There were plenty of top-class bikes on display at the Cycle Show last weekend and here are some of the finest. A bit of bike porn to brighten up your day, and now we've added a bit more...
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British brand Enigma, for instance, have a large titanium range, some of the bikes handmade in this country. They produce steel and carbon-fibre bikes too but titanium is at the heart of things.
Most of the bikes use 3Al 2.5V titanium tubing, which is the industry standard. The new Excel road bike, though, uses Ti of the 6Al 4V variety which is stronger, stiffer and lighter. It’s more expensive too, but you might expect that. You’re looking at £1,950 for the frame here – and that’s without a fork.
Enigma describe the Excel as ‘the ultimate titanium frame for those who simply must have the best. Reassuringly expensive and very exclusive, the Excel is the embodiment of the Enigma titanium ideal.’
That head tube is CNC machined and the workmanship is exceptional throughout. It really is a stylish bike and that brushed finish means it’s not going to start looking tatty any time soon – you just buff out any little scratches and it’s as good as new.
It’s a bike designed for road racing and sportives and although the 1,250g frame weight isn’t as low as you’ll get with a carbon equivalent, it’s still reasonable. Of course, one of the big benefits of titanium is that it’s tough as old boots. Considerably tougher, come to think of it. Chances are that the frame will be going strong for years and years.
This shiny number looks steel but it’s actually made of titanium too – double butted 3Al 2.5V with a 6/4 head tube.
The Echo is designed as a sportive bike with the same geometry as the Excel. It’s £1,230 for the frame.
See this (and the main pic up top)? It’s the new limited-edition Colnago CF8, created in collaboration with fellow Italian company Ferrari. The motor manufacturer apparently provides engineering and technical sophistication. That’s what they tell us. And red paint. Although we might have made that bit up.
So what do you get here? Well, the CF8 is based on the C59 Italia, Colnago’s top-level road race frame as ridden by that Tommy Voeckler in the Tour de France. The frame is handmade using carbon tubes that are joined with lugs. Colnago are big on lugs. It allows them to provide a whole bunch of different sized frames off the shelf and to offer custom-fit options. They just need to cut the tubes to the right length rather than create a whole new mould. Well, that might be a bit of an oversimplification but you get the idea. The down tube is multi-sided and the chainstays and seatstays are square section.
Colnago are making 200 of these CF8 bikes. Each comes with a Shimano Dura-Ace groupset including electronic Di2 shifting. Where’s the battery, then? Ahh! It’s hidden away internally. About time too. We’re amazed more manufacturers haven’t managed to do this yet (especially on aero frames with cavernous spaces inside the tubing).
That’s a Selle Italia SLR Monolink saddle with just a central rail rather than the usual two, and those are Mavic Cosmic Ultimate wheels fitted with Vittoria tubulars.
What’s the price? Don’t ask. Oh, okay… £12,999.95. I told you not to ask.
This one is the CF9 which is pretty exclusive as city bikes go. ‘Exclusive’ meaning ‘expensive’. It’ll set you back £2,999.95. That’s not pricey on the same level as the CF8 but you’re not going to want to lock it up outside Sainsbury’s, are you? You’re looking at an order time of 15-16 weeks.
Actually, although Colnago describe it as a city bike, it’s a flat-barred road bike of the kind that would at home on a fitness ride out in the country. The frame is carbon fibre and it’s built up with Shimano’s second-tier Ultegra groupset. The RS30 wheels are from Shimano too and they come fitted with Vittoria clinchers.
While we’re on about Colnago, what do you reckon to this? Black, isn’t it? This is the C59 in a matt black finish with gloss graphics. It’s the option to go for if you have to go on a stealth road race mission behind enemy lines at night. We likes it.
And this one is the steel Master - DT15V steel, to be precise.
The lugs are chrome plated, that fork comes with a 1in steerer, and the frame is available in three different colour options.
More titanium now. Qoroz is a UK company that has been on the scene for about three years and they deal only in Ti.
This one is the Cyclo-cross Won with a flattened top tube to make it more comfortable when you sling it on your shoulder… we’re talking about racing here, not commuting into the office. As you can see, it’s disc specific and you get a lot of mud clearance.
