale as other companies, but we do endeavor to be as competitive as we can.

It's always good to ask questions of a new firm, but hopefully people can also keep an open mind. One of the main reasons we came to road.cc to do our first review is because they are the best place for consumers to get an unbiased opinion, and that to us is far more important than any marketing.

Lastly, hopefully before I bore you to death Yawn The industrial looking weld is a by product of the double pass welding. When building an aluminium frame to be stiff and cope with higher stresses (larger rider weight), the welding becomes even more important. The increased width of the welds helps to distribute the loads in those areas.

Hopefully this goes someway to answering your questions.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
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Twitter | @obsydianbikes

Obsydian Bikes's picture

posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 10:23

31 Likes

I would be interested in rough prices for lower specs, ie 105 type groupset? having replaced one bike after it was nicked, my funds are a little lower than planned.

BrokenBootneck's picture

posted by BrokenBootneck [53 posts]
19th August 2014 - 11:36

10 Likes

Hey Bootneck,

Just to give you a quick idea, we could do the same level of finishing kit but with Rival 22 and Fulcrum Racing 7 for roughly £1400 give or take a small amount.

Please feel free to email us at info@obsydian-bikes.co.uk with your intended use and any brand preferences. We would be more than happy to send you a few build options that suit you along with specific prices.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
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Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 13:43

11 Likes

Personally for the money I think it's a great bike and buy, especially if you're heavier than normal rider. Also to get it down to that weight too is very impressive IMO. The cost of frame and fork is the same or similar to Kenesis, Genesis and Velocite, yet they have weight limits on their frames. So in all intents and purposes Obsydian have done a good job for the target market.

I'm not a heavy person (54KG), but even I would consider this. Always have loved alloy bikes. Not owned a Carbon yet, but would like to see how they compare. Look forward to the review by Dave.

posted by toothache90 [37 posts]
19th August 2014 - 14:07

17 Likes

Thanks for that, I will drop you an email in a couple of months, just shopping around, but this really caught my eye!

BrokenBootneck's picture

posted by BrokenBootneck [53 posts]
19th August 2014 - 14:11

22 Likes

Thanks for the support everyone.

Bootneck - Sorry to hear about your bike being stolen, we missed that detail before.

If you decide to go with us down the line then we will give you a gold standard lock and a few other things to keep those pesky thieves at bay.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
Facebook | obsydianbikes
Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 14:18

10 Likes

I am a large rider over 110kg and my issues so far have not been with the frame sets but almost all the issues I've had have been with the OEM wheels that a supplied with are lot of bikes.

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [166 posts]
19th August 2014 - 15:26

14 Likes

@Wesselwookie. you're better off getting custom built wheels to suit your weight. If you tend to get alot of flats caused by spokes piercing the rim tape, broken spokes, or untrue wheels after a short period of time.

All depends what kind of wheels you're buying (spoke count & gauge, what lacing is used). If you like light wheels (who doesn't?!) you need to check their weight limits (guide only as it probably doesn't take in other factors like forces of impacts related to the above).

I'd shell out on a good custom built wheels that will last compared to having to repair & maintain more regularly or worse "replace" than the stock wheels that normally supplied.

posted by toothache90 [37 posts]
19th August 2014 - 15:29

10 Likes

One nil. I should have Googled that before I made a smart comment. Never mind...I have turned my focus to the very "dull as ditch water" carbon Genesis, which is also black like my heart

CJStevens

posted by CJSTEVENS1955 [77 posts]
19th August 2014 - 15:29

14 Likes

Yes, wheels are the most common component that come with weight restrictions.

If durability is your main aim then the best option would be to have some custom built.

They do not have to cost a fortune and they are hand built here in the UK - This way you can ensure that you have the optimal spoke count, correct spokes, hubs and rims that will be able to handle rough roads and increased stress.

Again, if you want any advice/tips don’t hesitate to drop us an email: info@obsydian-bikes.co.uk

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
Facebook | obsydianbikes
Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 15:50

18 Likes

toothache90 wrote:
@Wesselwookie. you're better off getting custom built wheels to suit your weight. If you tend to get alot of flats caused by spokes piercing the rim tape, broken spokes, or untrue wheels after a short period of time.

All depends what kind of wheels you're buying (spoke count & gauge, what lacing is used). If you like light wheels (who doesn't?!) you need to check their weight limits (guide only as it probably doesn't take in other factors like forces of impacts related to the above).

