UK-based titanium brand Sabbath are back. The company that made a big splash with their radical Mondays Child are under new ownership with an expanded range of bikes.
- BUY IF... You're a cruiser more than a sprinter
The new Aspire is made from plain gauge titanium - which keeps the cost of this exclusive material down - and it comes with a full Shimano 105 groupset.
The well-finished frame is decked with a quality aluminium stem, bar and seatpost from Pro, Shimano's component company. Selle Italia provides a XO saddle. As with 105, Mavic's classy Aksium wheels are also typical on a bike at this price. On paper the spec all makes sense, a feeling reinforced by the Aspire's sensible gearing - 50/34 compact chainset and 12-28 cassette.
On the road the Sabbath offers a smooth, supple ride. On flat and rolling terrain it floats along more than happily at a pace that's brisk rather than sedate. The ride position is more upright than sprinter and if you are looking for a decent alternative to a mid-price carbon sportive bike, then the Aspire's a decent option.
It's only when we tried to really hit the gas that we found its limitations. Our test loop's favourite flat-out fast descent is steep and arrow straight but the surface is a little uneven. Here the frame sprung, flexed, bucked and flitted off line far too easily for our liking. And on another mid-ride descent including a couple of tight, fast corners the Sabbath frame was all too quick to drift. We'd happily give up a little of its plushness and comfort for increased confidence when the road tips downwards or gets more technical.
Our only other issue was with the Pro seatpost and clamp. We had to tighten the seatpost bolt more than we'd prefer to stop the aluminium post from slipping - even with the post's textured matt finish. And once we did get it tight enough it started to creak when pedalling hard. We cured this with a liberal coating of grease even though the post had come already greased. We also tried a carbon post, which proved free of creaks and improved comfort - and we'd suggest that as your first upgrade should you be tempted by the Aspire's perfectly polished charms.
If you are the kind of rider who enjoys day-long cruising, who revels in the climbs and takes a break on the descents, then the Aspire would be ideal. On the other hand, if you prefer to get a few adrenaline-charged thrills out of your road riding, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.