Cyfac Absolu review£7,064.00

True artisan quality brought to the asphalt

BikeRadar score4/5

You could buy a superb complete bike for the price of this frameset alone (£3000), but if you’re after a true connoisseur’s cycle experience then Cyfac should definitely be on your lottery win wish list.

The Absolu frame is handbuilt in the Loire valley, with only the ultralight Forknox fork shipped in for painting and finishing from the Far East. That means lovingly luxurious touches like the long cable guide tunnels and particularly smooth internal routing we’ve not seen anywhere else. The seat mast can also be converted to take a conventional 27.2mm post or the frame supplied like that from new.

Absolutely sumptuous custom paint jobs like the translucent red wine finish of our sample add to the unique appeal (and £100-200 to the price), and Cyfac also offers full custom sizing/ride feel options. There’s even the opportunity to complete the artisan experience by picking up the finished frame in person after overnighting in a local chateau.

It doesn’t take long behind the curved one-piece FSA bar to realise this is a proper pedigree bike. It’s not particularly light in cutting-edge terms, but the no-holds-barred spec provided by importer Boutique Bikes lets it show it’s not lacking in climbing legs or when it comes to lunging for the line. While it lacks the latest integrated or oversized bottom bracket and the dropouts are alloy not full carbon, power snap is immediate and encouraging.

There’s no obvious warp through the bar when you’re throwing your whole body at the top of a climb, and if you do overstep the mark there’s plenty of feedback to let you snatch back control before a dry stone wall ends your day out. While a lot of ultra exclusive bikes we’ve ridden seem determined to handle ‘interestingly’ just for the sake of it, the Absolu is welcomely neutral and easy even in gusty wind or when we swapped in deep section wheels for a change.

There’s enough compliance and comfort in the frame to let you show off your luxury investment on the longest of sportives without suffering for your art. The ride position of our default geometry bike was certainly well balanced and comfortable enough to mean there’s no need to go custom unless you’re a particularly ‘princess and pea’ rider or an off-the-scale body shape.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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