Some of the topics in the Forum recently have touched on the topic of road bikes from mountain bike manufacturers. Earlier this summer, I took the plunge, and purchased a Sintesi Enigma frame, from the Italian manufacturer better known for its World Cup downhill team. And the verdict? Read on…
The frame is manufctured in Oria 7020 aluminium, and features STI bosses, 2 sets of bottle bosses, oversize tubes, an aero downtube, and a very neat replacable rear mech hanger, all finished in a very nice blue with airbrushed detailing. This particular frame came complete with carbon fibre forks.
A nice touch is the numbered handbook, unique to each frame, which certainly gives the impression that these manufacturers take pride in their work. The ride, compared to my previous steel rides is stiff, but not harsh, putting the power down with little frame flex, and being comfortable for rides up to 4 hours in duration. Frame quality to this unqualified eye seems good, a fact supported by a favourable reveiw of another Sintesi road bike, the Spy, in Cycling+ November 2000. The carbon forks, a departure from the frames’ usual fork, are quite stiff, and are perhaps less suited to the longer rides from a comfort perspective. Built up with ITM and Campagnolo Veloce (what else would you use on an Italian frame?) it has built into a moderate 23lb ride with few vices. Steering is fast, without being twitchy, although the bike is fitted with a stem that is slightly too long at present. It climbs well, even with its rider being on the verge of unfit, and holds no nasty surprises back for the fastest of downhills.
So can a MTB manufacturer build road bikes? From the Enigma, it would seem that some can, and at a price to rival many other established frame manufacturers.
With thanks to Peter at Thatto Cycles for supplying the frame, forks, and select components.