Just In: Cyfac Gothica CS

Handmade carbon sportive bike that's available as a full-custom option

by Mat Brett   May 10, 2012  

The Cyfac Gothica CS is a sportive/all day comfort road bike that’s handmade in France, and it realy is a stunning piece of work… and one has just landed here at road.cc towers.

If you’ve not heard of Cyfac before, it’s time to change that. Their Absolu race machine is one of the very best bikes I’ve ever ridden. It’s a gem. Lightweight, fast, comfy, pretty… If the Gothica CS is anything like as good, we’re onto a winner here.

Based in La Fuye in the Loire Valley, Cyfac has been around since 1982. They originally manufactured custom frames for professional riders, the bikes being painted up to look like those of the relevant team sponsor. Sneaky, huh? Cyfac reckon their frames have been ridden to victory in all of the three Grand Tours, the World Champs, the Olympics and a whole bunch of Classics… but with other people’s logos on the down tube.

These days Cyfac produce both custom and off-the-peg frames under their own name, and they have an extensive range covering everything from steel tourers to tandems to mountain bike to full-on race rigs.

There is a standard Gothica in the Cyfac range, and a time trial/triathlon version called the Gothica CLM – CLM standing for Contre la Montre, “against the watch”, the phrase the French use for a time trial. The Gothica CS is aimed at sportive riders and anyone else who wants to get in the big miles in comfort, the CS standing for ‘cyclo sportif’, logically enough.

The Gothica CS is made from Toray T800H intermediate modulus carbon fibre – the same material Cyfac use for the Absolu that I mentioned, but in different tube profiles. Rather than coming out of a mould as a monocoque frame, Cyfac bond the tubes together and wrap the joints by hand so there are no lugs. They say that it takes 30 hours to produce each frame. Even the rear dropouts are carbon, as are the dropouts on the sub-300g Forknox fork.

Our Gothica CS has come with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset and the gear cables head into the frame neatly at the top of the down tube. The rear brake cable runs internally too. On our test model the battery is simply held in place by a zip tie but on the retail version it'll have a proper bracket - and we wanted to test one NOW!

It’s a great looking frame all round with fairly slim tubes by today’s standards. Cyfac reckon it’s inspired by the Loire Valley’s Gothic cathedrals with their pointed arches and soaring lines. We can’t say ecclesiastical architecture particularly springs to mind when we look at the Gothica CS but it’s certainly elegant and stylish. The back end in particular looks amazing. We love the Double-Stay seatstays which meet together with a brake bridge and then run parallel up to the seat tube junction.

The Gothica CS is available in five sizes from XS (50cm) to XL (58cm), or you can go for a full custom option. We have the large version here – the 56cm model. Cyfac have tweaked the geometry a little from that of the standard Gothica for all-day comfort. The top tube is just a touch (0.5cm) shorter on the CS model while the head tube is 2cm taller, taking it up to 18cm. The result is that you sit a little more upright on the CS version. We’re not talking a massive amount – you’ve not gone from a sports bike to a leisure bike – but the idea is to take a bit of the strain off your back so you can pedal happily for longer.

As you’ll doubtless have guessed, Cyfac frames aren’t cheap. They’re individually handmade in France using a labour-intensive process rather than mass produced in the Far East: they’re never going to be a low-cost option. So what’s the damage? The Gothica CS frameset will set you back £3,099.99.

As well as the flagship Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, our test bike is built up with Chris King/Reynolds Attack wheels and Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres, and the finishing kit comes from Deda Elementi. Extra comfort should hopefully be provided by the Fizik Aliante saddle and Widget Components Gift Wrap bar tape.

The Gothica CS in a Premo build - which is what we have except that you get Dura-Ace C50 wheels instead of Chris King/Reynolds - you’re looking at seven grand. Okay, £6,999.99. You can put your penny change towards a speedboat or something. If you want you can go for a custom geometry – and we’re talking about having the frame built to the exact dimensions you want rather than slapping on a different stem, bars and seatpost. In for a penny, in for a pound. Well, I say ‘pound’… it’s actually £1,000 extra – it’s £7,999.99 for the full-custom option in the Dura-Ace Di2 build.

We’re starting our testing right now and we’ll be back with a full review soon. In the meantime, you can check out the range on the VeloBrands website and hopefully also in a piece about them that Tony's been writing since about February (I'm an artist - ed).

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

OK, maybe I have not got the money for one, BUT that frame is a real stunner !

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [208 posts]
10th May 2012 - 11:17

like this
Like (6)

And it was all going so well until you got to the price part.

Beautiful looking bike, though. Looks quite delicate compared to some of the oversized frames that are currently fashionable. A good thing, in my book.

