Italy’s Scapin have always impressed us. The quality and finish of their Hysak frame set it a level above the competition, so when it came to the more modestly priced EYS we expected to see some compromises in terms of the frame finish. However, that just isn’t the case.
Frame & equipment: Superb quality with spot-on gearing
The attractive graphics of the EYS are all masked and painted with absolute precision. Scapin told us that each frame spends more than eight hours in the paint shop to get it looking this good. That would be impressive on a bike costing thousands more, but on a bike at £2,000 it’s exceptional.
The frame is clever, too, and in this spec its gear cable routing is external, using a beautifully machined, wing-shaped mount on the underside of the down tube. Should you want to switch to an electronic drivetrain you simply remove this mount and go fully internal with the routing already in place. The plugs located throughout the frame, to hide the internal routing, are all colour-matched to the finish, which is a nice touch.
The frame uses unidirectional fibres in its monocoque construction. It’s below the grade of carbon used on Scapin’s flagship models but still results in a frame with a very respectable 1,190g all-in weight.
The geometry is a sporty, parallel 73.5-degree setup with a mid-height 175mm head tube and a wheelbase that comes in at well under a metre. As you’d expect, the head is tapered to contain a straight-legged, oversized fork.
Flowing from this, the down tube meets a large press-fit bottom bracket shell. The stout chainstays kick up and back towards the rear dropout. Slender seatstays meet the oversized (31.6) seat tube.
The equipment spec falls in line with 2013 trends at this price. That means full Shimano 105 combined with Mavic’s Aksium wheel and tyre package. It’s safe to say it’s a good quality combination that works well and won’t let you down. The gearing choice is spot-on for most riders, combining a 50/34 compact with a wide spread 11-28T cassette.
The finishing kit all comes from FSA, with the basic-but-decent quality OS150 stem and compact drop Omega bar. At the back, an aluminium Gossamer post completes the metal.
The frame is topped with a slender but well-padded Selle Italia X-Feel saddle that’s colour-matched to the frame. Also included are a custom Elite race bottle cage and Scapin-branded Elite bottle – small touches that add value.
Ride & handling: Efficient handing, firm riding
The EYS feels suitably efficient to ride, and the firm feel is countered by a pulsing need to go forward fast under pedalling. The sharp geometry and short wheelbase translate into impressively rapid handling – descending and taking fast, tightening corners always filled us with confidence. It just feels completely planted.
The firm-riding frame isn’t helped by the average aluminium finishing kit – the oversized 31.6 seatpost means the ride is very rigid at the rear. On big potholes and ruts we felt a considerable kick in the pants.
It’s a similar story up front, with the stiff aluminium bar seemingly amplifying bigger road bumps. If there’s ever a frame that deserved better components, especially a carbon seatpost, then this is it, but that’s the trade off we’d expect when so much care and attention has been put into its construction.
The EYS impresses with its quality, but to get the best from it we’d want to upgrade the bar and post. The exciting ride, fine handling and superior quality of the finish make it a great choice for the connoisseur of crafted Italian race bikes, providing you’ve factored extra cash into the budget to drop in those upgrades.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2013 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 273, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.