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Verdict: 
A very pleasant ride from a possible year-round machine, maybe best suited to those with small feet…
Weight: 
9,720g
Forme Longcliffe 0
7 10

The aluminium-framed Forme Longcliffe 0 offers a very good ride, with neutral handling and a decent value spec that includes a full Shimano 105 groupset.

Like most other manufacturers, Forme realised it was time to include a disc brake road bike in its range and the Longcliffe 0 is the result: an endurance style machine with mudguard mounts, and Shimano's ever-reliable mid-range groupset and mechanical disc brakes.

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We looked at the Longcliffe Forme 1.0 back in 2013, the model on which this 0 test bike is based, with an updated disc brake-specific fork and modified rear triangle.

The ride

Apart from a couple of annoyances, which I'll go into in a minute, the ride of the Longcliffe 0 is very good. It's another aluminium-framed bike that quashes the whole 'harsh alloy characteristics' theory, with a ride that feels reasonably stiff yet with a fair bit of compliance for comfort.

Forme Longcliffe - riding 2.jpg

Forme Longcliffe - riding 2.jpg

Forme hasn't gone massively oversized with the tubing profiles – you don't really need them on a bike of this type, where all-out performance and power output aren't the most important elements. Apart from a small bit of bottom bracket flex under massive loads (when I was riding the Longcliffe on an interval training day), the stiffness levels are exactly where they need to be, so short accelerations and out-of-the-saddle climbing are dealt with competently.

The Longcliffe is one of those bikes that's great for tapping out the miles, an ideal winter trainer or commuting steed thanks to the geometry.

Forme Longcliffe Zero.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero.jpg

Our test model has a 180mm head tube length and 560mm (effective) top tube, which, when paired with a 72.5-degree head angle, 73.5-degree seat tube angle and a long wheelbase (1,007mm, the same as the rim-brake version), makes for a very easy to control, neutral handling bike, limiting the number of surprises you receive on tricky surfaces and road conditions.

This doesn't make the Forme boring, though – it's a very capable machine through the bends at a quick pace, with the frameset and components giving you enough feedback from the road for you to know what's going on. The rather short 90mm stem keeps things a little more engaging too.

Stay in the way

So what about those annoyances then? Well, most frustrating was that I kept catching my heels on the wider chainstays. As I said above, the Longcliffe 0 is based on the rim-braked Longcliffe 1, which has that 1,007mm wheelbase and 417mm chainstays to provide clearance for large tyres and full mudguards – measurements that Forme has kept on this disc brake model.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rear.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rear.jpg

On a race bike, when the chainstays are as short as possible, adding disc brakes often means the stays need extending 5-10mm to accommodate the width of the disc hub to provide heel clearance. Forme could have added a bit more curve to the end near the dropouts, or a slightly increased angle along the entire length from the bottom bracket, but instead the stays kick out at their midway point, and I kept catching my heel on them.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - chain stay shape.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - chain stay shape.jpg

Okay, it's not the end of the world, but moving the bend 20-30mm further back would solve the issue.

The other annoyance is up at the front end with the new fork. The rim-braked Longcliffe has the mudguard mounts at the dropouts, but because of the disc mount these have been moved to halfway up the fork leg on the wheel side.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - fork.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - fork.jpg

It's not the only fork to do this, but they do seem quite high up, and mean fitting standard mudguards such as SKS Chromoplastics will need a lot of trimming and bending to the guard stays to get a decent fit. It's a one-off job, though, and to be fair there's always a fair amount of trimming and bending to be done, wherever the mounts are.

I should also say that some of the road.cc team who also run mudguards on their disc braked bikes completely disagree with me on this and reckon the Forme's guard placement makes them a lot less of a faff to fit than fitting to a disc brake fork with mudguard mounts at the dropouts.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - head tube badge.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - head tube badge.jpg

One thing that Forme has included that's good to see is a threaded hole in the fork crown for a mudguard; it's very common for disc brake forks not to have them.

Full set

It's also good to see a full Shimano 5800 105 groupset at this price point, without any cost cutting to a cheaper crankset, although it's a shame the budget couldn't stretch to hydraulic brake levers and callipers, because the cable-operated R317s are quite underpowered. Even when bedded in a little they didn't offer the same level of stopping power as a set of 105 dual-pivot callipers, although at least they were consistently weak in both wet and dry conditions.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rear disc brake.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rear disc brake.jpg

As a late, heavy braker I never felt truly comfortable with their performance, which meant I took things much more cautiously in traffic or descending than I would otherwise.

