Caterham Duo Cali details and first-ride impressions - video

Brilliant design work and clever construction methods, all wrapped in fantastic green paint

Caterham duo cali

Iconic British sports car maker Caterham is among the latest outsiders to venture into the cycling market, launching its gorgeous Duo Cali road bike at this year's Eurobike show. Built in Germany by AX-Lightness, the Duo Cali might not appeal to hardcore tech nerds but with its unique shape and what is sure to be extreme exclusivity, it's bound to land on more than a few wish lists.

Check out our video for Cycling Plus tech editor Warren Rossiter's first-ride impressions. All the original launch info before this 19 December update can be found below.

Given the formidable competition already present in the increasingly crowded cycling market, Caterham wisely didn't set out to create the lightest, stiffest, or most aerodynamic machine. Instead, the company aimed to build an utterly beautiful machine that offered very high performance in an aesthetically irresistible wrapper.

Central depressions and channels like these aren't commonly seen in carbon frames because they're difficult to manufacture. whereas most frame molds are a two-piece clamshell, caterham's mold requires five separate pieces:
Central depressions and channels like these aren't commonly seen in carbon frames because they're difficult to manufacture. whereas most frame molds are a two-piece clamshell, caterham's mold requires five separate pieces:

The Caterham Duo Cali is marked by absolutely gorgeously lines

The distinctly shaped Duo Cali is visually defined by the curving lines of the top tube and seat stays, and the down tube and chain stays, with each pair flowing seamlessly into the adjoining main tube. This isn't just a visual effect, either, as the Duo Cali is as close to a true monocoque as we've seen in recent memory. With the exception of the carbon fiber seat tube and CNC-machined aluminum dropouts, which are bonded in later, the entire frame is molded as a single unit.

Such a shape isn't possible with conventional two-piece clamshell molding methods, however, given the central channels built into the top tube and down tube. As a result, the Duo Cali requires a more complex five-piece mold. Although Caterham's composites division – the same group that handles the company's Formula 1 duties – took care of the frame's styling, lay-up, and tooling, the final tweaks and the actual manufacturing is contracted out to German outfit AX-Lightness.

The down tube doesn't just appear to flow into the chain stays - the entire structure really does come out of the mold like this. in fact, caterham's duo cali is as close to a true monocoque as you're likely to see with only the seat tube and dropouts being bonded in separately:
The down tube doesn't just appear to flow into the chain stays - the entire structure really does come out of the mold like this. in fact, caterham's duo cali is as close to a true monocoque as you're likely to see with only the seat tube and dropouts being bonded in separately:

The complex shaped requires a five-piece mold instead of the usual two-piece clamshell

Caterham says a raw 56cm frame weighs in right at 1,000g, although the elaborate paint job (which is sprayed by hand in Cologne, Germany) can add as much as 250g. The quick geometry was supposedly approved by ex-pro sprinter Marcel Wüst, but the very slightly extended head tubes are still meant to appeal to the 'everyday' rider.

Those 'everyday' riders had better like Campagnolo's EPS electronic drivetrains, however, as Caterham designed the Duo Cali to only work with those groupset. Shimano Di2 packages might also be possible but Caterham says it designed its frame with just EPS in mind, and mechanical drivetrains simply won't work.

The frame is purpose-built around campagnolo's eps electronic drivetrains. caterham hasn't even bothered to check if anything else would fit:
The frame is purpose-built around campagnolo's eps electronic drivetrains. caterham hasn't even bothered to check if anything else would fit:

It's Campagnolo EPS or nothing

So dedicated was Caterham to EPS that the flat bar-equipped Duo Cali Urban EPS model features Campagnolo Veloce controls with custom EPS shifters that Caterham engineered and built in-house.

Potential customers had also better have a healthy cash reserve on hand. The limited edition flagship model with Campagnolo Super Record EPS, Tune Airways carbon wheels, and a fi'zi:k carbon cockpit will command a whopping US$19,730 (approximately €15,000) – in homage to Caterham's founding in 1973. Framesets will sell for around US$5200 / €4,000.

If the outrageous us$19,730 price tag of the caterham cycling duo cali limited edition is too rich for your blood, there will also be other builds down to campagnolo chorus eps:
If the outrageous us$19,730 price tag of the caterham cycling duo cali limited edition is too rich for your blood, there will also be other builds down to campagnolo chorus eps:

Caterham will offer multiple build kits but all will feature Campagnolo EPS drivetrains and this green character line

Caterham will have 56cm framesets available around the end of the year with 48, 52, and 60cm sizes to follow in March.

James Huang

Former Technical Editor, US
James was BikeRadar's US tech editor from 2007-2015.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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