£3,938 Taking hand-made to new levels
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