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Engineered Bicycles launch new crit bike

Donder aluminium race bike is designed for stiffness and efficiency

Bristol-based Engineered Bicycles have released a new aluminium criterium bike, the Donder, to go alongside the Zondag cyclocross race bike that we’ve shown you in the past. 

Like the Zondag, the Donder has been designed in the UK by David Fong and handbuilt in Italy.

The Donder is designed as a criterium race bike and, according to David, the priorities in the design were to produce a stiff frame for precise and stable cornering and the efficient transfer of power, and also to make a bike that was both lightweight and resilient.

The Donder is made from a custom Dedacciai aluminium tubeset with a small amount of scandium in there to increase the strength and allow narrower wall thicknesses to be used, reducing the weight.

Why has David gone for aluminium? The thinking there is that aluminium is resilient enough to handle the knocks associated with crit racing.

In order to get stiffness at the front, the Donder has a 44mm internal diameter head tube and an oversized down tube, so the junction between the two is large for, in theory, added stiffness.

Engineered Bicycles use a traditional press-fit headset for a solid connection between the bearing and the cup. The upper bearing is 1 1/8in and the lower one is 1 1/2in, which is a combination you’ll find on quite a lot of performance bikes these days. The idea is that you get greater stiffness and improved steering precision – clearly key attributes in crit racing.

The bottom bracket is a BB86 press-fit standard that’s compatible with a wide range of different chainsets. A threaded BSA bottom bracket is available as an option, and a BB386EVO version of the Donder is in development if you’d prefer even greater chainset choice.

You can choose to have one or two sets of bottle cage bosses, or none at all, and you can select from a whole range of different colour finishes.

Engineered Bicycles offer the Donder in six stock sizes from 50cm to 60cm. The 56cm version, for example, comes with a 56.5cm effective top tube, a 15.6cm head tube, and 73°/73.5° frame angles. The stack on that size is 565mm and the reach is 388mm.

The price for a stock frameset is £1,250. That includes a Deda full carbon monocoque fork. Orders take 6-8 weeks to arrive.

A complete bike in the build shown – with a Campagnolo Centaur carbon groupset and Campag Bora wheels – is £3,900. Engineered Bicycles say it weighs 7.1kg (15.6lb).

You can go for a custom geometry if you like with the price adjusted according to the complexity of the changes from standard.

For more info go to

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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Tristan Palmer | 10 years ago

Stunning craftsmanship!  1

spongebob | 10 years ago

No frame weight?

Welsh boy | 10 years ago

In my mind an ideal crit bike would have a high bottom bracket, slightly shorter than usual cranks and a steep head angle all designed to allow you to pedal slightly lower gears through corners without clipping your pedals and to change direction quickly. Most crit circuits dont have much climbing so a single ring would be sufficient too. Like pwake says, a crit is not a full contact sport, it is about pedalling through corners, reacting quickly and sprinting, all lending themselves to my shorter cranks and ample ground clearance.

pwake | 10 years ago

I'm just not sure if this is a manufacturer attempting to create a niche where there really isn't one. What's all this talk of "taking the knocks of crit racing" and replacing the frame after crashes? I race crits in Houston every week from April through August and I've only ever had one crash, which was my own fault cos my tub wasn't glued right and rolled off. My carbon frame, wheels, crankset etc. were all fine (don't have carbon bars precisely because you may crash and your never sure about the effect of impact on them and they are, by far, the most likely component to suffer impact).
Reading this article, I reckon I and all the others racing must be doing something wrong as we are not having a weekly demolition derby on bikes with the last man standing (pedalling) being the winner!

surly_by_name | 10 years ago

£3,900? For an aluminium bike with a claimed weight of 7.2kgs with Centaur? I can't help observe that a Canyon Ultimate SL with Cosmics, Ultegra and a claimed weight of 7.15kgs (call it 7.2kgs for the sake of argument) is £2,400. I am not sure I understand how the latter is a worse crit bike.

Agree with Nixster that the photo makes the welding at the seat stay/seat tube cluster look shoddy. I'll take Roaster's word for it that it's the photo/light.

Also, the inch and an eighth to inch and a half headtube is a compromise forced on frame (and fork) manufacturers by the simple fact that inch and an eighth stems are ubiquitous. There is nothing inherently meritorious in an inch and an eighth top diameter, its just that its very hard to get a stem with a bigger inside diameter on the clamp. Any manufacturer that says that they have "chosen" an inch and an eighth diameter for the top of the steerer because it is the right blend of comfort and stiffness is speaking bollocks.

ffloid | 10 years ago

Aren't crit-bikes meant to be mainly cheap, so one can replace a frame easily after crashing? Over a thousand quid seem quite a lot for that purpose.

allez neg | 10 years ago

Like it. A lot.

Has a nice kinda focused vibe. No frills, just grr.

Nixster | 10 years ago

Not the world's tidiest welding on those seat stays, unless the photos are not doing it justice?

Roastie replied to Nixster | 10 years ago

Nixster - a combo of colour and lighting I think, the welding there is quite tidy.  1

mooleur | 10 years ago

Want. Want want want want. <3

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