• This topic has 39 replies, 27 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by neilv.
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  • Enigma road bikes – experiences please?
  • Premier Icon fatmax
    Full Member

    Maybe time to replace the road bike.
    I’m pretty settled on an Enigma Evoke, at a spec and price I’m happy with and being purchased through Cyclescheme so should save me some cash.
    Reviews sound great but a test ride is likely to be difficult – I’m based in Edinburgh and its a 60cm frame.
    So any real world experiences? Anything on quality and ride appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Fraser

    Premier Icon forked
    Free Member

    As a larger rider, steel or carbon should serve you better than titanium.

    Premier Icon fatmax
    Full Member

    @forked any reason you think that? None of the Enigma reviews suggest the frames are noodly or flexy. And I’m not a particularly powerful rider – someone who spins rather than mashes the pedals.

    Premier Icon forked
    Free Member

    It’s just my experience with (a couple of) titanium framed bikes, they certainly didn’t handle as well as a steel equivalent. This Enigma may be different though, but I’ve heard experienced frame builders say similar.

    I think if I were to buy titanium, then I’d certainly consider Enigma as an established brand. I can’t help but think it’s not much bike for 4 grand though.

    Premier Icon neila
    Full Member

    I have an Enigma Equinox, no longer produced but I’ve found it fantastic. It’s a compact frame, Size 56 and certainly not noodly with its deep aero section downtube. I’m running 6800 Ultegra and Prime RR50 Carbon wheels, it comes in just under 8kg with pedals and kit. I’ve found it perfectly comfortable on ton rides as well as smashing a quick local circuit. Mate has a Esprit, beautiful frame, more traditional with its horizontal top tube. I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    I’ve an Etape disc and it’s been a really nice day rider. Not flexy and handles like one of the lightweight Audax bikes we used to ride. Bit lighter than steel as well. It also rides just like a CAADX I have which is a lovely responsive ride and reasonably stiff being Al.

    Enigma service is generally good though I recently had reason to contact them about a minor though critical spare and they needed a bit of nudging to make progress. Might be they’re inundated with the Covid-19/post Tdf cycling upswing so not a show stopper.

    I’d buy another from them.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I sent out emails to all the well known Ti bike brands earlier this year, asking about a spec that was going to cost the wrong side of £4k.

    Jim at Enigma was one of only two that even replied. If Laverack hadn’t been just down the road, I’d have happily given Enigma my money.

    Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    I had a frame off them when I turned 40. I thought I wanted a Ti one, but all the bikes (from a few sources) I tried felt “Soft” for want of a better description.

    In the end I settled on a semi custom Enigma Elite HSS (steel) and couldn’t be happier. I could wax lyrical about the ride quality, but suffice to say it’s exactly what I was after.

    Enigma were painless to deal with. The bike sold itself, there was some good natured haggling over the special bits I wanted. Paid a deposit, waited, sent off my paint design. Had some comms with Jaco about exact colours, paid the rest and then it turned up. I’d say the welding was decent but not spectacular, but the paint was absolutely spot on. It built up easily too – no issues with frame prep.

    6 years on I still look forward to riding it, in a way I just can’t do with my (equally steel) winter roadie.

    Premier Icon duner
    Free Member

    Hi Fraser, Richard at Enigma here, I think we exchanged an email or two already.

    Just thought I’d add that flex really isn’t an issue on a modern ti frame, the thinking behind this is a hangover from the very first ti frames that used ‘steel’ tubing diameters, 28mm top tube, 32mm down tube etc. The 60cm Evoke uses 35mm seat and top, 44mm down tube, and with a bolt thru rear end and reasonably chunky chainstays you won’t feel like it’s lacking in stiffness. I’m 6’2″ and frames with 32/32/38 tubes still feel stiff enough for me.

    We’ve built custom frames for riders up to about 7′ tall and had no complaints, we do a lot of repeat business!

    We can of course also do steel but personally I’d have Ti for the weight saving and finish resilience.

    Edinburgh Bike Fitting can get you sorted too by the way.

    Any questions give us a shout.

    Cheers

    Premier Icon DavidB
    Full Member

    This Enigma may be different though, but I’ve heard experienced frame builders say similar.

    Who?

    Premier Icon four
    Free Member

    I’ve two Enigma Ti bikes – Excel in rim brakes and Echelon in disc version.

