Yet another beautiful looking bike has arrived here at Road.cc in the shape of the steel Cyfac Spirit.
We reviewed the carbon-fibre Cyfac Gothica CS recently and loved it. The Spirit is a very different bike but, like the Gothica CG, it’s handmade in France to very high standards.
One massive difference between the bikes is that the Spirit is made from steel. It’s Columbus’ Niobium Spirit steel which is a high-end material and it’s not cheap. What it is, though, is strong. And because it’s so strong, Columbus can make the tube walls ultra-thin. Cyfac say that the walls of the tubes they use for the Cyfac are as narrow as 0.2mm and that keeps the weight low.
The frame is actually triple butted, so the wall thickness isn’t 0.2mm throughout – each end is a different thickness and it’s a different thickness again in the middle. The idea of course, is to remove all unnecessary weight while retaining the strength where it’s most needed.
Rather than being welded, the tubes are filet brazed together. That’s where a metal rod is melted to form the joint material. It’s a skilled process and it’s time consuming so you’re never going to find it on a cheap and cheerful frame.
One of the other key features of the Spirit is that the geometry is full custom – you can choose the tube lengths and the angles for yourself to get the exact fit you’re after. If you want a longer top tube than on a standard road bike, a taller head tube or whatever, you just let Cyfac know and they’ll build it for you.
If frame angles are a mystery to you, don’t worry, you can opt for any of geometries that Cyfac use for their off-the-shelf bikes. They have road (race) and sportive bikes in the range in sizes from 46cm to 58cm, and you can have your bike built to any of those.
On top of that, you can choose whether to go for an external BSA bottom bracket or an oversized BB30 standard, and you can choose a 27.2mm seat post like we have on our review bike, or a 31.6mm.
Plus, you can choose your own paintjob. Cyfac have a range of different designs available. You can choose the one you like best, and choose the colour combination you like, the logo colour, whether the finish is matt or brilliant… All in all, there’s plenty of scope for individualising your bike so that it turns out exactly how you want it.
The Spirit comes as a frame and fork package for £2,099.99. Our test bike came built up with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and wheels and Deda aluminium handlebars, stem and seatpost. UK importers Velo Brands don’t do the builds but, to give you an idea of what you could do, the bike you see here would cost £3,699.99. We have a 58cm model and it weighs in at 8.18kg (18.0lb) without pedals. The frame is about 1,500g and the Columbus Carve full-carbon fork is around 400g.
Right, we’d better get the Spirit out on the road to see if the ride is as good as the looks. Actually, we’ll let you in on a secret… we’ve already ridden it quite a bit – but we’re not going to tell you about the ride just yet. We’re fine-tuning our opinions. We’ll have our complete test online in a week or so.
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 youthful 45-year-old 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.