We reviewed a Pinnacle Dolomite 5 last year, a £1,000 bike with Shimano RS505 hydraulic disc brakes. The vagaries of the post-Brexit vote sterling mean the 2017 Dolomite 5 is now £1,250, but the Dolomite 4 is £1,100 with Tiagra 4700 and non-series Shimano RS-405 hydraulic brakes, so it is possible.

The rest of the groupset performed in its usual reliable and consistent way, delivering snappy gear changes from both the front and rear mechs even under load. Shimano's mid-tier group may not be the equipment most of us swoon over but it really does prove difficult to fault on a bang to buck ratio.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - drive train.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - drive train.jpg

The Longcliffe is equipped with the pretty much de rigueur 50/34 compact chainset and 11-28, 11-speed cassette which offers a decent spread of gears for most riders on various terrain, especially on a bike that weighs in at 9.72kg (21.4lb), although it has to be said the Forme doesn't feel that heavy out on the road.

Solid hoops

Wheel-wise, the Longcliffe 0 comes specced with a set off handbuilts incorporating Mavic's CXP Elite rims and sealed hubs in a 32-spoke count front and rear. It's an absolutely solid set of wheels, near perfect in terms of trueness with very high and balanced spoke tension. This is a set of wheels that is going to take a lot of abuse.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rear hub.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rear hub.jpg

The only downside is that the rim is designed for calliper brakes, so looks a little odd with a machined braking surface. You're also carrying a little extra revolving weight because a disc brake-specific rim doesn't need any extra material here to resist the wear caused by a set of brake pads.

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rim.jpg

Forme Longcliffe Zero - rim.jpg

The rims themselves are quite narrow too, at just 15mm internally, which means the 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres fitted are already wider than the wheels, and the Longcliffe would really benefit from some bigger rubber, 28mm at least. Without mudguards I reckon this bike would easily take some 32s to become a real byway blaster.

Those Lugano tyres are pretty good performers if you're the type of rider who wants a fit and forget set for year-round, all-condition use. Rolling resistance is okay and grip is impressive for such a hard-compound, durable set of tyres.

Forme Longcliffe - riding 3.jpg

Forme Longcliffe - riding 3.jpg

Apart from the Forme branded saddle, which I found comfortable thanks to its narrow dropped nose, the rest of the finishing kit is provided by Ridley's in-house brand, Forza or 4ZA. It's some really nice kit, too, with styling that makes it look quite high-end with its mix of matt and gloss decals. The bar is incredibly stiff but somehow never managed to feel harsh at all.

Worth the money?

So to value… how does it compare with the opposition? Ribble's CGR is an obvious competitor, especially with its road-specific setup being priced at a few quid less than the Longcliffe 0. Okay it's a bit heavier at 10.73kg with a Shimano Tiagra groupset, although the braking is hydraulic. There are pluses and minuses with the frame, as the Ribble is stiffer and better handling, although less comfortable than the Forme.

> Buyer's Guide: 11 of the best bikes from £1,000 to £1,500

I'd say that when you take a look at the kit on the Longcliffe, especially the 105 groupset, it offers a decent level of value for money, although I'd like to see a set of disc brake-specific wheels to just finish things off.

The frame is good from a quality point of view and in terms of the ride, it's just a shame those niggly details detract slightly from the overall experience.

To sum up, I'd say the Longcliffe 0 offers a good all-round package but personally I'd be inclined to stick with one of the rim-braked models.

Verdict

A very pleasant ride from a possible year-round machine, maybe best suited to those with small feet…

road.cc test report

Make and model: Forme Longcliffe 0

Size tested: 56cm

About the bike

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

FRAME - Forme 6061 Alloy

FORK - 3K Carbon fork with mudguard eyelets

BRAKE LEVERS/GEAR SHIFTERS - Shimano 105 11 speed

FRONT DERAILEUR - Shimano 105

REAR DERAILLEUR - Shimano 105 11 speed

CRANKSET - Shimano 105 Compact 50x34T

CASSETTE - Shimano 5800

CHAIN - Shimano HG-600-11

BOTTOM BRACKET - Shimano SM-BBR60

BRAKES - Shimano R317 mechanical disc

HANDLEBARS - 4ZA Cirrus flat top stealth black double butted alloy 6061

BAR TAPE - Forme PU bar tape

STEM - 4ZA Cirrus stealth black alloy 6061

SADDLE - Forme Road Pro

SEAT POST - 4ZA Cirrus carbon

WHEELSET - Mavic CXP22 rims built on to sealed bearing hubs

TYRES - Schwalbe Lugano 700x25

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?

