From its huge oversized BB, ultra-sized chain-stays to its short head-tube, the Ultravox TI screams stiff and maximum power transfer. We like.
A few months ago, we featured the arrival of SwiftCarbon road frames to our shores. The then little know brand is gaining popularity around the globe with some pretty positive reviews. Naturally, we got plenty excited when Integrated Riding asked us to test the SwiftCarbon TI (Team Issue), their top of the line frame.
Our test bike came with all things carbon fiber from bars to posts. Graced with SRAM red (10 speed), the whole thing weighs like, well, nothing. At 6.7kg including pedals, it’s the one of the lightest bikes to ever grace our behinds. Admittedly the frame size came in a slightly smaller than what we were used to but we managed to tweak the saddle height and fore-aft position, dialling it close to what we were more accustomed to.
The frame feature deliberate, aggressive lines that suggests that the frame is aerodynamically compliant. Understated paintwork and finish gives it a ‘minimal’ look and an undoubtedly ‘lighter than you!’ appearance. From its huge oversized BB, ultra-sized chain-stays to its short head-tube, the Ultravox TI screams stiff and maximum power transfer. We like.
We did a few quick sprints while on the straights and found the Ultravox TI to be extremely eager, instantly driving forward with every pedal stroke.
The bike came to us in a very racy position with only a 5mm short spacer above its short head-tube. While Ben found it to be rather uncomfortable compared to his custom Litespeed Archon (due to the low handlebar position), I did find it quite at home and similar to setup on my custom Ellis. The SRAM setup did take us a while to get use to (that happens when you’re delve too much in electronic shifting!) but that soon became a breeze once we got the hang of it.
To test the bike, we took it out for a short 30+km spin around our usual riding route, from East Coast Park, to Changi Coastal road and Loyang before ending our ride (usually) at the Siglap Beer Garden for a local cuppa.
We are both used to mashing the pedals solo, at speeds around 35km/h along the coastal stretch of road. The Ultravox TI did well here and getting up to speed was a non-issue. At the super-racy position, we had our backs almost flat and were in an almost time-trial-like aerodynamic position. Even with some pretty serious headwind, I was able to maintain a respectable speed in my opinion.
The handling is precise and responsive, possibly due to the heightened stiffness from the short compact head-tube area. The road feel was significantly dampened, providing a smooth ride (over speed humps and bumps). It is important to note here that wheels selection and tire pressure plays a part as well so we are not sure how much contribution came from the frame itself.
We did a few quick sprints while on the straights and found the Ultravox TI to be extremely eager, instantly driving forward with every pedal stroke. Not too surprising for a top-of-the-line race frame. We attribute this to the stiffened BB design, thick chain stays and proprietary carbon lay-up employed for the Ultravox TI in this area.
A couple of loops around the undulating Loyang area at Changi revealed that it is also an enthusiastic climber, with sufficient stiffness to deliver our massive 80+kg up the short 3% – 5% rated slopes. Never for a moment did the ride feel ‘noodle-ey’ at all, if you get our drift.
The Ultravox TI is no doubt a well designed frame with all the attributes of a top racing frame; light, stiff and responsive.
We both like the responsiveness and the added stiffness of the bike and without a doubt this frame and with the components, as reviewed here, is race-ready. I am fairly certain that this will be a very good choice for a criterium bike. While for longer distance races, the smooth feel make it a promising candidate as well.
The Ultravox TI is no doubt a well designed frame with all the attributes of a top racing frame; light, stiff and responsive. More importantly, always make sure the fit is to your fitness level, flexibility and ride needs, no matter what frame you choose.
The boys at Integrated Riding are more than happy and qualified to take you along this process should you decide on one of their frames.
About the Riders
The two riders were Ben and myself.
We consider ourselves to be recreational road riders doing about 100km per week with the occasional cycling trip up north and participation in various events and self-organized rides (century and friendship rides) up north and south.
Given our sizes (180+cm and ‘north of 78kg’), if the bike was not stiff enough, we’ll know.
We both ride custom made bikes (Titanium, Steel, Carbon) and embrace electronic shifting and can’t emphasize more on fit over anything else!