Top of the range model from new British bike brand gets a pre-test once-over

Onix? Funny you should ask. Onix is a British brand that has been around only since 2009 and the first fully built bikes have been on sale for just a few months. Them’s new. Onix only sell direct to the consumer through their website, keeping prices low by avoiding the middle man.

The Azzuro is Onix’s top frame, made using Toray T1000 carbon – a fine material for building strong and stiff bikes. Onix reckon they’ve chosen the best resin to work with this carbon fabric, and that they use a higher pressure than normal in their moulds. A strengthened rubber bladder inside the frame tubes compresses more of the resin and coats the fibres more thoroughly. This allows the manufacturer to add extra layers of carbon to the high stress areas of the frame in order to increase stiffness without increasing weight or affecting the quality of the ride. That’s the theory, anyway.

The resulting frame has a distinctive look to it. The top tube, for example, bows a little as it dips down from front to back. The tube has slightly concaved walls and a profile that alters almost constantly along its length. The down tube has a raindrop shaped profile, again with sidewalls that are slightly concaved, while the head tube is a bulbous affair although it houses bearings that are both standard 1 1/8in.

The bottom bracket area is, it’s fair to say, voluminous – small mammals could make a home in there – although the bottom bracket itself is an external one rather than oversized BB30. The chainstays are asymmetric which is something quite a few manufacturers are now doing although not in exactly this format.

Basically, the driveside stay is tall and thin while the opposite one is flat and wide. The idea is that this increases the overall stiffness for a higher performance, especially while sprinting, and also improves the handling and the quality of the ride. That’s what Onix reckon; we’ll be interested to see if we can detect this out on the road.

In terms of geometry, the Onix is stretched. Our 58cm bike has an effective top tube of 59cm, which is pretty long. With an 18cm head tube, we should be looking at a low and efficient ride position. It has a long wheelbase too, which usually makes for a stable feel.

There are a couple of features we’re not so sure about. The cable stops for the rear brake are both sited on the side of the top tube so that in places the cable runs very slightly outside the line of that tube rather than above or below (or inside) it. We’ll be looking to see whether that’s ever a problem. And we’ll also be paying attention to whether the rear cable stop ever gets in the way when we’re pedalling, although we’re guessing that it won’t be an issue.

It’s not related to performance but another funny little feature is the positioning of the logo on the seat tube. The front mech band goes straight over the O of Onix. Not a biggie, obviously, but it seems a little strange on a bike you’re very unlikely to run without one.

Anyway, in terms of build you can make your choice from a wide range of different options on offer from Onix starting at £1,649.99 for a complete bike. Ours is more expensive. We have a Campagnolo Centaur 10-speed groupset with a carbon chainset and Ergopower levers, plus Campag’s Zonda wheels. Along with an aluminium cockpit, a Fizik Arione saddle and Onix’s own carbon seatpost, it comes in at a grand total of £2275.93. Oh, and it weighs 7.46kg, or 16.4lb in old money (without pedals).

One other thing that’s worth mentioning before we saddle up and get out of here: all Onix bikes come with a 20 day trial period. You can’t go into a shop to test ride an Onix, so they give the option of winging it back to them for a full refund if you’re not happy.

And with that, we’re gone. If you want more details before we’re back with our full ride report, go to www.onixbikes.co.uk.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. 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 past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.