Flu­id­ity Ul­te­gra

£3,938 Tak­ing hand-made to new lev­els

Bikes Etc - - FIRST RIDE -

Of the three brands on test, TIME is per­haps the least seen within the UK. It’s dif­fer­ent in France, how­ever, where they’re hugely pop­u­lar with all kinds of rid­ers. The com­pany has a his­tory in de­vel­op­ing car­bon bikes, and even weaves its own car­bon fi­bre in its man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity near Lyon. Our test bike was fit­ted with the op­tional – and rea­son­ably ex­pen­sive – Ac­tiv car­bon fork, which claims to dampen the vi­bra­tions felt in the hands while rid­ing. The fork is vis­i­bly wide, with a dis­tinc­tive shape, and we found it lived up to the claims, tak­ing the sting out of the rougher roads with­out los­ing any steer­ing feel. Rear end com­fort is on par with the front, with this bal­ance be­ing some­thing that many bikes strug­gle to achieve. The Flu­id­ity is TIME’S en­durance bike and geometry is tweaked for com­fort, with a taller head tube and slacker head tube an­gle, but this is mated to a short back end, with 404mm chain­stays – shorter than most race bikes. The com­bi­na­tion makes for a bike that han­dles bril­liantly, es­pe­cially on the fast, tight hair­pins in the Alps, where it can change di­rec­tion or tighten within bends eas­ily. The short chain­stays do mean that in or­der to fit the wheel within frame, clear­ance for a 25mm tyre is very tight, and the kinked seat tube means that the seat­post has a limited range of ad­just­ment. We can’t fault the Ul­te­gra groupset and al­though the over­all price may seem ex­pen­sive given the com­po­nents, the hand-built car­bon frame ac­counts for most of that. The bike is fin­ished with own-brand car­bon stem and han­dle­bars that are com­fort­able with a nice shape and neat ca­ble rout­ing. Only the seat­post is a slight blip, be­ing fairly short, mean­ing that any­one with longer legs who likes to ride with a lot of ex­posed seat­post may strug­gle and would be forced to go up a size. The Mavic Ksyrium wheels are good all-rounders and while their per­for­mance isn’t out­stand­ing, they should prove to be a re­li­able, ca­pa­ble wheelset. The 25mm Mavic tyre are rea­son­ably nar­row for the size, but they do pro­vide plenty of feel from the road and am­ple lev­els of grip.

You don’t see many TIME bikes in the UK, but the French are rightly big fans

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