As one of the few manufacturers still preferring truly compact frames, BH’s bikes always look distinctive. With four size options from S to XL, the proportionally sized head tubes mean that fit relies on stem length and height, plus seatpost extension.
The Quartz’s frame and fork are based on the aerodynamic profile and features of BH’s top G6 and Ultralight models. The frame is a full carbon monocoque with carbon dropouts, and there is drag-reducing shaping on the conical head tube, fork and down tube – though not to the point that we’d call it an aero frame.
The frame promises a lot, with a tapered steerer plus deep and curved asymmetric chainstays. The kit line-up also looks good. BH developed the BB386 EVO standard with FSA, so it’s no surprise to find FSA’s Gossamer compact chainset as the only deviation from the Shimano 105 groupset, making the most of its 30mm axle for added drivetrain stiffness. The bottom bracket area is suitably huge, permitting the immense down tube to brace the stocky head tube, and in such a compact frame the result is an immediate reaction to pedalling inputs.
Shimano’s R500 wheelset is solid and reliable, but a little too weighty for swift progress, sitting firmly in training wheel territory. Even so, the Quartz does a fine job of wringing the best out of them, with its nimble handling and willingness to accelerate. Whether from a slow turn, out of a hairpin, or in an all-out sprint, the frame converts your efforts into rapid forward motion.
The front end remains resolutely solid under load, unwavering regardless of braking force or turn angle, and it’s pretty comfortable too. All that chunkiness belies the Quartz’s ride quality, keeping it composed over rough patches and isolating you from surface vibration while maintaining good road feel – which really hits the mark when it comes to long-distance riding.
The finishing kit includes BH’s own aluminium stem, compact bar and seatpost, and our only niggle is that the seatpost has no real setback, which limits possible adjustments. Sure, the Quartz is designed around a more sporting position, but anyone with longer legs may need to swap posts. The Prologo Kappa saddle proved excellent for epic rides, and Michelin’s Dynamic Sport tyres deal well with poor, slippery roads. The result is a supple and relaxing ride, all wrapped around a solid, punchy core. BH’s Quartz really does make a fine endurance bike.