Sabbath September Disc road bike  £2799.00

9/10

Impressively comfortable and quick mile muncher that benefits from maximum braking power

Weight 9340g   Contact  www.sabbathbicycles.co.uk

by Stuart Kerton   June 25, 2014  

Discs are a common sense option on a bike like Sabbath's September, an audax machine that's just at home on the commute, sportive or light touring. So fitting discs is what the bike-building Macc lads have done.

The September is a smart looking bit of kit with plenty of presence. Whether that's from the anodised red Hope hubs or the black Shimano 105 groupset I'm not sure but it looks more aggressive than the caliper version.

There are three builds pencilled in for release with the top £2799 option being very similar to what we've got here: 105, Hy/Rd brakes but with a Kinesis DC37 fork instead of the Whisky Parts Co version on ours. You'll also get mudguards chucked in. The test bike weighs in at 20.5lb (9.34kg) for a size 55.

The other two builds will use TRP Spyre brakes instead of the Hy/Rd's and Mavic Open Sport/Shimano XT wheels with a Tiagra option (£2299) or Shimano 105 (£2499).

The 3Al/2.5V titanium frame has been beefed up a little over the caliper braked version we tested last year to withstand the added stresses from the discs under heavy braking. At the back end the rear dropouts have been thickened and offer more of an overlap with the chainstay for strength.

The chainstay length has also increased from 425mm to 430mm to allow bigger tyres alongside mudguards. The September will now take 35mm tyres with guards and without guards you can stick a decent set of cyclo-cross tyres on there.

You also get a replaceable gear hanger to which is always a good idea on a frame that is likely to get dropped on icy or wet roads. The build quality is top notch with neat, small welds and all the mounts (guard, rack, bottle bosses, cable guides) are welded rather than riveted on.

The top tube has increased in diameter by near as damn it 3mm to 34.9mm which isn't far off the 40mm diameter of the downtube. Both have been ovalised at their ends to increase lateral stiffness.

Can you feel any difference from these tweaks? Oh yes. The September has become tighter, more responsive and greater fun to ride while still managing to keep its stable and secure handling thanks to that long wheelbase and semi relaxed geometry.

Titanium frames always have this underlying smoothness to them and although the September Disc is stiff it retains that. It certainly doesn't feel like a 20lb bike once you're rolling either, maintaining speed is easy and the Sabbath is happy to attack the hills and sprint from roundabouts or lights.

Like all disc equipped road bikes at the moment the wheels are heavier as they need to be more robust and that's exactly the same here. Acceleration is blunted, especially from a standing start and you notice it most if you're riding in company.

Descending is tight and the Sabbath feels absolutely planted as you pick up speed and start to bank it over through the corners. It's not as sharp as full race bike but then it's not expected to be; what it is, is one of the best handling audax frames out there.

Don't think the September Disc is all about speed, though. If you just kick back a bit it's a well-mannered cruiser. Even with the stiff Pro alloy components the smooth ride from the frame means you can ride for hours in comfort as it filters the majority of the road buzz out before it gets to your fingers.

The rest of the chosen components suit the feel of the Sabbath especially the Stan's NoTubes wheels as the 32-spoke three-cross laced set up offers the same feeling of stiffness with a little bit of give. The Alpha 400 rims are, as you can probably guess from the name, tubeless although ours were running with tubes and non-folding beaded Conti Gatorskins. The wheels performed well taking plenty of abuse both from the surface and the weather. The Hope Pro2 Evo hubs were buttery smooth and you never tire of the clicking freehub as you freewheel.

Shimano 105 is a good workmanlike groupset with a solid gear change and predictable manners matching the September's no-nonsense approach to weather and terrain. Every shift across the cassette and compact chainset was precise. The wear rate of 105 is perfectly acceptable should you use the Sabbath for year round commuting and fact that you can pick up an entire groupset for three hundred quid online means its not expensive to replace either.

Leaving the best to last though and the thing that makes this bike what it is, those brakes. Hydraulic braking is a revelation on a bike like the September and makes a great bike even better. Admittedly the TRP Hy/Rd calipers aren't fully hydraulic, being cable operated at the lever which actuates a fluid reservoir at the point of bite.

The 160mm rotors certainly seem man enough for whatever you chuck at them and Sabbath have run the cable along the bottom of the downtube and along to meet the chainstay mounted caliper. This keeps a nice smooth run keeping braking power consistent thanks to a lack of any sharp bends.

In the wet discs will always outperform rim brakes, it's a fact, but in the dry it comes down to modulation and a hydraulic system is always going to perform better than a cable one. The Hy/Rd's allow you to brake later and harder, without the risk of locking up regardless of the weather or road conditions.

Overall the September Disc takes all the things that are great with the caliper version and makes them just a little bit better. The by-product of increasing the tube diameters to cope with the brakes has also improved the performance when you increase the speed rather than scrub it off. That makes the September Disc even more of an all-rounder as you could knock out some seriously quick sportive times on it.

