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

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

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

39 comments

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cidermart [486 posts] 1 year ago
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Oooo that looks nice I'm liking that  4

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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Great to hear you like the look. We didn't want to do anything too garish with the paint scheme.

Just simple and understated.

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CJSTEVENS1955 [86 posts] 1 year ago
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Oh look...another black bike.

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downfader [203 posts] 1 year ago
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 41

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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CJSTEVENS1955 wrote:

Oh look...another black bike.

Hey CJ - We would be inclined to agree.

However, black is a compulsory with a name like Obsydian.  4

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LuCa5 [2 posts] 1 year ago
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Looks good. Great name

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joemmo [1145 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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joemmo [1145 posts] 1 year ago
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hello Obsydian & thanks for the info, I'm being tongue in cheek about the bars there by the way, not everything has to be 'slammed' for aesthetic effect.

re: the frame and pricing etc. I'm really just commenting on my first impressions because this is the sort of frame that interests me but would be competing for my cash with other more established brands so the price point feels a bit above my somewhat vague 'willing to take a punt on that' value. I'm sure for others it's less of an issue, that's just how it feels.

Interested to see what the review turns up and maybe some longer term testing too, I wish you success.

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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You're welcome. It's good to hear your thoughts on the matter.

We have tried our best to get it in the same price range as the Canyons etc.

We are looking forward to the review and may look to try and do a special introductory offer in the month following it.

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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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  37 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.

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BrokenBootneck [105 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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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 [at] 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.

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toothache90 [39 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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BrokenBootneck [105 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks for that, I will drop you an email in a couple of months, just shopping around, but this really caught my eye!

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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Wesselwookie [212 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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toothache90 [39 posts] 1 year ago
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@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.

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CJSTEVENS1955 [86 posts] 1 year ago
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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

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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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 [at] obsydian-bikes.co.uk

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Wesselwookie [212 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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We're glad you took it in good humour!

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Wesselwookie [212 posts] 1 year ago
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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 :D. 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  1

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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Great to hear.

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

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toothache90 [39 posts] 1 year ago
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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.  3

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.

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Obsydian Bikes [16 posts] 1 year ago
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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  3

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usernameforme [52 posts] 1 year ago
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looks an awful lot like the velocite selene...

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Skylark [144 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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CJSTEVENS1955 [86 posts] 1 year ago
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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?

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stuke [335 posts] 1 year ago
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dogcc wrote:

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

ftfy

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