Friday, December 1, 2006 12.00am
Airlite came into existence in 2004 and currently produces one off-the-peg and four custom-build Zerofour models. The Messiah tested here is said to give a stiffer and more responsive ride than the other models in the range which are aimed more at the comfort end of the market.
While the majority of carbon fibre frames are produced in huge and expensive moulds, custom frames like the Messiah must, for reasons of cost, be built using lugs and tubes. Airlite uses Columbus' DCS tubing that is combined with their Drive Tail carbon wishbone back end while the steering is taken care of by the Black Drive full carbon fork. The frame geometry felt more relaxed than you'd expect from a 73 degree seat angle and our long Fizik Arione saddle made for more stretch than you usually get with a 55cm top tube.
The website gives details of the various fork and equipment options available and the Shimano 105 kit fitted here can be considered the minimum level that we'd spec on a frame as high-end as this. The Messiah is comfortable for long spells in the saddle and the level of lateral stiffness would satisfy all but the most powerful sprinters. The ride can be likened to a cross between the smooth compliance of Specialized's Roubaix and the stiff, uncompromising ride of its S-Works SL. The Messiah's steering proved ultra stable on fast descents during testing in the Pyrenees.
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