I'd shell out on a good custom built wheels that will last compared to having to repair & maintain more regularly or worse "replace" than the stock wheels that normally supplied.

The problem isn’t punctures its broken spokes. But the cheapest solution so far is to get my LBS to re-lace the wheel with better spokes and nipples and that has at least solved the problem for now. I had to do this with a Whyte Charing Cross (it pretends to be a cyclocross bike) so I thought at least the wheels should be strong. I broke my first spoke inside a week. They then started popping at regular(ish) intervals
edit:I should have added I bought a set for Fulcrum racing 5's to put on a Genesis and they have been awesome so far and have handled my commute into London with great aplomb.

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [166 posts]
19th August 2014 - 15:54

15 Likes

I have to say I am a massive fan of Fulcrum wheels.

I have never seen weight limits for them advertised but I did a quick search and they do advise against people over 110kg using them.

I didn't want to recommend something against their own advice but I believe that limit is to cover themselves.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
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Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 16:24

14 Likes

We're glad you took it in good humour!

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 16:27

13 Likes

Obsydian Bikes wrote:
I have to say I am a massive fan of Fulcrum wheels.

I have never seen weight limits for them advertised but I did a quick search and they do advise against people over 110kg using them.

I didn't want to recommend something against their own advice but I believe that limit is to cover themselves.

Luckily I’m only slightly over Big Grin. But I agree that most frame and wheel limits are simply to cover themselves.
when I am looking for my next bike I will keep you in mind Smile

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [166 posts]
19th August 2014 - 16:31

17 Likes

Great to hear.

If you keep having wheel trouble or fancy a new pair don't hesitate to get in touch.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 16:56

18 Likes

Now that I've had a closer look at the frame geometry and design. It looks very similar if not the same as the Velocite Selene frame and forks. The key features are the same also. Wink

As I was tempted to buy the Selene when it first came out but wasn't too keen on the only colour at the time.

posted by toothache90 [37 posts]
19th August 2014 - 18:53

9 Likes

Hey Toothache,

We have partnered with Velocite to do our manufacturing and first round of QC in Taiwan.

It was from consulting with them and other companies that we chose to partner with them, and followed suit with the manufacturing techniques that they employ, hence the similarity in materials used etc.

Our frames are hand painted here in the UK, if you are interested in any specific colours get in touch, as we can offer a colour match scheme Wink

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
Facebook | obsydianbikes
Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
19th August 2014 - 21:46

21 Likes

looks an awful lot like the velocite selene...

posted by usernameforme [53 posts]
20th August 2014 - 13:15

1 Like

Nothing new here. Bikes/frames in this bracket do already amply exist.

360g for a tapered fork is plain incorrect given a 1500g frame. This package should be offering an overbuilt (heavier) fork too. For additional strength and weight balance.

Even the aesthetics aren't exciting at all.

Sorry to be harsh but it's a bitter truth.

posted by dogcc [133 posts]
20th August 2014 - 18:01

1 Like

Sorry, did I hear you correctly. You can paint this in how many shades of black? WOW...I never expected that.
What about stealth black??? What do you mean I would never find it?

CJStevens

posted by CJSTEVENS1955 [77 posts]
20th August 2014 - 18:42

2 Likes

dogcc wrote:
Sorry to be harsh but it's a bitter "opinion".

ftfy

Twitter - @StuKerton

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [335 posts]
20th August 2014 - 21:06

3 Likes

Seems pretty chunky to me?

posted by LuCa5 [2 posts]
21st August 2014 - 0:07

1 Like

We're sorry to hear that you don't find the aesthetics to your liking.

There has been an increase in the number of aluminium frames from manufacturers which is great. However there is a tendency for them to focus on getting the weight down to a similar level as carbon bikes at the disclusion of heavier riders.

Our forks are significantly bigger than most in a similar category, the fork also has to cater for each of our frame sizes - Please bear in mind that the 1500g frame is the largest that we do.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
Facebook | obsydianbikes
Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
21st August 2014 - 0:10

4 Likes

Take your pick -

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_riSBoRd-wWY/TFUl7o_bpjI/AAAAAAAACF4/_yDwgIp-HqM/s1600/moncal.gif

However we accept no responsibility if you lose it! Wink Big Grin

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
21st August 2014 - 0:12

6 Likes

Obsydian Bikes wrote:
We're sorry to hear that you don't find the aesthetics to your liking.

