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The Enigma Evoke MK3 is a stunning-looking bike with internal routing and smooth lines which are uninterrupted by the high-quality welding. That beauty isn't just skin deep though, as the ride quality is typically titanium – there's a buzz-taming smoothness despite the Evoke exuding performance thanks to plenty of stiffness where it counts.
The Evoke sums up why titanium alloy is such a great material for making bike frames. It can create an impressively stiff frame for riding hard, but with an underlying feeling of smoothness – providing the designers know what they are doing. Even on the most performance-orientated titanium frame, that buzz-taming suppleness just takes the edge off as you power across rough asphalt.
True, a decent carbon fibre layup can achieve similar results, but here you are getting longevity and durability too – and those classic bare metal looks.
Performance is exactly what the Evoke is about, inspired by classic race bikes that Enigma says influenced them from the very start. It has a firmer ride than many titanium bikes, but in a purposeful way.
Stamp on the pedals and it wants to go. The stiffness of the bottom bracket area makes this frame hugely responsive, so it's a great bike for attacking the climbs or just getting the power down. There is no noticeable flex (in the directions required for power transfer, at least), which makes the Evoke feel lighter than it is and very nimble. That said, 8.8kg with an electronic groupset and deep section wheels is none too shabby anyway.
Geometry-wise the Evoke isn't as aggressive as a true race bike, although it's not off by a huge amount, so it's not exactly an endurance bike either. It sits somewhere in the middle; a racer for the non-racer, if you like.
Enigma has struck a balance here with a frame that can be ridden hard and fast, but doesn't require a huge amount of focus all the time due to twitchy handling. As the majority of us aren't pinning on a number every time we ride, that's a good thing, as is the MK3 avoiding a riding position that demands a trip to the osteopath after a couple of hours in the saddle.
Consequently I enjoyed the Evoke on a whole range of routes. With a head angle of 73° (size 56) the steering is still quick, and makes for a machine that is fun to push through the corners. Meanwhile the 1,010mm wheelbase brings a bit of stability to those high-speed bends on a descent.
With a 165mm head tube and the reach figure of 394mm you get a reasonably stretched out position, which allows you to get low in the drops. Lowering your centre of gravity only boosts the composed feeling, even on rough roads, and should you catch a patch of gravel or eye a pothole on your line you can easily tweak the steering without the front end overreacting.
For efforts on the flat the seat angle of 74° puts you in a forward position to maximise power output, and works whether you're hammering along in the drops or taking it a little more sedately while resting on the hoods.
Slimming the seatstays for comfort is a common design trick, and the Evoke certainly exploits it. While out of the saddle efforts highlight the lower frame's stiffness, the slight flex in those seatstays not only removes the chatter while seated, it also gives the rear end a planted feel. Reassuring on a rough road in the corners, the rear tyre feels in full contact without muting the feedback coming up from the surface.
While we are on the subject of feedback, I will say the Evoke is a 'talkative' frame, and I like that. You are very much involved in everything going on beneath the tyres, to the tiniest degree. Some frames can subdue this kind of information either through the material choice or in a bid to create flex and comfort, but that doesn't happen here. If you like to feel part of the bike rather than just on it, the Evoke is for you.
The main changes to the old Evoke for this new version is the switch to internal routing for cables, wires and hydraulic hoses, plus the use of a T47 bottom bracket. The chainstays are stiffer chainstays too which, as you can tell from my findings above, certainly benefit performance.
Like many bikes now, the Evoke uses a port system to run all of the gubbins through the frame, with inserts to accept whichever hose, cable or wire is passing through. Each insert is screwed into place, and should you be running a 1x system or a wireless groupset, blanking plates close up any unused entry points.
If you are a mechanic you might not be feeling the love – I have built various bikes with internal routing and some are much more faff than others – but from a rider's point of view it does look great, allows bags and other things to be attached without cables in the way, and keeps everything out of the elements.
Each of the ports is welded into place, and with titanium frames rarely being painted the quality of every weld has to be spot on – hiding them isn't an option. Enigma doesn't need to be embarrassed though, as the finish here is impeccable.
The Evoke comes with a hand-brushed finish with satin bead logos as standard, although other finishes are available as an upgrade. Paint is also an option.
As you'd expect, the tubing for the Evoke is 3Al/2.5V titanium alloy – the familiar mixture of 3% aluminium, 2.5% vanadium and the rest titanium.
It is a custom tubeset, and each frame size gets varying tube diameters and butt profiles to get the best balance of ride comfort and stiffness for a given rider weight and size bracket.
Adopting the T47 bottom bracket allows Enigma to use the largest bottom bracket shell design, as it has the same diameter as the popular PF-30 BB. Larger tubes and bigger mating surfaces mean greater stiffness at this crucial area, while the T47's threaded bearing cups avoid any issues with dirt ingress causing those dreaded creaks.
A big shell also lets you space the chainstays as far as possible apart, which is good for tyre clearance. There's room here for a 32mm tyre.
Don't go expecting mounts for mudguards or racks, though; this is a performance bike. If cargo is your thing then Enigma offers bikes like the Etape. You do get twin mounting points for bottle cages, however, and the usual 12mm thru-axles for wheel retention, and flat mounts for the disc calipers.
If you go for the frameset option rather than just the frame, you'll be getting a C-Six DSC Carbon fork with a tapered steerer tube which compliments the hourglass shaped tapered head tube of the Evoke.
The fork matches both the quality and the nature of the frame, and is stiff in the necessary directions without feeling harsh or transferring road buzz through to your hands.
