Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

TECH NEWS

First Look: Enigma Excel Disc, Evoke Disc, Escape and Evolve Ti road bikes

British titanium specialist Enigma has updated four of its key bikes for 2017 - we take a first look

If you have your sights set on a titanium bicycle there’s a high chance Enigma is a brand that has passed through your crosshairs, and earlier this week Richard popped down to the office with a van load of brand new bikes to show us. Here then is a first look at the new Excel Disc, Evoke Disc, Escape and Evolve,

But who is Enigma? Enigma Bicycle Works has built up a solid reputation as purveyors of the finest titanium and steel frames in the 11 years since Jim Walker sold a bicycle distribution company and set out to create his own brand in the Sussex countryside. Despite the advances of carbon fibre titanium continues to be a popular alternative, despite its high price, famed as it for its fabled ride quality, unique aesthetic and legendary longevity. Buy a titanium frame and it might well be the last frame you ever buy goes the myth.

- Terrific titanium: 14 of the loveliest titanium road bikes we've ridden

Enigma has become known for producing well-designed, executed and finished bicycle frames and it’s titanium, that hardiest of materials to work with and once the preserve of the aerospace industry, that it’s best known for. While the majority of the frames are made in the Far East, a growing percentage are actually made in the UK, with Jim’s son Joe Walker - and they’d happily make more if there wasn’t the shortage of skilled welders that there is in this country. A recent addition is an in-house paint shop that has allowed Enigma to step up not only its quality of finish but the variety of finishes it now offers. Anything is possible so Richard tells us. That also extends to the build options as well.

Excel Disc

Enigma Excel Disc.jpg

The Excel Disc is Enigma’s flagship road bike. Most titanium road bikes, and indeed the majority of Enigma’s range, is made from  3AL 2.5V grade titanium, but the Excel is made from 6AL 4V using a custom made tubeset that is welded in the UK. The key advantages are lower weight and higher stiffness compared to 3AL 2.5V. Enigma holds it up as the pinnacle of titanium frame design

Enigma Excel Disc - down tube.jpg

Updates to the new model include a new 44mm downtube, first used on its limited edition Exemplar frame last year, to better match the 44mm head tube. There’s a new beaded and anodized standard finish, or you can have a painted option with colour matched Enve fork as in the pictured bike. It’s a disc brake-only bike with 12mm thru-axles and flat mount and clearance for up to 28mm tyres.

Enigma Excel Disc - rear disc brake.jpg

Such precision engineering and UK manufacturing don't come cheap though, and in this full Dura-Ace R9100 build with Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Disc wheels, Enve stem, handlebar and seatpost, it costs £7,799. Just the frame, Enve fork and Chris King headset will set you back £3,659, while the frame only is £2,999. Be warned, the lead time is 90 days on this model, due to the fact it’s made by hand in the UK.

Evoke

Enigma Evoke.jpg

The Evoke is pitched as a “fast endurace machine” and uses a 3AL 2.5V titanium frame that has been updated with thru-axles replacing the previous bikes quick releases, and tyre clearance  increased to 32mm tyres - those are 32mm Maxxis Rambler tyres on the pictured bike that they fitted to test the clearance, we’ve got some there tyres we might sling on there to test.

Enigma Evoke - cable route.jpg

The bike uses the same front triangle, including a 44mm head tube and downtube, as the Evade I tested a couple of years ago. Enigma has adopted the latest flat mount standard and has spent considerable effort developing the non-driveside chainstay to accommodate the brake caliper and provide necessary heel clearance, without resorting to an off-the-shelf dropout with integrated brake mount, to do with reasons of aesthetics.

Enigma Evoke - bottom bracket.jpg

The Evoke costs £4,199 with Shimano Ultegra mechanical, Mavic Ksyrium Elite Disc wheels and Enigma finishing kit, including new bar tape and saddle design, and this 56cm bike weighs 9kg on the nose. A frameset (including fork and headset), if you want to build your own, will set you back £2,136.99 and the frame only price is £1,750.

Escape 

Enigma Escape.jpg

The adventure bike market is blossoming and Enigma has replaced its Ecroix with the Escape for 2017. That’s no bad thing, we never quite knew how to pronounce Ecroix…

Enigma Escape - fork detail 2.jpg

The new Escape has been refined to suit adventure and gravel riding, and that means the geometry is more relaxed than the cyclocross influenced predecessor. So a lower bottom bracket, slacker head angle, increased fork offset, and increased tyre clearance to 42mm tyres. It’s disc brakes only, of course, and the Escape gets 12mm thru-axles and flat mounts.

Evolve

Enigma Evolve.jpg

Last but not least, we arrive at the Evolve and a slightly more traditional looking road bike. This bike is the result of Enigma merging its previous Echo and Etape touring focused road bikes into one model for 2017. The Echo and Etape have been part of the company’s range since day one, so it’s a shame to see the names disappear, though we’re told there is an Etape Disc on the way soon…

The Evolve features a new tapered head tube and 44mm down tube intended to provide a more responsive ride. There are eyelets for racks and mudguards, making it an ideal choice for touring, Audax, winter training or commuting. Enigma is using regular short reach caliper brakes but there’s still clearance for 28mm tyres with mudguards. We reckon that’s as wide as anyone would want to go on this sort of bike anyway. It costs £2999 with a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic Ksyrium wheels, while the frame only price is £1,499.