There has been an increase in the number of aluminium frames from manufacturers which is great. However there is a tendency for them to focus on getting the weight down to a similar level as carbon bikes at the disclusion of heavier riders.

That's not so.
Reducing the weight isn't the absolute top priority but increasing strength is. This is what most do.

Obsydian Bikes wrote:

Our forks are significantly bigger than most in a similar category, the fork also has to cater for each of our frame sizes - Please bear in mind that the 1500g frame is the largest that we do.

?

posted by dogcc [133 posts]
21st August 2014 - 10:41

0 Likes

@Dogcc - Whilst you may be right it has been the tendency for the majority of bike brands to lessen the weight & include stiffness.
If you read carefully and did your research you will see that Obsydian has not focused on making a light-weight frame but increase stiffness for heavier set riders.

Since they have confirmed my last comment of them being the same as Velocite Selene frame you will see that the BB torsional stiffness is very high (in some cases higher than some well known carbon frames). This is what attracted me to the Selene in the first place. Also the review bike that they supplied to Road.cc is extremely light IMO for an alloy bike of that size. Of course you may not like the unbranded wheels but most of the good stuff come out of Taiwanese factories that you're probably riding round on now.

posted by toothache90 [37 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:20

2 Likes

The easiest way would be for me to show you a side by side photo of our forks next to other carbon forks that you will find with aluminium frames, but unfortunately I don't have the ability to do this for obvious reasons.

As an obvious example our carbon fork is around 25% heavier than Canyons One One Four SLX fork. Of course there is also more to it than just weight but I won't go into a big essay here.

Website | www.obsydian-bikes.co.uk
Facebook | obsydianbikes
Twitter | @obsydianbikes

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posted by Obsydian Bikes [16 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:54

2 Likes

toothache90 wrote:
@Dogcc - Whilst you may be right it has been the tendency for the majority of bike brands to lessen the weight & include stiffness.
If you read carefully and did your research you will see that Obsydian has not focused on making a light-weight frame but increase stiffness for heavier set
riders.

Why do you make so many assumptions?
You make assumptions and let the discussion get out of control. Totally unnecessary.

If YOU do the research:

1. Frame weight aside there are many companies offering alloy frames in the entry-level, mid-range and indeed top-range brackets.
2. The primary market of these entry to mid-level is a durable/tough/strong product.
3. Light weight (how light?) is a boutique feature.
4. Even then for a product touting stiffness/durability/strength, 1500g is not a bad weight per se.
5. So if you go and pair a large frame size (1500g weight) with a 380g fork then that escapes reason. 380g fork is competively light, many good carbon racing framesets already offering this much lightness. But if the frame is overbuilt then same ought to be expected of the fork.
6. Let me put it another way. If the fork is only 25% weight of the frame then what is all of the wasted weight doing in the rest of the frame?
7. The fork is vital component of the frameset, many competitive sets offering fork to frame weight ratio of 30-40%.
8. I would expect the fork to be at least 530g for added durability and stiffness if that is indeed the USP of this product. Adding weight *bluntly* increases durability, stiffness, strength. Not to mention weight balance and handling characteristics.
9. The market is full of frames/products in this bracket. It's also not difficult for any discerning rider to get an alloy frame (custom) built for themselves with all the qualities desired. So what is so special here? I say little, if anything.
10. They could do better by offering something different, maybe something aesthetically good and/or a different geometry.

toothache90 wrote:

Since they have confirmed my last comment of them being the same as Velocite Selene frame you will see that the BB torsional stiffness is very high (in some cases higher than some well known carbon frames). This is what attracted me to the Selene in the first place. Also the review bike that they supplied to Road.cc is extremely light IMO for an alloy bike of that size.

Good for you.

toothache90 wrote:

Of course you may not like the unbranded wheels but most of the good stuff come out of Taiwanese factories that you're probably riding round on now.

More assumptions.

posted by dogcc [133 posts]
21st August 2014 - 20:20

0 Likes

Do you have any other shades of black? Just to liven it up a little Laughing Laughing

CJStevens

posted by CJSTEVENS1955 [77 posts]
28th August 2014 - 8:49

0 Likes

Just came back to this and noticed your kind offer, cheers Guys! hopefully next year I might be able to look at this!

BrokenBootneck's picture

posted by BrokenBootneck [53 posts]
11th December 2014 - 16:06

0 Likes