Di2 though, it's so fugly. Shimano should make a carbon bottle cage with the battery built in.

posted by thereandbackagain [152 posts]
10th May 2012 - 11:20

like this
Like (9)

shite that's nice

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
10th May 2012 - 11:40

like this
Like (7)

I know what I will be dreaming about tonight !!!

Nerd Nerd Nerd Nerd Nerd

posted by moggotlover [13 posts]
10th May 2012 - 12:15

like this
Like (7)

"Cyfac reckon their frames have been ridden to victory in all of the three Grand Tours, the World Champs, the Olympics and a whole bunch of Classics… but with other people’s logos on the down tube."
Well I've built bikes that won the Tour too.
And I'm James Bond, obviously.
And I'm in the SAS.
And I have a child with each Miss World of the last 20 years.
Don't like to talk about it though.
They may very well make a very nice bike, but they shouldn't make claims that they can't substantiate!

Exercising my rights by taking them cycling

posted by pedalingparamedic [86 posts]
10th May 2012 - 12:59

like this
Like (5)

I thought it was fairly well known that back in the '90's when Aluminium was king, there was a significant portion of the pro peloton riding Cyfac frames.

Not such a common practice now, but I do remember seeing a pic of someone a year or so back (possibly Hushovd?) on a bike that was clearly not from the sponsoring manufacturer the paintwork suggested. I remember that being pinned down as a Cyfac based upon the shaping of the rear dropouts.

I've had my eye on a Gothica CS for a couple of years, as the geometry suits my long-leg-short-body proportions. Sadly the pricetag is not compatible with new babies and moving house...

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [220 posts]
10th May 2012 - 13:22

like this
Like (7)

Colour scheme looks familiar. Carrera Virago, anyone?

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
10th May 2012 - 14:53

like this
Like (5)

If you were a top pro rider earning a 200,000 plus euros a year, would you put your faith and career in a flexy 300 dollar frame made from carbon dust?
Err, no and neither do they.
I believe the claims of Cyfac, they make proper bikes in the correct manner using quality materials. With Time bikes in trouble or maybe even gone forever we should get behind companies who are making bikes like this, otherwise we'll all be riding a de rosa, merckx or ribble which are all the same bloody cheap mould. Angry

posted by Cervelo12 [78 posts]
10th May 2012 - 15:41

like this
Like (7)

andyspaceman wrote:
Not such a common practice now, but I do remember seeing a pic of someone a year or so back (possibly Hushovd?) on a bike that was clearly not from the sponsoring manufacturer the paintwork suggested. I remember that being pinned down as a Cyfac based upon the shaping of the rear dropouts.

Unlikely that it was Hushovd - he was on Cervelos for the last 3 years before joining BMC this year and both of those are fairly identifiable. Boonen maybe? He was known to ride a Pegoretti badged up as a Specialized.

posted by step-hent [675 posts]
10th May 2012 - 17:01

like this
Like (7)

step-hent wrote:
Unlikely that it was Hushovd - he was on Cervelos for the last 3 years before joining BMC this year and both of those are fairly identifiable. Boonen maybe? He was known to ride a Pegoretti badged up as a Specialized.

Yeah, Hushovd sounded wrong as I was writing it - he's well known for loving the Cervelos he's ridden. It escapes me now. Pegorettis are lovely too...

Cervelo12 wrote:
I believe the claims of Cyfac, they make proper bikes in the correct manner using quality materials.

They had some part-finished frames at the London Bike Show earlier this year, and the construction techniques are very impressive. They eschew carbon headset races, BB cups and other weight-saving features that will compromise the lifespan of a frame, and that means they will never be competing for top spot in the weight-weenies charts. But the flipside is that they have zero recorded instances of a carbon frame failing. So unless you wrap it round a tree, you should at least get good mileage in return for your (large sum of) money.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, a custom Cyfac would be at the top of my list of things to buy.

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [220 posts]
10th May 2012 - 17:31

like this
Like (5)

Fantastic, I would love a Gothica or Absolu, lovely lovely bikes ...

posted by Karbon Kev [671 posts]
11th May 2012 - 18:54

like this
Like (7)

Would love one of those, ideally with disc brakes Cool

posted by mogrim [38 posts]
12th May 2012 - 13:59

like this
Like (6)

Riding a Cyfac Megacross with carbon stays and it is a simply stunning ride. It's sprightly enough for club runs and feels fine on unmade Welsh mountain tracks too. Just ridden the Golden Flandrian on it and it handled 25km of cobbles in the 250km ride just fine. I got tired of leg but not sore of bum. They really know what they are doing when they build a frame.

posted by velodiversity [2 posts]
22nd May 2012 - 12:05

like this
Like (7)