Known for its BMX bikes, Identiti’s first drop bar machine and its ‘initial’ carbon frame comes with hydraulic disc brakes, which might just be the next big thing. But Identiti has bucked the trend for mountain bike-inspired 135mm rear spacing and stayed with the road standard 130mm.
Highs: Weight, ride and performance
Lows: Limited choice of 130mm disc hubs
Maintaining this spacing and including a drilled rear brake bridge enables the Initial-D to run discs or calipers, so it can accept all standard road wheels. The frame has clearance for 25mm rubber and, unusually, features a BSA 68mm bottom bracket, because Identiti and its engineers believe the proven performance of a 24mm axle and an external bearing system is more than adequate and easier to service than modern BB standards. It also has universal internal cable routing for mechanical, hydraulic or electric, mirrored on each side for every eventuality.
Hydraulic discs – the next big thing, now:Robert Smith
Hydraulic discs – the next big thing, now
We tested the range-topping Initial-D with SRAM’s 22 Red groupset, but it’s also available as a frameset or with other SRAM and Shimano builds. Shifting through every gear ratio is sublime, while SRAM’s newly updated Hydro R hydraulic disc brakes provide peerless stopping. Subtle brake modulation gives perfect control with bags of power that remains unaffected by road, rim or cable condition.
The Initial-D feels very refined and covers mixed terrain eagerly and in comfort, the 1515g frame and fork combining the added strength that’s required for disc braking with an involving suppleness. Acceleration is lively too, thanks to the rigid down tube, chunky chainstays and the Halo carbon wheels with their 50mm deep rims.
These tubeless-ready clinchers also have a braking track for extra versatility. A little more width increases stability and grip, and their 1600g weight doesn’t hold you back. The disc means the rear wheel has minimal dishing – good for strength and evening out spoke tension, though it comes at the expense of some lateral stiffness.