AX Lightness have a legendary reputation for building some of the lightest, strongest and most exclusive bike components available. For 2013, however, they’ve launched the Engage range of parts. While still pricey, the new brand is within reach for more than the uber rich or weight obsessed.
The Gavial brakes are based on the AX3000, which tip the scales at a frankly astonishing 125g a set. They also command a price of €989. The new Gavial isn’t far behind, at 103g each including pads and carriers, and €300 / £280 a pair (carriers and pads are an extra €30 a pair).
AX Lightness saddles vary by type and weight, but within the Engage range there’s just a single option – the FLUKE pc, expected March 2013. It’s based on the AX Lightness Leaf and follows the same dimensions, with a broad 140mm rear and overall length of 265mm.
While the Leaf relies on the in-built flex of the hull to create its comfort, the FLUKE combines a flexible hull with a thin, multi-density padded cover. It still maintains AX’s lightweight ethos, tipping the scales at just 125g, and is priced at €249 / £222.
The full carbon FLUKE pc
The Revit seatpost uses the same head design and shaping as AX’s 105g, €355 Daedalus post, but the fibres are configured to offer comfort-giving flex. Our 27.2mm, 400mm long post tips the scales at 154g and is available for €180 / £162.
Engage Revit seatpost
Engage have also branched out into wheel production with the SPHERE 50c, the design for which comes from AX but with the manufacture of the hubs and carbon rims outsourced to DT Swiss.
The deep brake tracks are treated to control heat buildup and maintain consisting braking, and at first glance the rims have a similar profile to those from Lightweight. Rim width is standard, as opposed to the current trend for wider tyre beds. The wheels tip the scales at 1,590g and are priced at €1,570 / £1,410.
CLADE e11 frameset
We also received the new Engage CLADE e11 frameset, complete with a raft of finishing kit from Engage and a drivetrain of SRAM’s Red group and FSA’s SL-K chainset.
Our Large test bike weighs in at 6.22kg (13.71lb). The frame features design touches seen on AX’s Vial, such as a tapered head tube and carbon layup that controls the woven cloth, orientation and weight/grade of fibre to optimise stiffness where needed.
The CLADE e11 frameset should be available in early 2013
The highly asymmetric seat tube radically tapers to the seat junction, and the carbon orientation is designed to offer flex and comfort. It’s visible flex – push down on the saddle and you can see both the seatpost and seat tube bow forwards, which should take the sting out of the road.
Engage claim a frame weight of just 795g. And with the frame priced at €2,480 / £2,239 we can’t see many people opting to spend the extra €2,420 on a Vial to save 85g. The CLADE e11 should be available from March 2013.