Two of our favourite things came together this weekend in one of our favourite places when Enigma launched their new Evoke Titanium disc-braked road bike at Bespoked Bristol.
The new model, which is handmade in the UK from tube manufactured in the UK to Enigma's own specification, will be available as either a complete bike (price to be confirmed) or as frame only option for £1,999.99… two grand, then.
The Evoke's tubeset is double-butted 3Al /2.5V titanium with a 44mm down tube and 35mm top tube. All the tube profiles are round. The seatstays are the same as those on Enigma's top end Excel race bike. Like the down tube, the head tube has an external diameter of 44mm with a 1 1/2in lower fork race and 1 1/8in at the top. As you'd expect, that head tube is designed to impart from end stiffness and, says designer Mark Reilly, opens up the possibilities for what Enigma can do with the Evoke in terms of the rest of the design.
Enigma have plenty of experience of working with discs on road frames because they've been making disc braked touring bikes for years and offering discs as a custom option on road bikes too. Dealing with the extra braking force of discs holds no fears when it comes to the Evoke. As Mark says, the frame is pretty stiff already - hopefully without sacrificing the ride quality that makes titanium so popular.
Extra security comes courtesy of the one non-British part of the frame, the rear dropouts. They're very neat affairs from Paragon Machineworks in the US. The added wrinkle here is that rather than bolt the disc brake to the seatstay, Enigma attach the brake to the dropout to reduce stress on the stay. Going by conversations with other bike companies, it's something we are likely to see more of on disc-braked road and touring bikes, and presumably on cyclocross bikes as well. It looks a lot neater too.
The complete bike at the show came built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset. The fork was Enve's all-carbon CX disc-specific model although production versions will get Enve's road version. Enve also provided the stem. The saddle was from Ergon and the seat post from USE. Of course, as it's available as a frame-only option too, you're free to build up the Evoke Titanium any way you want, and one of the beauties of disc-braked bikes (especially as more road disc wheels come on the market) is the level of versatility they give in terms of tyre and wheel choice.
And the discs? The show bike came shod with Shimano's latest cable operated discs, but you could run hydraulic discs either from SRAM or something from either Shimano or Campagnolo. We're pretty sure something must be coming from one of them - or even both - because Bianchi are launching the disc version of their new Infinito CV with standard fittings for a 140mm rotor and they'll be offering an adaptor for those that want to fit SRAM's HRD with a 160 rotor. They wouldn't be doing that if there wasn't a 140mm road-going hydraulic disc brake lurking out there in the undergrowth.
No word on frame weight yet, but Mark promises that it will be light, which is good to hear. One of the disappointing things about the titanium version of the Genesis Equilibrium - not a disc equipped bike - is that it offers no real weight advantage over its steel sibling.
Weight info on Salsa's Colossal - the other Ti-framed, disc-shod road bike to get the juices flowing in these parts - is somewhat vague. A completely unscientific pick-it-up-and-see-how-it-feels test suggested it wasn't at the feathery end of the spectrum. Weight definitely isn't everything, but if you're splashing out on a titanium performance bike you'd like to think that it would at the very least have no trouble in dipping under the 20lb mark. Well under, I'd say.
One final thing to mention on the Evoke is the finish. Our pics (well, 'my pics') don't really do it justice. It's a lustrous satin that brings out the colour of the titanium - achieved by blasting the frame with stainless steel instead of the standard finishing medium.
Among all the titanium loveliness on the Enigma stand the other bike to snag our eye was this retro show special made from Columbus steel and fitted with parts sourced by Mark… Check those Campag Delta brakes. They might not stop you very well, but who cares when they look that good?
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.