Enigma specialise in bespoke and off-the-peg titanium and steel bikes, with UK-based production wherever possible. The Eclipse provides all the qualities you’d want in a titanium bike: light weight, comfort, long-term sustainability and sheer head-turning beauty.
Although billed as the first bike in Enigma’s range, it definitely doesn’t suffer from any of the usual corner cutting found on entry-level models; the opposite is true, as you’ll find some features on this frame more in keeping with much higher priced models.
Dependable 3AL-2.5V manipulated tubes are the name of the frame game, with a bi-axially ovalised top tube and down tube adding some extra buttressing in the key stress zones of head tube and bottom bracket. The seat tube is a more traditional diameter, allowing for the use of a 27.2mm seatpost which, in many circles, remains the benchmark diameter for the optimal balance of comfort and performance. Classy, semi-enclosed Koski-inspired dropouts have been hollowed out to save weight, and include a replaceable gear hanger – rare on titanium bikes.
Enigma offer their own brand of well designed components for finishing kit, but you can build one up any way you’d like (the frame is available for £999). The drivetrain on our test bike is the excellent Campagnolo Veloce, a robust yet light choice that never misses a beat. The Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheels do a decent job too; these faithful workhorses use stainless bladed spokes, sealed cartridge bearings and machined double walled rims to provide long-term, reliable performance.
The Eclipse’s road manners are perfectly dialled, with the ideal geometry. A classic setup that aims to get as close to the magic 73° parallel configuration as possible, depending on frame size, together with a generous top tube, create a perfect position for going fast. Both light and nimble, it dances on its toes, revealing just a bit of flex overall, but not in a bad way, and squatting down nicely in fast corners. When you stand up on the pedals to put the power down, it’s exactly where you want it to be for a launch to the finish line or up the steep side of a climb.
High speed buffeting is kept to a minimum thanks to relatively normal sized tubes and shallow rims. A few blazing stretches drafting behind a handy removal van proved illustrative of the Eclipse’s stability; when allowed to drift into the vortices at the tail end of the sweet spot, the Eclipse felt steady and assured, even though we were spun out at well over 40mph staring at a truck diff. Hanging onto someone’s wheel by an inch as you work your way up through the group shouldn’t be an issue.
It’s a truly comfortable, multi-purpose bike, with handling and performance aimed squarely at road and crit, but the ability to tackle other disciplines as well. Even if you’re just riding for fun and fitness, this capable machine embodies all that is great about titanium.
Semi-enclosed dropouts save weight and include a replaceable gear hanger: semi-enclosed dropouts save weight and include a replaceable gear hanger www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.