We've received more details on the next road bike to come from Chinese bike brand SpeedX and it makes for interesting reading. The SpeedX Unicorn is getting an integrated power meter that's apparently on a par with anything else on the market in terms of accuracy, a Vibration Control System to smooth the bumps, and wireless 'Black Dot' buttons to control the integrated computer. Oh, and disc brakes.
The SpeedX Unicorn is described as a lightweight road bike that combines "an ultra-responsive ride with a superb stiffness to weight ratio". There will be three versions available: the Unicorn X eTap, the Unicorn Pro eTap and the Unicorn Di2. The frameset is claimed to weigh just 870g (including paint), which is impressive, if slightly higher than the 780g that was previously mentioned.
“With the SpeedX Unicorn we’ve pushed limits to develop a one-of-a-kind lightweight road bike," says Raggy Lau, chief marketing officer at SpeedX. "We introduce our in-house built technology VCS to enhance more comfort when riding along with our built-in power meter with 99% accuracy, and a completely redesigned SpeedForce running on Android OS.”
The company has gone through more than 50 frame iterations in order to reach this final version though and is building the frame from no fewer than four different types of carbon fibre: T700, T800 , T1000 and M50. Buyers get a seven-day no quibble return and a 30-day free exchange period – but at their own cost of shipping back to China.
SpeedX Unicorn features
So let's look at these features in turn, starting with the integrated crank-based power meter. SpeedX says it's been tested at 99% accuracy against SRM power meters — regarded by many as the gold standard. The SpeedX power meter's battery will last 400hrs or 8,000km, and can be recharged at home. For comparison, the SRM power meter it compares itself against lasts up to 3,000hrs, but cannot be recharged at home – it must be sent off to SRM.
All the data it collects will be recorded and displayed on the integrated, removable SpeedForce computer, which features a 2.2-inch touchscreen. The computer is based on Android mobile OS and promises 20 hours of battery life. Sensors include GPS, speed, cadence, altitude barometer, a compass, thermometer and movement detector. Connectivity options include ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
We're taken by the look of the new wireless 'Black Dot' buttons for controlling the computer. Similar to SRAM eTap Blip satellite shifters, they can be positioned wherever you like on the handlebars for easier control of preset functions. For example, they can be positioned to easily switch between data screens, start or stop recording a ride and so on.
And what exactly is this Vibration Control System (VCS)? Well it's described as a frame technology with three distinct ways of taming road buzz: using Toray M50 carbon fibre at critical stress points to act as a shock damper, chainstays that can flex in a specific direction, and a seat tube that can flex three degrees (or up to 15mm) to absorb shocks and improve comfort.
SpeedX Unicorn models and prices
All three bikes in the range are on Kickstarter now — SpeedX is using the crowdfunding site to raise its first $50,000 and will offer cheaper prices to early backers.
At the bottom of the range is the Unicorn Di2, which comes with Shimano Ultegra Di2, hydraulic disc brakes and a 52/36t FSA crankset, SpeedX Carbon wheels shod with Vittoria Rubino tyres, Fizik R7 saddle and a red/black colour scheme. It will retail for £3,565 / $3,499 and the first bikes are expected to ship in April 2017.
In the middle of the range is the SpeedX Unicorn Pro eTap, which comes with SRAM's Red eTap wireless groupset, hydraulic disc brakes and a 52/36t SRAM Quarq crankset, SpeedX Carbon wheels running on Vittoria Rubino tyres, Fizik R5 saddle and a matte black pain scheme. It will retail for £4,457 / $4,599 and the first bikes are expected to ship in May 2017.
Finally, at the top of the range is the SpeedX Unicorn XeTap, which comes with SRAM's Red eTap wireless groupset, including hydraulic disc brakes and a 52/36t SRAM Quarq crankset, Zipp 303 Disc wheels running on Vittoria Rubino tyres, Fizik R3 saddle, and a "diamond black" paint job. It will retail for £5,917 / $5,299 and the first bikes will ship in May 2017.
We'll be getting our hands on a test unit very soon, watch this space.