VAN NICHOLAS SKE­IRON

£6043.86 › Get ready to ride like the wind

Cycling Plus - - FIRST RIDE -

Named af­ter Ske­iron, the Greek god of the north­west wind, Dutch ti­ta­nium spe­cial­ist Van Nicholas says this is its most ad­vanced bike to date. The £1795 aero-op­ti­mised frame has been de­signed around in­ter­nal ca­ble rout­ing, an ovalised and flat­tened top-tube, and bi-ovalised down-tube to min­imise the bike’s frontal area, while a broader shape at the bot­tom bracket pro­vides a stiffer con­nec­tion with the bot­tom bracket shell.

The car­bon fork has a bowed front pro­file. The wider spac­ing means the dis­rupted air from the front wheel doesn’t crash into the fork legs, mak­ing it a smoother and po­ten­tially faster de­sign. The crown’s been de­signed to cheat the wind, with a stepped pro­file that’s matched to an in­ter­lock­ing bot­tom sec­tion of the ti­ta­nium head-tube. Aero ben­e­fits aside it’s a great look­ing de­tail.

De­tail is where the Ske­iron frame shines. The 3D cast ti­ta­nium rear dropouts are some of the most beau­ti­fully sleek we’ve seen. The thru-axle as­sem­bly and in­ter­nal ca­ble exit tun­nel look in­cred­i­bly slick.

On the road, the Ske­iron feels ro­bustly firm. Its power trans­fer through the ped­als is im­pres­sive and the FFWD F3D wheels spin up to speed with rapid ease. The rear feels firm, even with the big-vol­ume 28mm Sch­walbe One tyres tak­ing the edge off bumps and road vi­bra­tions. It’s not an un­com­fort­able ride, just solid feel­ing. The rather rigid VNT leather-cov­ered sad­dle doesn’t help, but we did like its long, nar­row shape.

Up front it’s a very dif­fer­ent story, the full car­bon fork and classy cock­pit look af­ter you very well. When that’s com­bined with just the right side of sharp, sta­ble han­dling, the Ske­iron be­comes a for­mi­da­ble part­ner for rid­ing fast and de­scend­ing at speed.

When you’re rid­ing at th­ese speeds you need the con­fi­dence that you can slow down just as quick, which is what you get with the com­bi­na­tion of flat-mount BR-RS805 brakes and Shi­mano’s IceTech ro­tors. The gear range of 50/34, 11-28 is ex­actly what we’d rec­om­mend for most rid­ers, and when Shi­mano’s Ul­te­gra Di2 pro­vides the shift­ing you’re in good hands.

Ti­ta­nium has its charms, and plenty of fans, and we like its tough­ness and longevity. When it’s worked well it ex­udes a lovely ride qual­ity, the Ske­iron has some of that sup­ple feel, but is at the firmer end of the ti­ta­nium rides we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced. While the frame is beau­ti­fully fin­ished, it’s also very ex­pen­sive.

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