    Both bikes are superb and I’d not change either.

    They handle well, are comfortable and look great – if going Ti I can’t think of anywhere else I’d buy from if I’m honest – add in the customer service and you struggle to find better in my opinion.

    Richard (sales manager) and Jim (owner) are very easy and helpful to work with and from my experience have the patients of saints and will offer you the best unbiased advise.

    As for noodle bikes? No – mine are stiff, fast and responsive – the weak link is the old fat bloke sitting on them.

    I’ve had decent carbon bikes (I still ride a Scott Spark 900rc Pro off road) but for the road the Ti suit my needs better.

    Before buying an Enigma I researched the granny out of what’s out there and had the budget to be able to buy from where I wanted (Moot and Seven inc) but I went Enigma and I’d buy from them if doing it over again……… There may be a need for a gravel bike at some point.

    I’m no ‘fan boi’ in fact I’m an awkward fickle customer but I would 100% recommend Enigma and no I’m not connected in anyway and I don’t even live near the factory.

    This isn’t an add for them, just my honest review.

    Quality 10/10
    Customer Service 10/10
    Ride, feel, handling 10/10
    Value (to me) 10/10

    Premier Icon corroded
    Free Member

    I’ve got an Enigma Evoke (59cm, I’m 6’1 – it’s about right with a longish stem and no spacers). I’d also rate the customer service and buying experience as a 10/10 – they’re genuinely great to deal with (and I had a few of additional requests). Definitely buy with confidence.

    As for the bike, I find it a great cruiser (I guess ‘endurance road’ would be the category?). It’s really comfortable, responsive and fun if not as light as a comparable carbon bike. I wanted a bike for life and long rides that could take a few knocks in airports etc rather than a racer. The finish is very nice and I think it was good value all round. I certainly can’t think of anything to beware of. Mine is the previous model and I have 28mm tyres – I think clearance has gone up a little since.

    Premier Icon fatmax
    Full Member

    @four and @corroded – really helpful and just what I thought and wanted to hear, many thanks for taking the time.
    Endurance Road is exactly what I’m after really.
    @duner I’ll drop you an email this afternoon, many thanks, and apologies about the radio silence over the past week.

    Premier Icon brads
    Full Member

    I know this a worn out old cliché but cracking would be a worry for me.

    I lusted after a Ti bike and everytime I mention the build, the LBS crew would shout “cracking” at me.

    I’ve since bumped into a few guys running decent Ti, Van N , Enigma , etc and all have suffered cracks.
    Last one was last week , chatting to a guy with a Van Nicholas and he told me it was a warranty replacement due to cracking.
    I also heard certain makers were reducing warranty periods from lifetime down to say 10 yrs.

    Really not looking to derail this thread, but is it a concern for others ?

    Handy that Duner is on this thread mind.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Full Member

    I have 4 titanium framed bikes – some nearly 20 years old and never had one crack. To bikes I have seen crack we’re predominantly Litespeeds and Merlins from about 15 years ago where there was a tendency to go too light on the build. No problem making a stiff ti frame – it comes down to tube choice and the way it is fabricated.

    Premier Icon beaker
    Full Member

    Another Enigma owner here. I’ve had an Etape for eight years now. Never given me any trouble
    and the build quality is excellent. I doubt very much that you’ll be dissapointed if you buy one.

    Premier Icon ronburgundy
    Full Member

    I have an Evoke which is now 2 and a bits years old. Its awesome!
    I had it built with custom geometry so it was a bit more aggressive and I now have over 10,000 miles on it. I am 6’1, 85kg and it is no flexy old school Ti frame. I find it more than stiff enough and doesn’t feel much different to my carbon Supersix.
    I would also echo the statements above about dealing with Enigma – they are great, super easy to deal with and very accommodating to ideas.
    If I could only have one road bike, this would be it.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Free Member

    I’m sniffing around the idea of a ti gravel bike and cracking is a concern. Having looked at bikes that are designed in place A and built in place B has made me wary.

    At least with Enigma, there’s a decent warranty and they have the kit and skills to do the warranty work.

    If I import a designed in USA made in Asia frame, the cost isn’t going to be much more to go custom from someone like Enigma and it’s going to be do much easier and quicker to sort if it does crack.

