Univega 2005 - Bike Magic

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Univega 2005

Univega RAM ES-970

Univega is a brand that hasn’t been seen in big numbers in the UK, um, ever really. It’s now part of the sprawling international Raleigh Cycle Company, so it’s not entirely surprising to see Raleigh UK taking on Univega as its high-end brand.

Probably of most interest are the RAM full-suspension bikes, built on a 125mm full-suspension platform using what’s quaintly described in the catalogue as a “four bar hinge” system. Univega bikes aren’t sold in the US, so they’re immune from Specialized’s FSR patent and haven’t had to choose between stumping up the licensing fees or going for a seatstay linkage, flexy chainstay or other workaround. The RAM bikes are designed for “uncompromising enduro”, which is an even better term than “aggressive XC”. The higher-end frames, including the ES-970 pictured, use butted aluminium tubes and feature a funky “Delta Box” headtube section. The top and down tubes are welded to the mini-monococque section, which has a big hole (filled with a carbon fibre insert) at the lightly-loaded front to save weight.

Specs look pretty decent, with the ES-970 coming in at £1349 with Manitou Black Super Air fork, full Shimano LX groupset with hydraulic discs, Conti Gravity tyres and Ritchey finishing kit. The range starts with the £879 ES-930, with a simpler frame construction, Fastrax rear shock, Axel Comp fork and mainly Deore bits.

The RAM name is also used on a range of stout hardtails. The pictured bike is the DS-932. It’s described as an “all-mountain” bike, with a Marzocchi Drop-Off fork, Shimano Hone group and Conti Diesel 2.5in tyres at £1,099. There’s also the DS-922 with a more overtly jump/slalom spec – Dirt Jumper fork, single ring etc.

There’s also a range of Alpina XC hardtails, running from the HT-200 (£209) to the fully-loaded HT-UPCT, complete with Scandium semi-monococque frame, DT Swiss wheel package, Manitou Skareb Platinum fork and full XTR whirly bits at £2,499.

The design of the Scandium front triangle carries over to the top short-travel Alpina XC FS bikes, the SL-UPCT and SL-9. Both bikes come with Manitou Swinger 3-Way shocks offering 85mm of travel. The one in the picture is the SL-9, with full XT and a Skareb Elite fork at £1,949. The range starts with the £869 SL-3, with a Suntour fork, Deore transmission and Avid brakes.

All the bikes look quite purposeful, although there’s a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it Scott-esque logo frenzy going on with some of the graphics. Must be a European thing. Anyway, dealer info and catalogues can be had from Raleigh UK on 01773 532600.


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