Forme says, "The Forme Longcliffe 0 is the first road bike Forme have ever created using discs. Disc brakes on road bikes have become more and more popular and Forme have delivered one at a great price point with little compromise. The Longcliffe 0 features a higher quality complete Shimano 105 11 speed groupset for smooth and accurate shifting, handbuilt wheelset consisting of sealed bearing polished hubs and Mavic CXP22 rims. Rivaled by only a few competitors at this price point, the complete 4ZA Cirrus stealth cockpit gives professional control."

I think the Longcliffe 0 offers a comfortable and stable ride that makes it ideal for a whole multitude of uses, though there are some little niggles that take the shine off.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

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

Overall build quality is very good, with the welds being left natural adding to that functional sort of look. The matt paintjob is pretty hardwearing too.

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

The frame is manufactured from 6061 aluminium alloy, with the fork being a mix of aluminium steerer tube and 3k carbon fibre legs.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

With a long wheelbase and slack angles at the head and seat tube, the Forme has a very relaxed and stable ride. Full details are here - http://formebikes.co.uk/forme-longcliffe-0-road-bike.html

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

Even with this 56cm model having a 180mm head tube, you can still achieve quite a long and low position should you want to put the power down.

Riding the bike

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

Yes. Ride quality is impressive from what looks to be a pretty simple alloy tubed frame.

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

At absolute full power effort I could get some flex from the bottom bracket area, but bearing in mind that this is no race machine it's unlikely to see such abuse in its daily routine.

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

Yeah, pretty good. Seated acceleration felt smooth too.

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

None.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

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

That neutral handling makes the Longcliffe ideal for non-perfect conditions like wet roads or bridleways.

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

I was a big fan of the Forme branded saddle with its slightly dropped nose.

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

The 4ZA bar doesn't move a millimetre, it's very stiff indeed.

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

I wasn't a massive fan of the Shimano cable operated disc brakes, which I don't think offer the same level of stopping power as a set of 105 dual-pivot callipers even when bedded in, so you have to ease off for the corners much earlier than normally, which affects rhythm.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

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:
 
8/10

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 does its usual excellent job, but the side is let down a bit by the R317 brake discs.

Wheels and tyres

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

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

The handbuilt CXP Elite wheels are very well put together with plenty of tension in the spokes. They are narrow, though, bucking the latest trend for wider tyre use, so I'd swap to something wider and a disc-brake-specific rim to save a little revolving weight as no brake track is needed on the rim.

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

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

The Schwalbe Luganos are a decent entry-level tyre for all-weather riding with impressive grip and durability.

Controls

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

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

The Forza components are really good quality and add a nice finishing touch to the Forme. The stem supplied on the 56cm model is very short, though, at just 90mm long.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, when I wasn't whacking my heels on the chainstays.

Would you consider buying the bike? No

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Possibly

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Use this box to explain your score

The Longcliffe 0 offers a great-riding frame with a lovely balance of comfort and performance, though I found the chainstays and front mudguard mounts a little frustrating.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

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

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

9 comments

Avatar
Welsh boy [350 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I love the length of the valve on the front wheel!

Avatar
ped [270 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Have to agree with Stu: that rim choice is plain odd. It makes the bike look as though it's been built up from parts lying round the shed.  7

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guyrwood [829 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Couldn't agree more ped, weird rims, chainstays you hit with your feet - I'd have given it two stars at best.

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matthewn5 [1006 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Maybe the weird rims are there so you can fit a set of 105 dual-pivot callipers and improve the braking.  3

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srchar [452 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

3.5 stars, when the bike has competitors with hydraulic brakes, chainstays that your feet don't hit and wheels designed for the braking system actually fitted to the bike?

What does a bike need to do to earn 2 stars? Would square wheels and a spike instead of a saddle do it?

Avatar
Grizzerly [362 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Interesting to hear the disc brakes were not as effective as the 105 rim brakes. 

I caused some controversy a year or so ago when I pointed out that I had swapped my 105 calipers for a set of Campag Veloces, because they were not as effective as the Xenons on my hack bike.

Avatar
HowardR [132 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

"disc brakes were not as effective as the 105 rim brakes.​...."

Burn the heretic!

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Duncann [981 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Welsh boy wrote:

I love the length of the valve on the front wheel!

An easy target for reducing rotating weight!

Avatar
Maria Luis [8 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I like the Forme Lonngliffe O bike because it is suitable for those people who are small feet. It is also known as disk brake road bike. All other parts of this bike are nice indeed.