The Silk Road is Sabbath’s entry-level bike, if any titanium bike can be described as entry-level. Aimed at sportive riders, its upright riding position is well suited to long days in the saddle, and while it might not corner as sharply as more race-orientated rivals, its handling is utterly trustworthy.
Highs: The frame provides a comfortable riding position, absorbs bumps well and delivers confidence-inspiring handling
Lows: The standard stickers look a little cheap and lighter wheels would add more spark
Buy if: You want a dependable sportive bike that will last for years and benefit from future upgrades
The Silk Road’s tubing is straight gauge 3Al 2.5V titanium, with round tube profiles giving a clean, almost traditional look. Welds are neat and accurate, although the standard red and white graphics look a little, well, stuck on. If you’d prefer something different, Sabbath offer a choice of frame finishes and graphic treatments, most of which are available at no extra cost.
Some bikes you just jump on and feel at home on straight away. The Sabbath is one of them. The relatively short top tube and longish head tube (180mm on our XL bike) put the rider in a fairly upright riding position that’s spot on for the Silk Road’s brief as a sportive bike. The Sabbath corners like a well sorted sportive machine should, too.
It’s not as sharp or immediate as some of its racier rivals, but in spite of the tall head tube the rider still feels connected to the road. There’s none of the getting-to-know-you nervousness you experience riding some bikes for the first time – the Sabbath is so stable and balanced that you’re soon leaning heavily on the Continental Ultra Sport tyres.
Ride for hours at a time and the Silk Road lives up to its name, smoothing out rough surfaces. The Selle Italia Flow XO is armchair plush, adding to the bike’s long-distance credentials. It’s not the lightest saddle, though, and the Silk Road isn’t the lightest bike.
That’s partly down to the Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels, which are a sound choice but need more effort to spin up to speed than the Mavics or carbon hoops found on some other bikes at this price. We’d also think about upgrading the Ultra Sport tyres when they wear out, but wouldn’t be in any great rush.
Get out of the saddle and there’s more flex at the bottom bracket than on more race-orientated bikes, but you have to be stomping pretty hard to notice. The Silk Road frame alone is £1,150 and can be built up with your choice of kit.