Frames come in six sizes, from 50cm up to 60cm in 2cm increments. Full geometry is available on Enigma's website.
Enigma sells the Evoke as a frame for £2,199 and the frameset for £2,638.99. The latter gets you a C-Six carbon fork, a headset, a seat collar, thru-axles and the inserts for the internal routing alongside (surprise!) the frame itself.
That's not to say that full builds aren't available too, with a few mentioned on Enigma's site as a guide. All come with C-Six finishing kit and Continental's GP5000 tyres fitted to various Hunt wheels.
With an Ultegra mechanical groupset and Hunt's 34 Aero Wide wheels you are looking at £4,400; spec SRAM Force eTap AXS with Hunt's 35 Carbon Aero Disc wheels and that jumps to £5,300. With Dura Ace Di2 and Hunt's very fast Limitless Carbon wheels you'll be paying around £7,800.
We tested an Ultegra Di2 (which is very lovely, as you can tell from Liam's 10/10 review) build which is available for £6,000, although ours came up-specced with those 48 Limitless wheels mentioned above. They really exploit the performance opportunities of the Evoke.
As for all of the contact points, I got on fine with everything and wouldn't change anything straight out of the box.
At £2,600-ish for the frameset the Evoke compares well with the £2,399 Reilly T325D. That's a titanium road bike with a similar design, and intended for fast road work too – albeit with decent accommodation for larger tyres. It can take rubber up to 30mm.
It comes with a lifetime warranty for the original owner and, while I haven't ridden the T325D, I recently reviewed Reilly's Fusion model and I'm confident they know a thing or two about titanium bikes.
J.Guillem's Major is created for the 'the sheer joy of riding against the open road', and I very much enjoyed it back in 2019. It has a firm ride which is alleviated by the excellent performance and handling, and as it happens a new version has just landed at road.cc Towers. The Major now also runs all cables and hoses internally, making it Di2 only – there are no cable stops. Look out for the review in the next few weeks.
At the current exchange rate, the Major frame costs around £1,500 plus VAT (so £1,800), if you buy direct, as it comes from J.Guillem direct from the Netherlands. Alternatively, there are a number of official dealers around the UK: Leisure Lakes sells the frame for £1,349, for instance, while Pedal Revolution offers a frameset for £1,899.
Ribble's Endurance Ti Disc isn't quite as racy as the Enigma, but it does have a good ride feel and it will take mudguards, albeit with much reduced tyre clearance. While the finish quality isn't as high as the likes of the Evoke, it's almost £500 cheaper at £2,099 for a frameset.
The Evoke is very much the complete package. It's a stunning performance ride with just enough titanium zing there for comfort, at a pretty competitive price. Not only that, but when you've finished your ride or are sat at the café, you can sit back and endlessly admire its beautifully smooth lines.
Stunning looks, well rounded geometry and an excellent ride quality
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Enigma Evoke MK3
Size tested: 56
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
The Evoke is available as a frameset or frame only, although Enigma can build a bike up to your specifications. Guide prices are in the review and on Enigma's website.
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?
Enigma says, "The Evoke is our road focused model designed for fast paced riding. It provides precise handling characteristics and rewarding performance whilst retaining the smooth ride quality titanium is famous for."
The Evoke is a bike that balances speed and long-term comfort well.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
The Evoke is primarily sold as a frame only for £2,199, or as a frameset including the carbon fork for £2,638.99, but Enigma does offer guide prices for various builds:
Ultegra 11spd Mechanical/Hunt 34 Aero Wide Wheels/GP5000 Tyres/C-Six Finishing Kit - £4,400
Sram Force AXS 12spd/Hunt 35 Carbon Aero Disc Wheels/GP5000 Tyres/C-Six Finishing Kit - £5,300
Ultegra 12spd Wireless/Hunt 35 Carbon Aero Disc Wheels/GP5000 Tyres/C-Six Finishing Kit – £6,000
Dura Ace 12spd Wireless/Hunt 48 Limitless Carbon Wheels/GP5000 Tyres/C-Six/Fizik Finishing Kit - £7,800
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The overall quality of the frameset is excellent, with very tidy welding and a neat attention to detail.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
FRAME MATERIAL: Custom butted, Size specific, Grade 9 3Al/2.5V titanium
FRAME FINISH INCLUDED: Hand Brushed with Satin Bead Logos
FORK: Full carbon fibre
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The Evoke strikes a balance between endurance-style geometry and that of a race bike. It isn't quite as aggressive as a race bike in terms of the head tube height and length of the top tube, but the position is still stretched out enough that you can get aero for some fast riding.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stack and reach figures are fairly typical for a bike of this style and size. There are no surprises.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The ride quality is good. It's firm, but with just enough 'give' to highlight that fabulous titanium ride quality.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness is impressive throughout, helped by the adoption of that T47 bottom bracket standard.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
With no noticeable flex through the bottom half of the frame the Evoke feels efficient when ridden hard, and a decent weight means it doesn't feel sluggish under acceleration.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? On the quick side of neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The steering is quick enough to have some fun in the bends without feeling overly twitchy.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's right on the money considering the competition, sitting closely to similar bikes from Reilly and J.Guillem, as mentioned in the review. There's a Ribble that comes in a bit cheaper, but that feels a bit more 'mass produced' than the Enigma.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Evoke is very well designed to create the ride quality for those who like to ride fast and hard without the associated twitchy steering and aggressive ride position of a full race bike. The quality is very high too.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!