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TECH NEWS

Just in: Sensa Aquila SL

Dutch carbon racer with Ultegra and carbon wheels costing £2,085 arrives for testing

The Aquila SL is a brand new bike for 2015 from Dutch company Sensa, available exclusively in the UK through Merlin Cycles. A choice of builds are available, but we’ve got our hands on the Shimano Ultegra 11-speed mechanical model which will set you back £2,085 with this carbon fibre wheel upgrade - the regular bike costs £1,585.

At the heart of the Aquila SL is a full carbon fibre frame and fork, manufactured using their Zero Void Curing process, intended to create smoother inner surfaces to reduce excess material, using Generation6 unidirectional carbon fibre. Dropouts are carbon fibre to save the grams, there’s a PressFit86 bottom bracket and 1.5in lower bearing in the tapered head tube. Their own Salita SL all carbon fork slides into the head tube.

This is the lightest frame the company have ever produced, the claim a frame weight of 940g and 325g for the fork. Sensa have pitched the Aquila SL at anyone wanting a bike ideal for longer rides or as a “lightweight Gran Fondo” bike, which going on the geometry chart means a race bike in numbers but with the comfort to not beat you up on those longer rides. The wheelbase on this 55cm model is 992mm with a 160mm head tube and 557mm top tube. The reach is 391mm and the stack 562mm.

They’ve aimed to inject some comfort into the frame for those longer rides you have planned. There are “Flexy Stays” - the seatstays are very skinny - and a 27.2mm should both combine to provide a bit of compliance. It'll be interesting to see just how much the frame smooths out some of the bumpiest roads around the road.cc testing roads. Cable routing is all internal and it is compatible with electronic groupsets. There are five frame sizes (50 to 61cm) and each has an optimised carbon fibre layup.

Our test bike comes fitted with a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed mechanical groupset and the company’s own brand Supra RFC 55 carbon fibre clincher wheels. These are a £500 upgrade over the regular Shimano wheels the regular bike, which costs £1,585, is supplied with. The wheels are fitted with Schwalbe One tyres. We don’t know much about the wheels but they look good and we’ll be interested to see how they perform. The handlebars and stem come from the Deda catalogue while the seatpost is a 3T Team and a San Marco Aspide saddle tops the bike off. On the scales the Aquila SL weighs in at 7.54kg (16.22lb).

On paper the Aquila SL looks really good. The frame appears to be well designed, we like the bold and colourful graphics, there are some nice state-of-the-art details like the carbon dropouts, and it’s well specced for the money. You’d normally have to step down to an aluminium frame to get a Shimano Ultegra build for this money, like the Rose Xeon Team GF-3100 at £1,733.64 recently reviewed on road.cc 

If you want carbon and Ultegra, there’s the Eddy Merckx EMX-1, with a similar build and £1,949 price tag. It scored really well with great handling and performance. And looking at the Canyon range, even there you have to spend  £1,999 to get a similarly built Canyon Ultimate CF  SL 9.0.

So, looks great on paper, but great on the road? We’re off to ride it to find that out, so watch out for a review soon.

www.merlincycles.com

David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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