Verdict

Impressively comfortable and quick mile muncher that benefits from maximum braking power

road.cc test report

Make and model: Sabbath September Disc

Size tested: 55, Silver

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

3Al/2.5V titanium frame

Whisky Parts Co. carbon fork

Shimano 105 groupset

Stan's NoTubes Alpha 400 rims with Hope Pro2 Evo hubs

Pro alloy handlebars, stem & seatpost

TRP Hy/Rd disc brakes 160mm rotors

Continental Gatorskin tyres

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

The September is designed as an audax, light touring, commuter kind of do it all bike and the disc version has been created to offer more year round versatility by allowing consistent braking in all weathers.

I'd agree with what Sabbath has set out to create and it is one of the top options on the market.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Nicely put together with all mounts and accesories welded in place rather than riveted. With an unpainted frame there is no way to hide any mistakes.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The titanium grade is 3Al/2.5V (3% Aluminium, 2.5% Vanadium)

Fork is full carbon fibre

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

http://www.sabbathbicycles.co.uk/bikes/september

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Stack and reach are pretty much spot on for a 55cm top tubed frame.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, stiffness yet that lovely titanium feel to it where it just cancels out road buzz.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Yes, plenty of stiffness around the BB and head area.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Very well indeed for a non racer.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? neutral regardless of speed thanks to that long wheelbase

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The September offers near race bike handling just being slightly more relaxed and slower thanks to a slacker head and that longer wheelbase.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The Selle Italia saddle was comfy though the frame provides the majority of the comfort.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The finishing kit and wheels were stiff which helped with power transfer.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels took a bit of getting up to speed due to the weight.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
9/10

Surprising for an audax bike.

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
10/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
9/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

Shimano 105 is a solid performer without being exciting and cracking value for money vs performance.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

The wheels are good performance built up with top class hubs and decent rims. They stayed true throughout the test period.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The Pro stuff is solid stuff and ideal for getting the miles in. The bars have a compact drop so accessible for most riders.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
9/10

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course!  My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

£2799 and only a 105 groupset? Am I missing something? I mean, I know it's nice in other ways and groupsets aren't everything, but still... Seems like you should get Ultegra for that price.

Claud Butler Regent 2013

posted by EarsoftheWolf [21 posts]
25th June 2014 - 19:33

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I need a Ti bike in my life. They have that timeless look about them that a carbon bike simply cant achieve.

posted by midschool [21 posts]
25th June 2014 - 20:22

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Hope hubs and Stans rims. Adds cost. TRP Hy/Rd disc brakes add cost over 105 caliper brakes. Small uk company. Ti frame. Don't be blinkered by "groupset".

I'd take one or a Tripster ATR over the GT but as said there, triple for me please.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [388 posts]
25th June 2014 - 20:34

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Little odd to talk about the wheels: "Like all disc equipped road bikes at the moment the wheels are heavier as they need to be more robust and that's exactly the same here."

With non-disc rims and wirebead Gatorskins tyres, I'd expect a bit of extra rotating weight... Lots to shave off there.

posted by jacknorell [337 posts]
25th June 2014 - 22:08

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Want, but need to skrimp a lot for the £2.8k price tag.

Redvee's picture

posted by Redvee [64 posts]
26th June 2014 - 0:06

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*looks up geometry*

Largest size is a 57.7cm top tube?

Yet another British bike company failing to cater for tall people. Why is it that virtually all the US companies seem to manage proper large sizes – eg Soma's Double Cross goes to 62cm ETT, Surly's Straggler to 64 (!!!) – but no-one in the UK can?

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [371 posts]
26th June 2014 - 9:02

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I just can't abide Titanium bikes with carbon forks. Why be so lazy and not do the job properly, It's not difficult to complete with Titanium forks. Also I agree with previous comments that at the price it would have to be super record quality

Sonyjim

posted by sonyjim [39 posts]
26th June 2014 - 10:02

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sonyjim wrote:
I just can't abide Titanium bikes with carbon forks. Why be so lazy and not do the job properly, It's not difficult to complete with Titanium forks. Also I agree with previous comments that at the price it would have to be super record quality

Do you think that titanium might not be the ideal material for a fork on a calliper bike? I do t know myself but maybe ?

posted by wyadvd [116 posts]
26th June 2014 - 12:21

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wyadvd wrote:
sonyjim wrote:
I just can't abide Titanium bikes with carbon forks. Why be so lazy and not do the job properly, It's not difficult to complete with Titanium forks. Also I agree with previous comments that at the price it would have to be super record quality

Do you think that titanium might not be the ideal material for a fork on a calliper bike? I do t know myself but maybe ?

Agreed, the carbon forks would have better torsional resistance than Ti. You could get some nasty vibration/chatter if they weren't designed right first time.
Far easier to spec something proven.

I dunno if there are even any 700c Ti/disc combo forks out there..?

posted by ficklewhippet [39 posts]
26th June 2014 - 13:16

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Bez - I have one none disc same geometry 130cm stem and it's cock on. I am 191.5 cm - you'd have to try one to be fair which I am sure you could do but it's meant to ride a little shorter.

There Mondays Child race bike has a 59cm top tube for an XL - they are great bikes!

Scottjdavies's picture

posted by Scottjdavies [3 posts]
26th June 2014 - 19:35

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