Not everyone will immediately fall in love with the bold graphic treatment that Matrix, a brand new to the UK but that have been making bikes for the Far East market since the late 1990s, give the Apache Pyro – after all, bikes are for riding, not reading – but we were soon revelling in the language of the road as it was transmitted through the svelte, semi-aero carbon frame.
Full internal cable routing helps the clean aesthetic, and the frame is an interesting blend of large diameter down tube and smaller, more delicate top tube mated to thin, though not anorexic, seatstays.
The looks promise stiffness and comfort, and it’s certainly no bone-shaker. Even with 21mm tyres glued to Matrix’s own deep-section carbon wheels it made the local roads feel much less rough than they are, and on smooth tarmac the Pyro positively lit up.
Riding hard in the drops, the bike leapt up the road. Some bikes just transfer power well, and this is one of them. It’s not totally flex free, but we’d happily trade away absolute stiffness for a degree of feel and comfort – fast is good, but only if the bike has the handling to match. Thankfully, the Apache Pyro responds to thought almost before action, yet without feeling overly nervous, and in bunch situations and tight corners we were confident it wasn’t going to pull any surprises.
The Matrix Apache Pyro has a choice of five finishing sets
Aero seatposts do have their issues – their singular frame fit applications, a tendency towards stiffness and potential saddle position restrictions – but we had no problems with this one. We did get a firm sideways tug on the deep-section carbon T50 wheels in exposed crosswinds, though.
Our test bike came with a mix of SRAM parts – Red brakes and gears with a comparatively budget Rival 53/39 alloy crank – and would set you back £3,688.88, and performance was flawless.
But to buy a complete Matrix bike you ‘build your own’ on the website anyway. Stuff we’d change from the as-tested spec is minimal: bigger tyres, lower rims, a shallower drop bar… As is, the Pyro frameset is fast and sharp enough for racing, but smooth enough to ignite interest in all-day epics.
You can have a SRAM, Campagnolo or Shimano build for your frameset
- Gears: SRAM Red, Rival cranks
- Brakes: SRAM Red
- Wheels: Matrix T50 deep-section carbon tubulars
- Extras: Matrix carbon aero seatpost, stem and bar
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
- Frame weight: 1.2kg (54cm)