When we tested the first Ultravox RS-1 last year we were left very impressed. Since we really couldn’t pick holes in it, we wondered what the new Team Issue version could do to raise the bar.
The answer was simple – maintain the ride quality and lose some weight. The TI frame has dropped around 100g and is now ‘under 900g for a 52’, thanks to a higher proportion of Toray 1000 and Mitsubishi-Rayon 40 ultra-high modulus carbon fibre. There are frames in excess of 200g lighter, but Swift claim the RS-1’s outstanding rigidity has been maintained, creating an advantage.
xx: xx Jon Ashelford / www.jonashelford.com
Ride and handling: quicker and sharper than ever
During our first few rides we were surprised at how much lighter on its feet the TI feels than the RS-1. The difference on the scales, thanks in equal measure to the fantastic new SRAM Red groupset as well as the frame, is a useful but not huge 360g – so you wouldn’t expect to feel it on the flat.
But it soon became clear that the heightened agility is actually coming from the steering – it’s even faster and more accurate without losing the neutrality that we love in the RS-1. It was only when we mentioned this to Swift boss Mark Blewett that he admitted the head-tube and fork crown have been made stiffer.
The TI positively encourages you to attack corners, responding with linearity, communicating clearly and staying neutral at all lean angles. On our favourite Vredestein Fortezza TriComp Slick tyres, it’s a blast on descents. Nothing else we’ve ridden steers quite so sweetly.
The BB stiffness is very high, close to the stiffest we’ve ridden, so the TI loves to sprint and after its diet it climbs even better than ever. The light Swift seatpost adds to the ride comfort, making this a race bike ready for the longest sportives.
Back to back rides with the new Pinarello Dogma 65.1 proved that the Ultravox Team Issue stands comparison to the very best current superbikes.
xx: Jon Ashelford / www.jonashelford.com
Frame & equipment: fine-tuning is evident
As is becoming common on high-end frames, the TI has interchangeable internal cable routing plates, so every frame is compatible with both mechanical and electronic drivetrains.
Key features of the frame include the meaty box-section head-tube for steering precision, ultra-thin seatstays for comfort and an all carbon press-fit 30 bottom bracket that keeps weight down and stiffness up. A lot of work has also gone into the fork, strengthening the crown and fine-tuning the offset alongside the head angle to achieve the desired handling.
The TI is only being sold as a frameset (frame, fork, headset) in the UK. Our test bike came built with 2012 SRAM Red, Ritchey bars, and a neat Swift seatpost. We fitted our preferred 13cm Pro Vibe stem, Fizik Arione R1 saddle and Enve 3.4 clinchers, all good reference points that we also used on the RS-1. With Dura-Ace pedals it comes to 6.51kg. Not bad at all.