Enigma Evolve - frame sticker.jpg

There you go, the four new models in the Enigma Bicycle Works range. We’ve luckily been left with the Evoke and Escape to review so stay tuned for more info on those two bikes soon. You can see the full range at www.enigmabikes.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

Add new comment

8 comments

Avatar
50kcommute | 6 years ago
0 likes

Gorgeous bikes enigma also make bespoke lightweight steel bikes and would internally route the cables on these I'm sure!

Avatar
StraelGuy | 6 years ago
0 likes

Ha, ha Eddy. I spotted that earlier. They reviewed a Colnago recently that was about 3 million quid  until they spotted the typo .

Avatar
eddyhall | 6 years ago
1 like

"Last but not least, we arrive at the Evolve... an ideal choice for touring, Audax, winter training or commuting. Enigma is using regular short reach caliper brakes but there’s still clearance for 28mm tyres with mudguards. We reckon that’s as wide as anyone would want to go on this sort of bike anyway."

For touring? Surely 32mm are a very good option when doing laden touring.

 

Additionally, it is very good to see that Enigma are sticking to their guns about avoiding internal cable routing. I have asked directly if they would build an internally routed frame for me and Jim gave a bunch of reasons why this is not a good idea with titanium. So the new suite of frames are also externally routed and I appalud their comittment. With that said, I specifically did not go with an Etape Disc for that exact reason - I really wanted internal routing as neat as possible.

Avatar
graybags replied to eddyhall | 6 years ago
0 likes
eddyhall wrote:

"Last but not least, we arrive at the Evolve... an ideal choice for touring, Audax, winter training or commuting. Enigma is using regular short reach caliper brakes but there’s still clearance for 28mm tyres with mudguards. We reckon that’s as wide as anyone would want to go on this sort of bike anyway."

For touring? Surely 32mm are a very good option when doing laden touring.

 

Additionally, it is very good to see that Enigma are sticking to their guns about avoiding internal cable routing. I have asked directly if they would build an internally routed frame for me and Jim gave a bunch of reasons why this is not a good idea with titanium. So the new suite of frames are also externally routed and I appalud their comittment. With that said, I specifically did not go with an Etape Disc for that exact reason - I really wanted internal routing as neat as possible.

 

I've had my Ti frame for a couple of yeras and at least 6,000 miles, no problems with my internal cable routing. This image is just the hydraulic brake hose, the Di2 is also internal. Made by Waltly Titanium for £800

Avatar
TypeVertigo | 6 years ago
2 likes

"Just the frame, Enve fork and Chris King headset will set you back £3,659, while the frame only is 32,999."

You might want to correct the frame-only price there. Pretty daft for a frame alone to cost more than a frameset, I reckon.

Avatar
eddyhall replied to TypeVertigo | 6 years ago
0 likes
TypeVertigo wrote:

"Just the frame, Enve fork and Chris King headset will set you back £3,659, while the frame only is 32,999."

You might want to correct the frame-only price there. Pretty daft for a frame alone to cost more than a frameset, I reckon.

Pretty daft for a frame to cost more that £30k!

Avatar
Kadinkski | 6 years ago
0 likes

Any word on the weight of the Excel Disc?

Avatar
2trax replied to Kadinkski | 6 years ago
0 likes
Kadinkski wrote:

Any word on the weight of the Excel Disc?

Nothing on the website or any distributor sites about frame weights, but... I've got a 2016 Evoke disk (53cm) which comes in at 1.4kg. The list weight for the 2016 Evade (which is fundamentally the same frame but without discs) was around 1.35kg, so only 50g difference.

The claimed weight of the 2016 Excel was 1.2kg, so I would expect the new disc version to be about 50g heavier at 1.25kg.  This is just a guess though, and will depend on sizing.

All in all, I've been able to build my Evoke into a hydraulic disc / Di2 equiped long distance missile that weighs a smidging under 8kg all in (including pedals). Going for a carbon disc frame, but with the same components I could have probably built something just under 7kg.

My take on frame weight is that I weigh 82kg and carry 1.5l of water, so the difference that 1kg of bike weight makes (1.2% of total) is pretty negligable. I have a traditional rim brake / DA setup on a cervelo, which is lighter than the Evoke, but guess what - the cervelo tends to sits at home whilst I'm out on the Evoke because it's just way nicer to ride. That's not due to fit either, both bikes are set up with identical reach and stack, the same sadels, crank lengths, and gear ratios. I guess that what I'm trying to say is don't get hung up on frame weight, there are a whole host of important factors of which weight is only one (and for me, far from the most important).

 

 

  

Latest Comments