    Premier Icon maurice
    Full Member

    Flex in titanium frames can definitely be an issue.

    A number of years ago I rode four titanium road bikes back-to-back all day as part of a magazine photoshoot for a group test.

    Two of them were terrible, I was shocked that bikes priced north of £5k were like that. The flex in one frame was so bad that at 63kg I could make it jump cogs at the back under load. A friend at 85kg could make it fully change gears. The other bike handled like a £200 shonker, though I think a lot of it was due to the titanium handlebars that were also fitted to it.

    The Enigma and Van Nicholas both rode great though.

    Premier Icon fatmax
    Full Member

    @maurice we’re all now intrigued as to the other two brands! You willing to tell? And was the resulting magazine review honest enough to state that about them?
    Thanks for everyone’s input, everything that I’m hearing in making me think that Enigma would be a great choice.
    I could go carbon, but there’s just something beautiful about a titanium bike in my eyes and I’ve lusted after one for about 25 years!

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    fatmax
    Full Member
    I could go carbon, but there’s just something beautiful about a titanium bike in my eyes and I’ve lusted after one for about 25 years!

    @fatmax you do realise the correct answer is ‘get both’?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    you do realise the correct answer is ‘get both’?

    I thought so, but jeez, when they talk about the “slow boat from China”, I didn’t realise how slow!

    Premier Icon maurice
    Full Member

    @fatmax not really without treading on peoples toes. Can’t go wrong with an Enigma imo.

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    I was planning an Enigma for my 50th but my wife decided on a divorce instead. Then I thought I’d do it this year for my 55th but along came Covid to shut down my whole industry so that went out of the window as well.

    I shall not make plans to buy one again – they aren’t far from me so I’ll just pretend to be going somewhere else and at the last minute divert and leave fate cursing it’s failure to thwart me a 3rd time!

    Premier Icon Vortexracing
    Full Member

    I have had my Enigama Echo for 6 years, still love it and don’t see any point in changing, it does rides to work as well as Sportives, foreign hols and 100 mile rides with the lads.

    I find it very comfortable even on 23’s 🙂

    Would buy another off Enigma if this ever breaks.

    you won’t be disappointed

    Premier Icon charliemort
    Full Member

    15 and a bit stone ex prop here. Had a Ti Litespeed for 15 years and never broke it. It was between that and a carbon Specialized at the time – suspect that would have been retired by now

    Recently changed to Enigma Escape (as did my wife). We both love them and doesn’t feel noodly to me.

    I will echo comments about them having the patience of saints – Mrs M changed spec about 48 times……

    Premier Icon Kuco
    Free Member

    Not road but I use to have one of their Ti hardtails and couldn’t fault it. The build quality was exceptional.

    Have also spoken to them personally a few years ago when Windmill Wheels became a dealer for them and they were their. Was patient and very helpful in any questions I had.

    Premier Icon corroded
    Free Member

    Re the supposed ‘flexiness’ of titanium… I’m not someone who ascribes certain characteristics to materials and nor am I bike-building expert but I’d think that a good bike designer can add or subtract flex as required. So, my Enigma has a seatpost of 30+mm (I forget exactly what) which is pretty stout. I would guess that is because it’s quite hard to build a stiff-ish ti frame with anything less, especially around the BB area (again, I have no inside knowledge). Whereas you will find narrower seat tubes (and 27.2 seatposts) on many steel frames (like the Fairlight Secan) and I guess that’s where a lot of their ‘comfort’ comes from. I’ve had high-end steel bikes (a Shand for example) and my Evoke definitely feels different – a little less leaden and more than stiff enough for me.
    As for cracks, I doubt I’d spot one given that I don’t wash my frame from one year to the next.

    Premier Icon yosemitepaul
    Free Member

    I got an Excel GR and Mrs YP an Etape earlier in the year. (My big birthday and no big holiday so we bought bikes instead!).
    We got them from Prologue in Harrogate who were superb.
    My Excel is awesome, I ride primarily on roads rather than gravel or trails and I find it is so much fun to ride.
    I’ve had steel, aluminium and lately carbon fibre road bikes, all have been ok and I’ve enjoyed them but nothing has even matched the comfort, pleasure and speed of the Excel has given me.
    Since I got the bike in July I’m 1800 miles in (a greater distance in 3 months than any other bike I’ve had). During those miles it has been absolutely faultless.
    Not that I’ve ridden it, but the Etape produces a similar endorphin rush for my wife.
    I can’t speak for dealings with Enigma themselves, but wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the team at Prologue who after much discussion specced mine and Mrs Yp’s to perfection.
    I doubt I’ll ever need another bike (I’m 60) but I’d certainly look at Enigma again.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Have also spoken to them personally a few years ago when Windmill Wheels became a dealer for them and they were their.

