Enigma’s Equinox is one of a rare breed – a titanium aero road bike. The deep-section down tube promises enhanced air-cleaving properties, and for 2014 the frame has been tweaked for more comfort with slimmed-down stays.
While the aero down tube is the most obvious frame feature, there are some more subtle touches scattered around. The rear brake cable is routed internally, giving smooth lines. There’s also no chainstay bridge – Enigma clearly feels there’s ample stiffness in that big down-tube and deep chainstays to not need one, and we’re inclined to agree. Machined cowled dropouts complete the back end, with a replaceable gear hanger in case of accidents.
- Highs: Light and aero at the same time, a fine blend of stiffness and comfort
- Lows: While comfortable, it’s not classically ‘titaniumy’
- Buy if: You’re looking for a distinctive, high-performance British frame
Typically you have to accept a weight penalty for aero features – deep tubes need more material – but some aggressive tube butting and weight shaving elsewhere keeps the Equinox’s frame weight very competitive. The full bike as tested joins the Lynskey R230 and Van Nicholas Chinook in the sub-8kg club, and there’s scope to go lower – it’s not hard to find wheels lighter than the supplied Mavic Ksyrium Equipes, which give away a couple of hundred grams compared with their spendier Elite stablemates. Ksyrium Elites are on Enigma’s build option list, or you could go for Cosmic Carbone SL wheels. Find another grand and you could spec the Equinox with Dura-Ace.
The machined cowled dropout holds a replaceable gear hanger
Our bike comes with Shimano’s new Ultegra 11-speed groupset. You get all the best features of Dura-Ace, including revised actuation ratios for faster, lighter shifts, and excellent brakes. Unless you absolutely must shave off every final gram, it’s tough to justify the extra cost of Dura-Ace.
Enigma’s own finishing kit completes the package and it’s all decent stuff. We’re not big fans of the ergo bend on the bar, but bars are a very personal thing. Since Enigma assembles bikes to order, it’s not as if you’re stuck with it.
It’s all but impossible to quantify the aero benefits of the frame, but there’s essentially no downside to having that deep down tube. What’s particularly impressive about the Equinox is that it maintains a good dose of comfort. The down tube doesn’t look particularly compliant, and the 31.6mm seatpost means there’s not much flex there. But somewhere between the slender seatstays and carbon fork, the Equinox happily smooths the worst off poor roads.
It’s race-shaped, with a short head tube giving a low, powerful riding position, but it’s entirely at home on longer, steadier rides too. It may have a traditional straight steerer-tube, but there’s no shortage of precision at the front end – pick your line and the Equinox will follow.