Hey, here’s something: Qoroz reckon that head tube angle is 72° and the seat tube angle is 73°. We, on the other hand, don’t. Nah. No way. Help us out here; who’s right?
Ah yeah, that gubbins under the handlebar is a Hope mechanical-to-hydraulic converter. It allows you to use standard drop handlebar brake levers with hydraulic disc callipers. The cable goes out of the lever and into the box of tricks and – hey presto! – it operates hydraulically. It’s not witchcraft, it’s clever engineering and it'll cost you £300.
This one is the Expedition Won complete with belt drive and a 14-speed Rohloff hub.
They’ve got hydraulic rim brakes on there; you’re going to need some serious stopping power when the bike is fully laden.
Pinarello next. We showed you the new Dogma 2 at Eurobike but, so what? Here it is again in all its glory. The Onda 2 fork is now more integrated with the frame that it was on the previous version, the 60.1. Pinarello have added a tail to the crown section of the fork and reshaped the down tube where they meet to help manage windflow. They reckon the new shaping reduces drag by 6%.
They’ve also beefed up the head tube and steerer with a 1 1/2in lower bearing rather than the 1 1/4in of the last version. This increases braking rigidity by 19%, according to Pinarello.
The 60.1’s frame was made asymmetric to take account of the differing forces on the driveside and the non-driveside. Pinarello have pushed this even further on the Dogma 2. The asymmetry of the top tube is now more obvious and the down tube is asymmetric with continuous ribbing along its right-handside. The Onda 2 fork is asymmetric too, the right-hand leg being much sturdier than the left.
Of course, as a pro-level machine, the Dogma 2 doesn’t come cheap. How does £3,950 for the frameset grab you?
This is the Pinarello Catena which is cromo steel. It’s a fixed with retro decals and the frame and fork will cost you £799.
That’s one classy head badge. This is the Giro colour option, by the way. There are others if you don't think you can rock the pink look.
This new urban bike is the result of a linkup between Pinarello and Diesel – you know, them that make jeans. Those Italian brands love a bit of cross-fertilization. It’s called Only The Brave, which is Diesel’s slogan and fragrance and all the rest of it.
The Only The Brave is made from hydroformed aluminium – 6061 T6 – and the frame is triple butted. The rear cable runs through the top tube and there are no gear cables to worry about because it’s a fixed or a singlespeed – you get a flip-flop hub.
The bars on the flat-barred version are incredibly narrow, by the way. Oh, and those wheels are meant to be different colours. It’s a style thing, apparently. And doesn’t the acid green one go well with the walls of the Birmingham NEC? The price? £799.
Yet more titanium comes from Spin Cycle Works. The new British company design everything themselves – it’s the work of head honch Drew Gill – and have it built in China. They offer frames and forks, wheels, bars, stems, seat posts headsets, spacers, quick-release skewers, bottle cages, seat clamps… even cassettes. Pretty amazing.
Spin were showing a brand new bike at the Cycle Show, the Spitfire Mk X Lightning titanium – affectionately known as the Spit Crit. It’s built using the same cold-formed, oversized titanium tubeset as the Mk III Supermarine that we recently reviewed and rated highly, but the Mk X has a new criterium geometry. That means it features a 10mm higher bottom bracket, 10mm shorter chainstays and a 75° seat tube for greater cornering clearance and sharper handling.
“The Mk X perfectly complements our current road bike offering,” said Drew. “We already have our sportive and grand tour geometries and tubesets in the Mk II Super Sportive and Mk III. I have a passion for super-fast titanium bicycles, and the Mk X will be a real street fighter! The reaction from the trade and public has been immense.”
The word on the street is that there will be a new domestic team contesting the Elite Circuit Series and Premier Calender events on the Mk X Lightning in 2012. Production framesets will be available from mid-November.
What’s going on here? You’ve got some deep section time-trial-esque wheels, knobbly cyclocross tyres, a mountain bike-style flat bar… oh, and it’s a singlespeed/fixed. That’s one helluva concoction. We still want a go, mind.
Spin have redesigned their logo, by the way; this is the new one up close. It looks pretty neat to us. Get along to www.velotechservices.co.uk to check out the range.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.