    Windmill Wheels are amazing as well. A mate wrecked a tyre pulling into the car park for the cafe next door, went into WW expecting to have to pay £30+ for a new tyre. Explained what had happened, we were 50 miles from home, they had a rummage round the stock room and found him a brand new tyre someone had upgraded on a new bike, offered him it for a tenner, and fitted it for him.

    Premier Icon HansRey
    Full Member

    I quite like the look of the etape. It has mudguard and rack mounts. Question is, does anybody know if enigma make their own racks?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    If it’s not listed on their website, I’d assume that they don’t make racks. Would be an interesting project if they had the time, but not a money maker

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    HansRey
    Full Member
    I quite like the look of the etape. It has mudguard and rack mounts. Question is, does anybody know if enigma make their own racks?

    Obv question: why? Tubus make lovely high end racks – some versions in Ti if you must. Topeak and Tortec are 90% of them at ~50% of the cost.

    Premier Icon Vortexracing
    Full Member

    some versions in Ti if you must.

    That’s what I went for

    superb bit of kit 🙂

    Premier Icon duckman
    Full Member

    Had an Esprit, sold is as part of the post divorce house fund. I will own another enigma, best bike I have ever had. Ex County Wing forward, 16 stone and didn’t think there was any flex about it.

    Premier Icon ChrisA
    Free Member

    Same experience for me as above, I currently have an etape disc & a elite hss disc. They are both fantastic bikes. If I could only keep 2 bikes, it would be them.

    Previous to that, I’ve had an etape rim & an ego hard tail, again, both great well made bikes.

    I’ve always found Jim & Richard great to deal with too, so I’d recommended them.

    Premier Icon dpfr
    Full Member

    I have two Enigma road bikes- Evoke and Etape, both 59 frames. Evoke is set up as a bit more of a ‘nice’ bike (carbon wheels, bits of Enve/King) and Etape a bit more ‘winter/commuter’ (Mavic on Hope wheels, sensible finishing kit). Both are manual Ultegra groupset/Hope brakes. I’ve had them getting on four years or so riding round the Peak and down into Manchester/Cheshire (about 10000 km on the Evoke, 5000 on the Etape).

    The Enigma descriptions of both are pretty accurate. The Evoke feels livelier and I seem to want to push on more, while the Etape is a bit more of a cruising around bike although actually times over my regular routes are very similar.

    Before them, I had a decent carbon framed Scott Solace. I moved it on 4 weeks after the first Enigma showed up and I can’t imagine going back to a frame like that. I am very very pleased with both Enigmas. I’m a big lump with a good bit of leg strength and occasionally give it some grunt, and I have very occasionally noticed a tiny bit of flex when I am doing something quite unkind to the bike but actually less than the Scott.

    Edit to add- back in the 90s I owned a Raleigh Dynatech Ti road bike. Now that DID flex….

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    Geometry = handling
    Material = weight
    Tube diameter = stiffness

    Some modern steel frames have thinner but larger diameter Tubes. I have steel as titanium frames and aside from weight, can’t notice the difference. Nothing is as stiff as the oversize carbon downtime on my Defy. I love Ti, the hint is in the name. You can’t go wrong with either, nor Enigma, but modern steel has come a long way in the weight department now. But shiny.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Is there any topic with more myths than frame material?

    “I saw a few cracked ones”…

    “My mates said”…

    Gotta laugh.

    Premier Icon neilv
    Full Member

    I have a six year old 59cm Enigma Equinox and am 189cm / 90kg and have had no problems with flex. I was knocked off by a car driver (which destroyed my rear wheel) and had the frame checked and it was still straight and not cracked. Service was excellent and would definitely buy another. My previous bike was a carbon Bianchi and this is a much nicer ride.

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